04 Jan Urine Analysis – Quick screening to assess your health
A urine analysis is one of the many in-house screening tests offered to clients at NatMed. It is routinely utilised during testing consultation and as a screening tool to track treatment progress.
The test itself consists of 2 parts:
- The Urinary Indican test
- The Heavy Metal test
Why do we do urine testing?
The kidneys excrete wastes from the body in the form of urine. These wastes are a result of normal metabolic reactions and are generally substances that have no further functional use to the body. A urine analysis can provide clues as to what is going on inside you. Besides the colour, smell and how frequently you urinate, it can provide valuable information on your gastrointestinal health and detect the presence of heavy metals.
What is an Indican test?
This test measures your ability to digest proteins. Indican is a byproduct of protein putrefaction and elevated levels are directly associated with bacterial activity in your gut. If protein is not being digested properly, anaerobic bacteria in the intestines will decompose the dietary amino acid – tryptophan, producing indoles. These indoles are then absorbed into the bloodstream, converted by the liver into indican and then excreted by the kidneys. Normally only a small amount of indican is present in the urine. When levels are elevated the urine discolours, then the reagents are added and this is measured against a grading chart.
What causes elevated Indicans?
The presence of elevated indican can be a sign of the following:
- Maldigestion of protein due to insufficient stomach acid and/or digestive enzymes
- Malabsorption of protein due to increased intestinal permeability
- Imbalances in normal bowel flora
- Issues with liver function
- Consuming a high protein diet
Poor protein digestion compromises gut bacteria and increases your toxic load. This can put pressure on your liver as it is responsible for helping to detoxify your system. Symptoms of elevated indican can include flatulence, stool irregularities, bloating, food allergies/intolerances and skin conditions.
What is a Heavy Metal test?
This test detects inorganic heavy metals in the urine. When you are in optimal health you are able to chelate the metals you are exposed to and neutralize their charge. When this mechanism is impaired or there is excessive exposure, metals are not neutralized and become highly reactive in the body.
This is considered detrimental to your health due to its ability to mimic the action of essential nutrients and interfere with metabolic functions in the body. The body will also start to store them in body tissues such as bone, fat and collagen which further increases your toxicity.
In this test, if the heavy metals mercury, lead, cadmium, zinc and/or copper are present in your urine, when the reagent is added it binds to the metals and forms coloured complexes. This provides valuable information that can assist your practitioner to investigate potential sources of excessive exposure in your daily life. They may also suggest quantitative screening such as Hair Tissue and Mineral Analysis to investigate the issue further.
How can heavy metals affect your health?
Despite your body being nutritionally reliant on small amounts of zinc and copper, when these are in toxic ratios they can cause adverse effects on your health…
Zinc in high levels can cause gastrointestinal effects such as cramps, vomiting and nausea and elevated copper levels have been linked to insomnia, depression, hyperactivity and autism
Mercury competes with zinc in the body and can lead to a zinc deficiency, causing a loss of taste and smell, macular degeneration, prostate enlargement, thyroid issues, fatigue, Rheumatoid Arthritis and even sterility. Mercury toxicity is also associated with disrupting nervous system pathways and brain function causing issues with memory, learning ability and coordination.
Cadmium is found in pesticides and exposure generally through the food chain. It can lead to damage to the central nervous and immune systems, brittle bones and infertility.
Lead is the most common of the heavy metals and can be present in tap water from lead-containing pipes or as a result of dissolution from natural sources. Lead toxicity has been linked to behavioural issues in children, learning deficits, anaemia and infertility.
These are just some of the ways in which heavy metals can affect your health.