Bio-Impedance Analysis (BIA)
Bio-Impedance Analysis (BIA), a screening test used for multiple reasons, is commonly utilized for assessing overall health. It provides information about body composition, cell membrane health, the body’s ability to generate new cells, metabolic rate and toxin load. BIA can also be used to monitor the effect of hormones, nutritional supplementation, diet, exercise, and nutrition on the body. The BIA Analyzer measures:
Body Cell Mass (BCM): A measurement of muscle and solid organs, this functional mass of the body is where metabolic work takes place. Low BCM can be seen in individuals with a sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, excessive fat mass and conditions associated with muscle loss. Low BCM and elevated fat mass can be the result of insulin resistance, hormone imbalances or elevated cortisol (due to chronic stress).
Body Mass Index (BMI): The ratio between weight and height equals BMI. It is a mathematical formula that correlates somewhat with body fat. A high BMI predisposes to increased risk of disease development including hypertension, heart disease, dyslipidemia (elevated cholesterol and triglycerides), type II diabetes, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, female infertility and estrogen dominance.
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): BMR represents the amount of energy your body requires daily to perform its most basic functions. This energy is obtained through the process of metabolism. Breathing, digesting, heart activity, muscle activity, transportation of fluids and tissue, and circulation of blood are functions fueled through metabolism.
As BMR is an estimate of how fast calories are burned, a low BMR is undesirable. It can be the result of low thyroid function, weight gain and poor nutrition. Exercise and increased daily activity is fundamental to increasing BMR.
Capacitance: The electrical insulating qualities of the cell membrane are known as capacitance. As the cell membrane is positively charged on the inside and negatively charged on the outside, this membrane insulates these charge differences much like rubber around an electrical cord. By keeping the charges separate, the capacity of the charge is increased and the cell membrane behaves like an electric fence – keeping the good things in the cell while keeping bad things (like toxins) out.
Cell membranes are composed of essential fatty acids and they are crucial for the health of these membranes. Depletion of these fatty acids leads to loss of membrane charge resulting in the entry of toxins into the cell. These toxins damage cell organelles and DNA. Replacing Omega Fatty Acids (ingestion of oily fish or fish oil supplements) is indicated for repair of cell membranes.
Phase Angle: A measurement of the body’s capacity to create new cells, replace dying cells and repair itself, Phase Angle is a predictor of disease course and outcome. A high phase angle is a measurement of optimal health. Low phase angles are associated with adrenal dysfunction, thyroid dysfunction (especially when accompanied by a low BMR), and chronic inflammation. Phase angle can be increased with improved nutrition and consistent exercise.
Fat Content: Greater than 40% body fat may signal significant underlying medical conditions. Thyroid function, insulin, glucose and lipid levels should be evaluated and a weight management program should be strongly considered.
Water Compartmentalization: Total body water (TBW) is a measurement of water inside the cell (intracellular water or ICW) and water outside the cell (extracellular water or ECW). ICW bathes all necessary biological molecules including proteins and nucleic acids within the cell. However, if the cell is surrounded by toxins, the ICW will decrease as the cell “pushes water out” to dilute these toxins. This results in a decreased ICW and increased ECW. Therefore, pathologic increases in ECW occur with an abnormally high toxin load and a detoxification program may be recommended. Diluted toxins are cleared from the body through defecation, urination and skin perspiration. To be effective, adequate water intake is a necessity.