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Red Blood Cell Elements

Test Indications:

  • Suspected toxicity and functional intracellular elements.
  • To get a baseline values before heavy metal detoxification protocols are performed.
  • Accurate assessment of essential element status in the most appropriate compartment is recommended for determination of appropriate supplementation.

Test Summary:

  • Measurement of thirteen essential and eleven toxic metals in the circulating extracellular fluid compartments and in red and white blood cells
  • Note: overnight fast highly recommended

Diagnostic Tool for Chronic Disease

Analysis of red blood cells provides the best diagnostic tool for assessing the status of elements that have important functions inside cells or on blood cell membranes. Blood cell element levels are useful for assessing cardiac influences, anti-inflammatory processes, anemia, immunological function, glucose tolerance and other disorders that are associated specifically with zinc deficiency.

Red blood cell (RBC) analysis is an invaluable diagnostic method for assessing insufficiency or excess of elements that have important functions within cells or on blood cell membranes. An important feature is that the cells are not washed, because this would result in partial loss of some important elements that bind to the plasma membrane, for example, calcium.

Elements Play a Role in Proper Physiology

RBC element levels are very useful for assessing: cardiovascular influences (magnesium, potassium); anti-inflammatory processes (selenium, copper, zinc); anemia (copper, iron); immunological function (zinc, copper, magnesium), and glucose tolerance (chromium, manganese, and possibly vanadium). Disorders specifically associated with zinc deficiency also are addressed by this analysis. These disorders include loss of visual acuity, dermatitis and poor wound healing, alopecia, amino acid malabsorption, sexual impotence, decreased production of testosterone, depressed immune function, and growth retardation.

Accurate assessment of essential element status is highly recommended for the determination of appropriate supplementation. The absorption, transport and metabolism of essential elements is highly integrated and regulated. Inappropriate supplementation or dietary imbalance of elements can have significant adverse health effects. For example, excess intake of zinc or molybdenum can result in copper deficiency and, although essential, excess assimilation or retention of manganese can have serious neurotoxic effects. RBC element analysis is also useful for the assessment of ongoing or very recent EXPOSURE to specific toxic elements that accumulate preferentially in erythrocytes. These toxic elements include arsenic, cadmium, lead, methylmercury and thallium. It is important to keep in mind that elevated levels of the toxic elements in these cells reflect only recent or ongoing exposure and do not provide information about the net retention of the metals in the body.