When Dr. Angela Rizzo was conducting scientific studies and analyzing fresh blood samples, she ran into a logistical problem; they got stuck in customs. Dr. Rizzo didn’t let that stop her. Instead, she invented a dried blood spot, at-home health test, which is now our BalanceTest. Today, this expert in the biochemistry of lipids and renowned Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Milan is an esteemed member of our Scientific Advisory Board and soon, her invention will hit the one million mark. Find out more about Dr. Rizzo and the story behind our health tests below.
When Dr. Rizzo still was a student, she started working in a lipidomic laboratory, where lipids (fatty acids) in human health and disease are studied. Together with her professor, Bruno Berra, they published various papers, two of which discussed the correlation between Omega-3 fatty acids and lifestyle diseases.
Getting personal with Omega-3s
The Norwegian scientist, Jan Bakke, read the articles and reached out to Dr. Rizzo.
– We started talking about the ratio of Omega-3 in our bodies and he asked me how much Omega-3 my patients needed. I explained that every individual has different needs and prerequisites. Gender, age, health status, diseases, etc. all play a role in how much Omega-3 the body needs. That’s why it’s imperative to start any health journey or supplementation routine based on your personal test results, says Dr. Rizzo.
In 2010, Dr. Rizzo was able to prove the correlation between the levels of Omega-3 in the blood with the levels of Omega-3 in the cells. The lab started collaborating with the supplement manufacturer BioActive Foods, and Dr. Rizzo went to Oslo to present their scientific results, the research they were doing in the laboratory, and the work with developing the test.
The problem became the solution
Dr. Rizzo started out in the old-fashioned way by analyzing fresh blood samples until she ran into an unexpected problem.
– We did a lot of scientific studies, analyzing human blood. At one time, we were supposed to receive 200 samples of fresh blood from Norway, but they got stopped in customs. We immediately started to look at literature on the subject of blood tests to see if we could use other safe and quick ways to analyze blood. We found interesting data reports, and then developed the test for our lab in Italy. Then, the test got qualified at Sankt Olav hospital where they started analyzing the kits for Oil4life/Itogha. The idea came from the issues we had with transporting fresh blood samples. It made us re-think and find new ways of working, Dr. Rizzo explains.
The importance of understanding the fatty acids levels in the blood
– From the scientific literature and previous test results, we know that the level of essential fatty acids, or the ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6, has a lot to do with the prevention of diseases. Actually, there are a lot of debates about this now. Many are based on studies where they have supplemented Omega-3 to the patients but where they can’t really see a change in the amount of Omega-3 in the body after the supplement regime period. In conclusion, it is very important and at the same time difficult to reach a good level of Omega-3 fatty acids. Today, there is new data published in scientific literature, and I am starting collaborations with scientists who want to test the Omega-3 in patients and try out the BalanceTest, Dr. Rizzo says.
– You can monitor your supplementation and adjust the amount of Omega-3 you are taking. The results tell you in a very simple yet elaborate way about your fatty acid profile. It is a great tool and you can use it very easily way from home, Dr. Rizzo concludes.
Reaching the 1 million mark
The independent VITAS Laboratory in Norway has now analyzed well over 900,000 BalanceTests for Zinzino with a database of dried blood spot samples that is now the world’s largest of its kind.
– I would like to take a look at this data in the future. I am very proud that the scientific community is now recognizing these blood tests as well. They need to test the patients to follow the clinical effects of Omega-3, Dr. Rizzo says.