Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis
A hair tissue mineral analysis 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 the body chemistry due to stress, diet or other factors. Creating a blueprint of one’s individual 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.
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.
Calcium is mainly found in the bones and teeth, but is also required for the nervous system and for muscle contraction and relaxation. It is a primary extra-cellular element.
Magnesium is required for the bones and nervous system. It is also essential for over 600 vital enzymatic reactions in the body. It is a primary intra-cellular element.
Sodium is an essential mineral for maintaining water balance and blood pressure in the body and is a primary extra-cellular element. Low sodium may point to an adrenal dysfunction and may contribute to fatigue and low blood sugar. Low sodium does not necessarily mean that a person is consuming too little salt.
Potassium is a primary intra-cellular element required for fluid balance, nerve activity and muscle activity. Low potassium on a hair analysis could mean adrenal weakness, and may contribute to fatigue and low blood sugar.
Nutrient Mineral Patterns
Iron is required for energy production, blood formation and antioxidant formation (catalase). An excess of iron or toxicity may also occur and contribute to liver and artery disease, dementia and behavioral difficulties. Low iron on a hair analysis is often associated with fatigue.
Copper is required for connective tissue health, women’s fertility, cardiovascular health, blood formation, energy, production, neurotransmitter activity and the immune system. High copper may contribute to fatigue, joint pain, headaches and skin problems. It may also be a contributing factor in anemia, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, insomnia and PMS.
Manganese is required for sugar metabolism, tendon and ligament function, energy production, and thyroid activity. Low manganese may be caused by consuming processed foods and white sugar.
Zinc is required for over 50 functions including all protein synthesis, vision, digestion, prostate health, skin, hair and nail health, and immune system activity. Low zinc levels may be associated with mood swings, digestive disturbances, skin problems, vision problems, prostate problems, and a reduced sense of taste and smell. It may also help to balance sodium/potassium ratio.
Chromium is required for sugar and carbohydrate tolerance and cholesterol metabolism. Low levels may be associated with blood sugar imbalances, cravings for sweets or starches, fatigue, elevated cholesterol, hypoglycemia or diabetes.
Selenium is required as an anti-oxidant nutrient to convert T4 to T3 and for detoxification of heavy metals and toxic chemicals. Low selenium level may contribute to impaired detoxification and thyroid gland activity.
Phosphorus is an essential mineral that is involved in protein synthesis and energy production within the cells. All proteins contain phosphorus and thus are a significant source of organic phosphorus. The hair tissue mineral level of phosphorus is often associated with the adequacy of protein synthesis in the body. This depends on the diet, lifestyle, condition of the intestinal tract and liver and the levels of other nutritional minerals such as zinc and copper. Improper eating habits that interfere with digestion may also contribute to low phosphorus levels.
Toxic Metals and Chemicals
The presence of toxic metals and chemicals can potentially present a serious health hazard. 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.
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.