Neutrophilic Hypersegmentation Index (NHI) Test for Folate Status
This inexpensive blood test can confirm your folate levels
The NHI indicates whether the most rapidly dividing cells in our bodies have enough folate - neutrophils, other circulating blood cells, and the cells lining our GI tracts are the most rapidly dividing cells in our bodies. The NHI determines what percentage of your body's neutrophils ( type of white blood cell) were supplied with an optimal amount of folate while they were growing and maturing.The optimum being100% percent.
Dr. Jonothon V. Wright of the Tahoma Clinic explains the details of this test:
“When neutrophils are “born”and “incubate”in bone marrow, their chromosomesâ€”DNAâ€”arrange themselves into five segments. A final step in neutrophil DNA maturation is re-arrangement of those five segments into three. Normal folate metabolism is a key to this final step. Very shortly after the five-to-three segment DNA re-arrangement, the fully mature neutrophil is released from the bone marrow into the bloodstream, where it lives out its months-long life doing its jobâ€”one very important part of which is defending our bodies against germs.
But if there isn't enough folate, the neutrophil's DNA stays in five (instead of three) segments. When the neutrophil is needed, it's released into the bloodstream anyway, where it's called a hypersegmented (too many segments) neutrophil. Fortunately, a hypersegmented neutrophil can still fight germs as well as a “regular,”three-segmented neutrophil.”
A technician counts the number of DNA segments in each neutrophil -by examining a blood sample under a microscope. The “hypersegmentation index”is the percentage of five-segment neutrophils counted in a total of 100 neutrophils.
A shortage ofany of folate, vitamin B12, or zinc (the three key nutrients for mainaining normal keeping cell division) is likely to show in rapidly dividing cells first -an indication that the rest of our body also has enough folate.