Biomarkers Used in Paragon Testing & Analysis
- A wide range of testing is available
- We help your doctor select appropriate testing
- To get a clear picture of the metabolic function affecting your health
Based on the Patient File, Paragon advises a patient’s doctor to order additional conventional blood work as well as various specific metabolic diagnostics. This usually comprises of testing hair, red blood cells, whole blood, saliva, and urine. In certain cases when indicated, stool may also be collected for analysis.
- Additional conventional blood work
- Urinary Organic Acids (46)
- Lipid Peroxides
- Fat-Soluble Vitamins (7)
- Plasma Amino Acid levels (20)
- Plasma Fatty Acid Testing (38)
- Nutrient Elements in RBC and Hair (37)
- Toxic Elements in Hair and Whole Blood (13)
Other potentially important testing depending on the situation:
- Gastrointestinal DNA Testing
- IgG4 Food Allergy Testing
- IgE Food Allergy Testing
- Estrogen Panel Testing
Other potentially important testing to determine toxic exposures:
- Porphyrins Profile - Urine
- PCBs testing - Serum
- Chlorinated Pesticides testing- Serum
- Volatile Solvents testing - Whole Blood
- Phthalates & Parabens testing - Urine
...that isn’t found in current patient blood work, but that is done by standard commercial labs when requested. This might include:
- Full Iron Metabolism Panel: Critical for assessing optimum oxygen delivery as well as to preventing excess oxidation when iron metabolism is malfunctioning.
- Serum iron
- Ferritin – an indicator used to determine overall iron metabolism
- TIBC – total iron binding capacity
- UIBC – unbound iron binding capacity
- DHEA – an indicator of regenerative capability and overall hormone synthesis and function in men & women. Precursor to other hormone function
- Estradiol – indicator of hormone balance in men
- Estrogen 2:16 Ratio in women: 2-Hydroxyestrogens (2OHE)/16-Hydroxyestrone (16OHE1) – This ratio is a cancer marker that is easily adjusted through diet.
- Testosterone – another indicator of regenerative capability and overall hormone synthesis in men, hormone function in women
- DHT – and indicator of male hormone metabolism
- Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) – prostate health marker in men
- Liver (hepatic) function tests or LFT
- 25-Hydroxyvitamin D
- Lipoprotein (a) – a significant marker for Cardio-vascular disease,
- C reactive protein – an independent indicator of heart disease and stroke risk
- PT / INR – an indicator of blood clotting function and potential for thrombosis
NOTE: Research shows all of the above markers can be controlled, normalized, and/or improved through targeted nutrition plans.
Often referred to as minerals, the chemical elements are fundamental to every function in the body. Minerals catalyze enzyme function that drive and direct most biochemical reactions and activity in our bodies. They also shuttle independently across membranes, resulting in nerve impulses. Because of their diverse and vital roles, nutrient element imbalances are frequently found to be factors in degenerative diseases. Research has established that specific patterns and ratios of mineral imbalance are indicative of equally specific biochemical and enzyme function, and various disease states. Such minerals patterns and their derivative effects on biochemistry can be adjusted accordingly through diet. Since the body cannot manufacture the elements – and daily losses are unavoidable – all nutrient elements are "essential" and must regularly be taken in through the diet. As they are easily lost in food processing, it’s easy for deficiencies to occur.
Nutrient element analysis is critical for identifying both the need for and monitoring of either oral or IV supplementation. Both hair and blood testing should be used to get the most accurate picture of nutrient element balance in the body. (Further, this needs to be cross-referenced against toxic element testing done at the same time to determine if one’s nutrient element status is further compromised.)
- Nutrient Elements - Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) (29): Hair is formed from clusters of matrix cells that make up the follicles. During the growth phase, the hair is exposed to the internal metabolic environment such as the circulating blood, lymph, and extracellular fluids. As hair continues to grow and reaches the surface of the skin, its outer layers harden, locking in the metabolic products accumulated during this period of hair formation.
