When diagnosing and treating patients, a clear understanding of enzymes and biochemical individuality is crucial. We all differ drastically in how we generate and process energy. Metabolomics is a new branch of medicine that takes the guesswork out of diagnosis because it is able to measure factors that define our individuality. A metabolomic analysis is the leading definitive test pinpointing autoimmune and chronic diseases through blood and urine samples.
Metabolomics is the study of metabolites, very small molecules produced by chemical reactions in our cells. The tiny microscopic “machines” transacting these chemical reactions are enzymes.
No two people have exactly the same enzyme activity. While conventional medicine looks for universal cures for any chronic condition, metabolomics focuses on the uniqueness of an individual’s metabolism.
When distinct chemical substances are found together they react on random basis. A living organism contains thousands of chemical compounds that by themselves don’t constitute life. What is it that defines the uniqueness of each organism then?
It’s enzymes. Enzymes catalyze the reaction between two or more substances. Their ability to perform very specific reactions at amazing speed shapes the unique biochemical individuality of each organism.
An enzyme can perform millions of transactions in one second. A chemical process that would take 78 years to complete without enzymes may take only 25 milliseconds with enzymes. The coexistence of different enzymes shapes distinct metabolic pathways, each of which carries out a specific function.
In the majority of cases, an enzyme needs another factor (co-factor) in order to be activated. Such co-factors may mean vitamins, minerals, or amino acids. The adequacy in vitamins, amino acids, and minerals is vital in keeping a body alive.
We may take the existence of these components for granted and this was indeed the case a few decades ago. However, nowadays we know that the lack of these basic components is the main cause behind a variety of chronic diseases. When a component does not exist in sufficient quantities for the performance of a chemical chain, then we develop a biochemical reaction that may lead to a chronic health problem. Indeed, micronutrient deficiencies are closely linked to the dramatic increase of chronic diseases in recent years.
One individual’s enzyme may need 50 mg of a vitamin to function properly, whereas the same enzyme of another individual may need 150 mg of this vitamin to perform the exact same function. Two patients with identical symptoms and case history may therefore have a completely different illness profile.
When a metabolic pathway does not function, the flow of chemical reactions is hindered and homeostasis is compromised. The metabolic disorder is analogous to the degree of enzyme dysfunction, which in turn is often due to the lack of the corresponding co-factors (vitamin, mineral, amino acid).
When the dysfunction is genetic and hereditary in nature, life-threatening congenital metabolic diseases may develop. Diagnosis and detection during the first days of a metabolic disease may save a child’s life suffering from severe enzyme deficiency or dysfunction.
The diagnosis of the metabolic diseases is performed with the use of special analytes that are able to detect very small quantities of molecules in blood and urine.
When a metabolic pathway is inhibited due to enzyme deficiency, then a metabolite is accumulated in blood and urine. By tracing different metabolites, we accurately detect which metabolic pathways are blocked and therefore which component is necessary in greater quantity for the restoration of the normal operation. This allows metabolomic practitioners to prescribe highly accurate and individually relevant nutrition and supplementation guidelines to secure optimal functioning of the body.
Addressing Chronic Disease
In the ‘70s, researchers Linus Pauling and Arthur Robinson developed research relating to the measurement of metabolites in humans. The clinical implementation of Metabolomics began only in the late 90s. In 2007, the recording of the Human Metabolome Project was complete. Since then, the study of metabolites and the use of tests detecting metabolic disorders has taken quantum leaps. The modern discipline is called Metabolomics, and it is revolutionizing the treatment of a wide spectrum of chronic illnesses such as:
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Gastrointestinal System Disorders
- Neurological Disorders
- Cardiology and in a variety of chronic health problems.
Today, metabolomics is considered the most representative way to evaluate any health condition. The measurement of metabolites can provide us with the actual picture of our metabolism and allows us to restore the normal operation through diet and the supplementation of the missing co-factors.
NOTE: Metabolomic Medicine tests will soon be available in the U.S. Sign up for information here.