Functional Micronutrient Testing


Functional Micronutrient Consultation At Pupila Family Eye & Ear Care

In the realm of health, understanding the complexities of the human body at the cellular level has always been a challenge.

Breakthroughs like functional micronutrient testing are revolutionizing how we approach well-being, especially concerning eye care.

This innovative testing method provides a comprehensive view of internal health, allowing optometrists to detect eye problems as early as possible and tailor effective treatment plans.

Book A Functional Micronutrient Consultation Today!

What is Functional Micronutrient Testing?

At the heart of this groundbreaking technology lies the use of living T-lymphocytes. Commonly known as T-cells, these white blood cells are produced in the bone marrow and mature in the thymus gland. T-cells are a crucial part of the immune system, playing a central role in the body’s defense against infections and diseases such as viruses, bacteria, and cancer cells.

Unlike conventional tests that measure nutrient levels in the bloodstream, functional micronutrient testing focuses on what happens inside the cells, allowing for an in-depth, intracellular assessment of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants.

Functional micronutrient testing goes beyond the basics, screening four crucial metabolic tests, namely, immune function, antioxidant function, glucose-insulin interaction, and fructose metabolism.


Simply put, methylation is a chemical reaction that occurs in every cell and tissue in our body. Chemically speaking, methylation is the process of adding methyl groups to a molecule. (A methyl group is a chemical structure made of one carbon and three hydrogen atoms.) Since methyl groups are chemically inert, adding them to a protein (the process of methylation) changes how that protein reacts to other substances in the body, thus affecting how that protein behaves. Enzymes, hormones and even genes are proteins and the process of methylation affects them all. In some ways, methylation of proteins helps the body detoxify. For example, the methylation process helps convert the toxic amino acid (homocysteine) into a beneficial amino acid (methionine). If your body cannot methylate properly, toxins build up in your bloodstream and will eventually cause disease. Another role of methylation is to help the enzymes in our bodies work efficiently. Enzymes are proteins that act like switches for chemical reactions – they initiate very important processes in every cell and tissue. In a similar way, methylation affects our genes, which are also made up of proteins. In fact, methylation can turn genes on or off, which can be good or bad for our health, depending on the gene. Some nutrients affect the process of methylation quite dramatically – methyl donors (nutrients like folate and choline) actually donate methyl groups to proteins and methylating factors (nutrients like vitamin B12 and zinc) helps this process along by monitoring specific methylation reactions. How well your body “can methylate” is important to your overall health.

Is methylation good?

Technically, methylation is neither inherently good nor bad – it is simply a process. Since enzymes act like switches for chemical reactions, methylation can ramp up enzyme function which is good in many (but not all) cases. For example, methylation converts the potentially toxic amino acid homocysteine into a beneficial amino acid (methionine). Homocysteine is a necessary amino acid, but excessive levels of homocysteine are a risk factor for heart disease. If your body cannot methylate properly, the accumulation of homocysteine and other compounds in your bloodstream may become toxic and significantly increase your risk of disease.

But there is another side to the methylation story that is often overlooked, which is that you can over-methylate. In susceptible people, hypermethylation has been linked to increased risk of cancer. In a similar way that adding methyl groups to a protein can ramp up enzyme activity, this same process (methylation) affects our DNA and its resulting genetic expression. In fact, methylation can turn genes on or off, which can be good or bad for our health, depending on the gene.

How do I improve my ability to methylate?

Fortunately, you can compensate for your body’s inability to methylate efficiently. This biological process is dependent on several B vitamins and mineral cofactors. Some nutrients affect the process of methylation quite dramatically – methyl donors (nutrients like serine and choline) donate methyl groups to proteins and methylating factors (vitamin B12 and zinc) helps this process along by monitoring these reactions. But if cells are already abundant in methyl-donor nutrients, you can “over-methylate.”

I’ve heard “over-methylating” may be linked to cancer?

Everyone has several genes that make what is called tumor suppressors, which do exactly what they sound like – they suppress tumor formation. You want these genes to be switched “on”. Tumor suppressor genes make proteins that detect abnormal (dysplastic or hyperplastic) cells, then reprogram these rogue cells to die via a process called apoptosis (programmed cell death). We want these abnormal cells to die (so they don’t progress into aggressive or invasive cancers) so these genes are very important to our survival.

Hypermethylation versus Hypomethylation

Just like most systems in the body, both too much (hyper) or too little (hypo) of something is not good. Both hypermethylation and hypomethylation have been associated with cancer. It is important to avoid excess and deficiency. This applies to food, hormones, nutrients, exercise, stress and…methylation. Balance is key. Just as too much of a one nutrient can potentially induce a deficiency in another – since biochemistry always works in balance – the process of methylation also works in balance. It is just as possible to over-supplement with methylated vitamins as to under-supplement. The key is to supplement with exactly what your personal biochemistry needs.