This biological process provides a blueprint and lasting record of nutritional metabolic activity that has occurred during this time. As discussed above, this relative balance of elements in hair is reflective of specific enzyme activity and biochemical function in the body.
Hair is ideal tissue for sampling and testing as it can easily be cut and sent to the lab without special handling requirements. Clinical results have shown that it indicates mineral status, metabolic activity, and toxic metal accumulation following long term or even acute exposure.
- Nutrient Elements - erythrocyte (8): Nutrient elements measured in erythrocytes are good indicators of body pools of essential elements such as magnesium, potassium, chromium, and zinc. One exception is selenium, which is measured in whole blood as a reliable index of selenium status. (When compared to hair tissue levels in HTMA testing discussed above, other indicators of mineral utilization become apparent as well.) The importance of calcium, phosphorus and boron to bone formation and the electrolyte role of sodium and potassium are well understood by most people. Less understood is that magnesium is involved in over 300 chemical reactions in the body, including all ATP transformations and therefore all cellular energy production. Depletion from food sources has resulted in a near epidemic of magnesium insufficiency. Selenium is required by the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which maintains the oxidative balance in all tissue. Low selenium can directly influence an individual's antioxidant protection. Chromium and manganese are especially important in insulin insensitivity and Metabolic Syndrome. Zinc deficiency has been implicated in a variety of disorders, including sexual impotence, retarded growth, hair loss, and immune system depression.
Note: Element analysis should be standard protocol before and throughout chelation therapy because of rapid depletion of all elements during such treatments.
Metal toxicity is a common & significant environmental health concern. Heavy or toxic metals are trace metals with a density at least five times that of water. As such, they are stable elements (meaning they cannot be metabolized by the body) and bio-accumulative (passed up the food chain to humans). These include: mercury, nickel, lead, arsenic, cadmium, aluminum, platinum, and copper (the metallic form versus the ionic form required by the body). Heavy metals have no function in the body, and can be highly toxic because of this.
Once liberated into the environment – through the air, drinking water, food, or countless human-made chemicals & products – heavy metals can be taken into the body via inhalation, ingestion, and skin absorption. If heavy metals enter and accumulate in body tissues faster than the body’s detoxification pathways can dispose of them, a gradual buildup of these toxins will occur.
High-concentration exposure is not required to produce a state of toxicity in the body, as heavy metals accumulate in body tissues and, over time, can reach toxic concentration levels. As biological levels increase, a point is reached where sub-clinical effects do become clinically significant. In a population whose mean exposure has reached this threshold, a small increase, 20% for example, can lead to a doubling in the number of symptomatic persons. Though a relatively small increase in exposure to toxic metal may seem trivial, the chance that the metal is causing health problems increases significantly.
Lead, cadmium, mercury or arsenic toxicity is capable of rendering considerable damage to the brain and nervous system, particularly in children. Toxic elements produce negative effects through various mechanisms. Anemia is caused when lead binds to enzymes in the hemoglobin synthesis pathway. Arsenic’s cancer-inducing effect seems due to an inhibition of DNA repair. Genotoxicity, in which chromosomes are damaged, is linked to the free radical generation abilities of cadmium, lead and nickel.
- Toxic Elements – whole blood (5) - Whole Blood is an appropriate specimen for assessing immediate ongoing toxic element exposure to aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury. As most toxic elements are quickly sequestered from the blood by the tissues, they can accumulate causing toxic effects, so Paragon also does HTMA testing to get the most accurate picture of toxic metal exposure.
- Toxic Elements – HTMA (8) Hair is used as one of the tissue's of choice by the Environmental Protection Agency in determining toxic metal exposure. An E.P.A. report stated that human hair can be effectively used for biological monitoring of the highest priority toxic metals. This EPA report confirmed the findings of other studies which concluded that human hair may be a more appropriate tissue than blood or urine for studying community exposure to some trace metals.
