This test evaluates the level of red cell membrane fatty acids, imbalances of which significantly affect inflammatory and other disorders. By knowing the various fatty acid levels, one can re-establish a balance using nutritional intervention.This comprehensive profile allows practitioners to accurately assess dietary intake and metabolism of fatty acids in each patient. Precise, custom-tailored nutritional intervention is then made possible. Fatty acids comprise some of the most essential nutrients in the human diet. They are critical for cell membrane structure and function as well as local “hormonal” signaling. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are transformed into local hormonal mediators called eicosanoids. Eicosanoids regulate all stages of inflammation, including initiation, propagation and termination. This process is vital to the ability of the body’s immune system to repair and protect itself. Fatty acids are also crucial components of neural membranes and receptors that ensure proper intracellular communication within the brain and nervous system.
The Clinical Significance of Fatty Acids:
The number of diseases whose clinical course can be affected by fatty acid therapy is enormous. These include:
Senile neurological degeneration
Mental and behavioral disorders such as depression and ADHD
Hair and skin related conditions, such as dermatitis, alopecia, brittle nails coarse dry hair and frequent infections
The Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio:
EFA imbalances have been cited by some experts as the most widespread nutritional problem in modern times.
The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats has increased dramatically due to the widespread use of vegetable oils, rising from about 4:1 for Americans at the beginning of the twentieth century to about 20:1 at the present time. Increased consumption of saturated fats and decreased consumption of omega-3 oils (cold water fish and flaxseed oil) have also contributed to the growing prevalence of these imbalances. Some individuals with a healthy dietary balance of fatty acids may still have biochemical abnormalities that interfere with their ability to properly metabolize those fats. They may require more targeted supplementation. Genova Diagnostics’ Essential and Metabolic Fatty Acids Analysis offers practitioners the most comprehensive and detailed evaluation of a patient’s fatty acid status available. Clinically significant fatty acid imbalances are precisely identified on a clear, easy-to interpret test report that serves as the clinical foundation for designing an effective, customized dietary and supplementation program. Book This Test Now
Why is this test important?
Fatty acids and especially essential fatty acid (EFA)s are the core building blocks of our cell membranes, and so affect all cellular functions and communications.Fatty acid abnormalities are frequently found in people with chronic inflammatory diseases, auto-immune diseases, heart disease, depression, behavior disorders, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and senile neurological degenera- tion. Re-balancing the membrane levels of fatty acids can improve the clinical pictures in these cases. We know that large amounts of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA) are necessary for normal fetal and neonatal neurological and brain development. These fats must come from the mother directly from the placenta or breast milk, which can put an enormous strain on the mother’s reserve supplies. Many complications of pregnancy, such as pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and post-partum depression, are associated with low levels of DHA, EPA, and AA. Women who want to become pregnant, and women who have had miscarriages or difficulty conceiving, should make sure their reserves are adequate for sustaining a fetus to term and beyond.
What does this test involve?
A simple blood draw (lavender top) is required since we measure the fats from the phospholipids that compose the actual red blood cell membranes, the gold standard for measuring EFA reserves.
What are the consequences of hormonal imbalances?
EFAs are utilized to make “local” hormones, known collectively as eicosanoids, which regulate all inflammation and smooth muscle contraction in the body. Unbalanced levels of EFAs can lead to chronic inflammatory states and can play a major role in the pathophysiology of many diseases including: arthritis, ADHD, Crohn’s disease, senile dementia, cardiovascular disease, aggressive behavior, depression, asthma, colitis and auto-immune disease. Further, EFAs are essential building blocks for nerve and brain development in the fetus and neonate, and thus become critically important for normal brain development. Pregnant women without adequate EFAs often suffer from complications in their pregnancies such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and post-partum depression. Rarely will you find a single fatty acid out of balance. Indeed, there are a few patterns of EFAs that reflect the vast majority of the clinical pictures you are likely to encounter in your practice. These pictures can overlap, however, revealing more than one “problem.”
Specimen Requirements: 2 EDTA tubes each of 6ml whole blood