Brain Health

Order a brain health assessment to evaluate your blood biomarkers and underlying conditions that may lead to a decline in cognitive health that can lead to serious health issues, including dementia, impacting a person's quality of life as they grow older. Order your blood tests for brain health from Ulta Lab Tests and learn about your health today.

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  • Ceruloplasmin
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
  • Copper
  • Glucose (Included as part of the CMP)
  • Hemoglobin A1c (HgbA1C)
  • Homocysteine
  • hs-CRP
  • Insulin
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC)
  • Lead, Blood
  • Mercury, Blood
  • QuestAssureD™ 25-Hydroxyvitamin D (D2, D3), LC/MS/MS
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) and Folate Panel, Serum
  • Zinc

Measurement of the levels of bilirubin is used in the diagnosis and treatment of liver, hemolytic, hematologic, and metabolic disorders, including hepatitis and gall bladder obstructive disease

C-Peptide is useful in the evaluation of pancreatic beta cell function and for determining the source of insulin in patients with hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia.

Increased CRP levels are found in inflammatory conditions including: bacterial infection, rheumatic fever, active arthritis, myocardial infarction, malignancies and in the post-operative state. This test cannot detect the relatively small elevations of CRP that are associated with increased cardiovascular risk.

C-Reactive Protein Cardiac (hs CRP) Useful in predicting risk for cardiovascular disease.

Measurements are used in the diagnosis and treatment of numerous potentially serious disorders associated with changes in body acid-base balance.

This test determines the subtypes of apoe which will aid in the risk assessment of corornary heart disease (CHD) and hyperlipoproteinemia.

Apolipoprotein A1 is the primary protein associated with HDL cholesterol. Like HDL cholesterol, increased concentrations are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

There are two major forms of Apolipoprotein B, B-100 and B-48. B-100, synthesized in the liver, is the major protein in VLDL, IDL, and LDL cholesterol. B-48, synthesized in the intestines, is essential for the assembly and secretion of chylomicrons. Patients with increased concentrations of Apolipoprotein B are at increased risk of atherosclerosis.

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Decreased levels of ceruloplasmin are found in Wilson''s Disease, fulminant liver failure, intestinal malabsorption, renal failure resulting in proteinuria, chronic active hepatitis and malnutrition. Elevated levels are found in primary biliary cirrhosis, pregnancy (first trimester), oral contraceptive use and in acute inflammatory conditions since ceruloplasmin is an acute phase reactant

Serum chloride is the major extracellular anion and counter-balances the major cation, sodium, maintaining electrical neutrality of the body fluids. Two thirds of the total anion concentration in extracellular fluids is chloride and it is significantly involved in maintaining proper hydration and osmotic pressure. Movement of chloride ions across the red blood cell membrane is essential for the transport of biocarbonate ions in response to changing concentrations of carbon dioxide. Chloride measurements are used in the diagnosis and treatment of electrolyte and metabolic disorders such as cystic fibrosis and diabetic acidosis.

A Complete Blood Count (CBC) Panel is used as a screening test for various disease states including anemia, leukemia and inflammatory processes.

A CBC blood test includes the following biomarkers: WBC, RBC, Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, MCV, MCH, MCHC, RDW, Platelet count, Neutrophils, Lymphs, Monocytes, Eos, Basos, Neutrophils (Absolute), Lymphs (Absolute), Monocytes(Absolute), Eos (Absolute), Basos (Absolute), Immature Granulocytes, Immature Grans (Abs)

NOTE: Only measurable biomarkers will be reported.

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Copper is an essential element that is a cofactor of many enzymes. Copper metabolism is disturbed in Wilson's disease, Menkes disease, primary biliary cirrhosis, and Indian childhood cirrhosis. Copper concentrations increase in acute phase reactions and during the third trimester of pregnancy. Copper concentrations are decreased with nephrosis, malabsorption, and malnutrition. Copper concentrations are also useful to monitor patients, especially preterm newborns, on nutritional supplementation. Results of copper are often interpreted together with ceruloplasmin.

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Cortisol is increased in Cushing's Disease and decreased in Addison's Disease (adrenal insufficiency). Patient needs to have the specimen collected between 7 a.m.-9 a.m.

