Hair Trace Mineral Analysis
Hair trace mineral analysis has been used extensively for the past 18-years in 150 countries. It was first used by forensic pathologists to ascertain human DNA at crimes scenes. However hair does offer many other services from DNA testing on animal hair to determine the dog’s breed; catching criminals; to ascertaining the health status of human and animals and ascertain metal toxicity in humans and animals.
II. What is a hair trace mineral analysis?
A HTMA is a forensic test that provides a bio-chemical blueprint of the human body for the past 90 days. Hair is a soft cell tissue biopsy, it is non-invasive, and it provides information quickly and efficiently. It measures more than 30 minerals and 15 trace elements in hair. Mineral imbalances show up much sooner in hair than in blood. This is because blood is maintained at the expense of soft tissues. Minerals are pulled from the tissue to maintain blood mineral levels.
III. Why use hair?
Hair is non-invasive as it is a rapidly growing soft tissue of the body. It is an inexpensive, accurate screening tool to ascertain the metabolic and bio-chemical blueprint of a patient. Hair is excellent biopsy material and requires no special handling.
IV. Why not use blood?
Blood is constantly moving and transporting nutrients to cellular receptor cites. A blood test provides information that is passing through the needle at that particular time. Therefore a blood test for, e.g. cholesterol can provide more than 5 different readings in taken at five different intervals. Mineral levels in hair are 15-20 times that of blood, making minerals and toxins easy to detect in hair. Examples: (a) thirty to 40 days following acute exposure of a toxic metal, elevated serum levels of lead maybe undetectable. This is due to the body removing the lead from the blood serum as a protective measure and depositing the metal into such tissues as the liver, bones, teeth and hair; (b) 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 and (c) symptoms of an iron deficiency can be present long before low iron levels can be detected in the blood serum.
Toxic metals are kept relatively constant in blood, even when pathology is present. Toxic metals concentrate in the soft tissues and not in blood or urine, therefore cells and not blood or urine are the sites of metabolic activity. This is also why deficiencies manifest months or years before symptoms do. Blood tests are influenced by exercise, nutrition, and re-creational drug exposure compared to hair that provides a long term reading unaffected by these factors. Therefore, blood is an extra-cellular yardstick, whereby a HTMA is an intra-cellular yardstick.
V. How is your hair prepared and tested?
A sample is cut from between the collar and the crown, approximately 150grams of hair. A patient form is filled out with all relevant details from weight in kilograms to date of birth and all contact details. When it arrives at the laboratory it is cut up further and place into a spectrograph, which is a computer controlled instrument that burns your hair. The smoke measures the mineral and toxic metal quality in the smoke of the hair. These figures are downloaded onto our computer for analysis. In January-2008 Solutions4health acquired the Perkin Elmer Elan-9000 Inductively-Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometer. This instrument requires 150grams of hair.
VI. Do S4H wash hair samples?
S4H do not wash hair samples, or mineral samples at the laboratory. Washing hair samples at the laboratory has been shown to erratically wash out the water-soluble elements. This creates much less accurate results. In a 2001 study in the Journal of the AMA (Seidel, S. et al., Assessment of Commercial Laboratories Performing Hair Mineral Analysis, JAMA, 285(1) Jan 3:67-72.) it showed that laboratories that did not wash the hair, showed superb reliability.
VII. What can be ascertained from a hair trace mineral analysis (HTMA)?
Your hair sample reveals your unique metabolic-nutritional blueprint at cellular levels for the past 90 days. Glucose problems can be accurately ascertained by HTMA. Many toxic metals interfere with glucose metabolism and have the ability to reduce output in the body. Manganese, zinc, and chromium are involved in carbohydrate metabolism and a HTMA detects ratios and relationships involving these minerals to ascertain glucose (in) tolerance and metabolism.
HTMA is the only method to accurately detect toxic metals and metal poisoning in the body.
Toxic metals contribute to glucose problems, heart disease, cancer, depression, anxiety, behavioural disorders, thyroid disorders and many others. Toxic metals many take years to eliminate from the body. Mineral ratio and relationships reflect the synergistic effect of minerals in assessing organ and glandular health. All living beings need energy to exist, and many minerals are required for the maintenance and production of energy.
