Hair Mineral Analysis Test: What It Reveals About Heavy Metal Toxicity

Toxic metals have no known positive role in the body, but sadly they are everywhere and affect everyone. Humans today are exposed to the highest levels of toxins in recorded history, up to several thousand times higher than even a hundred years ago. The main reason is industrialization. The toxic metals are persistent and cumulative – they don’t degrade within the body – and once they enter the body, it’s common they stay for a long time.

A hair mineral analysis shows how the body is processing toxic metals by identifying an individual's detoxification rate and metabolic type. It also shows how sensitive the body is to the toxins and indicators of that sensitivity. 

Dangers of Toxic Metals in The Body

All of the toxic metals are extremely acid-forming, physically toxic and neurotoxic (poison to the brain). Here’s what toxic metals do within our body:

1. Replace nutrient minerals in enzyme binding sites. This, in turn, inhibits, overstimulates or otherwise alters the activity of the affected enzyme – and your body has trillions of them. An affected enzyme may operate at 5-10% of its normal activity, or it may function at twice the normal rate. Either way, this can contribute to every imaginable health condition.

2. Replaces other minerals in tissue structures. These tissues, such as the arteries, joints, bones and muscles, are weakened and slowly destroyed by the replacement process.

3. Cause irritation, necrosis, inflammation, atrophy and other toxic effects.

4. Support development of fungal, bacterial and viral infections that are difficult or impossible to eradicate until the toxic metal is eliminated.

5. “Short-circuit” and otherwise damage the brain and nervous system in many ways, leading to most mental and neurological disorders.

Toxic Metals and Disease States

Toxic metals are a major cause of inflammation, infection and tissue damage. They’ve also become a major cause for birth defects, ADHD, autism, aging, brain illnesses, mental illness and all the killer diseases of our day. With that said, the study of toxic metals is sadly mostly ignored in post-modern medical care.

1. Many diseases are simply metal toxicity. Toxic metals can contribute to any imaginable symptom or illness. Many cases of diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and many others may be mainly toxic metal poisoning. Let us use diabetes as an example. Iron, manganese or other metals can replace zinc in the pancreas. This will impair the production and secretion of insulin. Others may cause the production of a lower quality insulin that is less effective in regulating blood sugar, causing so-called “insulin resistance.”

2. Combinations of toxic metals can be even worse. Most people have too much of up to two dozen toxic metals. Symptoms are often due to combinations of metals acting on the body in many ways at once. This can cause many “varieties” of cancers, heart disease, diabetes, pain syndromes, arthritis and other so-called “diseases.”

3. Toxic metals cause aging. Toxic metals slowly deactivate enzyme systems, weaken body structures and have other degenerative effects. The process quickly becomes a vicious cycle. As ore of the toxic metals accumulate, digestion and absorption of the essential minerals worsens. This causes the body to replace them with more toxic metals. Also, as the metals build up, the body’s ability to eliminate them decreases, causing even faster rates of toxic metal buildup. This results in death unless the cycle can be reversed. In a sense, everyone dies of toxicity, even if it is called cancer, heart disease or kidney failure.

4. Toxic metals and gene expression. Genetic defects may be due to toxic metals. The gene may be healthy and okay, but the metal interferes with the gene expression. This type of defect is called a polymorphism. For example, zinc is required for RNA transferase, a key enzyme in gene expression. Not surprisingly, zinc deficiency and its replacement by cadmium, perhaps is associated with neural tube defects and other birth defects and developmental delays.

What Is A Hair Mineral Analysis?

A hair mineral analysis (HMA) is a technique used to analyze trace minerals and other toxic heavy metals in a person’s body. Who should get an HMA? A HMA is for you if you have a disease or health problem that hasn’t responded to treatment. It’s also for you if you’re concerned about the effects of air, water and food pollution on you. But how do you know if those things are a concern? You won’t, unless you have your hair tested.

How Does A Hair Mineral Analysis Work?

Hair is permanently recording the past events of your trace element status. As your hair grows about one millimeter every three days or one-half inch per month, it takes protein from the blood and in the process, concentrates nutrient and toxic elements into the growing hair shaft. Elemental concentrations in the hair are often ten times or more greater than that in blood or urine.

Research has shown, for many elements, hair more closely reflects body mineral stores than does blood or urine, particularly in cases of toxic metal accumulation. Often hair will show toxicity when blood and urine will not. The blood shows only what is present at the moment the blood is drawn, while urine shows only what the body is eliminating, not what is stored. Hair grows slowly and analysis of hair levels will indicate the average levels in the body over a long period of time. The alternative to hair analysis is to obtain biopsy specimens from body organs. This requires surgery, is very expensive, is objectionable and would not be acceptable to most people. Hair analysis is not as accurate as surgical biopsy, but it provides an excellent screening measurement and is simple, safe and relatively inexpensive.

A small amount of hair (approx. one gram) is cut within one inch from the scalp – the closer to the scalp the better – and cut from the region of the scalp below the crown and above the neck (the occipital region). The first inch of hair growth from the scalp represents the last three months of hair growth (on average). The hair is then tested for the presence of trace amounts of both the essential and toxic mineral elements in the hair.

Toxic Minerals Identified On A Hair Mineral Analysis

A Healthy Good’s Hair Mineral Analysis (HMA) analyzes levels of Uranium, Arsenic, Beryllium, Mercury, Cadmium, Lead and Aluminum, along with levels of Nickel, Strontium, Lithium, Vanadium and Rubidium. A person wants their toxic metal levels as close to zero as possible because toxins increase stress & inflammation and will make whatever imbalances a person has a lot more pronounced (ie: blood sugar and insulin imbalances).

Detoxifying Toxic Metals

Detoxifying is a huge part of a nutritional balancing program and removing heavy metal toxins from the body. It's not just the liver that detoxifies – the entire body is involved in detoxification – skin, large intestine, liver, kidneys, lungs, glands, circulatory and lymphatic system, and every cell in your body. Get started with these 7 simple suggestions for optimal cleansing.   

There are three phases involved in the liver's detoxification process, and all three phases need the proper nutrition support or detox will become sluggish or, even worse, come to a halt. 

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods

References

1. Wilson L, Nutritional Balancing and Hair Mineral Analysis 4th edition. Prescott, AZ, 2014.

2. Passwater RA and Cranton EM, Trace Elements, Hair Analysis and Nutrition. Keats Publishing, Inc., New Canaan, CT 1983. 

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