If you are a hypo-methylator, you may benefit by taking nutrients that bolster methylation, including specific “methyldonors” such as methylated folate. However, if you are a hyper-methylator taking the same “methyl-donor” supplements when you are not deficient, it may potentially increase one’s cancer risk. This is a very new area of research that implies targeted supplementation is the key.

How do I optimize methylation without over-methylating?

Targeted repletion is the answer. Nutrient deficiencies are a major clue to how the body’s methylation systems are working. For example, if you have cellular deficiencies in several B vitamins, have high homocysteine or deficiencies in minerals that serve as cofactors for methylation reactions (zinc, magnesium, selenium), repletion of deficient micronutrients can potentially improve systemic health quite dramatically. Conversely, if you take these micronutrients when cellular reserves are sufficient, the potential for harm should be considered. Supplementing blindly (guessing what you need) can cause imbalance. Balance is key.

The solution…evaluate cell function, determine which micronutrients are deficient, then replete those specific deficiencies. Measure – then correct – your functional cellular deficiencies.

1. Measure (don’t guess) which nutrients in which you are actually functionally deficient.
2. Correct (replete) your cellular deficiencies. In doing so, your cell’s methylation process will automatically become more efficient and balanced.


MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) is an enzyme that converts folic acid into usable form that our bodies need. It is a key enzyme in an important detoxification reaction in the body – one that converts homocysteine (toxic) to methionine (benign). If this enzyme is impaired, this detoxification reaction is impaired, leading to high homocysteine blood levels. Homocysteine is abrasive to blood vessels, essentially scratching them, leaving damage that causes heart attacks, stroke, dementia and a host of other problems. Additionally, when the enzyme MTHFR is impaired, other methylation reactions are compromised. Some of these methylation reactions affect neurotransmitters, which is why impaired MTHFR activity is linked with depression. Inefficiency of the MTHFR enzyme is also linked to migraines, autism, fertility, cancer and birth defects, all of which depend on proper methylation.


There is a gene called the MTHFR gene that basically controls how well this enzyme works. A simple blood test can tell you if you have variant copies of this gene.


If the MTHFR enzyme is inefficient, you can compensate for your body’s inability to methylate efficiently since this biological process is dependent on several B vitamins. You may simply need more B vitamins than someone without a variant copy of this gene, such as vitamin B6, B12 (methylcobalamin) and the active form of folate (5-methyl tetrahydrofolate). Other methyl donors such as SAMe and trimethylglycine may also provide benefits. If you have a defective copy of the MTHFR gene, it is important for you to monitor your homocysteine level as well. Fortunately, lowering homocysteine can often be done with the nutrient supplements listed above. Determining what copies of the MTHFR gene you have gives you the ability to compensate accordingly. The old paradigm that we are simply at the mercy of our genes is now challenged. Genetic testing empowers you to take control, launching you into a new age of truly individualized healthcare.

The Significance for Eye Care

Since functional micronutrient testing helps healthcare practitioners get a detailed snapshot of an individual’s overall health, it’s also effective for understanding the specific needs of our eyes at the cellular level.

​​​​​​​The eyes, one of the most complex and delicate organs in our body, require optimal nutrition and care. The results obtained from this test play a pivotal role in preventing and managing various eye conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy.

Benefits of Functional Micronutrient Testing for Eye Health

Personalized Nutrition: It allows eye care providers to create personalized nutrition plans that address intracellular deficiencies to enhance eye health and overall well-being.

Early Detection of Eye Diseases: By identifying deficiencies and functional impairments early on, this testing method allows proactive measures to prevent or slow the progression of eye diseases.

Targeted Supplementation: Using precise information about nutrient deficiencies, we can recommend specific supplements to ensure the body gets the necessary micronutrients for optimal eye health.

Improved Treatment Outcomes: For people already dealing with eye conditions, understanding intracellular health provides valuable insights for improved outcomes.

​​​​​​​Prevention of Vision Loss: By addressing underlying deficiencies, individuals can take proactive steps toward preserving their vision and maintaining eye health as they age.

Schedule a Functional Micronutrient Test with Pupila Family Eye & Ear Care in Houston

Unlock the key to better health and vitality by scheduling a functional micronutrient test with our experienced team at Pupila Family Eye & Ear Care in Houston. This cutting-edge test provides valuable insights into your nutritional status, helping us tailor a personalized plan to optimize your well-being. Don’t miss this opportunity to take control of your health and feel your best. Contact us today to book your appointment!