Hair Analysis for Nutritional Deficiencies?
Did you know that hair is a not only an excellent biological material for DNA testing, but also a reliable source of information for determining the toxic metals you have accumulated through the years? However, despite being the gold standard for toxic metal testing, hair analysis is still controversial when it comes to nutritional analysis and, therefore, rarely used.
Because the structure of hair remains fairly constant, the minerals and heavy metals tend to be fixed in the hair. That means, unlike blood levels of vitamins and minerals, they do not fluctuate from meal to meal. Hair analysis is a screening test for about twenty elements, including both toxic metals as well as essential minerals, present in the hair tissue. Since hair is a tissue the body uses to excrete excessive amounts of toxic metals and other undesirable substances and is easy to use, many experts believe it can be a perfect indicator of metabolic activity. Proponents of nutritional hair analysis use it to assess the organ and gland activity, assess the energy level, determine the metabolic type of the patient and even to identify disease trends.
For maximum accuracy, the hair that is going to be used for analysis must be clean, dry and free of hair spray, gel, mouse and perspiration. The hair should have been washed at least five but preferably ten times since the last chemical treatment like bleaching, dying or a perm. A minimum of one half, preferably one inch of hair at the root, is used while the dead ends are cut off. Samples should be taken from the top and back of the head from two or three different locations in small plugs.
Vitamins need trace minerals to function and/or to be absorbed properly. However, unlike some of the vitamins, minerals cannot be manufactured by the body. This means that in case of mineral deficiency or imbalance minerals must be supplemented. Results of the hair analysis should help the nutritionist to determine the mineral deficiencies and imbalances and develop a healthy nutritional program.
The Role of Minerals in Human Body
Every living cell in our body needs minerals as its structural and functional support. Minerals are needed for bodily fluids, the formation of teeth and bones, the regulation of muscle tone and the maintenance of healthy nerve function. There are about seventeen essential minerals in human nutrition. Many of them are absolutely necessary for healthy mental and physical well-being. Like vitamins, many minerals function as co-enzymes, enabling the body to digest and absorb nutrients and convert them into energy for growth and healing. Because all enzyme activities rely upon them, minerals are absolutely necessary for the proper utilization of vitamins and other essential nutrients.
Minerals are stored mostly in bone and muscle tissues and are often so tightly bound that it takes years to restore their balanced levels. Therefore, you can think of hair analysis as a diary of what is going on in your body. There are numerous health conditions that can be caused by mineral imbalances and/or deficiencies and there are numerous factors that can contribute to a mineral imbalance. Some of these include diet, medications, nutritional supplements, stress, pollution and inherited patterns.
Toxic Metals in Human Body
Studies show that the accumulation of toxic metals, such as lead, cadmium, arsenic and aluminium, in the body may interfere with proper mineral and vitamin utilization and can cause various metabolic consequences. Excess copper can increase the release of estrogens, even in men, and cause fatigue, depression and irritability. High strontium can interfere with calcium absorption. For every imbalance in the body, there are health consequences.
Concentrations of toxic elements in the hair can provide an accurate record of your past exposure. Hair analysis is best for preventing health problems, especially those that involve toxic metals, while developing a nutritional program. It is necessary to work with someone skilled in hair analysis, who can interpret your test results correctly and make accurate nutritional recommendations.
Where to Learn More About Hair Analysis: Quack Watch