A HTMA is a good assessment of cellular energy. There are many ways to replenish low energy. A HTMA can ascertain what aspect of the energy cycle is depleted and needs to be replenished. The rate at which we burn food is known as our oxidative type. Each person has a unique oxidative type. Fast metabolism; slow metabolism or intermediate metabolism is what produces energy in each individual. Therefore a HTMA is accurate in determining the true oxidative type of a person and removing the guess work as to which foods and/or minerals bring about an optimum functioning oxidative type.
Hair analysis can also identify more than 30 disease trends and these are revealed long before symptoms reveal themselves or appear on an X-ray. A hair analysis greatly reduces the guesswork from nutritional guidelines and supplementation. Many people assume that during stress, it is best to add mineral supplementation to their diet, when in fact certain minerals may make their stress levels worse. HTMA has shown great promise in assessing emotional states and behaviour problems.
Certain mineral deficiencies and metal toxicities are directly related to behavioural problems. Excess lead makes children and adults overly emotional while deficiencies of certain minerals, are linked to anxiety, nervousness, schizophrenia, neurosis, phobias, insomnia, mood swings, ADD and learning disorders. Mineral displacement is common in everyone. Toxic metals have many origins, from toothpastes, mouthwashes, deodorants and roll-ons, environment, household cleaners, smoking and washing powder and fabric softeners. These toxic metals displace/replace important mineral in the body and brain. Once metal chelation has occurred can the analyst accurately ascertain what minerals are deficient and how to replenish them. It is recommended that this safe, simple, and cost-effective test be performed once or twice a year on individuals of all ages. It should be recognized that hair analysis is a screening test and cannot be used to precisely diagnose the presence or absence of disease. As with any test, hair analysis has valid applications as well as certain limitations.
VIII. Can hair trace mineral analysis be performed on children?
It is advisable that a HTMA is performed on a baby after 6-months, and not before as many metabolic processes have not established themselves and baby is only living on mother’s milk. Performing a test on the mother after 6-months will also give an excellent blueprint of the baby (that is drinking mother’s milk).
IX. Can my pets benefit from a HTMA?
Pet nutritional science has come of age. More pet owners are using HTMA. Hair sampling plays an important part as to where the hair is cut from. Your pet’s sample must be cut from the stomach (under-side) of the animals as this is an unbiased test. The test reveals common patterns of malnourishment, unbalanced bio-chemistry and pre-dispositions to certain dis-eases.
X. Can I test my soil and water with S4H?
Fruit and herbal growers at times require an analysis of soil to detect toxins and mineral quantities. The same technology is used for soil testing and testing of rock samples to detect mineral levels. S4H can accurately advise farmers how to regenerate soil after harvesting and how to maintain optimum organic soil levels.
XI. Can you test for vitamins?
S4H cannot test for vitamins as these are all water soluble nutrients. Many minerals do contain vitamins, e.g .cobalt contains vitamin-B2 and vitamin-B6 and therefore administering cobalt, when deficient on a hair test, may not always be correct. Administering vitamin-B2 or –B6 will be correct. Minerals act as enzyme activators, and vitamins are synergistic to minerals as coenzymes. Mineral disturbances do not develop without a corresponding disturbance in the synergistic vitamin(s), and disturbance in the utilization or activity of a vitamin do not occur without affecting a synergistic mineral(s). For example, vitamin C affects iron absorption and reduces copper retention. Boron and iron affect 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.
XII. Why test for minerals?
What is their function in the body and what causes mineral imbalances? Minerals are essential in countless metabolic functions in all phases of the life process. Minerals are essentially the building block of the body. These we derive from vegetables whilst most vitamins are derived from fruit. Minerals are needed for the composition of body fluids, such as lymph; the formation of blood viscosity and bone; healthy nerve function; regulation of muscle tissue and tone and including the muscle of the cardio-vascular system.
Only 4 to -5% of the human body weight is minerals. Minerals function as co-enzymes and no mineral works or stand alone in the body or perform one specific function. All minerals work in synergy with one another. Minerals also co-exist with vitamins and minerals also contain vitamins (e.g. cobalt contains vitamin-B2 and B6). B-vitamins are only absorbed when combined with phosphorous; vitamin-C greatly increases the absorption of iron and calcium would not occur without vitamin-D and zinc helps vitamin-A to be released from the liver. Certain minerals are also part of vitamins (e.g. vitamin-B1 contains sulphur and B-12 contains cobalt).
• 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.
At S4H we test for the following minerals:
Calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc, iron, copper, phosphorous, manganese, molybdenum, boron, selenium, chromium, cobalt, lithium, nickel, vanadium and tin. Toxic metal testing include: beryllium, arsenic, antimony, lead, aluminum, cadmium, mercury and uranium. More and more parents request testing or food preservatives, these include: tartrazine, monosodium glutamate, BHT & BHA (found in soft drinks).
