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frequently asked questions - BioPhotonic Scanner™

 

What does the BioPhotonic Scanner™ measure?
How did the BioPhotonic Scanner™ come about?
What are carotenoids?
What is the carotenoid defence system?
How does the BioPhotonic Scanner™ work?
What does my Carotenoid Score mean?
How can I improve my score?
What are the factors that contribute to my Carotenoid Score?
My Carotenoid Score is different from my last scan, why is there variability?
Why is the BioPhotonic Scanner™ unique?
Are there scientific studies validating the BioPhotonic Scanner™?
Why are carotenoids found in our skin and why is the palm of our hand the site of tion?
I already take a multi-vitamin with carotenoids, why should I switch to LifePak™?
I don't take a multivitamin, but I do take a beta-carotene supplement. Why is my score so high?
How else are carotenoids measured?
Who should get scanned?
Where can I get scanned?
Is there anyone who should not use the BioPhotonic Scanner™?
Are there any side effects from using the BioPhotonic Scanner™?
How is the scan test performed?
How did Pharmanex come up with the number ranges that indicate the Carotenoid Score Index?
Has the medical community endorsed the BioPhotonic Scanner? If not, why not?
Will Obesity affect my Carotenoid Score?
Is Pharmanex sure that the carotenoids being measured are only those found in the stratum corneum?
Isn't it possible that carotenoids in other tissues and/or the interstitial fluid are adding to the result?
How is the BioPhotonic Scanner calibrated?
What is a good score?
Will Jaundice affect the scanner score at all?
Does the scanner measure the strength of my immune system?
Is the scanner safe?
Why hasn't my carotenoid score improved since my last scan since I am now taking LifePak?
Why hasn't my carotenoid score improved since my last scan since I am now taking LifePak?

back to faq index

 

Q. What does the BioPhotonic Scanner™ measure?

A. The BioPhotonic Scanner™ measures the level of carotenoids in the skin. The level of skin carotenoids is a good reflection of carotenoids in the body, which in turn is an important indicator of the strength of your body's defence system.

Q. How did the BioPhotonic Scanner™ come about?

A. The scanner was developed by Dr. Werner Gellermann from the University of Utah, Department of Physics, and several collaborators from the University's School of Medicine. Initially Dr. Gellermann and his research group set out to find a way to measure the level of carotenoids in the eyes of people with age-related macular degeneration. Studies show that people with age-related macular degeneration have much lower levels of carotenoids in their eyes, and therefore it was necessary to develop an early-age screening test. Using Raman technology Dr. Gellermann and his team developed an instrument that projected laser light on the back of the eye and reflected back to a detector measuring carotenoid content in the retina. They then applied the same Raman technology to measure carotenoid levels in skin tissues.

Q. What are carotenoids?

A. Carotenoids are red, yellow and orange pigments distributed throughout nature, particularly in the fruits and vegetables we eat. They are among the most beneficial antioxidants. LifePak™ contains the most important carotenoids: lycopene, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein.

Q. What is the carotenoid defence system?

A. In the body, a comprehensive network of carotenoids work together in synergy. This is known as the antioxidant defence system. The carotenoid defence system consists of both intrinsic and extrinsic compounds. Intrinsic compounds are made in the body, often from nutrients we obtain in our diet. The carotenoid enzymes (SOD, GPX, catalase, etc.), L-glutathione and coenzyme Q10 are important intrinsic compounds. Extrinsic compounds can not be made by our body and so must be obtained from our diet. Examples include vitamins E & C, alpha-lipoic acid, carotenoids and flavonoids. To promote an optimal carotenoid defence system, it is important to include all of these nutrients in the diet. LifePak™ is a comprehensive dietary supplement to help you achieve an optimal carotenoid defence system when combined with a healthy diet.

Q. How does the BioPhotonic Scanner™ work?

A. BioPhotonic technology is a new advancement in laser technology and is made possible by applying optics concepts to the investigation of living human tissues. In the BioPhotonic scanner we use the fact that essentially, each species of molecules in the body can generate a different set of colours of light when stimulated with a laser beam. Therefore this colour spectrum is a unique optical fingerprint of a particular molecule species. The instrument uses a blue laser with a wavelength of 473 nm. When this laser hits a carotenoid molecule, a unique fingerprint spectrum with a prominent peak at 510 nm is generated by the carotenoid molecules. The green light is emitted out of the skin a captured by a highly sensitive light detector. A computer analyzes the amount of this green light and produces a numeric reading called the Carotenoid Score.

