A biomarker is a biological indicator of your body’s internal state. Biomarkers are crucial to understanding health because they help indicate the presence or absence of disease. Biomarkers help identify areas where you can gradually improve your overall health through diet modifications, regular exercise, and lifestyle changes. They also evaluate your optimal health to measure a new drug or therapy effectiveness, help diagnose disease, identify treatments, and track disease progression, regression, and possible outcomes.
Biomarkers can be measured via blood tests. Some examples of biomarkers include blood pressure, cholesterol, vital capacity, hormones, genetic blood tests, and blood glucose. Biomarkers do not define how you feel or function. These health and wellness measures can be used to comprehend your health status and predict the risk for certain diseases. Biomarkers include anything that can help illness, change in biological processes, or biological structure. Taking routine blood tests helps measure and observe how your lifestyle and genes impact your health.
Types of Biomarkers
The following are the types of biomarkers:
- Radiographic: These are obtained from imaging studies such as X-ray, MRI, or CT scans, or bone mineral density
- Molecular: These are non-imaging biomarkers that have biophysical properties, which allow their measurements in biological samples such as serum plasma, cerebrospinal fluid, biopsy, or bronchoalveolar lavage.
- Histologic: This type reflects a biochemical or molecular alteration in tissues, cells, or fluids, such as grading and staging cancers.
- Physiologic: This type of biomarker measures body processes such as blood pressure
Which Biomarkers Can Help in Health Optimization?
Here are some key biomarkers for health optimization, improved energy levels, mood, and muscle and bone strength. These biomarkers will depend on your overall health and unique needs and may include and not be limited to:
Vitamin D: This fat-soluble vitamin plays a key role in bone health, energy, immune health, mood boost, protein synthesis catalyzation, electrolyte metabolism regulation, gene suppression, and regulating calcium levels in the body. Its optimal range is 50 to 100ng/dl, and low levels can lead to depression and fatigue and may affect brain health.
Folate (B12/B9): This is a vital nutrient in red blood cell formation containing hemoglobin. The primary role of hemoglobin is to transport oxygen around the body. Low vitamin B12 and B9 can lead to fatigue, weakness, and cognitive decline.
Hemoglobin A1C: This is a predictive and diagnostic biomarker linked to diabetes prevention and diagnosis. Hemoglobin A1C helps show the average blood sugar levels over the past 90 days (three months). The optimal range is 4.6% to 5.5%. It diagnoses prediabetes and diabetes and also helps manage the condition. Foods such as white pasta, rice, honey, and processed foods can increase blood sugar levels.
Insulin: The optimal range for insulin levels is 2 to 5 IU/ml. Fasting insulin levels give reliable results since they show how the consistency of blood glucose levels has been raised. Insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes, and elevated insulin levels can lead to high mortality rates for cancer patients.
Ferritin: This blood protein containing iron can help measure how much iron is stored in the body. Low ferritin levels can indicate that the iron stores are dwindling, leading to iron deficiency anemia. This results in extreme fatigue, general body weakness, pale skin, and dizziness. Women are more affected by anemia due to their menstrual cycle, especially those with heavy periods.
Triglyceride/HDL ratio: Triglyceride is a type of fat or lipid found in the blood, while HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is good cholesterol. A high ratio of triglycerides to HDL is a biomarker for predicting the risk of developing heart disease. Cholesterol has various bodily functions, such as helping maintain healthy cells and absorb nutrients from food. Measuring HDL and triglycerides ratio is essential and informative in monitoring the risk of heart disease. The higher the ratio, the higher the risk of heart disease. The ideal ratio of triglyceride to HDL cholesterol is 2.1.
RBC Magnesium: A magnesium blood test measures the magnesium in your red blood cells floating in your blood serum. It is an essential biomarker for longevity, and the test is usually ordered if a person has a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium helps regulate nerve and muscle function and blood pressure, making DNA, bone, and protein transports calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes. The optimal range is between 6 to 6.5 mg/dl.
Biomarker tracking helps you identify problematic areas in your health that you can improve for your overall health and function. Modifying your diet, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and making lifestyle changes can help develop the best plan to improve your overall health and lifespan.
For more information on biomarker tracking, contact Dr. Susan A. Baker today or schedule an appointment online.