Cortisol is increased in Cushing's Disease and decreased in Addison's Disease (adrenal insufficiency).

Test for myocardial infarction and skeletal muscle damage. Elevated results may be due to: myocarditis, myocardial infarction (heart attack), muscular dystrophy, muscle trauma or excessive exercise

DHEA-S is the sulfated form of DHEA and is the major androgen produced by the adrenal glands. This test is used in the differential diagnosis of hirsute or virilized female patients and for the diagnosis of isolated premature adrenarche and adrenal tumors. About 10% of hirsute women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) have elevated DHEA-S but normal levels of other androgens.

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Measuring the circulating levels of estradiol is important for assessing the ovarian function and monitoring follicular development for assisted reproduction protocols. Estradiol plays an essential role throughout the human menstrual cycle. Elevated estradiol levels in females may also result from primary or secondary ovarian hyperfunction. Very high estradiol levels are found during the induction of ovulation for assisted reproduction therapy or in pregnancy. Decreased estradiol levels in females may result from either lack of ovarian synthesis (primary ovarian hypofunction and menopause) or a lesion in the hypothalamus-pituitary axis (secondary ovarian hypofunction). Elevated estradiol levels in males may be due to increased aromatization of androgens, resulting in gynecomastia.

IMPORTANT - Note this Estradiol test is not for children that have yet to start their menstrual cycle.  If this test is ordered for a child that has yet to begin their menstrual cycle Quest Diagnostics labs will substitute in Estradiol, Ultrasensitive LC/MS/MS - #30289 at an additional charge of $34

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Useful in the diagnosis of hypochromic, microcytic anemias. Decreased in iron deficiency anemia and increased in iron overload.

Fibrinogen is essential for the formation of a blood clot. Deficiency can produce mild to severe bleeding disorders

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FSH and LH are secreted by the anterior pituitary in response to gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GNRH) secreted by the hypothalamus. In both males and females, FSH and LH secretion is regulated by a balance of positive and negative feedback mechanisms involving the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, the reproductive organs, and the pituitary and sex steroid hormones. FSH and LH play a critical role in maintaining the normal function of the male and female reproductive systems. Abnormal FSH levels with corresponding increased or decreased levels of LH, estrogens, progesterone, and testosterone are associated with a number of pathological conditions. Increased FSH levels are associated with menopause and primary ovarian hypofunction in females and primary hypogonadism in males. Decreased levels of FSH are associated with primary ovarian hyper-function in females and primary hypergonadism in males. Normal or decreased levels of FSH are associated with polycystic ovary disease in females. In males, LH is also called interstitial cell-stimulating hormone (ICSH). Abnormal LH levels with corresponding increased or decreased levels of FSH, estrogens, progesterone, and testosterone are associated with a number of pathological conditions. Increased LH levels are associated with menopause, primary ovarian hypofunction, and polycystic ovary disease in females and primary hypo-gonadism in males. Decreased LH levels are associated with primary ovarian hyperfunction in females and primary hyper-gonadism in males.

Elevated GGT is found in all forms of liver disease. Measurement of GGT is used in the diagnosis and treatment of alcoholic cirrhosis, as well as primary and secondary liver tumors. It is more sensitive than alkaline phosphatase, the transaminases, and leucine aminopeptidase in detecting obstructive jaundice, cholangitis, and cholecystitis. Normal levels of GGT are seen in skeletal diseases; thus, GGT in serum can be used to ascertain whether a disease, suggested by elevated alkaline phosphatase, is skeletal or hepatobiliary.

About one billion people around the world have a brain-related health issue. These kinds of problems stem from electrolyte imbalances, nerve issues, oxygen deficiencies, and other issues.

Since your brain is the control center of your entire body, your brain health can affect the rest of your body. That's why you need regular brain health lab tests. 

With the findings that you discover through your brain health assessments, you can make necessary changes to improve your physical and mental health.

Keep reading to learn all that you need to know.

What Is a Decline in Brain Health?

There is no universally recognized definition for brain health, but researchers know that a decline in brain health is marked by changes that negatively impact your quality of life.