History - Sir C. V. Raman discovered the technology on which the scanner is based in the 1920's. Sir Raman was awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the Raman Spectroscopy in 1930. That was in the 1920's, but until the onset of the computer, optical and laser technology reached its current sophistication, the concept was not really practical. Raman's discovery proved that there are certain molecules, like carotenoids, that can be excited with a certain wavelength of laser light. The molecules then begin to resonate in very particular ways, releasing a very specific light signal of an altered wavelength that then can be measured. This discovery was revolutionary at the time, but computer and laser technologies could not fully apply it until recently. In just the last ten years, researchers at the University of Utah, led by Dr. Werner Gellerman, actually started putting all these pieces of technology together. The scanner technology is a tremendous scientific breakthrough. It was initially created to measure carotenoid molecules in the human retina. Scientists realized that the concentration of carotenoids in the eye is related to eye health. Because carotenoids are found throughout the body, scientists believed this same technology could be used to measure carotenoid levels in human tissue. That's when the scientists at Pharmanex® collaborated with Dr. Gellerman to develop the Pharmanex® BioPhotonic Scanner. By simply placing the palm of your hand in front of a safe, low-energy blue light laser, you obtain an immediate reading of your carotenoid activity-your Pharmanex® Carotenoid Score.

Q. What does my Carotenoid Score mean?

A. Your Carotenoid Score is an immediate numeric reading of your own skin carotenoid content and an important indicator of the overall strength of your body's carotenoid defence system. As you continue to participate in the LifePak supplementation program combined with a healthy diet, you can track your Carotenoid Score for evidence of improved carotenoid activity. Based on our study, your Carotenoid Score can increase after only 60 days of LifePak supplementation, and continue to increase after. Knowing your Carotenoid Score empowers you with a personalised assessment that can be used to develop a carotenoid defence strategy.

Q. How can I improve my score?

A. You can begin by eating more fruits and vegetables that are rich in carotenoids. Daily consumption of a dietary supplement such as LifePak which provides 15 mg of carotenoids may also result in a higher score. Remember, high body fat percentage and exposure to pollution, cigarette smoke, and sunlight may negatively impact your carotenoid defence levels. Changes to your diet or lifestyle activities will take about 30 to 60 days before they are reflected in your Carotenoid Score.

Q. What are the factors that contribute to my Carotenoid Score?

A. There are several variables that factor into your Carotenoid Score, such as your genetic ability to absorb carotenoids, your diet (generally fresh fruits and vegetables contain the highest level of nutrients), carotenoid supplements, medications, smoking, sun exposure and your environment. People will absorb carotenoids from foods, and LifePak™, differently. When taking LifePak, you need to make sure to take it with meals, because the fats from food are necessary to absorb LifePak's carotenoids and the fat-soluble vitamins. People who take LifePak in between meals or with fat-free meals will not get the full benefits of LifePak. If you would like to increase your Carotenoid Score, determine what factors you are able to control and make the change!

Q. My Carotenoid Score is different from my last scan, why is there variability?

A. It is normal to have slight variations in the Carotenoid Score due to several factors. First, skin carotenoids vary slightly depending on the exact location that is being scanned on the palm of the hand. Also, dietary changes, dietary supplementation, sun exposure, and smoking causes more long-term changes in skin carotenoids that can result in a different score. The BioPhotonic Scanner meets the repeatability requirements of most analytical equipment. Two successive Carotenoid Score measurements of the same subject on a properly calibrated and functioning BioPhotonic Scanner can vary by as much as +/-3,000 points. This does not mean the Scanner is malfunctioning. Regular measurement of an individual over time will clearly show changes (or constancy) in their Carotenoid Score consistent with their eating habits and use of LifePak®.

Q. Why is the BioPhotonic Scanner™ unique?

A. The BioPhotonic Scanner™ technology is the first application of biophotonic technology in the nutritional field and is only available through Pharmanex. Pharmanex has acquired global exclusive rights to apply this patented technology to dietary supplement markets and that means that no other company will be able to use this technology for the next 18 years. Biophotonic measurement will become the assessment tool of the future and Pharmanex representatives have the privilege to be among the first to use this extraordinary technology. The BioPhotonic Scanner™ offers our customers verifiable proof that eating a healthy diet, supplementing with LifePak™ and other Pharmanex products are truly making a difference in their overall health and well being.

Q. Are there scientific studies validating the BioPhotonic Scanner™?

A. In accordance with the Pharmanex 6S process, the BioScan™ technology is substantiated with independent research. Scientific reviews of the technology and application to measure skin carotenoids were published by Hata et al. (J. Invest. Dermatology 155:441-448, 2000) and Gellermann et al. (Optics Letters 26:1179-1181, 2001).

