Part 1: What does an OATs test look at:

The Metabolic Analysis Profile is a nutritional test that assesses urine metabolites in order to evaluate four critical areas of metabolism: gastrointestinal function, cellular and mitochondrial energy production, neurotransmitter processing, and amino acid/organic acid balance as influenced by vitamin/mineral cofactors. Results can be used to address chronic systemic complaints ranging from chronic fatigue and mood disorders to headache, muscular/joint pain, and digestive problems in addition to insomnia, recurrent infections, difficulty loosing weight and more.

Part 2: Getting more specific:

  • Organic acid analysis can reveal need for a variety of other types of nutrients
  • Organic acid analysis gives us information about an important biochemical process called methylation. Specifically, this test measures the status of three key nutrients involved in methylation: folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12
  • Organic acid analysis also evaluates carnitine status. Carnitine is a compound that is manufactured within the body and transports fatty acids into the part of the cell (mitochondria) where they are burned for energy.
  • A person’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates is also seen with this test. Insulin resistance is one of the impairments of carbohydrate metabolism revealed by organic acid analysis
  • Carbohydrate and fatty acid metabolism are part of the process of converting our food into energy. The organic acid analysis gives us further insight into this critical aspect of metabolism
  • The organic acids related to neurotransmitter metabolism give us information about the balance of epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. Imbalances are seen in cases of anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, schizophrenia, attention deficit and behavioral disorders, carbohydrate craving, constipation, obesity, chronic fatigue syndrome, and addictions.
  • Free radical damage to DNA is also revealed with this test, by measurement of an organic acid called 8-OHdG. Damage to DNA can predispose to cancer cell formation. Elevations of 8-OHdG are seen in a variety of chronic conditions including elevated blood cholesterol levels.
  • Organic acid analysis gives us insight into the body’s toxin exposure and its ability to rid itself of toxins. Several factors determine toxicity: the potency of the toxin, its concentration, and the capacity of the body’s detoxification system to eliminate the toxin.
  • Another important source of ammonia toxicity revealed by organic acid testing is overgrowth of bacteria within the intestinal tract. This is a common condition often resulting from overuse of antacids and antibiotics. 
  • Organic acid analysis gives a wealth of information about the adequacy of the body’s detoxification system and its overall toxic burden. Five different major detoxification pathways are assessed with this test. 

Four central areas of testing provide the following data:

The Metabolic Analysis Profile is a nutritional test using a urinary assessment of 46 key organic acids grouped according to their primary roles in the following four central areas of metabolism.

  • Gastrointestinal Function — This profile measures eight markers that can reveal malabsorption and dysbiosis. These imbalances can be addressed to improve gut health and to help prevent or alleviate: chronic digestive problems, common causes of nutritional deficiency, yeast overgrowth, cognitive impairment, gastrointestinal distress, and degenerative conditions.
  • Energy Production —This profile assesses metabolites that serve as important intermediates in the citric acid (Krebs) cycle. This cycle supplies the body with its primary energy needs, converting 90% of food energy into cellular energy. This subpanel also includes:
    • Carbohydrate metabolites that can signal impaired glucose metabolism
    • Markers that help evaluate the breakdown of fats and production of cholesterol
    • A marker measuring the production of coenzyme Q10

Imbalances of cellular energy metabolites are linked with chronic fatigue, accelerated cell breakdown, and unhealthy aging.

  • Neurotransmitter Metabolites - A special grouping of neurotransmitter metabolites serve as important diagnostic indicators of abnormal metabolism that can underline many key aspects of neuropsychiatric function. These markers are urinary metabolites of powerful neurotranmitters that act on the central nervous system, including: Epinephrine, Dopamine, and Serotonin. These substances can profoundly influence patterns of stress response, emotional well-being, cognition, and sleep.
  • Assessment of Nutrient Sufficiency — This nutritional test provides a functional assessment of nutrient sufficiency and usage that covers a broad range of vitamins, coenzymes, elements, enzyme activators, and other nutrients.  An analysis of amino acid metabolites which require vitamin and mineral cofactors for their metabolism can hint at deficiencies of: vitamins B6, B12 and C, magnesium, copper, iron, and various amino acids.

Why you should get an OATs Test:

Instead of tests that measure nutrient concentrations, the OATs measures abnormal concentrations of organic acids in urine.  This provides functional markers for the metabolic effects of vitamin inadequacies, toxic exposure, neuroendocrine activity, and intestinal bacterial overgrowth. The ultimate tool for laboratory evaluation in nutritional medicine is a simple, sensitive test that can reveal evidence of functional inadequacy of specific nutrients.  When you build or remodel a house you need to start by looking at your foundation, the same can be said when it comes to addressing your needs at a functional level, know what you have and what you may be missing so you can adjust as needed.