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Urine Amino Acid Analysis

Amino acids play a vital role as building blocks of proteins and also as intermediates in metabolism. These amino acids help in neurotransmitter function, pH balance regulation, hormone metabolism, pain and inflammation control, detoxification, cholesterol metabolism and various other biological activities. Excess or deficiency of amino acids in the body either due to dietary restriction or inherited metabolic problems can cause very serious health issues.


Urine amino acid test measures the amino acid levels in the urine. It is a medical test that helps in identifying underlying chronic disorders caused by amino acid imbalances and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Most often, Amino acid test is performed as a screening test in newborn and children to address metabolism disorders. If any of the essential amino acids are not available in sufficient quantities, the production of protein is compromised with inefficient metabolism. The deficiency may cause disorders such as ADD, depression, Tourette syndrome, tic disorder, OCD, seizures and others.


Urine amino acid test provides valuable information on amino acid imbalance in the body by identifying:

Dietary protein adequacy
Gastrointestinal dysfunction
Enzyme functionality
Protein intolerance
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Renal and hepatic dysfunction, psychiatric abnormalities
Susceptibility to degenerative disorders
Inflammatory response and oxidative stress
Reduced detoxification capacity and many other inherent and acquired disorders

There are around 20 different amino acids in the urine. If the urine indicates any one or two of the amino acid levels as higher than normal, the person may have an inherent error of metabolism. Diagnosing it during infancy can prevent problems such as brain damage.


No prior preparation is required for the test. Clean catch urine sample is collected to perform the test. Few laboratories ask for first morning urine and few other prefer 24-hour urine test for assessing the amino acid levels. 24 hour urine test gives a detailed picture of highs and lows of various amino acid levels through the day, whereas first morning urine identifies current amino acid status and any existing imbalances. Reports are presented in a tabular format grouped into functional categories clearly indicating:


  • Amino acids levels (both essential and non essential)
  • Gastrointestinal markers
  • Detoxification markers
  • Neurological markers
  • Magnesium dependent markers
  • Urea cycle metabolites
  • B12, B6, folate dependent markers

Urine amino acid analysis in itself cannot be used as the ultimate diagnostic tool and it is normally supported by specific and further testing to confirm genetic and metabolic disorders. However, test reports will help in identifying the exact deficiencies that are contributing to disorders and allow for the precise replacement of those amino acids. The report will help nutritionists to draw a right supplement plan to replenish the required amino acids in the body.


Electrolyte Imbalance

The human body is composed of up to 60 % water. Adequate fluid and electrolyte levels are essential for healthy functioning of all organs and body systems. Electrolytes are found in the blood, urine, tissues and body fluids. Sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, phosphate and magnesium play an important role conducting electric charge within the body. These minerals must be maintained in the appropriate ratio for proper functioning of the muscles, nerves, brain and heart. If there is any imbalance in their ratio, which usually occurs due to change in water levels in the body, electrolyte imbalance will occur. The kidneys work as major regulators of the electrolyte balance. Kidney malfunction results in excessive electrolyte retention or excretion resulting in an imbalance.


Symptoms of electrolyte imbalance vary with the electrolyte. Typical symptoms of electrolyte imbalance include fatigue, dizziness, excessive sweating, cold extremities and trembling. Swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, and hands might also be due to a fluid and electrolyte imbalance. There might be nausea, reduced urine output, dark urine, dry skin, aching joints and dry mouth. In cases of severe electrolyte imbalance, there might be convulsions and seizures.

Urine test and blood tests are done to evaluate the electrolyte imbalance. Often kidney ultrasound or EKG might be ordered. Based on the electrolyte that is out of balance, treatment includes dietary changes, fluid intake restrictions and medications to correct the imbalance. Often medication like corticosteroids, laxatives, cough medicines, diuretics and oral contraceptives can cause changes in the electrolyte balance.

Hyponatremia: Imbalance in sodium concentration in the plasma.

Hypokalemiaa: Deficiency of potassium in the bloodstream.

Hypercalcemia: Elevated calcium level in the blood.


LH

Luteinizing Hormone LH is another important hormone for reproduction. In men, LH promotes secretion of testosterone. In women, LH surge in the second part of the menstrual cycle triggers ovulation. LH is released when a woman is ovulating, and causes the ovaries to release an egg. LH and FSH are closely linked. At the beginning of the menstrual cycle, FSH and LH are secreted to stimulate ovarian follicles. Mid-cycle, the growing follicle will inhibit FSH secretion and increase estrogen. This is a trigger for sudden release of LH that leads to release of the mature egg.


The LH Surge is vital for pregnancy - as it causes the matured egg to be released. The next 24 - 36 hours are the fertile window when a woman can get pregnant. Ovulation Predictor Kits that are available measure LH level in the urine - identifying the best time to conceive. Reduced levels of LH in females indicate ovarian hyperfunction.

LH and PCOS

In females suffering from PCOS - Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, the LH levels are already elevated when compared to FSH. Since there is no LH surge, ovulation does not take place. Elevated LH levels cause release of androgens from the ovaries leading to acne and Hirsutism. Infertility and miscarriage are common. Studies have shown that there is a direct relation between insulin resistance and elevated LH levels.


LH levels

In females, the LH levels in the blood can vary based on stage of menstrual cycle, age, pregnancy and other pituitary gland disorders. It can be measured by a blood test or urine test. Usually this test is prescribed for women with irregular periods trying to get pregnant or assessing if a woman has entered menopause. Men with low testosterone levels or having very late puberty are asked to take the LH test.

High levels of Luteinizing hormone are most often caused by ovarian tumors or improperly-developed ovaries. Thyroid or Adrenal disease can elevate LH levels. PCOS and Autoimmune disorders also cause the levels of Luteinizing hormone to rise. Low levels of Luteinizing hormone indicate ovarian failure or primary testicular failure. This can happen due to viral infections such as mumps, autoimmune disorders, radiation exposure and tumors.


Women:

Early phase of menstrual cycle: 0.5 to 16.9 IU/L

Peak of menstrual cycle: 8.7 to 76.3 IU/L

Using contraceptives: 0.7 to 5.6 IU/L

Pregnant: less than 1.5 IU/L

Menopause: 15.9 to 54.0 IU/L

Men:

Between 20 years and 70 years: 0.7 to 7.9 IU/L

Over 70 years: 3.1 to 34.0 IU/L


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Bibliography / Reference

Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: November 22, 2019