Q. Why are carotenoids found in our skin and why is the palm of our hand the site of action?

A. Carotenoids are absorbed with the aid of dietary fat. Thus they are found predominately in the "fatty" areas of the body, including your skin. The fatty tissue in our palm is a prime area for testing because it is easily accessible has a relatively high carotenoid content due to the higher amount of fatty tissue, and there is a minimal difference in skin pigmentation between subjects in this tissue area.

Q. I already take a multi-vitamin with carotenoids, why should I switch to LifePak™?

A. First, most multivitamins do not provide the right types and amounts of carotenoids. LifePak™ contains a full 15 mg of the most important dietary carotenoids that are found in healthy diets with 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables, as recommended by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Second, even if you get the right types and amounts of carotenoids, you still need all the other nutrients to support your carotenoid defence system in optimal ways. LifePak™ is a comprehensive nutritional wellness program, containing the complete spectrum of nutrients which are highly bioavailable and well-tolerated. Carotenoids are only one class of compounds that are essential for cell protection. Other compounds such as vitamin C, vitamin E, mineral cofactors like selenium and zinc, alpha-lipoic acid and flavonoids are all necessary and provide recognizable benefits to your health. LifePak's™ full-spectrum formula provides a comprehensive range of nutrients to fortify your body's health.

Q. I don't take a multivitamin, but I do take a beta-carotene supplement. Why is my score so high?

A. The BioPhotonic Scanner™ measures the level of carotenoids in the skin and is an important indicator of the strength of your body's carotenoid defence system; however, carotenoids are only one component of your defence system. Taking a beta-carotene supplement can raise skin carotenoid levels and the Carotenoid Score. To get more complete benefits, it is important to take a multivitamin that contains a wide variety of nutrients, including carotenoids, flavonoids, vitamins, and mineral cofactors. Taking a well-balanced combination of all of these nutrients will provide the best overall protection to your body.

Q. How else are carotenoids measured?

A. Carotenoids are typically measured by invasive techniques requiring blood samples or urine tests. These tests are expensive and may take weeks before you receive your results. Also, these tests may only reflect what was recently consumed, i.e. the previous meal. The BioPhotonic Scanner™ is a great way to measure your carotenoid level safely and non-invasively. The ability to assess our nutrition levels in this unique way will open up a world of opportunity for Pharmanex.

Q. Who should get scanned?

A. Anyone who is mindful of his or her current and future health should take the opportunity to get scanned.

Q. Where can I get scanned?

A. Certified BioScan™ operators will be able to scan you with your certificate. Contact your Distributor Representative and they will advise you the nearest location for a scanning session.

Q. Is there anyone who should not use the BioPhotonic Scanner™?

A. No. The BioPhotonic Scanner™ is a safe and non-invasive technology. We encourage everyone to know his or her Carotenoid Score. The BioPhotonic Scanner™ is safe for all ages.

Q. Are there any side effects from using the BioPhotonic Scanner™?

A. There are no side effects or potential health risks when properly using the scanner. The BioPhotonic Scanner™ uses a well-researched low-energy laser and is exposed to only a small-sized portion of your body for less than 30 seconds. The BioPhotonic Scanner™ operators are properly trained and certified to use this equipment.

Q. How is the scan test performed?

A. The person being tested simply places the palm of his/her hand in front of a low-energy blue light laser. There is no feeling, no pain, and no danger.

Q. How did Pharmanex come up with the number ranges that indicate the Carotenoid Score Index?

A. The number ranges are based on research involving the scanning of 1375 people. The scanning resulted in carotenoid levels ranging from a low of 1500 to a very high 73,000. The mean average was 19,000. Subjects in the study who reported eating a recommended diet of six or more fruits and vegetables per day, and/or using supplements, measured 25,000 and above. This study suggests that readings of 25,000 or above provide healthy levels of carotenoids.

Q. Has the medical community endorsed the BioPhotonic Scanner? If not, why not?

A. Biophotonics is a new, cutting edge method of measurement used regularly in the medical community. The Pharmanex BioPhotonic Scanner is a new application for biophotonic technology and has only recently been introduced to the medical community.

Q. Will Obesity affect my Carotenoid Score?

A. Previous studies have shown an inverse relationship between body mass index (BMI) or body fat content and serum or plasma carotenoid concentrations (Reitman A et al., Isr Med Assoc J 4:590-3, 2002; Neuhouser ML et al., J Nutr 131:2184-91, 2001). This is believed to be due to a dilution effect of adipose tissue serving as a storage site for carotenoids. The same relationship was observed in the present study. Biophotonic skin carotenoid responses in the palm declined with increasing BMI. The same relationship was observed when body fat was estimated using a near-infrared device. Self-reported fruit and vegetable consumption was similar across all BMI and % body fat groups. These findings compare well with conventional traditional blood analysis and help substantiate the biophotonic skin carotenoid measurements as an assessment tool of carotenoid status.