A heavy metal may be elevated in a HTMA and yet no known environmental exposure can be ascertained at the time. This is not unusual, as exposure may have originated years earlier. Additionally, research has found that heavy metals can be inherited by the fetus during pregnancy. Heavy metals can be found in the body for years following the original exposure and will remain in body tissues until removal is initiated. For example, the half-life of cadmium in some tissues will range from ten to thirty years.
Further confirmation of heavy metal toxicity using a blood test may or may not reveal an elevated level. This is due to the protective response of the body, in which following a toxic metal exposure, the element is sequestered from the blood and stored in various other tissues. Therefore, if the exposure is not ongoing or chronic, elevated levels in the blood may not be present. Should an HTMA reveal toxic metal accumulation, it is recommended that another analysis be performed in at least one year to monitor any changes in toxic metal accumulation.
This profile helps to gain an overall perspective of patient health, nutrient processing, and dietary insufficiencies. Serum levels of vitamins A, D, E, K plus beta-carotene and coenzyme Q10 are measured to evaluate total body status of these antioxidant nutrients.
Testing these nutrients together is important because nutrient functionality is dependent on the adequate supply of each nutrient. For bone health, taking vitamin D without adequate levels of vitamins A, E, and K may be detrimental since all are needed for proper bone calcification. Antioxidants, such as Vitamin E, CoQ10, and beta-carotene, help ensure proper oxidation-reduction chain reactions.
Vitamins measured include:
- Vitamin A: specific maintenance roles have been reported for vision, bone growth, skin and mucosal integrity, spermatogenesis, as well as protection against cataracts, atherosclerosis, macular degeneration and cancer.
- Vitamin D: "the sunshine vitamin", is necessary for maintaining blood levels of calcium and phosphorus for healthy teeth and bones. Vitamin D also plays a vital role in immune functions and is essential for reducing cancer risk and health maintenance.
- Vitamin E: is an important free radical scavenger and protective antioxidant for membrane tissues, helping to stop damage to healthy cells. Both gamma and alpha tocopherol are reported to better assess oxidative stress and inflammation.
- Vitamin K: is important in the deposition of ionic calcium needed for proper blood coagulation and bone formation. Research finds Vitamin K to be a potential protector against osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, and possibly cancer.
- Beta-carotene: serves as an important antioxidant in keeping cells healthy, and also serving as a pool that is converted to vitamin A when needed. Beta-carotene also helps to identify a healthy diet.
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): allows food energy to be converted into cellular energy. Organs with the highest need for energy, such as the heart, lungs, and liver, require high levels of CoQ10. CoQ10 also protects cells from free radicals, helps with proper mitochondrial function, and is associated with cardiovascular health.
Assessing fat-soluble vitamin levels is essential in patients with the following conditions:
- Impaired immune function
- Reoccurring infections
- Neurological disease
- Impaired digestion and absorption
- Heart disease
- Osteopenia and Osteoporosis
- Chronic fatigue
- Increased oxidative stress
- Poor dietary intake
Powerful indicators of vitamin, mineral, amino & fatty acid deficiencies and imbalances. Grouped by:
- B-Complex Vitamin Markers
- Methylation Cofactor Markers
- Neurotransmitter Metabolism Markers
- Oxidative Damage and Antioxidant Markers
- Detoxification Indicators
- Bacterial - general
- L. acidophilus / general bacterial
- Clostridial species
- Yeast / Fungal.
Used to assess:
- Energy Production
- General Metabolism
- Neurotransmitter Function
- Gastrointestinal Health
- blockages and imbalances in other critical biochemical pathways.
This amino acid is one of the most important markers for excess oxidation, impaired detoxification, cardiovascular disease, and other disease states. Elevations indicate levels of oxidative damage going on in the body.
Moderate elevations are associated with a significantly increased risk of atherosclerosis. High levels in body fluids of this amino acid have been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease as well as ocular, neurological, musculoskeletal, and joint abnormalities.
