Frequently Asked Questions About Hair Analysis

Frequently Asked Questions about Hair Analysis

Do you know what’s going on inside your body?
Do you take vitamins and ever wonder if you are taking too little or too much? Women, do you take hormonal replacement and wonder what your hormone levels really are? If these are questions you have had, then you need to consider the Hair Trace Mineral Analysis test. Some of items the tests show are minerals for: Metabolism, Thyroid Functioning, Stress level, Adrenal Functioning and Immune Systems.

What is a Hair Analysis?
Hair Analysis, Hair Mineral Analysis, Tissue Mineral Analysis (TMA) and Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) are all the same thing. It is an analytical test which measures the mineral content of the hair. The hair sample is obtained by cutting hair from the nape of the neck keeping only the first inch and a half nearest the scalp. This sample is then tested in a licensed clinical laboratory using a series of chemical and high temperature digestive procedures with highly sophisticated detection equipment. The results are put in a report showing the very accurate and precise mineral readings.

What can cause a mineral imbalance?
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 prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can deplete the bodies store of nutrient minerals and/or increase the levels of toxic metals- for example, 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), hydrogenation oils (nickel), antiperspirants (aluminum), lead-based cosmetics, copper and aluminum cookware, and dental amalgams (mercury and cadmium). These are just a few of the hundreds of sources which can contribute to nutrient imbalances and adverse metabolic effects.

NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS – Taking the incorrect type of supplements or improper amounts of nutritional supplements can produce many mineral excesses and/or deficiencies contributing to an overall biochemical imbalance.

INHERITED PATTERNS – A predisposition toward mineral imbalances, deficiencies and excesses can be inherited from parents.

Why design a nutritional program?
It is essential in order to design an effective nutritional program, that you find the basic underlying cause for symptoms that you may be experiencing. A TMA can be used in conjunction with other diagnostic tests.

Why use the hair? What is its validity?
Hair is an extension of the skin and reflects the cell or tissue level activity. The hair is an ideal tissue for testing for many reasons:
1. Hair can be cut easily and painlessly (noninvasive).
2. Hair can show an indication of mineral status and toxic metal accumulation in the body.
3. Hair does not show daily fluctuations (such as blood and urine do).
4. Hair analysis shows the biochemistry, or intracellular activity, and metabolism of the body (blood and urine tests do not).
5. A hair analysis is an analytical test which is performed in a licensed clinical laboratory through a series of chemical and high temperature procedures to achieve the most accurate and precise results.

Why test for minerals?
Trace minerals are essential in countless metabolic functions in all phases of life processes.
• 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.

In the words of the late author and noted researcher, Dr. Henry Schroeder, trace elements (minerals) 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.”

How is hair testing different from blood tests? Why should I do this instead of blood tests?
Hair can show the metabolic activity over a long period of time and is not influenced by daily fluctuations. Blood and urine are affected by daily fluctuations in metabolic activity. For example, if you eat a banana the same day you have a blood test drawn, your blood test may show that you have an increased potassium level. This would not affect a hair analysis because hair grows slowly and reflects long-term dietary habits rather than what is consumed the day the sample is taken. This is also why results of a hair analysis report can be different from a blood or urine sample. Mineral levels are more stable in the hair than in the blood.

So what else do the minerals do that are so important?
Mineral ratios can give you clues as to the functioning of your:
• Metabolism
• Female/Male Hormones
• Thyroid gland
• Adrenal glands
• Level of stress
• Blood sugar regulation
• Immune system

I’m taking a multivitamin that has everything in it, isn’t that good enough?
Hair analysis is helpful to know if your multivitamin is enough because it shows mineral levels. This indicates which vitamin and mineral supplements you need to be taking and others which you need to stay away from. This is important to know because excessive mineral intake can negate the beneficial effects of vitamins.

So what’s wrong with having too much of a mineral?
Here are some examples of too much of a good thing:
• Too much iron can contribute to arthritic symptoms or tension headaches.
• Too much calcium can contribute to osteoporosis, weight gain, and fatigue.
• Zinc can reduce the beneficial effects of Vitamin D.
• High levels of copper can contribute to chronic yeast infections, fatigue or skin problems.

Is a TMA for you?
Of course… available without a prescription, you can have your hair cut and have the sample sent to a lab, the same lab that physicians use. The lab will then send a measurement of your specific mineral levels, along with the recommended for necessary vitamin and mineral supplementation plus the list foods to be eaten more and the foods to avoid. It’s inexpensive, it’s easy, but most of all, it’s accurate. And it is available at Options Center.