Q. Is Pharmanex sure that the carotenoids being measured are only those found in the stratum corneum? Isn't it possible that carotenoids in other tissues and/or the interstitial fluid are adding to the result?

A. As a matter of fact it is one of the reasons we chose the palm of the hand as the site of measurement. At other locations on the body, these other tissue types as well as the interstitial fluid would most likely influence the result. However, in the palm of our hands, the stratum corneum is unusually thick, with the average thickness being 400 micrometers. Since the laser penetration depth of this technique is only 50 micrometers, we are quite confident that the measurement is specific to carotenoids found in the stratum corneum.

Q. How is the BioPhotonic Scanner calibrated?

A. We are using a linear, three point calibration process. We have three "Calibration Caps" with No, Low, and High readings. The materials being used are thin-films that are fitted into these caps. The caps fit over the laser aperture. The films being used have different levels of an embedded "carotenoid-like" molecule. We are not giving out any further detains regarding this film (trade secret). By performing this calibration, we can bring the instruments that are out in the field, in-line with the laboratory unit.

Q. What is a good score?

A. A strong carotenoid defence should be desired, and is a number that is unique to each individual. In a large clinical screening study, the mean average was 19,000, which also correlated with a mean fruit and vegetable intake of 2-3 per day. National organizations recommend consuming at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. The clinical study found that those subjects who consumed six or more fruits and vegetables per day measured 25,000 or above. Subjects who took the US formulated LifePak twice daily measured above 28,000. Ask what the customer's Carotenoid Score is, then explain that our study showed certain factors can increase or decrease that number. Ask if there are any factors this individual would like to improve in their life/health. Recommend incorporating some of these factors, including taking LifePak twice daily, and track how their Carotenoid Score improves every 60 days. You can give estimated percentage increases based on the study as well.

What's important is to track how an individual's diet and lifestyle factors affect their Carotenoid Score over time. The fact that anyone can make an improvement is in line with distributors, but not assigning an optimal level may contradict some, so be careful how it is presented. Someone who starts at 10,000 may max out at 20,000 after changing diet and lifestyle; what's important is that they doubled their score. Same with someone who is at 30,000, then max out at 45,000 on LifePak.

Q. Will Jaundice affect the scanner score at all?

A. No, Jaundice should not affect the scanner score. The skin colour change is primarily due to bilirubin, which is not detected by the scanner because it has a difference wavelength for raman spectroscopy. If the skin colour change was due to carotenoids it would affect the scanner score.

Q. Does the scanner measure the strength of my immune system?

A. While carotenoids and other nutrients support a healthy immune system, the scanner does not directly measure the strength of the immune system or risk of disease. The scanner measures the level of carotenoids in the skin, which is a good reflection of carotenoids in the body. This is an important indicator of the strength of your body's carotenoid defence system. While carotenoids like beta-carotene have been shown to have a positive effect on the immune system, this effect may be due to the provitamin A activity of beta-carotene and not its function as an carotenoid.

Q. Is the scanner safe?

A. There are no potential health risks when properly using the scanner. The BioPhotonic Scanner™ uses a class 3B, low-energy laser and is exposed to only a dime-sized portion of your body for less than 2 minutes. This classification of lasers (established by the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), a department of the FDA) is considered safe for skin contact, but hazardous if it comes in contact with the eye. The scanner has a protective guard to prevent anyone from exposing their eye to the laser. The BioPhotonic Scanner™ operators are properly trained and certified to use this equipment.

Q. Why hasn't my carotenoid score improved since my last scan since I am now taking LifePak?

A. There are many factors that can affect you carotenoid score, including genetics, diet, carotenoid supplements, medications, smoking, sun exposure and your environment. Of particular importance in this case is the person's genetic ability to absorb carotenoids. This does not mean the person is not able to absorb them at all, they just do not absorb them as efficiently. It is possible that they may be absorbing some carotenoids from LifePak just not a significant amount to show an increase on the scanner, but this has not been tested specifically. There is no concern with possibly not absorbing carotenoids as efficiently as others. Even if the person is not benefiting specifically from the carotenoid blend in LifePak, they would still be benefiting from the other nutrients, the bone nutrients and other vitamins and minerals.

Q. What is the correlation between the Carotenoid Score of a mother and her nursing child?

A. Carotenoids have been shown to be present in the breast milk. There is no need for a mother to be concerned that her infant's score is lower than hers. A typical nursing child's score is around 10,000, even if the mother's score is much higher. While we know that carotenoids do make it to the breast milk, we do not know much beyond that. It is possible that infants' ability to absorb carotenoids doesn't fully develop until an age when nature intended them to consume solids.