Organic acids, of which are compounds used in metabolism, can be measured to assess how the body responds to toxins in the body or to evaluate nutrients related to processes of detoxification. For example, methylation is a vital step in the facilitation of converting homocysteine to methionine and in detoxifying chemicals. Without B12, methylation would be suppressed; thus, a resulting methylmalonic acid could be measured in urine at this point. If folic acid deficiency results, then the organic acid formiminoglutamate will accumulate and can be measured. A second example of an organic acid that can be used to evaluate nutrient deficiency resulting from toxins is xanthurenic acid. This acid appears in urine when chemicals deplete B6 (pyridoxine). A third example is measurement of fatty acids. When pthalates interfere with carnitine synthesis, then beta-oxidation in the mitochondria is impaired. THis, in turn, can result in elevated adipate, suberate, and ethylmalonate.
As markers of impaired detoxification or nutrient deficiency resulting from toxins, organic acids can help the clinical practitioner determine nutritional needs as well as possible nutrient or bioactive therapies. These therapies may include supplementation with B12, folic acid, n-acetyl cysteine, glutathione, CoQ10 and glycine. By correcting deficiency or otherwise, these nutrients potentially restore or boost detoxification in efforts to improve health of patients.
Rogers SA. Using Organic Acids to Diagnose and Manage Recalcitrant Patients. Alternative Therapies; July/Aug;12,4, 2006. Available at: http://blackboard.bridgeport.edu/@@437EB59FF6DF953742043192DBAC3894/courses/1/NUTR-560E-DLB-2009NF/content/_22128_1/OrganicsAcidCME.pdf