What Can Your Hair Tell You About Your Health?
INTRODUCTION TO HAIR TISSUE MINERAL ANALYSIS
A hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) is a screening test that measures the levels of twenty-one minerals and toxic metals present in a sample of hair. Minerals are the “spark plugs” of life and play many important health related roles within the human body. Providing a “window into the cells”, hair makes an excellent biopsy material and reveals a clear record of mineral metabolism. Hair, like all other body tissues, contains minerals that are deposited as the hair grows. Although the hair is dead, the minerals remain as the hair continues to grow. The minerals and toxic metals are locked inside the hair during the growth stage as the body uses it for the storage and elimination of minerals. A hair tissue mineral analysis reflects long term metabolic activity as it measures an average of mineral accumulation over a three month period of time. This is often an advantage as the test results are not influenced by day-to-day variations in body chemistry due to stress, diet or other factors.
Creating a blueprint of one’s individual biochemistry, a hair tissue mineral analysis can assist in identifying mineral patterns which may be associated with stress, blood sugar and carbohydrate imbalances, metabolic rate, biochemical energy production, and glandular imbalances. Hair tissue mineral analysis is used worldwide to measure environmental contamination with toxic metals in the soil, plants and human and animal populations.(1,8,13,20,31,35,40,44) Screening tests (like all tests) do have limitations and ideally should be used in conjunction with other laboratory tests, medical histories and physical examinations. This test is provided to assist the health care professional in identifying nutritional and toxic elements that play a role in human health. The contents of this analysis are not intended to be diagnostic.
RESULTS / LABORATORY NOTES
The accuracy and reliability of the test results and interpretation is based directly upon the laboratory receiving a properly collected hair sample that is clean and free from external contaminants. It is difficult for the laboratory to make a determination as to whether the sample was taken properly. Accordingly, the laboratory assumes no responsibility for results from an improperly submitted hair sample. C Test results – The ideal values for minerals are indicated by the gray bands, i.e. calcium 40 mgs%, magnesium 6 mgs%, sodium 25 mgs%, potassium 10 mgs%, etc. Your mineral values are printed directly above the name of each mineral. The black rectangle blocks represent a bar graph showing where your values lie in relation to the ideal values. Significant mineral ratios and your oxidation rate are located at the bottom of the graph. C Reference ranges (blue shaded area) indicated on the graph of test results represent statistical “ideal” levels.
These reference ranges should not be considered as absolute in considering mineral excesses, deficiencies or toxic levels of elements. C The results of the hair tissue mineral analysis are reported in milligrams percent (mg%) or milligrams per 100 grams of hair. C Accutrace Laboratories, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Analytical Research Laboratories, Inc., automatically retests any mineral levels that are found to be outside an expected range of results, provided enough hair is available for this process. C Test results were obtained using sophisticated ICP-MS instrumentation and procedures in a clinical laboratory environment with government regulatory standards outlined by the Department of Health and Human Services under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA).
OF YOUR TEST
The interpretation of your hair tissue mineral analysis depends upon developing a “metabolic blueprint” of how the body is responding to stress. The ability to determine the stage of stress (42) and the oxidation rate (48) from a hair tissue mineral analysis makes it possible to assess the likelihood of many conditions and guide correction based upon your metabolic imbalances. A thorough interpretation of the tests results also requires the identification of mineral levels, ratios and metabolic patterns.
A metabolic pattern is a combination of mineral levels and/or mineral ratios that reveal how the body is responding to stress. Identifying metabolic patterns simplify the interpretation as the science of mineral balancing is almost always aimed at improving major metabolic patterns and not a single mineral. A general rule is that metabolic patterns are the most important factors to consider when interpreting a hair tissue mineral analysis, followed by mineral ratios and mineral levels. Ratios represent mineral relationships and balances in the body.
The term “oxidation rate” refers to the “burning” of foods in the body or how the body converts the foods you eat to energy. There are three types of oxidation rates, slow oxidation, fast oxidation and mixed oxidation. There are varying degrees of each oxidation rate and ideally it would be best to have either a slightly slow or slightly fast oxidation rate.
TOXIC METALS AND CHEMICALS
The presence of toxic metals and chemicals can potentially present a serious health hazard. (1, 11,12,13,14,15,16,19,22,29,31,39,51). A serious problem today is that a large number of babies are born high in toxic metals due to toxicity in the mothers. A review of over 400 medical studies by the US Environmental Protection Agency revealed that hair tissue mineral analysis is a meaningful test to detect toxic metals (47). Toxic metals can cause hundreds of symptoms and contribute to many serious health conditions. There are no safe levels of toxic metals and reducing the presence of toxic metals is a primary goal of your nutritional balancing program. Seven different methods are used simultaneously in your recommended dietary, supplement and lifestyle program to assist in the reduction of toxic metals. These are 1) improve your energy level, 2) provide support for the organs of elimination, 3) inhibit the sympathetic nervous system, 4) reduce exposure, 5) supplement with heavy metal antagonists, 6) supplement with natural heavy metal chelators and 7) recommend other natural detoxification methods.
The hair tissue mineral analysis does not test for toxic chemicals such as pesticides and solvents. However, enhancing energy production, inhibiting the sympathetic nervous system, assisting the organs of elimination and reducing exposure to all toxins greatly assists the removal of toxic chemicals from the body. Hair tissue mineral analysis only detects metals present in the hair tissue. No test can detect all toxic metals, as some are hidden deep within other tissues or organs. The unique value of hair mineral tissue mineral analysis is not so much to detect toxic metals, but to guide the balancing of body chemistry to assure their safe and swift removal. When the seven methods above are combined, the metals will be removed without the need for synthetic chelators. Toxic metals are often layered deep within body tissues. The recommended diet, supplement, lifestyle and detoxification program will slowly release layer after layer. Hidden metals will often be revealed on future mineral tests as they are eliminated through the hair, skin and through other routes.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
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