Advanced Biomarker Meanings
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Here are biomarker meanings and how they affect your health. At Lab Me you can test all of these from the comfort of your home.
Standard Biomarker Meanings
GGT is usually the first liver enzyme to rise in the blood when any of the bile ducts that carry bile from the liver to the intestines become obstructed, for example, by tumors or stones. This makes it the most sensitive liver enzyme test for detecting bile duct problems.
This blood test, which doesn’t require fasting, indicates your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. It measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells.
A TSH test is a blood test that measures this hormone. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located near your throat. Your thyroid makes hormones that regulate the way your body uses energy. It also plays an important role in regulating your weight, body temperature, muscle strength, and even your mood.
A high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) test, which is more sensitive than a standard test, also can be used to evaluate your risk of developing coronary artery disease, a condition in which the arteries of your heart are narrowed. Coronary artery disease can lead to a heart attack.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL)
This is often called “good cholesterol”. HDL cholesterol helps to return LDL cholesterol from your arteries to your liver, where it can be removed from your body. This stops plaque from building up on the walls of your arteries, protecting you from heart disease. If your HDL cholesterol is too low it can actually increase your risk of heart disease.
There are special transporters in your body called lipoproteins. They are like little cars that help drive around cholesterol to different parts of your body. Some of these drivers can be helpful and others not.
Monitoring and maintaining healthy levels of these lipids is important in staying healthy. While the body produces the cholesterol needed to function properly, the source for some cholesterol is the diet. Eating too much of foods that are high in saturated fats and trans unsaturated fats (trans fats) or having an inherited predisposition can result in a high level of cholesterol in the blood. The extra cholesterol may be deposited in plaques on the walls of blood vessels. Plaques can narrow or eventually block the opening of blood vessels, leading to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and increasing the risk of numerous health problems, including heart disease and stroke.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and helps with maintaing healthy skin and bones. It also plays an important role in your immune system. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to fatigue, bone and muscle pain, as well as getting ill more often than usual.
A blood glucose test measures the amount of glucose in your blood. Glucose, a type of simple sugar, is your body’s main source of energy. Your body converts the carbohydrates you eat into glucose.
Cortisol is your main stress hormone. On top of helping you cope with stress, it helps control your blood sugar, regulates your blood pressure, converts food to energy.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
This is often called “bad cholesterol”. This is oversimplified as LDL cholesterol is essential for your health. But if you have too much LDL cholesterol it can build up on the walls of your arteries. This is called cholesterol plaque and it narrows your arteries and increases your risk of blood clots — putting you at risk of heart disease.
Total Cholesterol is a measure of the total amount of cholesterol in your blood. It includes both low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
It’s important to remember that elevated cholesterol doesn’t mean a heart attack. In fact, only half of the people suffering from heart attacks have elevated cholesterol. It is simply part of the bigger picture.
Cholesterol is important for the body to manufacture hormones, vitamin D, bile acids, and help maintain the structure of your cells.
A high serum LDL:HDL ratio can be predictive of sudden cardiac death in middle-aged men. It is a good idea to keep this as a baseline over time to give a clearer picture of how your lifestyle is affecting your health.
Neurotransmitter Biomarker Meanings
Serotonin is the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness. This hormone impacts your entire body. It enables brain cells and other nervous system cells to communicate with each other.
Gamma-Aminobutyric acid, or γ-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the developmentally mature mammalian central nervous system. Its principal role is reducing neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system.
Glycine is an amino acid that your body uses to create proteins, which it needs for the growth and maintenance of tissue and for making important substances, such as hormones and enzymes.
5-Hydroxyindoleacetic acid is the main metabolite of serotonin. In chemical analysis of urine samples, 5-HIAA is used to determine serotonin levels in the body.
Phenethylamine stimulates the body to make certain chemicals that play a role in depression and other psychiatric conditions. People who don’t make enough phenethylamine naturally may be helped by taking phenethylamine as a supplement.
Normetanephrine is a metabolite of norepinephrine created by action of catechol-O-methyl transferase on norepinephrine. It is excreted in the urine and found in certain tissues. It is a marker for catecholamine-secreting tumors such as pheochromocytoma.