Since the brain works throughout the entire body, signals of decline in brain health can manifest in many different ways. However, a patient with brain decline will notice slower physical and mental states overall.

Usually, a decline in brain health has to do with brain disease or disorder. These conditions can cause physical damage to the brain, leading to a myriad of symptoms throughout the body.

These conditions that affect the brain may come from genetic factors, past or present illnesses, or mechanical injuries. Depending on their origin and what kind of damage they cause, patients could have completely different experiences.

Risk Factors for Decline in Brain Health

The risk factors for brain decline depend on the kind of brain condition that we're talking about.

First, let's discuss traumatic brain injuries. These are most common in pediatric patients, specifically children under four years old and young adults between the ages of 15 and 25. Although, older adults 65 and older can also sustain these kinds of injuries from falls.

Caused by mechanical forces, traumatic brain injuries can come from falls, accidents, and other physical detriments to the skull. Due to the risky physical activities of young children and the coordination deficits in older adults, age makes sense as a risk factor.

Brain tumors can affect individuals of any age, although the risk for tumors can increase based on genetic factors and environmental factors.

Neurodegenerative diseases cause damage to the brain over time. So, the most common risk factor for that kind of brain disease is going to be age. Therefore, older adults are more likely to develop these kinds of conditions.

Lastly, we should discuss the risk factors for mental health. Mental health can and will affect everyone at some point in their lives. However, when it comes to chronic mental health problems, there are a few more risk factors to consider:

  • Family history of mental illness
  • Past traumatic or stressful life experiences
  • History of alcohol or drug abuse
  • History of a traumatic brain injury

One in five adults living in America has some kind of mental illness. So, if you think that you fall into this category, you are not alone.

Causes of Decline in Brain Health

The brain controls the whole body. Likewise, the whole body affects the brain.

Because of this reciprocal relationship, the causes of brain decline are plentiful. Here are some of the most common causes that healthcare professionals see:

  • Presence of a mental illness such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD
  • Chronic stress
  • Sleep apnea and/or other sleeping problems
  • Thyroid, kidney, or liver problems
  • Conditions that affect blood flow in the brain such as tumors, strokes, and traumatic brain injuries
  • Low vitamin levels, especially low Vitamin B
  • Eye and/or ear problems
  • The presence of bodily infection, especially if it's traveled to or located in the brain
  • History of alcoholism
  • Medication side effects

All of these causes and courses could explain why younger people have problems with brain decline. However, we should note how brain decline in older adults happens.

Of course, any of these causes can affect older adults, too. However, brain decline in these individuals tends to come from neurodegenerative diseases.

This doesn't mean that all adults are doomed to form a disease like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. Although these conditions are relatively common, they are not a part of normal aging.

Older adults without these kinds of conditions are not doomed to having declining brain health. You can continue to grow your brain in the absence of brain-related conditions. It's important for older adults to keep exercising their intelligence to continue to help their brains stay healthy.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Decline in Brain Health?

The symptoms of a brain disorder will depend on the kind of brain disorder that you have.

If you're dealing with a brain injury due to trauma, you may experience the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Numbness
  • Memory loss
  • Problems with concentration

Those with brain tumors will develop symptoms slowly over time. These symptoms include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Numbness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in personality
  • Trouble with movement

Patients with neurodegenerative diseases will also show a decline over time. These conditions may cause the following

  • Memory loss
  • Forgetfulness
  • Apathy
  • Mood changes

How Is a Decline in Brain Health Diagnosed?

Your primary care physician or a neurologist can diagnose a decline in brain health. By ordering lab work and performing physical exams, they can determine whether or not there has been any damage to the brain.

Depending on your symptoms, your physician may want to run some imaging tests to get a look at the physical brain.

After collecting baseline labs, they can work with you on brain optimization and future testing.

