Nov 21 2011
One of the tests I routinely run at the Center for Personalized Medicine is a bio-impedence analysis (BIA). This simple test takes just a few minutes to perform and can give us valuable information about a patient. It measures body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, lean muscle mass, intra- and extra-cellular water ratios and gives us the phase angle of the patient as well. A phase angel is calculated from the 2 ways the machine works, measuring reactance and resistance, using a small and harmless alternating electric current that runs through the body.
A patient’s phase angle has become an important part of the way Dr. Peter D’Adamo has taught me how to evaluate of a certain kind of fitness in a patient. The phase angle reflects the health of the cell membranes in the body. The higher your phase angle the better the integrity, or the thicker in other words, of your cell membranes. Babies have thick cell membranes and as we age they tend to thin out. Genetics play some role in the phase angle as does nutritional status.
Who cares if their cell membranes are thick? Well, this directly relates to cell’s ability to maintain adequate water balance. One of the best ways to help prevent cancer is to have adequate hydration of your cells. In addition, chronic inflammation can speed the process of thinning cell membranes, of aging essentially. Ideally you would like to see 60% intra-cellular water and only 40% extra-cellular.
Although no hard and fast normal reference ranges have been established, a positive association has been shown in a number of studies. The higher the phase angle the better the outcome in HIV/AIDS, lung cancer, patients undergoing hemodialysis and other critically ill patients. A study from 2005 that was published in the journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluated the relationship of phase angle age, sex, race and body-composition values. So reference ranges are becoming more clear.
Interestingly, many patients that follow the genotype diets I generate for them will have an increase in their phase angle within a few months. In some cases I have seen dramatic improvement from diet changes alone but I also recommend a morning drink to enhance the health of the cell membrane. The drink is comprised of 4 ingredients: 1 Tablespoon of soy lecithin granules, 1 Tablespoon of flax seed oil, 200mg. of choline and 2-4 ounces of a beneficial juice. Blending these 4 ingredients together and drinking them gives your cells the nutritional building blocks, fatty acids and choline, it needs to fortify the cell membrane. Plus it tastes yummy and it’s a nice way to wake up your digestive system.