Tests that help to diagnose metal and chemical toxicity include blood tests, urine tests, and the analysis of hair, nails or other tissues. The most accurate of these are a chelation challenge test or a hair mineral analysis.
Regular blood tests and urine tests are not accurate in diagnosing heavy metal toxicity, as they only tend to show what is happening in the body at that brief moment in time, and do not give the long-term picture.
This makes sense since the body works hard to keep the levels of nutrients in the bloodstream within fairly tight limits. If large fluctuations in mineral levels occurred, serious illness or even death would result.
A chelation challenge test needs to be performed by a doctor who specializes in chelation therapy. The patient is given a chelating drug, commonly DMPS or DMSA, and the patient's urine is collected and analyzed over a 24 hour period. This test is a highly accurate way of knowing just what heavy metals are present in the body.
The drawbacks to this method are that it requires a visit to a health care professional's office, it is expensive, and there is a possibility of side effects to the chelating drugs.
A hair mineral analysis is an excellent alternative way of determining what toxic metals are present in the body. In addition, it also measures the levels of essential minerals in the body, such as calcium, magnesium and zinc, and toxic metal and mineral ratios. This test can provide you with much-needed information about mineral deficiencies and imbalances in your body, especially if you're suffering from symptoms of heavy metal poisoning.
A hair tissue mineral analysis provides a unique reading of heavy metal and mineral levels in the cells over a two to three month period. It takes into consideration that toxins are stored in the tissues of the body, not in the blood. For instance, you can have normal copper levels in the blood, but high copper levels in the tissues.
The reason hair is used for testing mineral status and metabolic activity is because of its very nature. Our hair is formed from clusters of specialized cells that make up the hair follicle. During the growth phase, the hair is exposed to the internal environment such as blood, lymph and extra-cellular fluids.
As the hair continues to grow and reaches the surface of the skin, its outer layers harden, locking in the metabolic products accumulated during the period of formation. This biological process provides a blueprint and lasting record of metal content and nutritional metabolic activity that has occurred during this time.
The precise analytical method of determining the levels of minerals in the hair is a highly sophisticated technique: when performed to exacting standards and interpreted correctly, it may be used as a screening aid for determining mineral deficiencies, excesses, and/or imbalances. HTMA provides you and your healthcare professional with an economical and sensitive indicator of the long-term effects of diet, stress, toxic metal exposure and their effects on your child's mineral balance that is difficult to obtain through other clinical tests.
It is important for the attending healthcare professional to determine the mineral status as minerals are absolutely critical for life and abundant health. They are involved in and are necessary for cellular metabolism, structural support, nerve conduction, muscular activity, immune functions, anti-oxidant and endocrine activity, enzyme functions, water and acid/alkaline balance and even DNA function.
Many factors can affect mineral nutrition, such as: food preparation, dietary habits, genetic and metabolic disorders, disease, medications, stress, environmental factors, as well as exposure to heavy metals. Rarely does a single nutrient deficiency exist in a person. Multiple nutritional imbalances however are quite common, contributing to an increased incidence of adverse health conditions. In fact, it is estimated that mild and sub-clinical nutritional imbalances are up to ten times more common than nutritional deficiencies alone.
To get an idea of how helpful a hair tissue analysis can be, think about this: Researchers using tissue mineral analysis determined, more than 100 years after Napoloen Bonaparte's death, that he had been poisoned by arsenic. Even though his hair sample was tested more than a century after his death, it still revealed pathological amounts of arsenic that had gradually proved fatal.
A hair analysis usually needs to be obtained through a health care professional (which can be expensive). However, we offer a service that allows you to get a comprehensive hair tissue mineral analysis from a federally licensed laboratory called Trace Elements, Inc.
Each hair analysis contains a detailed 10-15 page report from the laboratory itself, which shows bar graph readings indicating high, low and reference range levels for toxic metals, essential minerals and significant mineral ratios.
It also includes a metabolic profile, recommendations for diet and supplements based on individual results.
Unlike some labs that test hair tissue analysis, Trace Elements, Inc. does not wash the hair at the lab. Washing the hair removes some of the loosely bound minerals and can reduce some mineral readings by 50 percent or more. The hair sample is prepared in their licensed clinical laboratory by using 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.
The comprehensive Hair Tissue Analysis (Profile 2) report details graph results for 8 toxic heavy metals/elements, 15 nutritional minerals/elements, 15 additional elements, 7 significant mineral ratios, and 9 toxic metal ratios. Once you purchase the hair analysis from us, we send you a hair sample kit with instructions on how to take the hair sample.
To view a sample of the bar graph measurements for each mineral element and significant ratios, click here.
Nutritional Elements: Extensively studied, the nutrient elements have been well defined and are considered essential for many biological functions in the human body. They play key roles in such metabolic processes such as muscular activity, endocrine function, reproduction, skeletal integrity, and overall development.
Toxic Elements: The toxic elements or "heavy metals" are well-known for their interference upon normal biochemical function. They are commonly found in the environment and therefore are present to some degree, in all biological systems. However, these metals clearly pose a concern for toxicity when accumulation occurs to excess.
Additional Elements: These elements are considered as possibly essential by the human body. Additional studies are being conducted to better define their requirements.
Significant Ratios: If the synergistic relationship (or ratio) between certain minerals in the body is disturbed, studies show that normal biological functions and metabolic activity can be adversely affected. Even at extremely low concentrations, the synergistic and/or antagonistic relationships between minerals still exist, which can indirectly affect metabolism.
Toxic Ratios: It is important to note that individuals with elevated toxic levels may not always exhibit clinical symptoms associated with those particular toxic minerals. However, research has shown that toxic minerals/metals can also produce an antagonistic effeect on various essential minerals, eventually leading to distrubances in their metabolic utilization.
To view a sample of the detailed explanation of results patient report, please click here. For a complete overview of the various sections covered in the Comprehensive Hair Analysis Report, please click here.
To view complete details of the elements measured and to order the comprehensive Profile 2 Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis, please visit our sister website Evenbetternow.com by clicking here.
For a list of FAQ’s about hair analysis, please click here.
Once you purchase the hair analysis you will receive a hair sample kit with instructions on how to take the hair sample. You then send the hair sample to the Trace Elements lab, and the lab sends us the detailed report/results, which we then email to you first followed by a printed bound copy in the mail.