Elevations are usually easily modified with vitamin therapy.
Lipid peroxides are the products of chemical damage done by oxygen free radicals to the polyunsaturated fatty acids of cell membranes. These indicate levels of oxidative damage going on in the body. High levels of lipid peroxides are associated with cancer, heart disease, stroke, and aging. High levels of such markers can also be immediately reduced through nutritional therapies.
This test is an assay of total thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) in serum using HPLC. The HPLC separation step isolates the TBARS from potential interfering compounds that can give false elevations in a simple colorimetric assay. The results provide a measure of total serum lipid peroxidation, an indicator of whole body free radical activity.
Amino acids, the "building blocks" of proteins, are found in every tissue of the body. They play a major role in nearly every chemical process that affects both physical and mental function including the formation of ligaments, tendons, bones, as well as antibodies and regulation of enzymes and blood transport proteins. Twenty different amino acids are used to synthesize proteins.
The human body can synthesize all of the amino acids necessary to build proteins from 10 "essential amino acids". These ten must be included in the diet or supplemented to be in adequate supplies. Failure to obtain enough of even one of these essential amino acids has serious health implications and can result in degradation of the body's proteins. Muscle and other protein structures may be dismantled to obtain the amino acid that is needed.
Amino acids have more diverse functions than any other nutrient group, affecting:
- Gastrointestinal function
- Muscle catabolism
- Cellular energy production
- Collagen formation
- Nutritional markers
- Neurotransmitter metabolism
- Vascular function
Conditions associated with amino acid changes in plasma include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Congestive heart failure
- Impotence/Erectile pain syndromes
- Multiple chemical sensitivities
- Detoxification disorders
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Alzhiemer’s Disease
Fasting plasma levels represent a homeostatic balance between supply and utilization of amino acids making it ideal for repeated assessments to monitor progress of treatment. Collecting a fasting plasma specimen from a patient removes recent dietary intake effects.
Testing of the levels of 10 essential and 10 derivative amino acids in plasma are grouped to show potential effects on:
- overall absorption & metabolism
- vascular function
- neurotransmitters and precursors
- SAMe cycle detoxification
- urea cycle and ammonia detoxification
- Ratios of key amino acids
Evidence of fatty acid deficiencies has led to sharply increased consumption of essential fatty acid supplements. When incorporated into the cell membranes of the body, these omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids function as precursors for eicosanoids that control a host of cellular functions and responses.
The balance between the pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory eicosanoids is influenced in large part by the balance of fatty acids we consume. Since inflammation has now been shown to be integral to so many disease processes, nutrients which counteract inflammation can have profound health benefits. Doctors and their patients need an answer to determine whether they are taking too little to be effective, or an excess such that they are causing other health problems.
Reasons to test fatty acids and ratios:
- Determine inflammatory balance: Improper fatty acid intake affects the balance of anti- and pro-inflammatory eicosanoids, increasing health risks.
- Determine potential for increased free radical production: Consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) without increasing antioxidant intake will cause increased production of free radicals.
- Immune suppression: Excessive consumption of omega-3 fatty acids can suppress immune function, leading to infections and poor wound healing.
- Statins: Among the top five drugs prescribed last year, statins have been shown to unfavourably alter this inflammatory balance.
- Improve patient compliance: Testing guides and supports a physician’s recommendations for higher doses of fatty acid supplements
Fatty acids tested and ratios include:
- Polyunsaturated (Omega 3 and 6 Essential Fatty Acids)
- Odd numbered
- ratios of various fatty acids essential to determining potential origins of many degenerative health problems, especially as relates to cancers.
Proper gastrointestinal function is critically important for general health. The intestinal tract contains significant amounts of bacteria; some beneficial, some neutral, and some harmful. Excess consumption of refined sugars, beverages and other foods, and/or the use of antibiotics can very quickly disrupt the balance of bacteria and function in the gut, resulting in bloating, gastrointestinal irritation and/or disease.
