Nutrient deficiencies may be induced by a variety of conditions, in addition to inadequate intake. With a functional deficiency, a nutrient may be present, but it may not be properly activated, it may not be properly localized, or it may not have sufficient cofactors to function at a normal level of activity. Underlying reasons for a functional nutrient deficiency include inefficiencies or deficiencies in the following:
- absorption by the gastrointestinal tract
- transport to the appropriate tissue
- transport through the cell membrane into the cell
- intracellular activation storage
- concentration or activity of cofactors
Other factors contributing to nutrient deficiencies include intracellular inhibitors that may be present, tissues that may have increased metabolic needs, or hyper-excretion, such as loss zinc through sweat during intense physical exercise.
Thus, a functional deficiency includes anything that may reduce the concentration or the efficacy of a nutrient. No matter what the underlying cause, the result will be a defect in the biochemical pathways that depend upon the optimal function of that nutrient. A deficient or defective pathway may operate at a sub-optimal level for many months or even years before a clinical symptom may become apparent.
Because micronutrient testing evaluates the function of a nutrient rather than just the concentration present in blood or tissue, the clinical consequences of any of the problems listed above will be more likely to be detected by SpectraCell's micronutrient testing than by conventional serum concentration measurements.
Read more about nutritional deficiency testing HERE