Your Hair Can Tell You More Than You Think
Do you realize how much information is in your hair? Hair is not just an outgrowth of the skin, it is an incredible storage facility for the body's minerals reserves. Hair loss, thinning hair and loss of hair color are all indications of changes in this essential mineral storage. According to Senate Doc ument No. 264 "99% of American people are deficient in minerals" and a severe deficiency in any one of these can result in disease and specifically gland disorders (think of your thyroid!).
Mineral analysis from the hair has been utilized since the early 1960’s and was originally implemented by the International Atomic Energy Commission. It was used to show the concentration of minerals as a reflection of both the internal and external environments and as the best way to detect contamination and radiation because of the hair’s effectiveness as a bio-concentrator. The hair is actually a recording filament that can reflect metabolic changes of many elements over long periods of time. Hair concentration of heavy metals is also the best way to detect elements that can act as neurotoxins over time. This includes lead, mercury and aluminum.
Compared to urine and blood, the levels of minerals found in the hair is much more accurate at showing stored concentrations that affect the body on a longer term basis. Blood levels can vary day to day depending on various factors making it not as accurate a measure of chronic illness and disease. In the case of mercury, it enters into the hair follicle via the blood stream and then binds to the keratin protein. Methyl-mercury becomes up to 250 times more concentrated in the body tissues than in the bloodstream. Hair Analysis is therefore a great test for acute Mercury toxicity.
After acute exposure to mercury, such as placement of a dental amalgam filling, most mercury disappears from the blood within three weeks and none is present after three months. At that point most of the mercury that has left the dental filling is oxidized and now firmly bound to proteins and proteoglycans [enzymes in the connective tissue] or as metallic mercury stored in fatty tissue. None of it is in the blood which means that even though the brain may be exhibiting neurotoxicity symptoms, mercury toxicity would never be suspected based on blood testing alone.
Despite numerous websites that discredit this type of test, there are many studies that have been done of Trace Mineral Hair Analysis, especially for bio-contamination. One such study from five countries revealed high arsenic concentrations in the hair samples, and symptoms were directly related to the concentrations of arsenic found. One study of 174 children showed that concentrations of heavy metals such as cadmium and lead were within normal allowable levels on blood testing, but were above maximum allowable levels in trace mineral hair testing. Their symptoms were then reduced by heavy metal toxicity treatment.
Why is TMHA Important?
The minerals in human tissue play a vital role in every body function. Imbalances in the synergistic relationships between various minerals can cause everything from insomnia to thyroid dysfunction. Hair is essentially soft tissue that has been formed from clusters of connective tissue matrix cells that make up the follicles. During the growth phase, the hair is exposed to the internal metabolic environment such as the circulating blood, lymph and extracellular 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 this period of hair formation. This biological process provides a blueprint and lasting record of nutritional metabolic activity that has occurred during this time. One of the best things about this blueprint is that it also records hormone activity. It does this by evaluating the mineral pattern which is essential to how well hormonal messages are received by the cells. Hormonal abnormalities will show up in the mineral pattern of soft tissues long before hormone levels deviate in the blood. So this is an "early stage" detection test.
Trace minerals are more important in nutrition than vitamins simply because all body processes rely upon minerals as catalysts and activators for function. Vitamins cannot function unless minerals are present because of the catalyst effect that make enzyme function possible. Minerals combine with enzymes into an alkaline detoxifying agent which neutralizes the acid metabolic by-products of the cells and other toxic conditions within the body and prepares them for elimination. Vitamins also can be synthesized by living matter, while minerals cannot.
Vitamins must be taken into the body daily, since the body does not store any vitamins. However it can synthesize certain vitamins, such as Vitamin D using cholesterol, the skin and the sun. Minerals, on the other hand, can be stored in soft tissue and bone for many months, even years. The key is for the body to be able to access these reserves when needed, and many times that doesn't happen ... or we take in large amounts of particular minerals each day, when the body already has large reserves, making the mineral toxic to the body function.