The Brain Health Lab Tests to Screen, Diagnose, and Monitor a Decline in Brain Health

If you're wondering whether or not you have a brain-related condition, you need to get brain health lab tests. These kinds of tests can help you determine whether or not you should be worried about current or future decline:

  • Apolipoprotein - associated with bad cholesterol
  • CRP - a measure of general inflammation in the body
  • Cortisol - measures chronic stress response in the body
  • Creatine kinase - enzyme associated with muscle damage
  • Estradiol - female hormone
  • Ferritin - a blood protein that contains iron
  • Fibrinogen - helps with blood clotting
  • FSH and LH - female hormones involved in ovulation and fertility
  • Gastrin - a hormone that secretes gastric juice when stimulated
  • Hemoglobin A1C - a measurement of the average blood glucose over the last few months
  • Insulin - a hormone that regulates blood glucose
  • Lipase - a pancreatic enzyme that breaks down lipids
  • Magnesium - a critical mineral that our bodies need

Luckily, we have all of these tests and more in our Brain Fit Comprehensive Panel.

Order Brain Health Lab Tests with Ulta Lab Tests

Ulta Lab Tests offers tests that are highly accurate and reliable so you can make informed decisions about your health.

  • Secure and confidential results
  • No insurance is needed
  • No doctor’s referral is required
  • Affordable pricing on all tests
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

Order your brain health lab tests today and your results will be provided to you securely and confidentially online in 24 to 48 hours for most tests.

Take control of your health today with Ulta Lab Tests.

Based on recent research, at least 15-20% of individuals over 65 deal with cognitive impairment. This can lead to serious health issues, including dementia, which impacts a person's quality of life as they grow older.

The reason for this has to do with chronic inflammation in the body. This inflammation spreads in some parts of the body and gets worse in midlife. 

There is a substance called c-reactive protein (CRP), which is created by the liver when it feels there is inflammation. This is why many medical professionals look for this marker to see how the body is doing.

Another inflammatory marker that is assessed includes homocysteine, which is noted as being in line with conditions such as stroke and heart disease along with dementia.

Research is still going on about the connection between dementia and homocysteine, but one study does not show a noticeable increase in homocysteine levels in those.

It becomes important for those who want to make sure their brain is in good health to eat the right way.

Unfortunately, even those who eat well can end up dealing with a lack of nutrients in their body. This has a lot to do with nutrient absorption or the lack of it.
As the body begins to age, it is not as easy for it to optimize the absorption of nutrients that are entering the body.

This is why studies continue to show the impact nutrient deficiencies can have on the human body, especially as it begins to age. Many older individuals don't get enough vitamin D, which can lead to conditions such as dementia.

Additional commonly known vitamin deficiencies include a lack of folate and vitamin B12, which can impact the individual's long-term health. It becomes important to increase the intake of these nutrients with the help of supplements and/or dietary changes.
You have to make sure the right approach is taken as individuals end up dealing with type 2 diabetes and/or Alzheimer's with age.

The right approach for determining the risk factor associated with type 2 diabetes is to look for insulin resistance. This tends to have a serious impact on at least 33% of all Americans.

Many people end up dealing with this condition as they grow older, and it can lead to serious health issues if they don't make a change right now.

Have you ever forgotten someone’s name or where you placed your car keys? Have you ever joked that you have a senior moment during those times? Well, the truth is that; it is common for everyone to experience mild memory loss. However, cognitive decline is not a laughing matter.

As a matter of fact, for many of us, experiencing a declining brain function is the most feared side effect of aging. Studies show that an estimated one out of three seniors die with dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases. However, this does not mean that it is an aging process factor.

Although aging is defiantly a risk factor, scientists believe that dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other memory-related diseases are caused by environmental factors, lifestyle choices, and genetics. With that in mind, it makes things easier to know the steps you need to take to reduce the risk factors and help maintain a healthy brain even as one ages.

Therefore, the million-dollar question is; what are the five things you can do right now to keep your mind shard and prevent cognitive decline?

Decrease Inflammation

Research shows that approximately 18% of people aged above 65 experience mild cognitive impairment.  In some cases, mild cognitive impairment can develop into dementia, which we all know has a huge impact not only on the person affected but the family as well. Today, extensive research on dementia is still going on, and it mainly revolves around how inflammation plays a role in its development.

In fact, researchers believe that chronic inflammation is the root of many diseases that occur later in life.  Some studies show that inflammation in midlife may contribute to dementia. CRP (C-reactive protein) is a substance that the liver produces as a response to inflammation. It is the primary inflammatory marker that researchers test to see a person’s body is inflamed.