Rebalancing beneficial microbial flora in the gut is key to proper digestion, efficient nutrient usage, and ridding the body of waste and pathogens. Poor digestion and malabsorption can lead to “leaky gut” and immune dysfunction, nutritional insufficiencies, mental/emotional disorders, and autoimmune diseases.
The stool analysis profile Paragon uses is exceptional and unlike any other. It goes far beyond the standard parameters for identifying gastrointestinal disorders by using Microbial DNA analysis to identify microbiota including anaerobes, a previously immeasurable area of the gut environment. While this testing also includes aerobes, anaerobes comprise over 95% of the bacteria in the gut and are difficult to detect with traditional culture methods. DNA assessment is specific and accurate, avoids the pitfalls of sample transport, reports results as specific numbers, and is more sensitive than classic laboratory methods.
Other advantages of this advanced stool profiling are:
- Detection of Antibiotic Resistance Genes: DNA analysis detects organisms possessing genes that give rise to antibiotic resistance, offering clinicians a superior tool for effective patient management.
- Single Sample Collection: Culture methods require multiple collections, whereas this profile requires only one sample collection leading to improved patient compliance.
- Eliminates Errors in Transport: Sample transport is a source of significant error in culture analysis due to the change in microbial balance from the time of collection. Using DNA analysis, the specimen is placed in a fixative tube that stops microbial growth and offers a highly accurate snapshot of the microbial balance in the gut.
- Greatly Increased Sensitivity: Testing detects as few as 5 cells per gram – a 5000-fold increase in sensitivity over microscopy for parasite detection.
This testing offers the most thorough look at the gut microbiome. Easy and cost-effective follow-up testing options are also available to help monitor targeted therapy in patients.
IgG4 antibodies are associated with non-atopic or "delayed" food reactions that can worsen or contribute to many different health problems. These reactions are considered the most common form of immunologically mediated food intolerance. An IgG4 response to food is actually more common than the IgE response, which causes an immediate reaction. IgG4 acts as a blocking antibody, protecting the individual from potentially fatal IgE reactions. These reactions are more difficult to notice since they can occur hours or even days after consumption of an offending food. In some cases, a person's reaction to a food may occur several days after eating the offending food and the link between the food and their symptoms may not be connected. These "hidden" food allergies are caused by increasing blood levels of IgG4 antibodies in reaction to specific foods.
Metametrix Innovation in IgG Antibody Testing:
- New patent-pending IgG4 assay show less false positives leading to better patient compliance.
- First test to quantitate IgG4
- Eliminates non-specific binding, lowering false positives without rejecting true positives
Common offending frequently eaten foods typically hard to avoid:
- Foods processed with molds such as black tea, breads, and fruit juices
The IgE antibody causes "classic" or "atopic" allergic reactions related to hay fever and anaphylaxis and is well-known for causing immediate allergic reactions. IgE food allergy testing reveals reactions that occur immediately after ingesting offending foods such as peanuts or shellfish.
More than 160 foods identified by the FDA can cause allergic reactions in people with food allergies. The eight most common foods accounting for 90% of food allergic reactions are required by law to be listed in the ingredients, and are the food sources from which many other ingredients are derived.
Those eight foods which cause common food reactions are:
- Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)
- Crustacean shellfish (e.g. crab, lobster, shrimp)
- Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
Estrogen Panel Testing measures five important estrogen metabolites and their ratios to help women, and men, assess whether he or she is at risk of developing estrogen sensitive cancers.
Estrogen sensitive cancers include uterine, ovarian, cervical, prostate, and even head and neck cancers. The Estrogen Profile measures five important estrogen metabolites, and ratios, including:
- 2-hydroxyestrone (2-OHE1) – high levels of 2-OHE1 are ideal to reduce cancer growth.
