The ZRT Laboratory Blog

The ZRT Blog is an extensive resource for patients and health care providers searching for health and hormone testing information. Here, you can read about ZRT’s cutting edge research, advances in testing, wellness advice, and health industry highlights.

Cortisol Patterns For Graveyard (Shift) Workers

Posted by Dr. Alison McAllister on Tuesday, 31 October

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If you come by ZRT on Halloween you’re likely to be greeted by a witch, vampire, zombie or other nightcrawler. We take our decorations and dressing up seriously around here, and finding people in costume processing your labs or taking your calls is par for the course.

Laughing aside (and let me tell you, some costumes are hilarious) those who live their lives by night – on the graveyard shift – can really struggle.

Two primary challenges for people who work at night are energy and fatigue. This is largely due to the pineal gland and its interaction with light that triggers and enforces our body’s pre-programmed circadian rhythm – which produces high cortisol in the morning and then drops throughout the day until the lowest value at night. For those who work graveyard shift that normal circadian rhythm must be re-established, and for many people it doesn’t happen.

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Toxic Baby Food: A Look Beyond the Labels

Posted by Ted Zava on Friday, 27 October

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A recent news story [1] reports that the Clean Label Project, a non-profit organization focused on health and transparency in consumer product labeling, tested 530 baby food products for toxic elements and chemicals. The results were not good.

Sixty-five percent of products tested "positive" for arsenic, 36% for lead, 58% for cadmium, and the tests even showed high levels of BPA in “BPA Free” products. These toxins are harmful to infants (and adults), and can lead to developmental delays and permanent damage to the brain, kidneys, liver, bladder, and many other organs in the body. Arsenic and cadmium are known carcinogens while lead, a damaging neurotoxin, accumulates in bone and is released back into the bloodstream when bones develop (a continuous source of exposure) [2].

All toxin exposure should be limited, especially during infancy and childhood when the brain and other organ development is at its most sensitive.

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Monoamine Metabolites – An Essential Factor In Understanding Neurotransmitters

Posted by Dr. David Zava on Friday, 13 October

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After an extensive and careful review of test results over the past year, the scientists and clinical consultants at ZRT have concluded that the monoamine metabolites ZRT includes as part of its panel of 14 neurotransmitters are essential for the best and most comprehensive interpretation of test results.

We've determined that while looking at a more limited range of seven to nine neurotransmitters is helpful in assessing precursor availability, interpreting results based on those levels alone without their downstream metabolites can result in undertreatment, treatment of the wrong part of the system, or overtreatment with direct precursors.

It is only in looking at a complete set of parent neurotransmitters together with their metabolites that you glean the most precise information about systemic patterns – leading to a provider's ability to develop the most effective treatment plan. 

Following are several examples that have led us to these conclusions.

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Clinical Pearls - Getting the Most Out of Your Neurotransmitter Test

Posted by Dr. Kate Placzek on Friday, 29 September

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Learning how to use a new test can be overwhelming, especially when it goes back to neurology which you might not have thought of since medical school.

To assist health care providers in approaching neurotransmitter testing as a functional assessment, ZRT has outlined a series of key concepts below.

As with any functional test that measures physiological function, the challenge lies in the interpretation of subclinical levels of measured parameters. However, it is within those subclinical levels that the neurotransmitter test becomes a powerful tool to identify what is contributing to a specific patient's health issues and how to map toward a successful outcome based on an individual treatment plan.

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