The doctors at ACBM consider Bio Impedance Analysis or BIA to be a invaluable tool in the assessment of total health as the test provides a true baseline of where your body’s physiology currently resides. This space-age science is also used by NASA to monitor the body composition of astronauts in flight.
BIA takes an internal snapshot to reveal a person’s cellular health and then gauges how quickly or slowly a body is ageing on the inside. By measuring the way a low dose of electrical current flows through the body, body composition can be determined. Lean tissues like muscles are great conductors of electricity, while fat and bone are not.
BIA is a ground-breaking system in that it is the first method to accurately assess the weight of your body-cell mass, the weight of your muscle and organ tissue, plus red cells and tissue cells. The test itself is non-intrusive and takes only five minutes.
The parameters assessed using BIA:
Phase Angle represents the quantity and quality of active tissue. It is a key bio-marker of healthy ageing. Factors which increase active tissue include resistance exercise, sufficient high quality dietary protein, and nutritional support for the mitochondria. Loss of active tissue mass can be a result of the ageing process, low protein/high carbohydrate diets, lack of exercise, inflammation, insulin resistance, stress (high Cortisol), hypothyroidism, and increased body fat. We consider this parameter of the test to be one of the best assessments to measure the biological health of your body.
Active Tissue Mass (ATM) represents the amount of metabolically active tissue including: organs, nervous tissue, visceral and skeletal muscle. Changes in ATM are generally due to changes to the skeletal muscle mass. Factors which increase ATM include resistance exercise, sufficient high-quality protein, and adequate rest. Deficiency of quality dietary protein, lack of exercise, malabsorption, inflammation, elevated cortisol (stress), insulin resistance and hypothyroidism can contribute to loss of active tissue mass.
Fat Mass is the total mass of adipose tissue, including visceral (internal organs) and subcutaneous (beneath the skin) deposits. Factors which increase fat mass include excess calorie consumption, dietary high carbohydrate to protein ration, insulin resistance, elevated insulin levels, inflammation, hypothyroidism, elevated cortisol (stress), lack of exercise, and low ATM.
Intracellular Water (ICW) represents all of the water which is contained within the ATM cells. Higher levels of ICW are correlated with anabolic cellular processes and better health. Factors which increase ICW include large ATM (a larger muscle mass holds more water), sufficient intracellular electrolytes and proteins, and good cellular energy production to maintain electrolyte pumps. Dietary deficiency of protein or electrolytes, catabolic factors (inflammation, stress, hypothyroid) leading to a loss of ATM, lack of energy production, and cell membrane damage (toxicity, oxidative damage, lack of essential fatty acids) can all contribute to a decrease in intracellular water.
Extracellular Water (ECW) includes all of the body water that is not found in the ATM. This includes water in plasma, tissue spaces and lymph, and is commonly referred to as edema. The ECW also includes all water which is stored in the body fat. Higher levels of ECW are associated with poorer health. Factors which increase ECW include increased body fat levels, inflammation, toxicity, immune activation (infection, allergy), injury, increased sodium consumption, lymphoedema, renal failure, aldosteronism, Cushing’s disease, heart failure, flying, and hypothyroidism. A reduction in body fat will generally reduce ECW. Other factors decreasing ECW are dehydration, diuretics, alcohol and caffeine intake (acutely).
BIA gives information on the body’s cell function, energy production and fluid balance. This allows your Naturopath to monitor your energy levels, toxicity, inflammation and response to treatment. BIA is also a very accurate tool for measuring biological age, as well as body fat and muscle levels, two of the most important bio-markers of ageing. No other test provides all of this information so quickly and easily.
The data for evaluation is gathered through computer monitoring of the R-R intervals using a chest strap sensor applied to the subject’s body. First the patient lies down (supine position) for several minutes. Then, after a computer-generated signal (beep), the subject stands up and remains standing. This takes about 7-10 minutes and the results can be viewed immediately either on screen or as a print out. Your doctor will then be able to analyze and explain these results. It allows an overall view into the functioning of your nervous system.
When used in conjunction with Computerized Regulation Therapy it can highlight which system or tissue is compensating the most for the imbalance detected by Heart Rate Variability. When we repeat this test in the future we will be able to monitor improvement in your body’s ability to self-regulate in response to stresses.