- 2-methoxyestrone (2-OMeE1) – OMeE1 has shown to have anticancer effects and is ideal in high levels.
- 4-methoxyestrone (4-OMeE1) – as a non-cancerous metabolite, OMeE1 generally does not require treatment at high levels in the body.
- 4-hydroxyestrone (4-OHE1) – levels should be low, as high levels may react negatively with damaged DNA.
- 16-α-hydroxyestrone (16α-OHE1) – high levels may encourage tumor development.
- 2-OHE:16α-OHE1 (2:16 ratio) - 2:16 ratios less than 2.0 indicate increasing long-term risk for breast, cervical, and other estrogen sensitive cancers. Importantly, nutritional interventions can help raise 2:16 ratios and decrease long-term risk. Important: studies also indicate that this risk is modifiable.
- 2-OHE:2-OMeE1 – a high level of 2-OHE1:2-OMeE1 may also indicate imbalanced estrogen metabolism and low activity in the COMT gene. Evaluation of methylation activity is recommended.
Advantages of the Estrogen Profile:
- easy-to-collect first-morning urine specimen; no blood draw necessary.
- Cost-effective method to assess estrogen metabolism allowing clinicians to retest often to monitor therapy in patients.
- Easy to incorporate into a breast cancer prevention program.
- Ideal for men to evaluate risk of breast and prostate cancer.
Porphyrins are proteins involved in the formation of heme measured in urine. Heme is essential for the proper function of many proteins including oxygen transport, energy production, and detoxification. Proper porphyrin production is essential for our body's capacity to detoxify toxins.
Porphyrins are particularly well suited for assessing heavy metal toxicity. First, the heme pathway is a constantly-changing pathway that is active in almost every cell of the body. Any disturbance in the pathway tends to cause rapid and relatively large accumulations of intermediates, such as porphyrins. Second, the enzymes of the pathway are widely distributed in human tissues, and are highly sensitive to the presence of various toxins, creating the large accumulation of porphyrins in the pathway.
Porphyrin testing helps identify the severity of heavy metal toxicity or organic chemical exposure in patients. Chemical exposure and a heavy toxic burden can have physiological effects resulting in impaired metabolism and cellular function.
- Porphyrins and Autism: Studies are demonstrating urinary porphyrin testing is successful in:
- Demonstrating the role of mercury in ASD populations
- Identifying the physiologic burden of children and adults exposed to mercury
- Tracking mercury excretion from affected children undergoing treatment
Porphyrin testing helps doctors monitor patient therapy.
Porphyrin testing helps identify:
- Levels of biochemical damage caused by toxicant exposure
- Physiologic burden of a person's level of toxins
- Levels of porphyrin elevation correlated with levels of toxic interference
- Toxicity of patients before and during chelation therapy
- Toxicity of therapeutic drugs
Possible symptoms of toxicity:
- Chemical sensitivity
- Memory loss
- Numbness and tingling in hands and feet
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Loss of appetite
Some sources of toxicants:
- Other polluted foods high in the food chain
- Polluted air and soil
- Fluorescent bulbs
- Ground water
Helps identify patient exposure to the most toxic PCBs and the body burden of the patient. The testing looks at the most commonly found PCBs for which there are national reference ranges, and that have been documented to cause adverse health problems. Levels are given both in parts per million (PPM) and as lipid-adjusted amounts so the clinician can best estimate the total body burden of these compounds.
Why perform polychlorinated biphenyl testing?
Once PCBs enter the body, they are absorbed by our fat cells and stored. Since PCBs are not water-soluble, they are not easily excreted from the body and can accumulate over a person's lifetime, increasing that person's body burden of PCBs. Polychlorinated biphenyl testing can help determine the extent of this PCB burden.
In adults, a heavy burden of PCBs over time can cause impairments in the brain, nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system, and may cause fertility issues.