In the words of the late author and noted researcher, Dr. Henry Schroeder, “trace elements are more important factors in human nutrition than vitamins. The body can manufacture many vitamins, but it cannot produce necessary trace minerals or get rid of many possible excesses.”
There are many reasons why we can suffer from mineral imbalances. These are:
(a) Malnutrition – consuming refined/processed foods, including alcohol, and fad diets. Both these lead to unbalanced body bio-chemistry. The nutrient content of the so-called healthy diet may also be inadequate, depending on the soil in which the food was grown or the method in which it was prepared.
(b) Stress – physical and emotional stress depletes the body of essential nutrients, but the body can be prepared for nutritional stress.
(c) Medication –prescription and over the counter medication deplete the body of minerals and vital nutrients and increase the toxic burden in the body. Common daily household non-prescribed medication such as aspirin, diuretics, laxatives and oral contraceptives cause many nutritional losses with the body and brain.
(d) Pollution –from birth to childhood and through adulthood, the average person is continually exposed to toxic metal sources such as cigarette smoke (cadmium), hair dyes (lead), hydrogenated oils (nickel), anti-Perspirants (aluminum), dental amalgams (mercury and cadmium), copper and aluminum cookware and lead-based cosmetics. These are just a few of the hundreds of sources which can contribute to nutrient imbalances and adverse metabolic effects.
(e) Nutritional Supplements – Taking incorrect supplements or improper amounts of supplements can produce many vitamin and mineral excesses and/or deficiencies, contributing to overall biochemical imbalances. Many people will read about a new supplement in the newspaper or magazine and assume that they need this specific supplement. After many months, and many supplements they have not resumed optimum health… Why? It is estimated that 78% of the population who take supplementation, 65% do not know why they take a specific supplement and whether they need it or not.
(f) Inherited Patterns – a predisposition toward certain mineral imbalances, deficiencies and excesses can be inherited from parents. Many children are born toxic or sick or with certain mineral deficient diseases. These deficiencies
XIII. Is hair analysis performed in South Africa and by whom and what machinery is used?
Solutions-4-Health performs its own hair trace mineral analysis. Should any discrepancies be found in the hair trace mineral results, a new sample is requested from the patient to verify the first sample. Should there still be a discrepancy, a new hair sample will be requested and sent for verification to an independent laboratory for verification.
Solutions-4-health uses the Perkin Elmer Elan-9000 ICP-MS instrument for hair mineral analysis testing. The Elan-9000 performs analysis at part per million up to part per trillion. The design of the Elan-9000 ensures accuracy, improves method development and consistently delivers the correct results. It also offers higher speed performance and performance advantages. It also provides increased reliability and reduced costs of operation when compared to other ICP-MS systems.
XIV. Do Solutions-4-health only test hair?
We not only test hair, but also animal hair (of pets) and feathers of all kinds birds. Water and soil analysis was added to our services this year (as many towns, especially in the JHB triangle are experiencing acid water seeping into tap water and causing health problems), including herbal & mineral supplementation. Our soil and water samples have a turnaround time of approximately 10 working days.
XV. Does healthy daily wholesome food imply that I do not need supplementation?
Is there such a thing as a balanced diet? No! The body and immune system become compromised beyond a certain point, due to metal toxicity, on-going severe stress and malnutrition, where nutritional supplementation is required, especially during times of cancer. However, many have claimed to have been healed with a macro-biotic diet and using the grape seed diet. This is possible. In most instances, a healthy diet will definitely help, but additional micro-nutrients and trace elements are necessary for complete recovery (and possible maintenance for a few months).
An incorrect diet (malnutrition) can lead to a dis-eased body, so can taking the incorrect supplementation. What is wrong with incorporating an avocado pear into a healthy diet? A slow oxidiser that is on a detoxifying program should not eat avocado pear as it is high in copper as this will slow down the oxidative rate further. Sow-oxidisers have too much copper and too little zinc.
Fast oxidisers can benefit from copper, as they are generally deficient in this important mineral. Another example, fast oxidizers are generally low in calcium and eating oranges, grape fruit and citrus will further deplete an already low calcium level.
