At Regenerus, both practitioners and patients frequently ask for more accessible blood tests. Last month we shared the importance of vitamin D screening , which is available in a finger-prick blood test , and it was so well received that we thought we’d continue to share our hidden ‘gems’ of finger-prick blood spot testing.
One that we love is the Doctor’s Data Metabolomic Profile (which is offered in both blood and blood spot collections). These tests were developed due to increasing awareness of the need to detect metabolic syndrome before it progresses to adult-onset diabetes and related health consequences. The profiles are designed to assess the likelihood of metabolic syndrome in ‘at-risk’ patients.
As always – prevention is better than cure, and early detection is vital in this area. We all know that you don’t wake up one morning with diabetes – there will be signs and symptoms along the way - sometimes they are ignored – and sometimes they aren’t screened for effectively or early enough.
Contributing factors for the development of metabolic syndrome may include obesity, insulin resistance, polycystic ovary disease, hormone imbalance or a sedentary, unhealthy (smoking, etc.) lifestyle. “Over nutrition” and poor dietary choices (highly processed, high fat, high salt, high sugar “empty-calorie” foods), combined with sedentary habits interact with our genetic programming: we store extra calories as fat. Fat cells (adipocytes) produce hormones (adipokines) that interact with the hypothalamus and or immune system and may have pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory effects. Altered adipokine levels have been observed in Metabolic syndrome.
The biomarkers that constitute the Metabolomic Profile include:
Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) – estimates the average blood glucose concentration for the life of the red blood cell (120 days)
Insulin – levels of insulin elevate early in type II diabetes, and then decrease as pancreatic beta cells lose function
High sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) – estimates the risk of cardiovascular disease
Leptin – leptin is a hormone produced by adipocytes to provide a satiety signal to the hypothalamus. Elevated circulating levels of leptin are associated with adipose tissue abundance, and a leptin resistance may ensue. High levels of this adipokine may have pro-inflammatory effects, and leptin accelerates arterial foam cell formation.
*Adiponectin – improves insulin sensitivity and stimulates glucose uptake in adipocytes, and adiponectin has been shown to reduce lipid accumulation in foam cells in vitro. Very low levels of this anti-inflammatory adipokine may increase the risk for certain cancers.
*Leptin to Adiponectin ratio- the ratio of leptin to adiponectin appears to be a sensitive indicator for a variety of health conditions.
(*only available in the full blood test, not the finger-prick test).
Here’s a sample report for the metabolomics profile:
And – it’s exceptionally good value for all this information at £81.
Patients that may especially benefit from the Metabolomic Profile include those with:
- Increased waist size or body mass index (BMI) >30
- • High triglycerides or need for cholesterol medication
- • Low HDL cholesterol or need for cholesterol medication
- • Hypertension or need for hypertension medication
- • Fasting Glucose > 100 mg/dL
- • Family or personal history of cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol or type II diabetes
- • Personal history of chronic inflammatory disease
Except for obesity, the risk factors for Metabolic syndrome, and the chronic diseases that may develop from it, may present no symptoms until well advanced. The greatest window of opportunity to prevent the development of atherosclerosis, type II diabetes or heart failure may occur during the early, symptom-free stages of metabolic syndrome – so we need to get on to early detection and we’d like to think this is one tool that can help you do that.