A PCB burden affects children more than adults. PCBs are most often passed to children through breastfeeding and trans-placental transfer. PCB exposure in children can impede neurobehavioral and immune system development. These impediments may cause delayed neurobehavioral development such as motor skills, short-term memory, and lower scores on intelligence, psychomotor, and behavioral tests. A lowered immune system can create many problems in children including allergies, sensitivities, and chronic infections.
What are PCBs?
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were used as lubricants and coolants in transformers, capacitors, and electronic equipment because of a high resistance to heat. Due to the stability of PCBs, unfortunately they also do not break down in the environment and bioaccumulate in animals and humans.
PCBs were banned from use in the US in 1979 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, due to the persistence of PCBs in the environment, PCBs continue to leach into soil and groundwater from hazardous waste sites and landfills. Since PCBs bioaccumulate, we are exposed through our food chain by eating fish, meat, and dairy products, especially from areas considered contaminated.
Symptoms of PCB exposure:
- Severe acne
- Eye irritation
- Liver damage
- Weakened immune system
- Chemical sensitivity
- Certain cancers
- Developmental disorders
Symptoms of PCB exposure in children:
- Impaired neurological development such as
- Abnormal behavior responses
- Decreased motor skills
- Decreased short-term memory
- Decreased intelligence
- Lowered immune system
- Chronic infections
- Chemical sensitivity
Sources of PCB exposure:
- Consuming contaminated food such as fish, meat, dairy products
- Drinking contaminated well water
- Living near hazardous waste sites
- Using old fluorescent lighting fixtures or electronics
- Working with PCB transformers, hydraulic fluids, and other PCB-containing compounds
Helps identify patient exposure to chlorinated pesticides and insecticides, and the patient’s body burden. Looks at the most commonly found chlorinated pesticides, for which there are national reference ranges, and which have been documented to cause health problems. Levels are given both in parts per million (PPM) and as lipid-adjusted amounts so the clinician can best estimate the total body burden of these compounds.
Why perform chlorinated pesticide exposure testing?
Chlorinated pesticides have been identified in over 98% of all persons studied, have an affinity for lipid-rich tissues, and are stored in various organs and adipose tissues. These toxins bioaccumulate in the body, increasing toxic body burden over time, are powerful mitochondrial toxins, and may be the root cause of many chronic illnesses. Identifying such body burden is why pesticide exposure testing is important.
Most chlorinated pesticides have been banned for use in the United States; however some of these pesticides and insecticides are still in use around the world. The largest and most common routes for pesticide exposure are ingestion through food, from pesticide residue, and drinking water as the chemicals leech through soil into drinking water reservoirs. These chemicals are passed to infants through breastfeeding and trans-placental transfer.
Direct skin contact with chlorinated pesticides can cause necrosis of skin and gums, itching, swelling, blistering, and epidermolysis.
The primary toxic effect of this family of pesticides is at the site of nervous tissue and muscle membranes. These poisons are absorbed across the gut and interfere with nerve impulse transmissions. In humans, this interference normally shows up as chronic neurological problems including mood disorders and difficulties with learning and memory. These poisons have also been shown to cause fatigue, obesity, diabetes, certain cancers, immune dysregulation, allergies, heart disease, and a host of other problems.
What are chlorinated pesticides?
Chlorinated pesticides were first placed into wide-spread agricultural use after World War II and are made up of ringed structures to which numerous chlorine atoms are attached. Of the chlorinated pesticides, DDT is the most well-known.
These pesticides are insoluble in water, persist in soil, bioaccumulate in fatty tissues, and also biomagnify through the food chain.
Possible symptoms of exposure:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Cell mediated immune deficiency
- Certain cancers
- Frequent infections
- High blood pressure
- Learning difficulties
- Mood disorders
Sources of exposure:
- Consuming contaminated fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, dairy, and fish
- Drinking contaminated water
- Inhaling chemical vapours or contaminated dust, soil, and house dust
- Direct skin contact
- Bioaccumulation from mother
Can help identify a patient's prolonged exposure to the most commonly found volatile solvents that have been shown to cause serious health problems.
