Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

INTRODUCTION

With nutritional therapy such an important part of functional health care today, the need to better assess bio-chemical individuality and monitor mineral balances is more important than ever. For questions like:

  • Are elevated levels of lead, mercury or cadmium affecting your well being?
  • Do you suffer a zinc, calcium, iron or chromium deficiency?
  • Which nutritional supplements, if any, would benefit your state of health?

A Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis will provide valuable clinical data that may not been realised through standard blood and urine tests.

WHAT IS A HAIR TISSUE MINERAL ANALYSIS?

Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA), is a special analytical test which measures the levels of trace minerals found in a sample of hair. The sample is usually obtained by cutting a small amount of hair, (approximately 4 cm in lenght from the scalp), from the nape of the neck location. The hair sample is then prepared in a licensed clinical laboratory through a series of chemical and high temperature digestive procedures. Testing is then performed using highly sophisticated detection equipment and methods to achieve clinically reliable results.

Nutritional
Elements

Toxic
Elements
Additional
Elements

Boron
Calcium
Chromium
Cobalt
Copper
Iron
Magnesium
Manganese
Molybdenum
Phosphorus
Potassium
Selenium
Sodium
Sulfur
Zinc

Aluminium
Antimony*
Arsenic
Beryllium
Cadmium
Lead
Mercury
Uranium

Barium
Bismuth
Germanium
Lithium
Nickel
Platinum
Rubidium
Strontium
Thallium
Tin
Titanium
Tungsten
Vanadium
Zirconium

* Subject to availability

WHY USE HAIR?

Hair is ideal tissue for sampling and testing. First, it can be cut easily and painlessly; secondly, it does not require complicated handling requirements, and; thirdly, clinical results have shown that a properly obtained sample can give an indication of mineral status and toxic metal accumulation following long term or even acute exposure.

The hair tissue itself is made up of special cells called matrix cells. These cells, in simple terms, depend on the blood supply for their nutrition while being formed. As the hair shaft develops, minerals and other trace elements are keratinised into the growing hair shaft providing a blueprint of the biochemistry occuring, mineral balances and toxic metal exposure. It is like a report card permanently recording the past events of your health, diet, environment and well being.

WHY TEST FOR MINERALS?

Trace minerals are essential to the countless metabolic functions in all phases of the life process. They not only provide the building blocks to life itself, but are also necessary in the production of hormones and enzyme activity.

  • Zinc is involved in the production, storage and secretion of insulin, and is necessary for growth hormones.
  • Magnesium is required for normal muscular function, especially the heart. A deficiency has been associated with an increased incidence of heart attacks, anxiety and nervousness.
  • Potassium is critical for normal nutrient transport into the cell. A deficiency can result in muscular weakness, depression and lethargy.
  • Excess sodium is associated with hypertension, but adequate amounts are required for normal health.
  • Elevated lead, particularly in children, can contribute to learning disabilities and hyperactivity.

In the words of the late author and noted researcher, Dr. Henry Schroeder, trace elements (minerals) "are the spark-plugs in the chemistry of life". They are the more important factors in human nutrition than are vitamins. The body can manufacture many vitamins, but it cannot produce necessary trace minerals.

Dr. Emanual Cheaskin states in his book, Diet and Disease, "Minerals have interrelationships with every other nutrient. Without optimum mineral levels within the body, the other nutrients are not effectively utilised."

WHAT HEALTH CONDITIONS ARE AFFECTED BY MINERAL IMBALANCES?

There are many health conditions that can result in or be aggravated by mineral deficiencies, excesses and imbalances. They include:

Acne
Allergies
Alzheimer's disease
Anaemia
Anxiety
Arthritis
Atherosclerosis
Cardiac conditions
Dental problems
Depression
Diabetes
Digestive problems

Fatigue
Hair loss and poor nails
Headaches
High blood pressure
Hormone imbalance
Hyperactivity
Hypercholesterolaemia
Hypoglycaemia
Immune impairment
Infertility
Insomnia
Learning difficulties

Macular degeneration
Memory problems
Migraines
Mood swings
Muscle cramps
Osteoporosis
PMS
Prostate disorders
Skin problems
Stress
Thyroid disorders
Wounds healing poorly

WHAT CAN CAUSE A MINERAL IMBALANCE?

