Ophelia's Guides to Shaping Your Future

Ophelia's Guides to Shaping Your Future

It Is Not Just About Your Weight

Ophelia Hogan - Thursday, January 18, 2018

..............it's about your body composition. Have you got enough muscle? Muscle is important not only for your posture & keeping you strong but also helps you to burn more energy even at rest. Are you hydrated enough? Being sufficiently hydrated is essential for so many of our bodily functions. 

BIA, or Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis, is a non-invasive measurement of body fat, lean muscle mass and hydration. A small current is used to measure the resistance at difference frequencies against the various tissues in the body eg fat/lipid has a high resistance to the flow of current, therefore shows a high impedance reading. Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis is a method used to measure inside the body. By using a small, safe current, impedance is measured as resistance to the current against different tissues. Basically it works on the knowledge that muscle consists of mostly water, minerals and electrolytes which are good conductors of current, whereas fat is a bad conductor and acts as an insulator. By using different frequencies, the current can penetrate different tissues and from algorithms, we are able to calculate how much of that tissue is present in the body (from analysing the impedance to the flow of current at that frequency). The measurements from BIA will include visceral fat as well as subcutaneous fat so are likely to give you higher fat readings than your callipers, however they will be more accurate values than callipers. The scales also use BIA as their method of measurement, however there are certain aspects to BIA measurements that you need to be aware of:

  • Skin Resistance
Skin resistance is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome in BIA. The skin ideally needs to be thin and dry to allow the small current to pass through the body. Thick or sweaty skin such as the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands, will affect the results and often give inconsistency to results making it more difficult to track over time.
  • Stabilisation of fluid
BIA assumes equal distribution of fluid throughout the body in order for the algorithms to be accurate. When you are standing up, there will be more fluid in your legs than your arms. The measurements where they make you lie down for a couple of minutes will be the most accurate since this allows the fluids to stabilise and distribute around the body equally.
  • Tetrapolar measurements
Tetrapolar means measuring using 4 points, usually the hands and the feet. Some scales or even some hand-held devices only measure from the hands or from the feet. Most of us remember from physics lessons that the current will always take the path of least resistance. Well, same as in the body. Therefore if you are only measuring from one foot to another foot, you will be missing the top half of your body. Likewise, measuring from hand to hand, you will only be measuring your arms and the trunk in between. Ideally you should be measuring using electrodes on one hand and wrist to one foot and ankle. These measurement are usually done on the right hand side of the body. This is simple because the heart on the left side will cause more impedance to the flow, which will raise the fat percentage higher than it normally should be. Remember when impedance (resistance) is high, your fat percentage will be high since fat is a bad conductor of current, therefore shows resistance to its flow.

For more information and book an appointment please call Ophelia on 07501225712

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