Hair Analysis

hair analysis

As already explained in other pages of our website, the first and foremost step in hair loss treatment is diagnosing the causes of hair loss. That is why, beside blood test, we use another method called Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) to truly diagnose the cause of hair loss. This test is especially effective in determining the amount of minerals and toxic metals in the body. In HTMA, your hair samples are analyzed in the hair analysis lab and 21 minerals are measured in the hair tissue.


These elements are: calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, chromium, selenium, boron, lithium, molybdenum, nickel, cobalt, lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, aluminum.


For some elements, the HTMA is an indicator of the amount of their resources in the body, but for some others, HTMA result reveals the ratio of minerals to one another. For example, calcium/potassium ratio is an indicator of thyroid activity or sodium/potassium ratio indicates adrenals activity. For example, in those suffering from adrenal fatigue the level of sodium in their HTMA is lower than potassium, calcium and magnesium. This is because adrenal hormones are responsible for regulating sodium level in the blood serum and when the adrenals are fatigued, the amount of sodium drops in the blood stream, and therefore, lesser amount of this element is deposited in soft tissues such as the hair.


HTMA test yields valuable information about the body and the causes of hair loss such as the following:

1. The level of minerals in the body
2. The level of toxic metals in the body
3. The status of protein metabolism in the body
4. Thyroid and adrenal status


According to your HTMA test and blood test result, we draw up a precise treatment plan for you. This plan includes the following:

1. Prescription of proper food supplements to regulate mineral and vitamin levels in the body
2. Selection of proper solutions to stimulate hair growth
3. Preparation of a nutrition plan to help regulate mineral levels and body metabolism
4. If needed, prescription of herb supplements to help regulate body metabolism and hormone levels


Why is determining mineral levels so important for human health and the treatment of hair loss?

For a proper metabolism, enzyme production, hormone secretion and flawless functioning of its different parts, human body needs minerals. Minerals are called the "spark-plugs of life" and they function in all biochemical activities of the human body. For instance, our body uses zinc to produce digestive enzymes, to make the hormone (TRH) that signals the thyroid to make thyroid hormones, to convert the protein we eat into amino acids, including tyrosine which powers the thyroid hormone production, and to do lots of other things. Likewise, calcium functions in the repair of bones and teeth and also in the activity of the central nervous system. Iron is used to produce red blood cells, and magnesium to regulate the heartbeat, the blood pressure and many other vital functions. Therefore, any imbalance (deficiency or overload) of these elements can create disorder in the activity of a part of the body and cause all kinds of diseases ranging from diabetes and obesity to hair loss.

For instance, if there is a person who suffers from insomnia, it means that this person's body lacks certain elements that contribute to the calming of the central nervous system and the relaxation of muscles and/or it has an overload of certain minerals that stimulate the nervous system and the brain, both of which consequently stop a person from relaxing and going to sleep.

A person's body requires certain amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein, and other nutrients to maintain the health of hair and the growth of new hair wasps (normally, each person loses 50 to 75 wasps of hair per day). An imbalance of these nutrients in body results in hastening hair loss and slowing down hair regrowth.

Except for diseases that are genetic or transmitted to us by viruses and bacteria, most other diseases, including hair loss are caused by mineral imbalance in the human body and the more this imbalance is, the harder will the disease or medical condition afflict us.

 

Minerals are divided into 3 groups:

1. Macro minerals: Macro minerals are the most important minerals needed in high amounts by the body. They include calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorous and sulfur.

2. Trace Minerals: Minerals required in minute amounts by the human body for metabolism and performing biochemical activities, including iron, copper, zinc, chromium, selenium, etc.

3. Toxic Metals: They are minerals that play no useful role in the human body; instead, by replacing vital minerals, they create disorder in metabolism and the activity of body organs, ultimately leading to diseases and even genetic problems. Nowadays, due to environmental pollutions, human is facing the highest amounts of these harmful metals in the environment during all his history. These metals include mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, aluminum, etc.