XVI. How do detox programs affect the body physically and emotionally as part of a health regimen?
People experience various reactions and burn-off symptoms on detoxifying programmes, such as headaches, skin problems, acne, and depression or recurrent infections. These reactions are caused by toxins or by products that the body has accumulated over a period of time. Minerals release metals and toxins form the body’s storage sites and organs. People are bio-chemically different and react differently to detox programmes. The severity of symptoms is usually indicative of the severity of body toxicity. People that has very few symptoms whilst on a detox programme have efficient metabolic support systems. Most detox symptoms are short-lived, but some can be severe. Those individuals with a fast oxidative rate experience the most burn-off symptoms initially and much quicker.
Slow oxidizers may initially show no evidence of toxic burn-off because their body bio-chemistry is too acidic or their liver function maybe sluggish. Many toxic metals are stored in the body to prevent more serious side-effects or burn-off symptoms. Accumulative storage of toxic metals occurs because of an inability to remove them from storage areas due the various mineral, vitamin and amino acid deficiencies.
Metals such iron, lead, cadmium, zinc and copper can cause a wide range of skin reactions, when toxins are released by the tissues storage sites (e.g. women experience skin rash on the insides of their legs, caused by copper or nickel whilst other women may experience the
same rash on the arms and face.
Scientific evidence shows that mineral deficiencies re associated with certain abnormal behavioural patterns, and the reverse is true for toxic metals patterns as they displace important minerals in the brain. Therefore as toxic metals are replaced by minerals and mineral levels normalize, so too will behaviour.
XVII. Does the body undergo a healing crisis whilst detoxifying?
The body remembers when it was completely healthy. This maybe 5 years ago or 20 years ago. In other words, it remembers. The body has cellular memory and therefore certain ‘mineral triggers’ can reactivate the healing crisis in the body. Therefore when healing occurs, the body remembers when it was perfectly healthy and return to that state of wellness. In other words, it retraces it footsteps… The body can remember and experience certain illness and symptoms it had up to thirty or forty years ago. Each cell in the body has a cellular and nutritional blueprint of its life. When the same conditions of years gone by are experienced, the same symptoms trigger the same illnesses. The symptoms people experience are the ‘unravelling’ of distorted mineral patterns. This is referred to as “retracing”.
Retracing also occurs on the emotional level. Memories and emotions are stored at the cellular level. As body chemistry improves, old (toxic) memories often surface to be released. Emotional sensitivity may increase and unexplained episodes of anxiety, depression, crying or other emotional states are common. Emotional awareness and expression often increase as healing proceeds, causing unusual symptoms.
All disease is associated with mineral deficiencies and distorted mineral ratios. When retracing occurs the person will go through past mineral ratios associated with specific symptoms. As the body starts to balance itself bio-chemically, so will old patterns be replaced by the correct mineral ratio & relationships. Symptoms = normalisation of unbalanced mineral patterns.
Sometimes, the patient may feel better, yet there results look worse. The sodium/potassium ratio may decrease on a retest HTMA, although the patient feels better. The patient could be releasing a toxic substance that was propping up the ratio artificially. Therefore it is important to support the body through the change with the appropriate diet, supplements and lifestyle modifications.
Sometimes hair analysis results will look better, but the patient feels worse. This may occur due to retracing, which requires that energy be used for internal healing, not for outward activity. Therefore, the patient feels tired. Sometimes the improved chemistry has brought into focus an old infection, a structural misalignment, or anxiety from the past which needs to be dealt with. This can cause the patient to feel worse for a while.
Most often, reassurance is needed. Symptoms will pass. If symptoms persist, other natural therapies may be needed with a scientific nutrition program to move past the blockage. These can include chiropractics, colonic irrigation, psychotherapy, colour therapy, reflexology, kinesiology, or water therapy. One modality may work for a while, another change is then needed. Each and every therapy has its therapeutic benefits. We are multi-dimensional beings and healing on all levels. One healing modality is never the answer. Therefore when the body begins to heal itself, it will do it in reverse order and the patient will experience symptoms that (s)he had ten to twenty years ago, but in reverse order starting with the most recent illnesses. In other words, we always get worse before we get well.
XVIII. How frequently do I need to retest?
A hair trace mineral analysis is your nutritional blueprint for 3-months (120 days). Therefore it is important to ascertain your blueprint every 4 months, in other words, every quarter. This is ample time to ascertain what progress you have made and what mineral ratios needs to normalise and what metals still need to be chelated. It also gives the patient a good idea how to further fine tune their nutrition and supplementation program and what other therapies can be beneficial to healing.
