Bio Impedance Analysis
Bioelectrical Impedance is measured when a very small electrical signal carried by water and fluids is passed through the body. Impedance is greatest in fat tissue, which contains only 10-20% water, while fat-free mass, which contains 70-75% water, allows the signal to pass much more easily. By using the impedance measurements along with a person’s height and weight, and body type (gender, age, fitness level), it is possible to calculate the percentage of body fat, fat-free mass, hydration level, and other body composition values.
Using BIA to estimate person’s body fat assumes that the body is within normal hydration ranges. When a person is dehydrated, the amount of fat tissue can be overestimated. Factors that can affect hydration include not drinking enough fluids, drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, exercising or eating just before measuring, certain prescription drugs or diuretics, illness, or a woman’s menstrual cycle. Measuring under consistent conditions (proper hydration and same time of day) will yield best results with this method.
BIA is a state-of-the-art assessment in body composition analysis. In less than 5 minutes, the results are available through a sophisticated computer software, giving a breakdown of lean body tissue, bone tissue, fat, and total water. One of the earliest signs of failing health is a shift of fluid from intracellular to extracellular, indicating possible body toxicity. The BIA also gives resting metabolic rate of calories burned in 24 hours, which becomes important information in formulating a menu plan based on your specific body calorie needs and biochemistry. This information is invaluable for those on weight management programs or detoxification programs, for those working to build muscle mass, and to track the aging process and general health status.
Preparing for a RJL Quantum BIA:
If you haven’t had a BIA done before, it is important to be prepared. The Quantum BIA sends a very minute electrical current throughout your body. Although, the electrical current is so small that it is undetectable, if you have a pacemaker or automatic implantable cardiac defibrillator (AICD), you should not have a BIA done with an EIS or RJL Quantum unit.
- All metal jewelry should be removed. Although you won’t feel anything, metal removal improves accuracy.
- Avoid exercise or other activity that would make you sweat at least 8 hours before your test. This is important to get accurate body fluid results.
- Avoid caffeine or alcohol in large quantities 12 hours before the test.
- Go to the bathroom before the test to get rid of any waste products. If you have diarrhea, it is important to tell Dr. Kaslow, as diarrhea can affect your body fluid results.
- Your height and weight will be measured. Your height will only be taken the first time, but your weight will be measured each time you come in for a BIA. Since an accurate weight is important, remember to empty out your pockets, remove your shoes and any other heavy clothing.
- You will be asked to remove your right shoe and sock and lie down on a table.
- Two electrodes will be placed on your right hand and two more on your right foot. If you have a lot of hair in these areas, you may feel some discomfort when the pads are removed.
- Once the leads are hooked up to the electrodes, the test only takes a few seconds.
- The BIA data will be input a computer and the results printed for review.
Understanding the BIA Results:
There are several measurements of importance that are reported in the BIA results.
Phase Angle: is a measurement of your body’s overall health. Phase angle is based on total body resistance and reactance and is independent of height, weight and body fat. Lower phase angles appear to be consistent with either cell death or a breakdown of the cell membrane. Higher phase angles appear to be consistent large quantities of intact cell membranes and body cell mass. As you would expect the phase angle is increased with an increase in body mass, even though obesity itself is not associated with good health. All living substances have a phase angle. In fresh uncooked vegetables the phase angle can exceed 45 degrees. In cooked vegetables phase angle is zero because they are dead.
Phase Angle is a predictor of outcome and indicates the course of disease or increases as the result of optimal health based on good nutrition and consistent exercise. Usually, a phase angle of 6 or greater is desired for men and 5 or greater is desired for women.
As we get older our phase angle will decrease and will be approximately 4 or less when we die. Fit adolescents may have a phase angle greater than 10. This effect is a result of cell integrity due to age. Low phase angles are consistent with:
- Infection (HIV/AIDS, bacteremia)
- Chronic disease (cirrhosis, renal disease, pulmonary tuberculosis)
- Cancer (most types)
- Abusive life style
- Chronic Alcoholism
- Old Age (80 – 100 years)