Are you curious about biomarkers, what they are, and how they’re used? Check out this article to learn all you need to know!
As you race from Point A to Point B, your day is consumed with meetings, phone calls, fast food, and critical decision-making. All the while, you can’t help but to wonder what your daily routine is doing to your health.
Research shows that more than 60% of Americans in 2022 reported being stressed out by geopolitical and economic challenges worldwide. And sadly, maintaining an unhealthy diet will only further take a toll on a person’s health.
Fortunately, if you don’t know where you stand health-wise, you don’t have to remain in the dark. That’s where biomarkers — which are essentially windows to your health — come in.
So, what are biomarkers, and how are they used? Here’s a rundown on the most common biomarkers and how they can help you to monitor your health long term.
Let’s jump in!
What Are Health Biomarkers?
Biomarkers are measurements that essentially help you with decoding your health. These measurements aid in determining whether you have an illness. They can also help with predicting how you will respond to certain drugs.
All in all, health biomarkers play an essential role in disease diagnoses, medical research, and medical treatment in virtually every area of medicine.
Diagnostic Cardiac Biomarkers
Some of the most common types of biomarkers are cardiac biomarkers. These are substances your body releases into circulation when your heart becomes damaged or stressed.
When your heart cells begin to die, you are considered to suffer from myocardial necrosis. And unfortunately, this can eventually lead to a heart attack.
Multiple biomarkers are used to detect necrosis of the heart muscle, including myoglobin. Myoglobin is a tiny protein present in your heart and skeletal muscles. This protein can trap the oxygen your cells need to produce energy so that your muscles contract.
If your skeletal muscles or heart muscles are damaged, your body will release myoglobin into your bloodstream. Myoglobin is also released through your urine, as your kidneys filter the protein. For this reason, doctors can detect this biomarker in both your blood and your urine.
Another major cardiac biomarker is Troponin I — a circular protein. This protein is widely viewed as the top biomarker used to evaluate patients who are displaying heart attack symptoms.
Diagnostic Tumor Biomarkers
These biomarkers are substances that cancer tissues themselves may generate. If you have a tumor, the body might also generate these biomarkers in response to the growth of cancer.
As with your cardiac biomarkers, doctors can detect tumor biomarkers in your blood and urine. However, they may also be present in your body tissues. You can additionally spot them in other types of biological fluids, like the music or saliva.
Many tumor markers are linked to various types of cancer. Meanwhile, some are connected to a single kind of cancer.
An example of a common tumor biomarker is calcitonin. The presence of this hormone is an indicator that you are suffering from medullary thyroid cancer, or cancer in your thyroid.
Carcinoembryonic antigen is another biomarker your doctor may look for if you are suspected to be battling one of many cancers. These include cervical, breast, liver, and bladder cancer. They also include pancreatic, bowel, lung, and thyroid cancer.
Other cancer antigens, or CAs, include CA 15-3, 19-9, and 125.
CA 15-3 is used to indicate cancer of the ovaries, lungs, and breast. CA 125 also indicates cancer of the ovaries. Meanwhile, CA 19-9 is used to indicate cancer of the pancreas, the bowels, and the bile ducts.
In addition to being used to diagnose diseases, biomarkers can be helpful for monitoring an existing medical condition’s status. Doctors also use it to determine how effective a health care product is for treating that condition.
For instance, your doctor will monitor your LDL cholesterol level if you’re being treated with cholesterol medication. Likewise, they’ll keep an eye on your blood pressure level if you are taking a blood pressure drug.
CD4 cells — or infection-fighting white blood cells — are also monitored if you are being treated for an HIV infection.
Hemoglobin A1C, also called HbA1c, is yet another common monitoring biomarker. This one is used to pinpoint the severity or presence of hyperglycemia, or high levels of blood sugar. It essentially helps with determining if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes.
These types of biomarkers will tell your doctor what you have been eating and, in turn, what your nutritional status is. You’ll find these biomarkers in your urine.
For instance, a high amount of nitrogen indicates that you have been consuming a lot of protein. In addition, if you have a natural chemical compound called alkylresorcinol in your plasma, this is a sign that you have been eating wholegrains.
Other biomarkers include vitamin B12. Your level of this vitamin will tell you how you’re faring when it comes to stress as well as your brain and nervous system health.
In the same way, low levels of the amino acid known as arginine, another biomarker, may indicate health problems like fatty liver and high blood pressure.
How We Can Help
At Biostarks, we’ve long been a proud provider of biological testing for athletes, and you can now take advantage of these nutritional tests as well. In fact, you can easily test for biomarkers from the comfort of your own home with our test kits.
Our biomarker testing kits were born out of the desire to provide you with access to detailed information about your health. We also offer actionable and personalized recommendations based on our lab analysis. In this way, you can experience full control of your health and, in turn, live your best life.
Get in touch with us to learn more about how our testing kits can help you to track and improve your performance, health, and nutrition long term.