XIX. Why do my retest results not always match how I am feeling? Retracing is the process whereby the body rebalances its bio-chemistry. It is also known as a healing crisis. Unlike allopathic medicine that do not produce a healing crisis, but can merely delay the healing crises through artificial medication, which produces a dis-ease crisis due to toxic side-effects.
Many people have infections such as Candida that they are not aware of. This affects the digestive system which in itself produces a host of chronic toxicity with in the body and brain. Many people also have underlying infections from early childhood including toxins from medications taken twenty to thirty years ago. Smokers assume that when they stopped smoking, toxic metals will leave their body automatically… As metals are being released from cellular tissues, symptoms of low energy may be experienced, headaches, migraines, bladder infections, etc. Coffee drinkers may even experience anxiety and nervousness when being weaned off coffee.
Most importantly, healing requires energy. Until the body has energy to heal, will it use available energy to re-trace its footsteps and start the healing process.
One diet is not always good for everyone. Vegetarian diets is not conducive for everyone and therefore following such a diet may heal one person but not another. In other words: “one food can be another mans’ poison.” Health is determined at different layers and therefore one therapy do not work for everyone. A different layer of ill health, demands a different therapy to rid the body of the imbalance.
How come my symptoms have improved, but my test results changed very little? Symptomatic improvement occurs first whilst deeper metabolic changer takes longer to manifest. A hair analysis brings to the fore the deeper changes of healing. Even omitting a food allergy can correct a bio-chemical imbalance and symptoms, yet has not corrected itself on hair test results. Stress levels can also decrease symptomatically, but has not yet shown itself on a follow-up HTMA.
How come my symptoms have remained the same, but my retest shows improvement? Deep metabolic changes precedes symptomatic improvement. With any nutritional program, the body corrects the most important imbalances first (the body has a wisdom of its own). At times the most important imbalance may not be your own symptoms, but possibly, e.g. correcting body pH imbalance (that cause a slowed metabolism) will reduce other bio-chemical imbalances in the body that will eventually balance your symptoms. Therefore, you may not feel better immediately, but an improvement is occurring. Although deficiencies manifest long before the symptoms do, at times serious health conditions are corrected of which one may not display any symptoms at all, such as a looming heart attack or the manifestations of cancer. And as there are no overt signs of pathology, one is not often aware of the correcting pathology either (displayed on a follow up HTMA).
Another example is that of metal toxicity… Although no overt clinical signs are of metal toxicity, elimination takes place at a very subtle level, avoiding eventual symptoms of toxicity.
Are emotional changes affected by levels of mineral during retracing? The level of minerals in the body and brain affects emotional states. An example: children who are overly emotional, cry and salivate easily, have excess lead in the body. Metals displace or replace important minerals in the body. A magnesium imbalance is the single most important mineral that affects brain health more than any other nutrient in the body. It is also one of the main reasons for most behavioural disorders in children. This does not imply that merely supplementation with magnesium will alleviate or cure a behavioural problem. All deficiencies have to be ascertained as minerals work synergistically with all other mineral system in the body and brain.
XX. How to go about requesting a hair trace mineral analysis?
Complete the Health Questionnaire. Once completed, a copy will be automatically forwarded to Solutions4Health.
a. Cut ½ teaspoon of hair from between the collar and crown, from as close to the scalp as possible. Keep in mind that the hair must be dirty – one of non-washing.
b. Put the hair into a small envelope and write the following on the envelope: Name, surname, date-of-birth, weight in kilograms, contactable telephone number and your most recent email address to send the results to.
c. Include the above MHT-DQ with your hair sample or email it to the address above.
d. Put this small envelope with your hair sample in a bigger envelope and address it as follows: SOLUTIONS4HEALTH, P. O. Box 1075, Green Point 8051.
e. Do not include money orders/transfer or cheque with your hair sample.
f. An email will be sent to the recipient informing of the hair sample arriving and being sent for analysis.
g. The results will be received within 3 working days. An invoice with the results will be emailed to the listed email address with a LOCK CODE.
h. The invoice contains payment details (bottom left). Once payment reflects on our account, an UNLOCK CODE will be emailed and SMSed to the recipient.
i. An email will be sent confirming a date and time to discuss the results of the hair trace mineral analysis. All cleanses, nutritional recommendations and supplementation requirements will be given at the consultation.
j. A retest is suggested in 3-months to ascertain what progress has been made and what supplementation to (dis) continue and what next level of healing to apply.