What is the Biophotonic Scanner?
The patented Pharmanex BioPhotonic Scanner is a cutting edge testing tool that non-invasively measures carotenoid levels in living tissue, providing an immediate indication of a person’s antioxidant levels. Premier Sports and Spine Center uses the scanner to assess patient’s antioxidant levels for general health, chronic conditions and for performance and recovery in athletes. Our doctors use the BioPhotonic Scanner to validate the efﬁcacy of supplementation regimes and to make recommendations based on the patient’s antioxidant status when appropriate.
How does the BioPhotonic Scanner work?
The BioPhotonic Scanner functions on the principle of reﬂected and scattered light discovered by C.V. Raman in 1930, and adapted for the assessment of carotenoids in living tissues by Gellermann et al. in 2000. Resonance Raman Spectroscopy is based on the fact that each species of molecule in the body can reﬂect a different set of colors when stimulated with a light source of a known frequency. The scanner technology works on the principle of light and the fundamental particle of light is a photon. White light has photons of different wavelengths, which are represented by colors. The scanner produces a narrow beam of light in which all of the photons are the same color—blue. The blue light has a wavelength of 473 nanometers (nm). When a 473 nm photon of light comes into contact with a carotenoid, something interesting happens. The energy level of the 473 nm photon increases to 510 nm, the wavelength associated with green light. The only molecule in nature that can shift a 473 nm photon to a 510 nm photon is a carotenoid. As 473 nm photons strike carotenoids in the skin, they are reﬂected back as 510 nm photons. This is how the carotenoid concentration in the skin is measured. Because the number of photons reﬂected at the 510 nm wavelength is proportional to the concentrations of carotenoids in the skin, these green photons are then counted to calculate the individual’s Skin Carotenoid Score.
What does my Skin Carotenoid Score mean?
Your Skin Carotenoid Score (SCS) is an immediate numeric reading of your own skin carotenoid content and an important indicator of your body’s antioxidant defense system.Knowing your SCS empowers you with a personalized assessment that can be used to develop an antioxidant defense strategy. Your SCS is reﬂective of long-term lifestyle habits, and is not subject to changes during short periods of hours or days. Scanning every 6–8 weeks is ideal to help you determine whether you are consuming an adequate amount of antioxidant-containing nutrients.
Is the BioPhotonic Scanner backed by science?
The use of Raman Spectroscopy for biological measurements is an established scientiﬁc discipline backed by years of research. The Pharmanex BioPhotonic Scanner S3 is a patented application of Resonance Raman Spectroscopy for the measurement of carotenoid antioxidant nutrients in living tissue for the improvement of nutrition. The use of biophotonics to assess biological molecules in living tissue is a distinct scientiﬁc discipline, and the Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner is an instrument that is based on the same principles. The use of Raman Spectroscopy for the assessment of human tissue carotenoids has been validated by at least eight peer-reviewed studies conducted by third party entities unrelated to Pharmanex or the supplementation industry. (Bernstein, 1998, 2002; Ermakov, 2004a, 2004b; Gellermann, 2004, 2002; Hata, 2000; Zhao, 2003.) In addition to the external research, Pharmanex has validated the use of Raman Spectroscopy for the measurement of carotenoids in several studies including a large-scale clinical screening study with 1,375 subjects that conﬁrmed a correlation between antioxidant status and lifestyle parameters (Smidt, 2003). A second study established the efﬁcacy of LifePak to improve the antioxidant status of subjects over a 12-week period (Smidt, 2002). A third study established a highly signiﬁcant correlation (r=0.78) between blood carotenoid levels and skin carotenoid levels as assessed by the Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner (Smidt, 2004a). A fourth study, which was presented at the 45th annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition in Long Beach, California (Zidichouski, 2004), demonstrated that the Pharmanex BioPhotonic Scanner measurement has less variability than blood carotenoids (measured by the conventional HPLC method). A ﬁfth study was presented by Dr. James Rippe at the National Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in June, 2004 (Indianapolis, IN). This study conﬁrmed that in overweight and obese ndividuals, the level of adipose tissue accumulation negatively inﬂuenced skin carotenoid levels, and thus antioxidant status.
A sixth study established skin carotenoid levels as an indicator of overall antioxidant status. The researchers investigated correlations between skin carotenoid levels (Pharmanex Biophotonic Scanner) and blood serum antioxidants (vitamins C and E, and carotenoids by HPLC) as well as urinary isoprostanes, which are widely regarded as the best measure of oxidative stress in the body. Together, these results conﬁrmed that the Pharmanex BioPhotonic Scanner is a very good non-invasive indicator of overall antioxidant status in the body and of overall oxidative stress. How do skin carotenoids correlate to overall antioxidant status? A study conducted by Svilaas et al. established carotenoids as a reliable indicator of other dietary antioxidants. Svilaas and his colleagues assessed antioxidant intake from diets of more than 2,670 adults and evaluated blood serum antioxidants of 61 individuals for seven consecutive days. Svilaas et al. reported that carotenoids are a better predictor of serum antioxidant concentrations than alpha, beta, delta, and gamma-toccopherols or glutathione (Svilaas, 2004). In agreement with Svilaas’ ﬁndings, Pharmanex research shows a highly signiﬁcant inverse correlation between skin carotenoids and oxidative stress (urinary isoprostanes as a measure of actual free radical damage). Two studies conducted by Pharmanex showed a highly signiﬁcant correlation between serum total carotenoids and skin carotenoids as assessed by Raman Spectroscopy. The ﬁrst of these two studies (n=104) showed a correlation of r=0.78 (p < 0.001), and the second (n=372) produced three separate correlation plots (rage 0.78 – 0.82, p < 0.0001), all highly signiﬁcant (Smidt 2004; Zidichouski 2004). This data bridges the ﬁndings of Svilaas to validate Raman Spectroscopy as a method to assess skin carotenoid status and provide an indication of broad spectrum antioxidant status, without the inconvenience of skin and blood samples.
Also, watch the Dr. Oz video on the validity of the Biophotonic Scanner!
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