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.

Pheochromocytoma - A Rare Condition Exposed by Neurotransmitter Testing

Posted by Dr. Alison McAllister on Wednesday, 28 June

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The New York Times did a remarkable story the other day that ended with the line "When you hear hoofbeats, the chances are good that it's a horse…but we must also remember that sometimes the circus is in town. [1]

ZRT is apparently hosting the circus this year. At the odds of 3-8 individuals per million – ZRT has been instrumental in discovering two cases of pheochromocytoma tumors in the last six months. A condition that my clinical physiology teacher, Dr. Bettenburg, said was so rare that we would never see one, and if we did, we should contact her – so I did, this week. 

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A Dynamic Duo: When to Test Neurotransmitters with Sex Hormones

Posted by Dr. Kate Placzek on Thursday, 06 April

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The nervous system and its communication with peripheral organs is under the continuous dynamic influence of hormones, neuroactive steroids, and neurotransmitters. This is why the underlying pathology of mood disorders can often be varied and complex.

The hormonal piece is critical to our understanding of the imbalances when it comes to the complete neurotransmitter assessment. Hormones regulate key processes pertaining to neurotransmitter biosynthesis, signaling, and degradation. It is important to recognize that disturbances in the relationships between hormones and neurotransmitters can shape normal physiology toward a maladaptive state leading to suboptimal psychological wellbeing.

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Does Following a Gluten-Free, Vegetarian or Vegan Diet Result in Increased Heavy Metals Intake?

Posted by Ted Zava on Friday, 17 March

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A recent study from researchers at the Mayo Clinic in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that people following a gluten-free diet have significantly higher arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury levels in urine and blood than those not following a gluten-free diet. [1] 

Another similar study in 2006 revealed that vegans and vegetarians have an increased cadmium body burden in comparison to those following normal diets. [2] 

So why do gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan diets increase the risk of heavy metal exposure? Increased consumption of two foods that are staples for all cultures around the world are the primary culprits: rice and green leafy vegetables.

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Elements Testing – Why Sample Type Matters!

Posted by Ted Zava on Tuesday, 03 May

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Urine, serum, plasma, whole blood, red blood cells, feces, hair, fingernails…the list goes on.

How do you decide what biological sample(s) to use for element analysis? Can results be compared to scientific literature or do they have clinical significance? Is it possible for values to be elevated or low in one sample type and normal in another? Do test results indicate recent intake, body burden, acute toxicity, chronic toxicity, deficiency, or homeostatic regulation?

These are just some of the questions facing a testing laboratory when they want to develop and validate essential and toxic element profiles that will provide clinically meaningful results.

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