There are many factors that can contribute to a mineral imbalance. They include;

DIET: A major factor in contributing to a mineral imbalance is improper eating habits. Excessive intake of refined and processed foods, alcohol, and fad diets can all lead to poor mineral nutrition. Even the nutrient content of a "healthy" diet can be inadequate, depending on the soil in which the food was grown or the method in which it was prepared.

STRESS: Stress, both physical and emotional, can lead to mineral imbalances. Certain nutrients such as mineral zinc and the B-complex vitamins are lost in greater quantities due to increased stress. Nutrient absorption can also decrease when the body is under stress.

MEDICATIONS: Many medications can deplete the body store of nutrient minerals as well as elevate levels of certain toxic minerals. Examples include diuretics, antacids, aspirin and oral contraceptives.

POLLUTION: From childhood through adulthood the average person is continually exposed to a variety of toxic metal sources. Toxic metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium can interfere with mineral absorption and contribute to adverse metabolic effects. Petrol fumes, hair dyes and lead based cosmetics (lead), copper and aluminum cookware, hydrogenated oils (nickel), antiperspirants (aluminum), cigarette smoke (cadmium), and dental amalgams (mercury and cadmium) are just a few of the hundreds of undesirable sources an individual may be exposed to everyday.

NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS: Taking the incorrect type of nutritional SUPPLEMENTS or improper amounts of nutritional SUPPLEMENTS can produce many mineral excesses and/or deficiencies. For example, calcium absorption is decreased in the presence of phosphorus. Vitamin C is required for iron absorption, but in excess amounts it can cause a copper deficiency. Vitamin D enhances calcium absorption, but in excess amounts can produce a magnesium deficiency, etc.

INHERITED PATTERNS: A predisposition towards mineral imbalances, deficiencies and excesses can be inherited from parents, etc.

IS BLOOD AS GOOD AN INDICATOR OF MINERAL STATUS AS HAIR?

Blood and serum do contain minerals, but they may not be completely representative of the body's mineral storage. In many cases, the serum level of minerals is maintained at the expense of tissue concentration (homeostatic mechanisms). Serum concentrations may fluctuate with the manner in which the sample is taken, emotional changes, the time of day the blood is drawn, or foods eaten prior to taking sample. For example;

* Thirty to forty days following an acute exposure, elevated serum levels of lead may be undetectable. This is due to the body's removing the lead from the serum as a protective measure and depositing the metal into such tissues as the liver, bones, teeth and hair.

* Calcium loss from the body can become so advanced that severe osteoporosis can develop without any appreciable changes noted in the calcium levels in a blood test.

* Iron deficiency symptoms can be present long before low levels can be detected in serum.

There is much clinical research to show that for many elements tissue can more closely reflect body mineral stores than blood and urine.

SUMMARY:

The value and knowledge gained from a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis has proven to be very significant in many individual cases. It is supported by an impressive body of literature by doctors and researchers in a variety of highly respected scientific publications. Internationally, over the past fifteen years, hair mineral testing has been extensive. It is estimated that in the United States alone, federally licenced clinical laboratories perform hundreds of thousands hair tissue mineral assays for health care professionals interested in an additional screening aid for a comprehensive patient evaluation.

A comprehensive, interpretive Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis report from InterClinical Laboratories will help identify important mineral deficiencies, excesses and imbalances, check for elevated levels of toxic minerals, shed new light on existing health status, identify potential areas of concern and provide special dietary guidance to aid in nutritional rebalancing. Our report is the most advanced of it's type currently available.

If you would like to receive a hair analysis kit and have not requested one in the Tough Love section then enter your details below and we will send a kit to you. The analysis is performed in the USA and costs $140 for the laboratory tests and $100 for a telephone results consultation. These prices are GST free. Your details will only be used to contact you as per Australian Privacy Laws.

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