Bio-electrical Impedance Analysis (BIA)
Have you ever gone on a diet and consumed only green, leafy stuff and water without the scale in the bathroom budging one ounce? You stare at it in amazement, wondering how it is possible for the body to survive on 500 calories. Or even worse, you do a bowel cleanse and gain 2 pounds. What you really needed was a body composition or bio-electrical impedance analysis. It can tell you how much body fat, muscle mass, and water weight that you are retaining. It can tell you what that scale cannot – how much fat have you lost? After all, a scale can only measure your gravitational pull towards the center of the earth.
What is a bio-electrical impedance (BIA)?
A BIA is a device that quickly and painlessly measures your body composition. It gives you data regarding your body’s fat, muscle, internal organ, and bone mass. It tells you how much water is in your body, including the amount inside (intracellular) and outside (extracellular) of cells.
How does the BIA work? Does it hurt?
The BIA interprets body composition using a small electrical current circulating from your hands to your feet. You will lie down on a table motionless. A technician will place electrodes on your hands and feet. Then, a small electrical current will pass through you. The electrical current is virtually undetectable and completely painless.
Because tissues of the body conduct electricity differently, the BIA computer detects how long it takes different currents to conduct from finger to toe. Primarily, the BIA is measuring water since water conducts electricity the fastest, and we are 80% water. However, our tissues have different water compositions. For instance, muscle has high water content, so it transmits electricity quickly. In contrast, fat has low water content, so it transmits electricity slowly. The BIA machine detects the currents and submits the results to a complex algorithm that calculates your body composition.
This process takes approximately 5-10 minutes.
What are normal body fat percentages?
For women, 15-25% body fat is considered ideal.
For men, 10-25% body fat is considered ideal.
We will review your results with you at your appointment.
How is a BIA useful?
A BIA has multiple clinical uses. The best use is for tracking fat loss during a weight loss program. When your body is losing weight, you want to lose muscle while maintaining fat. With a conventional scale, you can only tell if your weight is going down. While you hope that it is all fat, sometimes it is all muscle. Muscle dwindles faster and restores faster, which explains weight loss yo-yos. As you lose weight, we will be repeating your BIA in order to measure your muscle and fat mass. We will be congratulating you on your fat loss, but we will also be increasing your protein if you are losing muscle mass. After all, muscle burns fat!
Another clinical use for a BIA is intracellular water content. As cells become toxic and dysfunctional, they shrivel like raisins. While detoxifying, we can watch your intracellular water volume go up which is a good indicator that your cells are detoxifying appropriately. This can also explain why the scale hasn’t moved: You lost fat, but gained intracellular water!
What can the BIA detect?
The BIA is mainly used to assess your body fat and muscle mass. It can determine if you are a normal weight but have high visceral fat. Also called “Skinny Fat” person. The medical term for this is OverVAT. VAT stands for Visceral Adipose Tissue, which is your internal fat storage that surrounds your organs. Visceral fat causes inflammation, and it cannot be removed by liposuction. Having high VAT is associated with metabolic syndrome and earlier heart attacks, strokes, and cancer.
The BIA can also tell you if you are Sarcopenic. For instance, if you are a normal weight by BIA, but you have very skinny arms and legs. You may actually have too little muscle mass or Sarcopenia (Sarco = muscle, penia = too little). Sarcopenic patients can have a normal weight yet be clinically obese through body composition.
How much does a Body Composition test (BIA) cost?
See our Pricing Page for cost.