Spotlight on Lab Testing #1: The ION Profile
What is the ION Profile? The Ion panel (Individual Optimal Nutrition by Genova Labs) is a comprehensive look at over 125 key nutrient biomarkers and ratios through a blood draw and urine sample. This test can identify deficiencies and imbalances that may contribute to the root cause of chronic underlying conditions. In this Lab Spotlight, I will break down the main parts of the ION to help you better understand why this test is important and why your provider may order it for you.
Here is a summary of the information you will get from the ION Profile:
The ION looks at 20 amino acids including branched chain, conditionally essential, and essential amino acids. Amino Acids have many functions like building tissues, regulating hormones, transporting and storing nutrients, making proteins, and are necessary for growth, reproduction, and immunity.
Vitamin and Mineral status
Vitamins and minerals are essential for the proper functioning of organs, nerves, skin, metabolism, immunity, digestion—everything. Some of the nutrients tested include, but are not limited to, magnesium, zinc, selenium, fat-soluble vitamins, and coenzyme Q10.
Markers of Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is the result of an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Some causes of oxidative stress/damage include inflammation from infection or illness, smoking, chronic stress, environmental toxins, over-exercising, insufficient antioxidants, and a highly processed diet. If left unchecked, this can lead to damage of DNA and cells throughout the body, which can increase the risk of disease and speed the aging process.
Dysbiosis is a term used to explain when the number of pathogenic bacteria in your gut overwhelm the number of beneficial bacteria, or when there are excess bacteria in certain parts of your digestive tract. A urine sample can help us identify imbalances of bacteria and/or yeast in your gut. Brain fog, depression, anxiety, insomnia, skin issues, fatigue, allergies, and autoimmunity can all be driven by gut dysbiosis and overgrowth.
The right fatty acids manage inflammation, increase the absorbency of fat-soluble vitamins, can help prevent disease, and support cell membranes. This portion of the test looks for any imbalances between the polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It also takes a look at saturated, trans fat, and fatty-acid ratios.
Your provider will likely think to order this test if you have any of the following (this is not a complete list):
- Mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, etc.
- Digestive issues
- Chronic pain
- Inflammatory conditions such as asthma, autoimmune conditions (inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, lupus, etc.), arthritis, etc.
- Cardiovascular risk or active disease
- Excess weight or underweight
- Desire for sports fitness optimization
- Desire for disease prevention and optimizing health
By utilizing the ION Profile, our providers are better able to individualize treatment plans based on a patient’s specific biochemistry. This can improve nutritional status, therefore increasing the effectiveness of other therapies which can help reduce, and in some cases reverse, chronic conditions.