Why run a Volatile Solvent Test?
Overexposure or chronic exposure to volatile solvents damages the central nervous system and causes chemical-driven liver and kidney damage. Benzene, in particular, has a severe toxic effect on the hematological system and is a recognized human carcinogen. Other solvents contribute to atrophy of skeletal muscles, loss of coordination, vision problems, and depression of the central nervous system.
What are Volatile Solvents?
A solvent is a liquid or gas used to dissolve a solid, liquid, or gas to create a new solution. Volatile solvents are routinely used in industrial processes to manufacture consumer products. Each year, annual production of these solvents numbers in the tens of billions of pounds in the United States.
Air and water pollution are common routes of exposure in both homes and workplaces. We are also exposed by inhalation or ingestion of car exhaust, paints, glues, adhesives, and lacquer thinners. These volatile solvents are used in large numbers to produce items in our homes such as furniture, building materials, paint, shoes, cleaning and degreasing agents, inks, pharmaceuticals, and as additives to gasoline. For those living and working in urban areas, the exposure to this class of compounds goes on twenty-four hours a day.
Solvents are very damaging to bone marrow and have been associated with many of the bone marrow cancers as well as anemia and thrombocytopenia. They are also associated with immune disorders, including autoimmunity, chronic neurological problems, and infertility.
Possible Symptoms of Solvent Exposure:
- Aplastic anemia (low blood cells in bone marrow)
- Atrophy of skeletal muscles
- B-cell malignancies
- Blood dyscrasis (unspecified blood disorder)
- Bone marrow damage
- Chemical bronchitis
- Chromosomal aberrations
- Cognitive disorders
- Corneal erosion
- Defatting dermatitis
- Erectile dysfunction
- Erythema (redness due to capillary congestion)
- Hepatomegaly (enlarged liver)
- Irritation of eyes and nose
- Irritation of mucous membranes
- Keratitis (cornea inflammation)
- Muscular weakness
- Polyneuropathy (neurological disorder)
- Pulmonary edema (fluid in lungs)
- Renal damage
- Skin irritation
- Tingling/cramps in arms or legs
- Toxic hepatitis
Sources of Solvent Exposure
- Acrylic nail applications
- Air fresheners
- Cigarette smoke
- Gasoline additives and exhaust
- Jet fuel exhaust
- Lacquer thinners
- Oil and grease extractors
- Perfumes and fragrances
- Pesticide inert ingredients
- Petroleum products
- Reinforced plastics
- Synthetic resin
Helps identify everyday exposures to toxins from the use of common personal care products and plastic food containers. Environmental toxins should be evaluated as a "first step" to help patients get back on the road to wellness.
Why assess phthalate and paraben levels?
Exposure to phthalates and parabens is more common than many realize. Phthalates and parabens are often classified as xenoestrogens, foreign compounds in the body functioning as endocrine disruptors by binding specifically to estrogen receptors.
Endocrine disruptors are associated with diseases such as:
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Decreased sperm count
Other health problems associated with daily exposures are:
- Liver toxicity
- Immune effects such as allergies and asthma
- Reproductive toxicity
- Pubertal development
Where are phthalates and parabens found?
Phthalates, also called "plasticizers", are found in numerous everyday products such as
- Children’s toys
- Cleaning products
- Air fresheners
- Vinyl flooring
- Plastic food containers
- Medical products
Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate ester (DEHP) is a common additive to Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). This additive helps make PVC soft and pliable to be moulded into eye-pleasing shapes. PVC products are marked with the plastic identification code 3. The analytes measured in this profile are metabolites of DEHP. In perfumes and air fresheners phthalates are often listed as "fragrance".
Parabens are used as preservatives to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi in personal care products, such as:
- Shampoo and conditioners
- Lotions and creams
- Shaving gels
- Hair gels
- Pre-packaged foods