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Bioelectric Impedance Analysis

BIA Measurement Resistance and Reactance = Phase Angle



The Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) is a micro current measurement that will not shock us when tested. It does help us to understand how the energy runs through our body. The (BIA) takes two measurements, Resistance and Reactance. Resistance is something that opposes flow. In the body, highly conductive lean tissues contain large amounts of water and conducting electrolytes (ionic minerals) and represent a low resistance electrical pathway. If our fluid is congested with waste poisons we will show a high resistance electrical pathway. When our body is depleted of Ionic Minerals we will have high resistance electrical pathway. Our body is designed to digest our oils, proteins, grains or they will turn into stored energy (fat). Without proper enzymes we will show a high resistance electrical pathway. If we can not digest or eliminate our food intake we create high resistance to energy flow. (BIA) helps us to appreciate how the energy flows in our body as an individual.

Reactance, also known as capacitive reactance when describing biological tissues, is the opposition to the instantaneous flow of electric current caused by capacitance. In the healthy living body, the cell membrane consists of a layer of non-conductive lipid material sandwiched between two layers of conductive protein molecules, The structure of cell membranes makes them capacitive reactive elements which behave as capacitors when exposed to an alternating current. Biologically, the cell membrane functions as a selectively permeable barrier separating the intracellular and extra cellar fluid compartments. It protects the interior of the cell while allowing passage of some materials to which it is permeable. The cell membrane maintains a fluid osmotic pressure and ion concentration gradient between the intracellular and extra cellular compartments. This gradient creates an electrical potential difference across the membrane which is essential to cell survival. Fluid balance in and out of the cell is very important to cell life, along with Ionic Minerals to move material across the cell membrane. To much fluid around the cell will dehydrate the inside of a cell, not good. The fluid balance in and outside a cell will conduct proper electrical (ions) current. With no electricity or (mineral ions) in and outside the cell, there is no life. There must be an oscillating current at all times across the cell membrane. Damage to the cell membrane, and its functions, is as lethal to the cell as direct damage to the nucleus itself. Damage the cell wall and you stop the energy or electric ion flow. Remember water and mineral ion balance is key for a healthy cell.

Theoretically, reactance is a measure of the volume of cell membrane capacitance and an indirect measure of the intracellular volume or body cell mass. Whereas, body fat, total body water and extra cellular water offer resistance to electrical current, only cell membranes offer capacitive reactance. Since fat tissue cells ARE NOT SURROUNDED BY CELL MEMBRANES, reactance is not affected by the quantity of body fat.

Impedance is a complex quantity, having both a resistive and reactive component. It has a magnitude and Phase Angle. Specifically, it is the vector sum of resistance and reactance, where reactance is the Y coordinate and resistance is the X coordinate. The square root of the squared sums of X and Y is impedance. Phase angle is the angle (degrees) between the resistance coordinate and the impedance magnitude (line). If, for example, there were zero resistance and any value of reactance then phase angle would be 90 degrees. On the other hand, if reactance were zero and resistance had any finite value, then the phase angle would be zero degrees. Phase angle is a simple method of expressing the effective ratio of resistance and reactance from 0-90 degrees and electrically describes how voltage and current lead of lag each other in any circuit of resistors and capacitors. Impedance and phase angle only exist with alternating current.

What is Phase Angle?
Phase angle is based on total body resistance and reactance and is independent of height, weight and body fat. Lower phase angles appear to be consistent with either cell death or a breakdown of the cell membrane. Higher phase angles appear to be consistent with large quantities of intact cell membranes and body cell mass. All living substances have a phase angle, in fresh uncooked vegetables phase angle can exceed 45 degrees. In cooked vegetables phase angle is zero because they are dead. 

Why is Phase Angle Important?
Phase Angle is a predictor of out come and indicates the course of disease or increases as the result of optimal health based on good nutrition and consistent exercise.

As we get older our phase angle will decrease and will be approximately 4 or less when we die. Fit adolescents may have a phase angle greater than 10. This effect is a result of cell integrity due to age. Low phase angles are consistent with: 
1) Malnutrition
2) HIV/AIDS infection
3) Cancer (most types)
4) Abusive life style
5) Chronic Alcoholism
6) Old Age (80-100 years)

Good fitness and life style is the key to maintaining a healthy Phase Angle.

Here is a sample TEST of a Body Composition Report and a History report showing improvement of Phase Angle.

Date Jan 3, 2002 Phase angle 6.1

Read graph from left to right: 
FAT  84.3lbs - Body Fat - (Stored Energy) Storage of potential energy or body fat.
BCM 41.3lbs - Body Cell Mass - (Muscle Mass) The burning of fat and nutrients then converting it to work or kinetic energy.
ECM 49.4lbs - Extra cellular Mass - (Body Fluid) The transportation of nutrients, waste and fluids.

The Actual Fat in this graph is much to high (30lbs), showing an imbalance between calorie intake and calorie burned. Lab test show high sugar in blood and high cholesterol . The body is compensating energy intake that is unable to use into storage, cholesterol and fat. 

Date July 9, 2003 Phase Angle 6.8

  79.3lbs Body Fat - (Stored Energy) Storage of potential energy or body fat.
BCM 45.5lbs Body Cell Mass - (Muscle Mass) The burning of fat and nutrients then converting it to work or kinetic energy.
ECM 52.2lbs Extra cellular Mass - (Body Fluid) The transportation of nutrients, waste and fluids.

Much Improvement both Phase Angle and Body Composition is better. Phase angle  went from (6.1) to (6.8) and Fat from (30lbs) excess to (23lbs) excess. All showing signs of improved energy flow throughout the body.

Notice the difference of Phase Angle improvement. Phase Angle went from 5.5 to 6.8. This is indicative of improvement in Body Composition, (Fat, BCM, ECM) and Energy flow throughout the total body cells. This female client is 77 years of age and has shown remarkable improvement in one year from April 2000 to July 2003.  

The BIA instrument can objectively help us to understand visually the effectiveness of our life style with projected and historical graphs thereby helping increase our motivation for a positive change. Knowing how our Phase Angle and Body Composition (Fat, BCM, ECM) is changing is important for working at improving optimum health. We can also determine the results of a health care professional's recommendations. This is an excellent test that is consistent and does not change unless we do something to improve our own health. Our body will heal itself if our life style is balanced, (R.E.A.D.). Apply what you learn on this web site and become your own best Doctor.