SpectraCell Laboratories was established in 1993 in order to bring their patented MicroNutrient Test technology to the medical community. The technology was developed by Dr. William Shive et al. of the Clayton Foundation Biochemical Institute at the University of Texas with the goal of providing a more comprehensive assay method for assessing the nutritional status of each individual and identifying factors that limit the nutritional responses of each individual by taking into account the various factors that affect nutritional status, such as individual biochemistry and genetics, environmental and physical stressors and that look at the cumulative effect of diet over a larger period of time than a few days.
To provide an adequate assessment of individual requirements, metabolic function must be assessed over a wide range of reactions, rather than simply determining the serum or excretion concentrations of the individual nutrients or the degree of coenzyme saturation of a single enzyme. They chose to use the peripheral blood lymphocyte as an ideal system for metabolic studies because it is easily obtained, is a primary resting cell that can be activated to proliferate, and presumably reflects both the genetic makeup and biochemical environmental history of the individual at the time the cells were formed.
The transition from the resting state to proliferation of lymphocyte cells presumably involves the multiple enzymatic processes characteristic of any growing cell; consequently, it would be anticipated that abnormalities or anomalies in nutrient requirements and metabolism of the lymphocytes would reflect conditions existing in cells of other tissues as well. Furthermore, since the metabolic condition of the lymphocytes may be influenced by biochemical parameters at the time of their formation, they may provide information on past cellular environment.
They have developed an easily manipulated, protein-free medium, the components of which have been optimized to support the growth of mitogen-activated, human peripheral blood lymphocytes. This medium allows evaluation of individual metabolic differences by varying the medium composition in a wide variety of ways to stress specific metabolic pathways, assessing these processes in different individuals. The basic idea of Functional Intracellular Analysis is that by growing an individual's cell in a solution that lacks a specific nutrient, the cells are forced to rely upon their own stored supplies of that nutrient to grow and divide. By measuring the nutrient deprived cell growth in comparison to cells growing in a "complete" solution that contains all the nutrients required for growth, the nutritional status of a person can be functionally determined. Since these intracellular stores of nutrients accumulate over a period of months, they may represent a more complete picture of overall nutritional status than other assays and be less susceptible to short term changes in diet or metabolism. Cellular proliferation is directly related to the availability of nutrients, as well as the cell's ability to absorb, metabolize, store, and incorporate those nutrients
SpectraCell'sMicroNutrient Test is marketed as more accurate than hair analysis, as measuring more long-term (3-6 month) nutrient status than the short term window measured by urine and serum analysis, and as measuring nutrient status within the patient's own cells, rather than outside the cells in the serum. They suggest that, while serum measure are static nutrient levels without regard for utilization, the MicroNutrient Test measures nutrient function which they feel better represents cellular health. They also suggest that serum measures assume everyone has the same nutritional needs, whereas the MicroNutrient Test accounts for biochemical individuality, differences in age, illness, medications, and genetic factors.
There is a wide scope of medical applications for micronutrient testing. However, there are many other tools that could provide adequate assessment in most cases and since this test is quite expensive, it would be difficult to justify it as a first measure of assessment. Because it does offer an alternative method of evaluating nutrient status, it can be of use in cases where the more conventional methods of assessment are unrevealing.
There are several testimonials and case studieson the SpectraCell website that attest to the clinical usefulness of Micronutrient testing. Also available on their website are journal articles of research utilizing micronutrient testing, also referred to as functional intracellular analysis and essentials metabolics analysis.
Review of spectra cell
Spectracell micronutrient testing:A Brief Review<br />Valerie Brown NTR 5503<br />12 March 2011 Nutritional Assessment Dr. Corey Schuler <br />
SpectraCell Laboratories <br />Established 1993 <br />Patented MicroNutrient Test technology<br />Dr. William Shive et al <br />Clayton Foundation Biochemical Institute <br />University of Texas<br />Goal<br />Provide a more comprehensive assay method<br />Assessing nutritional status of each individual<br />Identifying factors that limit nutritional responses<br />Accounting for individual biochemistry, genetics, environmental and physical stressors<br />Look at cumulative effect of diet over a larger period of time than a few days<br />Stein, J. , 2006)<br />
Peripheral Blood Lymphocyte<br />Assessment of individual requirements<br />Metabolic function <br />Wide range of reactions<br />Peripheral blood lymphocyte<br />Ideal system for metabolic studies<br />Easily obtained<br />Primary resting cell – activated to proliferate<br />Presumably reflect<br />Genetic makeup<br />Biochemical environmental history<br />(Shiveet al, 1986)<br />
Peripheral Blood Lymphocyte<br />Transition from resting to proliferation<br />Multiple enzymatic processes presumably characteristic of any growing cell<br />Assumes abnormalities or anomalies reflect conditions in other cells<br />Metabolic condition <br />Biochemical parameters<br /> at time of formation<br />Past cellular environment<br />(Shive et al, 1986)<br />http://timmed.com/Documents/SpectraCell%20MicroNutrient%20Testing.pdf<br />
Functional Intracellular Analysis<br />Protein-free medium<br />Components optimized to support growth of mitogen-activated lymphocytes<br />Manipulation of medium composition to evaluate individual metabolic difference<br />Functional Intracellular Analysis<br />Measuring nutrient deprived cell growth<br />Comparison to cells grown in “complete” solution<br />Cellular proliferation directly related to <br />Nutrient availability<br />Cell’s ability<br />Absorb<br />Metabolize <br />Store<br />incorporate<br />(Shive et al, 1986)<br />http://www.spectracell.com/mnt/<br />
References<br />Shive, W., Pinkerton, F., Humphreys, J., Johnson, M.M., Hamilton, W.G., Shive Matthews, K. (1986) Development of a chemically defined serum- and protein-free medium for growth of human peripheral lymphocytes. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 83: 9-13.<br />Stein, J. (2006). Spectracell FIA Testing: A Functional Test for Nutritional Status. Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients. 270: 64-66.<br />http://www.spectracell.com/mnt/ (2003). accessed 3/11/2011<br />http://timmed.com/Documents/SpectraCell%20MicroNutrient%20Testing.pdf (2009). Accessed 3/11/2011<br />