So I recently had a SpectraCell MicroNutrient panel done. This is a test that looks for functional deficiencies in key nutrients, ideally before they cause symptoms.
Our dietitian Nicole Gould, RD LD has blogged and podcasted about this topic, but to sum it up briefly, SpectraCell uses a patented test that looks at white blood cells to determine nutrient deficiency. (More on that in a minute.) Furthermore, SpectraCell only looks at nutrients that have a proven link to disease. Here’s a list of what they check -
Okay, so I noted that SpectraCell uses white blood cells instead of the more common red. Here’s why – a white blood cell has a longer lifespan than red. Because the white blood cell lives 4-6 months, the information contained within gives a more accurate picture as to the body’s usage of a given nutrient. It’s like knowing your checking account average daily balance over the past 6 months versus a given day’s balance. I think we’d all agree, the 6-month picture is a much better representation of your overall financial, or in this case physical, health.
So as I said in the beginning, I received my test back and the survey says: I’m deficient in two nutrients: B12 and the amino acid glutamine! While both of these came to me as a surprise, I was particularly intrigued by the B12. Because I am not vegan (B12 is only found from animal sources) and take a b-complex everyday, I certainly did not expect a low B12. While B12 in the short run is not a huge deal, a long-term B12 deficiency can lead to some pretty serious issues like anemia and even permanent nervous system problems.
As a result, I’m now taking a sublingual 1,000mcg B12 and 3 grams of glutamine daily (both recommended amounts from my SpectraCell report). While it’s too early to expect to feel any results from my new regimen, I feel better knowing I’m working to correct not only current nutrient deficiencies but also the potential problems they could have produced.