Elevated norepinephrine activity seems to be a contributor to anxiousness. Also, brain norepinephrine turnover is increased in conditions of stress. Interestingly, benzodiazepines, the primary anxiolytic drugs, decrease firing of norepinephrine neurons. This may also help explain the reasoning for benzodiazepine use to induce sleep.
High levels are associated with aggression, anxiety, emotional lability, hyperactivity, mania, stress and suppression of the immune system.
Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter. Your body makes it, and your nervous system uses it to send messages between nerve cells. That’s why it’s sometimes called a chemical messenger. Dopamine plays a role in how we feel pleasure. It’s a big part of our unique human ability to think and plan.
Glutamate is a powerful excitatory neurotransmitter that is released by nerve cells in the brain. It is responsible for sending signals between nerve cells, and under normal conditions it plays an important role in learning and memory.
Histamine – a chemical found in some of the body’s cells – causes many of the symptoms of allergies, such as a runny nose or sneezing. When a person is allergic to a particular substance, such as a food or dust, the immune system mistakenly believes that this usually harmless substance is actually harmful to the body.
3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic acid is a metabolite of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine can be metabolized into one of three substances. One such substance is DOPAC. Another is 3-methoxytyramine. Both of these substances are degraded to form homovanillic acid.
Homovanillic acid is a major catecholamine metabolite that is produced by a consecutive action of monoamine oxidase and catechol-O-methyltransferase on dopamine. Homovanillic acid is used as a reagent to detect oxidative enzymes, and is associated with dopamine levels in the brain.
Vanillylmandelic acid is a chemical intermediate in the synthesis of artificial vanilla flavorings and is an end-stage metabolite of the catecholamines. It is produced via intermediary metabolites.
Epinephrine, also called adrenaline, hormone that is secreted mainly by the medulla of the adrenal glands and that functions primarily to increase cardiac output and to raise glucose levels in the blood.
Creatinine is a breakdown product of creatine phosphate from muscle and protein metabolism. It is released at a constant rate by the body.
Heavy Metal & Essential Biomarkers
Breathing in high levels of arsenic can cause a sore throat and irritated lungs. Swallowing high levels of arsenic can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness and cramping, skin rashes, and other problems. Exposure to high enough amounts of arsenic can be fatal.
Breathing bromine gas could cause you to cough, have trouble breathing, get a headache, have irritation of your mucous membranes (inside your mouth, nose, etc.), be dizzy, or have watery eyes. Getting bromine liquid or gas on your skin could cause skin irritation and burns.
Acute inhalation exposure (high levels over a short period of time) to cadmium can result in flu-like symptoms (chills, fever, and muscle pain) and can damage the lungs. Chronic exposure (low level over an extended period of time) can result in kidney, bone and lung disease.
Copper is essential for good health. However, exposure to higher doses can be harmful. Long- term exposure to copper dust can irritate your nose, mouth, and eyes, and cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea.
Getting high levels of iodine can cause some of the same symptoms as iodine deficiency, including goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland). High iodine intakes can also cause thyroid gland inflammation and thyroid cancer.
high concentrations of lithium could cause severe damage to humans, including the nervous system (including coarse tremor and hyperreflexia), kidney (including sodium-losing nephritis and nephrotic syndrome), and endocrine system (including hypothyroidism)
Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heartbeat steady, and helps bones remain strong. It also helps adjust blood glucose levels. It aids in the production of energy and protein.
Mercury poisoning is the result of being exposed to too much mercury, either through the diet or environment. Mercury is a heavy metal that is highly toxic to humans.
Consuming food that contains mercury is the most common cause of mercury poisoning. Mercury poisoning can cause severe symptoms and put the body at unnecessary risk.
A person can help prevent mercury poisoning by making changes to their diet and environment that limit exposure to the toxic metal.
Learn more here.
Selenium can cause muscle tenderness, tremor, lightheadedness, facial flushing, blood clotting problems, liver and kidney problems, and other side effects. High doses of selenium can cause significant side effects including nausea, vomiting, nail changes, loss of energy, and irritability.
In some people, zinc might cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, metallic taste, kidney and stomach damage, and other side effects. Zinc is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in doses greater than 40 mg daily, especially when these doses are taken only for a short period of time.