Hair Tissue Analysis
Hair Tissue Analysis
The hair tissue analysis otherwise known as the hair follicle test is a test that shows nutritional balance and toxicity. The excess or deficiency of trace minerals in the body is the source of declining health. The status of your trace minerals can be examined by using hair follicle test. The process is as simple as submitting a hair or finger nail sample. Below are some frequently asked questions.
WHAT IS HAIR MINERAL ANALYSIS?
A. Hair tissue analysis (HTMA), is an analytical test which measures the mineral content of the hair. The sampled hair, obtained by cutting the first inch and one-half of growth closest to the scalp at the nape of the neck, is 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 the most accurate and precise results.
WHY USE THE HAIR? WHY NOT USE THE BLOOD?
A. Hair is ideal tissue for sampling and testing. First, it can be cut easily and painlessly and can be sent to the lab without special handling requirements. Second, 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.
An HTMA reveals a unique metabolic world: intracellular activity, which cannot be seen through most other tests. This provides a blueprint of the biochemistry occurring during the period of hair growth and development.
Hair is used as one of the tissues of choice by the Environmental Protection Agency in determining toxic metal exposure. A 1980 report from the E.P.A. stated that human hair can be effectively used for biological monitoring of the highest priority toxic metals. This report confirmed the findings of other studies in the U.S. and abroad, which concluded that human hair may be a more appropriate tissue than blood or urine for studying community exposure to some trace elements.
WHAT CAN CAUSE A MINERAL IMBALANCE?
A. There are many factors to take into consideration, such as:
DIET – Improper diet through high intake of refined and processed foods, alcohol and fad diets can all lead to a chemical imbalance. Even the nutrient content of a “healthy” diet can be inadequate, depending upon the soil in which the food was grown or the method in which it was prepared.
STRESS – Physical or emotional stress can deplete the body of many nutrients while also reducing the capability to absorb and utilize many nutrients.
MEDICATIONS – Both prescription and over-the-counter medications can deplete the body's stores of nutrient minerals and/or increase the levels of toxic metals. These medications include diuretics, antacids, aspirin, and oral contraceptives.
POLLUTION – From adolescence through adulthood the average person is continually exposed to a variety of toxic metal sources such as cigarette smoke (cadmium), hair dyes (lead), hydrogenated oils (nickel), antiperspirants (aluminum), dental amalgams (mercury and cadmium), copper and aluminum cookware and lead-based cosmetics. These are just a few of the hundreds of sources that can contribute to nutrient imbalances and adverse metabolic effects.
NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS – Taking incorrect supplements or improper amounts of supplements can produce many vitamin and mineral excesses and/or deficiencies, contributing to an overall biochemical imbalance.
CAN VITAMIN REQUIREMENTS BE DETERMINED FROM A MINERAL TEST?
A. Minerals interact not only with each other but also with vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Minerals influence each of these factors, and they, in turn, influence mineral status. Minerals act as enzyme activators, and vitamins are synergistic to minerals as coenzymes. It is extremely rare that a mineral disturbance develops without a corresponding disturbance in the synergistic vitamin(s). It is also rare for a disturbance in the utilization or activity of a vitamin to occur without affecting a synergistic mineral(s). For example, vitamin C affects iron absorption and reduces copper retention. Boron and iron influence the status of vitamin B2. Vitamin B2 affects the relationship between calcium and magnesium. Vitamin B1 enhances sodium retention, B12 enhances iron and cobalt absorption, and vitamin A enhances the utilization of zinc while antagonizing vitamins D and E. Protein intake will affect zinc status, etc. Therefore, evaluating mineral status provides good clues of vitamin status and requirements. Continuing research at Trace Elements involves the recognition of many synergistic and antagonistic interrelationships between minerals and vitamins.
WHAT INFORMATION IS OBTAINED FROM A COMPLETE HAIR ANALYSIS PROFILE?
A. After hundreds of thousands of hair follicle test, Trace Elements has created a unique system of interpreting hair mineral analysis results. Each test report will provide the clinician with the most complete and comprehensive evaluation and discussion of significant mineral levels, ratios, and toxic metals as tested in the hair. Included is a listing of individual foods and food groups that the doctor can recommend to eat or avoid in accordance with food allergy indicators and individualized metabolic requirements. (Please refer to the Laboratory Services section for details on the Profile #2 test)
IS HAIR TISSUE ANALYSIS SUPPORTED BY RESEARCH? ( Trace Elements Lab)
A. Hair tissue analysis or hair follicle test is supported by an impressive body of literature in a variety of respected national and international scientific publications. Over the past twenty-five years hair, mineral testing has been extensive. Each year in the United States alone, federally licensed clinical laboratories perform over 150,000 hair mineral assays for health care professionals interested in an additional screening aid for a comprehensive patient evaluation. This does not take into consideration the thousands of subjects used in numerous continuing research studies conducted by private and government research agencies.
The following illnesses have been associated with mineral imbalances: