Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) is a method for assessing body composition, measuring body fat, lean muscle mass and hydration in a non-invasive manner.
As such, BIA is a key way to assess health and fitness. Rather than simply measuring weight, like outdated methods such as BMI, using BIA helps us to fully understand our body composition and create informed plans on how to improve our health and fitness as a result.
To help you understand what Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis is and how it works, Bodystat has put together this handy guide so you can find out more.
What is BIA?
As we have mentioned, Bio-electrical Impedance Analysis is a way of measuring body composition. In other words, this is a way of measuring the proportion of fat against non-fat mass in the body.
Body fat refers to the fat that exists under the skin, around the organs and in muscle tissue.
Although essentials fats are required to give the body energy and protect organs, too much non-essential fat can cause a wide variety of problems for the body, which is why it’s essential to measure using BIA.
BIA also measures the body’s non-fat mass. This refers to bones, muscles, tissue, water and organs.
BIA measures the balance of both body fat and non-fat mass to ensure that the body is healthy and fit.
There are many reasons why it’s important to understand and measure body composition, next we will look at these in more detail.
Why is it important to measure body composition?
Measuring body composition is important for several reasons.
Firstly, analysing body composition helps to improve health.
Research shows that too much excess body fat can lead to a range of health problems including type two diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
By measuring body composition, we can fully understand the balance of body fat and non-fat mass in order to analyse our health levels and detect areas that we need to improve on.
This is a key strategy for ensuring you make the best decisions when it comes to optimising your lifestyle and diet choices.
Measuring body composition is also important for fitness. After all, this is a tool that allows us to track how much body fat you lose or how much muscle you develop, therefore playing a key role in ensuring you can form a tailored plan to improve your fitness and reach peak performance.
How does BIA work?
That’s what BIA is and what it measures, so how exactly does it work?
Thankfully, BIA is an easy, non-invasive and inexpensive way to measure body composition.
After all, there are other methods out there including dual-energy X-ray obsorbtiometry (DXA) which also offer scientific results, but are far more expensive, time-consuming and often only available to select health professionals.
BIA, on the other hand, requires the subject to apply four electrodes whilst lying down. Two electrodes should be applied to the hand and two to the foot.
Now, a small and imperceptible electrical frequency can pass through the body which measures the resistance at different frequencies against the tissues in the body.
Things such as body fat have a high resistance to the flow of the current and will therefore display a high impedance reading, whereas lean muscle and water are good conductors of the current and will show low impedance readings.
Next, the impedance readings are translated into measurements of body fat, water and lean muscle.
How to choose the best BIA device?
There are a range of different BIA devices on the market, so it’s important to do your research and choose the best one.
After all, when impedance readings are translated this is done using validated algorithms. These algorithms used for each BIA device tend to differ which can mean you will get different results from different machines.
The accuracy of the readings will depend on the validation of the device used and how it compares with DXA, the tool we mentioned earlier, as well as other gold standards. This is worth considering when choosing which BIA device you will use.
The Bodystat team are at the forefront of developments when it comes to researching BIA technology, meaning you can rest assured that we will only ever provide you with the best devices that accurately assess body composition, meaning you can get on the right track to reaching your fitness, health and wellbeing goals.
Another factor that can have an impact on the accuracy of the measurements is skin resistance.
This is because the thickness of the skin and the connection to the electrode is highly important when using a light current to measure inside the body.
That’s why at Bodystat we use calibrated, medically graded electrodes on the top of the hands and feet rather than stand-on-scales. This makes sense in improving accuracy when you consider how much thicker the skin is on the soles of your feet and palms of your hands in comparison.
The Bodystat BIA device is also super easy to use. Our devices send handy insights and trending information regularly to users, making it a lot easier to track your progress. You can even download results via USB directly onto your device using our useful new software. This makes reading and analysing your results even quicker.
Ready to take the next steps with Bodystat?
With over 31 year’s experience in the industry, we’re proud to be experts at what we do. That means whether you are looking to build muscle, lose excess weight, improve your fitness levels or improve your wellbeing and become healthier, we have a leading BIA device that can help you achieve your goals.
To find out more about what we can offer, or to talk through what options will be best for you and your needs, simply give us a call today.