Bioimpedance

How Is Your Health Evolving?

by Stephanie DiPietro, L.Ac., NBAO

Bioimpedance Analysis (BIA) is a diagnostic tool used to get objective data regarding a person’s health status as well as monitor how a person’s health is evolving.  This test produces sufficiently accurate data for little time and effort.  Individuals as well as health practitioners need objective data to gauge whether or not a given diet, lifestyle, nutritional protocol, or medication is working.  We all need to be motivated, and this information is motivational.  This is a scientifically validated procedure with over 2000 published research studies that have used this technology.

The bioimpedance analyzer is an FDA approved electronic device which applies a small 50-kilohertz alternating current to the body using electrodes placed on the right hand and foot.  In just a moment, after entering the individual’s height, weight, age, sex, and the amount of exercise a person performs in a week, valuable information is at your fingertips.  BIA uses regression equations to measure reactance, which is the human body’s propensity to store electrical energy; and resistance, the body’s propensity to dissipate electrical energy.  Impedance is the sum total of resistance and reactance.

This data then provides a clinical assessment of body composition, which includes fat mass, lean body mass, body cell mass, extracellular mass, total body water, intracellular water, extracellular water, basal metabolic rate, and phase angle.  Phase angle is a “buzz word” indicating cellular health and integrity.  Within the past few years there have been several published papers in major journals depicting phase angle as the best indicator for prognosis of survival for patients with cancer, AIDS, and kidney disease.  This, also, is the number most athletes are interested in.  A normal distribution of tissue and fluid in the body is associated with immunity, high function, and longevity.  An abnormal distribution of tissue and fluid in the body is associated with susceptibility, effects of disease and aging, low function, morbidity, and mortality.

Specific areas where Body Composition information can be applied include Nutritional Assessment, Anti-aging Therapy, Physical Performance Assessment, Weight Management, Obesity, Eating Disorders, HIV/AIDS, Diabetes Fluid Analysis, Dialysis Fluid and Nutritional Assessment, Critical Care Monitoring, Geriatrics, Lifestyles Assessment, Athletic Performance, Clinical Trials, and Research Initiatives.

According to a JAMA article by Dr. Roubenoff, “Muscle is the major source of protein for functions such as antibody production, wound healing, and white blood cell production during illness.  If the body’s protein reserves are already depleted by sarcopenia (muscle loss), there is less to mobilize for illness.”

We all want more vitality and functional capacity for as long as we can have it.  We all want more metabolically active tissue (lean body mass) and less metabolically inactive tissue (fat mass).  We all want our cells to be like plump, juicy grapes, as opposed to dried out raisins.  Our goal is a First Line Therapeutic approach implementing lifestyle modifications accompanied by a nutritional program that can offset biochemical imbalance, environmental assaults, and keep our cells happy.  How is your health evolving?