Dr. Lori Horan Soule, ND, LAc

Soule Health Care

3526 SW Corbett

Portland OR, 97239


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Newsletter Archive

Do You Have Expensive Urine?

September 29, 2011

“How could I possibly be calcium deficient?” asked my hypertensive patient Debbie. “I eat calcium-rich foods all the time, I have calcium in my multi-vitamin, and I take additional calcium before bed. How is that possible?” Together we looked at her labwork that in fact, showed she was well below normal in her cellular calcium levels, as well as other minerals. Clearly she wasn't assimilating the minerals she was taking. In other words, she had expensive urine.

Debbie is by no means unique. I often hear clients say that they suspect they aren't absorbing the nutrients they are eating or taking in the way of supplements. Another very tired patient, Virginia, was deficient in iron and vitamin B12 in spite of eating red meat frequently and taking supplemental iron and B vitamins. We ruled out the serious reasons for what might cause iron and B12 deficiency, and were left with poor assimilation as the strongest possibility for her anemia.

Why do some of us have trouble assimilating the nutrients we are taking in? There are many possibilities for this. The body is a sophisticated and elaborate biochemical factory. If we're lucky, it transforms the food we eat into numerous products necessary for energy, growth, maintenance, repair and protection. This whole process is known as metabolic function.

Similar to the way a manufacturing plant combines and assembles various parts into a finished product, your body converts the components of food in an assembly-line process, where each station modifies the product before sending it along. Many health problems are caused by malfunctions or inefficiencies in this process. Just as patching up errors in the finished product does not correct problems in the production line, treating the symptoms often does not correct the underlying metabolic error. In many cases, these errors can be easily corrected with appropriate nutritional therapies. We ran an Organic Acid Analysis on both women and discovered some very valuable information.

Organic acids are a group of biochemicals that come from the metabolic breakdown of protein, carbohydrates and fats. Organic acids are used by the body to generate cellular energy and provide the building blocks necessary for cell function. Elevations of these compounds in urine can yield great insight into metabolic blocks that can cause or complicate health problems.

In an automobile assembly line, problems can be identified by a pileup of unfinished automobiles at a particular station. Similarly, in your biochemical factory, problems can be identified by an increase of certain compounds accumulated in your urine. The organic acid test measures your metabolic efficiency for processing carbohydrates, B-vitamins, amino acids, and fatty acids. It also measures neurotransmitters affecting brain function, mental/emotional status, and learning. When any metabolites are elevated or deficient, we can target a therapy to normalize these crucial components of energy metabolism, and improve neurotransmitter levels.

For example, Debbie was high in homocysteine, which is a breakdown product of an amino acid that is toxic to arterial walls. Elevated homocysteine is highly treatable once we know it is present. On the other hand, Virginia had high levels of methylmalonic acid in her urine, which told us she was deficient in vitamin B12.

Microbial imbalances resulting from antibiotic use can also cause the buildup of metabolic toxins that can also be identified in urine. Toxins generated inside your body can cause health problems as severe as those from environmental toxic exposure. These can also be treated nutritionally.

Your urine specimen contains key indicators of your metabolic function. By measuring key components in your biochemical factory, metabolic function testing provides indicators of how efficiently your metabolism is functioning, how well it is converting your food into usable products for health and where problems may be occurring. This information can be used to pinpoint certain nutrients or other therapies that can improve your biochemical functioning and your health.

If you are eating a healthy diet and taking nutritional supplements and still don't feel as well as you should, an organic acid test could give us valuable information about where the problem is. Make sure you are getting the most from your health regime.

Contact Dr. Horan for more information on this comprehensive and insightful test.

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