ZRT Laboratory Blog Gadolinium – A Toxic Rare-Earth Element That Isn’t So RareGadolinium is a rare-earth heavy metal that most humans will have little exposure to. The designation of “rare-earth” element is misleading as it has a very common medical use: gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs). GBCAs were first approved in 1988 to help make diseased tissues look brighter or darker during Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). In 2017 nearly 40% of MRIs used GBCAs, and it is estimated that over 450 million GBCAs have been administered worldwide since 1988. While most gadolinium is flushed from the body following an MRI exam, new research suggests extended retention in multiple organs, leading to potential health issues.


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Tags: Elements Testing, Heavy Metals, Dried Urine Testing



ZRT Cares About the Environment with Eco-Friendly Materials

We are acutely aware of the need to be responsible about taking care of the environment. We like to do our part in minimizing any unnecessary waste products that can ultimately find their way into the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. This blog looks at some of the ways we strive to do our part to use sustainable materials and limit waste.


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Tags: ZRT Laboratory



Brazil Nuts as a Selenium SupplementDeficiencies in selenium can be detrimental to health, while selenium excess can be just as dangerous. Brazil nuts are commonly used as a form of selenium supplementation, but it isn’t commonly known that the level of selenium in Brazil nuts is highly variable.  Read our blog to learn how to determine how much selenium you are getting from Brazil nuts.


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Tags: Selenium, Elements Testing



Genetic Sequence Variations and Breast Cancer Risk by Jillian Harrington at ZRT LaboratoryResearch shows that some SNVs can help predict an individual’s risk of developing certain diseases, such as breast cancer. Although future studies are necessary to further characterize the involvement of SNVs in the etiology of breast cancer, this blog will review up to date literature of what science has discovered so far regarding SNVs within the steroid metabolism pathway and their relationship to breast cancer.


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Tags: Breast Cancer, Estrogen, Estrogen Metabolism



Getting to the Heart of Estrogen with Sherry LaBeckThe American Heart Association has designated the month of February as American Heart Month to raise awareness about heart disease and the healthy choices we can make to prevent it. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. And while some risk factors are out of our control, such as family history, genetics, and aging, most of the risk factors for developing heart or cardiovascular disease are more often than not within our control. For example, lifestyle habits and behaviors such as smoking cessation, physical activity, healthy food selection, and how we cope with mental and emotional stressors, like feeling angry, can be modified.


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Tags: Estrogen, Heart Health, Cardiovascular Disease



During the cold, rainy month of January, at least where we live in Portland, Oregon, it’s fitting to address thyroid health. As Goldilocks said of her porridge, this one’s too cold, this one’s too hot, and this one’s just right. If your body isn’t making the right amount of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), you’re likely to find yourself on either side of “just right”.  

Most people who suffer from thyroid issues fall into the “too cold” category of body temperature dysregulation and just don’t make enough thyroid hormones T4 and T3, referred to as hypothyroidism. T3 action in the mitochondria increases metabolism and is responsible for heat production. Mitochondria are the power-houses or furnaces of the cell responsible for creation of energy in the form of ATP...


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Tags: Thyroid Health, Selenium



When getting to the root of health issues by accurate laboratory testing of hormones and other analytes, it’s important to distinguish theories from facts and make sure that our interpretation of the science is valid and corresponds with what is seen clinically. This month, let’s take a critical look at a hormone sometimes referred to as the “hibernation hormone”, reverse T3 (rT3), and how it fits into the picture of thyroid function.


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Tags: Thyroid Health, Dried Urine Testing, Hormone Testing



Theories abound on the origins of most major diseases, and many share one factor in common: inflammation. The biological consequences of inflammation are at the root of virtually every human malady from the common cold to cancer, allergies to arthritis, and headaches to heart disease. Yet inflammation is a natural, self-protective response of the body with the best of intentions. Just as the cells that make up our organs and tissues can be damaged by incessant inflammation, so too the cells that construct our brain experience its impact. Accelerated activity in the brain renders neurons even more vulnerable to inflammatory injury. Networks of neurons shape the nature and stability of our thoughts, moods, and behaviors; physical injury to these neurons has far greater implications for our health and well-being.


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Tags: Alzheimer's, Brain Health