Another major inflammatory marker is homocysteine, which is highly associated with heart disease, stroke, and dementia. Although the role homocysteine plays in the development of dementia is not clear,  research shows that people with high levels of homocysteine are nearly double at risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease (which is the most common form of dementia).

The best news is that chronic inflammation can be reversed medically. For this reason, if the homocysteine or CRP levels are found to be high, there are ways one can do to bring the levels down, such as losing weight, managing stress, making diet changes, and reducing allergen and toxins exposure. It has been proven that chronic inflammation in midlife may contribute to the development of dementia.

Check Your Nutrient Intake Levels

It is common knowledge that, as humans, we need a nutritious diet to achieve good health. This fact is especially true when it comes to brain health.  Remember, although you may be eating healthy, there may be some essential nutrients you are missing (especially as one ages). That is because as a person gets old, the body is less effective in making and absorbing some key nutrients.

For example, it has been proven that more than 40% of American adults experience Vitamin D deficiency, and the elderly are more at risk. This is a very important study that shows how older people do not get enough vitamin D, which makes then be at a higher risk of developing dementia.

For this reason, getting about 10 to 30 minutes of sunshine at least 2-days a week is very important.  Also, eating vitamin D-rich foods like fortified dairy products, fish, and egg yolk is important.  It is wise to check Vitamin B12 levels. 
Remember, deficiency in these nutrients will surely contribute to high homocysteine levels. This is why increasing vitamin intake reduces the harmful type of inflammation.

Testing For Insulin Resistance

Diabetes is a problem in America. Today, almost ¾ of Americans are diabetic. We also know that diabetes is a serious condition that brings out many serious complications. In fact, more and more evidence shows that having type 2 diabetes can increase the risk of one developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Although research on this topic is still ongoing, it is believed the connection could be in the way type 2 diabetes affects the brain’s ability to use glucose or respond to insulin.

Checking for insulin resistance is one of the best ways to check if a person is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is a problem that is estimates to affect about 1/3 Americans, and it happens when the body becomes less effective at removing sugar from the blood.

According to American Diabetes Association, almost ½ of people with insulin resistance will develop type 2 diabetes if they fail to make lifestyle changes. However, just like it is with chronic inflammation, insulin resistance is reversible. This makes tracking insulin levels is one of the best ways to see if you have a problem that needs addressing.

If a person’s insulin levels are high, there are proactive ways one can take to bring them down. Few ways include exercising regularly, avoiding fructose, and eating a low-carb diet. A hemoglobin A1c test is another way to check if a person is at risk of getting diabetic conditions.

Avoid Exposure To Heavy Metals

Of course, few metals can be found in our bodies naturally, and they play an important role for both the brain and the whole body. First, they ensure correct body functions. Few examples of these metals include iron, copper, and zinc.

However, although these metals play an important role in the body, excessive levels can be life-threatening. In fact, some research suggests overexposure to copper (either through supplements, water, or food) may contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s.

There are other metal types that we are exposed to every day, and they do not help the body in any way and may affect the brain. A good example is Mercury. This type of metal is poisonous and known to cause serious neurological problems. For this reason, if you consume a lot of fish or still practice the old dental work, it is wise to get mercury levels tested.

Lead is another metal you should avoid completely. Exposure to high levels of lead can cause serious health complications such as dementia.

Genetic Risk

Although environment and lifestyle are factors to consider, genetic makeup is also a factor. This is why it is important to check your genetic risk factors.  For example, people with Apolipoprotein (Apo) E4 gene have a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease after it often begins after the age of 65.

Genetic testing can help a person understand their overall risk. However, it is important to note that having the Apo E4 gene does not necessarily mean that you will inevitably develop dementia.

Some people believe that dementia is a condition that cannot only be prevented but also reversed, even for those with the Apo E4 gene, like Dr. Dale Bredesen.

In a nutshell, applying the above tips to your life increases your chances of avoiding dementia and reversing the symptoms of cognitive decline. Remember, it is never too late to start.