Macro and Trace minerals:

As already stated, these elements are among vital and useful elements for the human body. A lack of each of them leads to a disorder in body metabolism, hormone and enzyme production and the rise of different diseases. For instance, iron deficiency leads to anemia or calcium deficiency causes osteoporosis.

On the other hand, the excess of these minerals give rise to some problems in the human body too. For instance, iron resources in the body are about 4 grams and if the person eats an excessive amount of food resources containing iron, such as red meat, eggs, etc., the excess iron absorbed by the body replaces other minerals and causes different disorders and diseases such as hair loss, diabetes, fatty liver, bile problems, anger and nervous problems, high blood pressure, cardiac diseases and hypothyroidism, among other things. To read more, see Iron Overload article.


Toxic Metals:

Nowadays, with the present magnitude of environmental pollutions, everyone has certain amounts of these toxic metals in their bodies. These metals get into the human body through different ways, for example, lead and cadmium through car exhaust fumes or mercury through eating a lot of sea food, etc. When the amount of these metals increase in human body, they cause different physical and emotional problems. The body of a healthy individual is able to detox toxic metals through the liver, kidneys and perspiration. Apparently, the problem occurs when these organs lose their ability due to certain reasons such as wear and tear of organs, old age, etc. or when the human body is exposed to such metals for a long period of time and they start to build up in the body. For example, living for a long time in cities that have severe air pollution leads to an increase in the level of lead and cadmium in the body, which in turn, gives rise to related illnesses. Below comes the names of some toxic metals and related symptoms and diseases:

Aluminum: Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, anemia and other blood disorders, colic, fatigue, dental caries, dementia dialactica, hypoparathyroidism, kidney and liver dysfunctions, neuromuscular disorders, osteomalacia and Parkinson's disease.

Arsenic: abdominal pain, abnormal ECG, anorexia, dermatitis, diarrhea, edema, enzyme inhibitor, fever, fluid loss, goiter, hair loss, headache, herpes, impaired healing, interferes with the uptake of   folic acid, inhibition of sulfhydryl enzyme systems, jaundice, keratosis, kidney and liver damage, muscle spasms, pallor, peripheral neuritis, sore throat, stomatitis, stupor, vasodilation, vertigo, vitiligo and weakness.

Cadmium: hypertension, arthritis, diabetes, anemia, arteriosclerosis, impaired bone healing, cancer, cardiovascular disease, cirrhosis, reduced fertility, hyperlipidemia, hypoglycemia, headaches, osteoporosis, kidney disease, schizophrenia and strokes.

Nickel: cancer (oral and intestinal), depression, heart attacks, hemorrhages, kidney dysfunction, low blood pressure, malaise, muscle tremors and paralysis, nausea, skin problems, tetany and vomiting.
For more information please read toxic metals article.

 

What are the causes of mineral imbalance?

There are many factors to take into consideration, such as:

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 prescription and over-the-counter medications can deplete the body stores of nutrient minerals and/or increase the levels of toxic metals. These medications include 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), hydrogenated oils (nickel), Antiperspirants (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.

Nutritional Supplements: Taking incorrect supplements or improper amounts of supplements can produce many vitamin and mineral excesses and/or deficiencies, contributing to an overall biochemical imbalance.

Inherited Patterns: A predisposition toward certain mineral imbalances, deficiencies and excesses can be inherited from parents.
The point to be noticed here is that aging is not a cause of hair loss all by itself. What happens in aging is disturbed mineral balance, increase of toxic metals in the body due to the mentioned reasons all of which could hasten hair loss and slow body's capability in the regrowth of lost hair.

The point to be noticed here is that aging is not a cause of hair loss all by itself. What happens in aging is disturbed mineral balance, increase of toxic metals in the body due to the mentioned reasons all of which could hasten hair loss and slow body's capability in the regrowth of lost hair.


WHY USE HAIR FOR MEASURING MINERALS?

 

Hair makes an excellent biopsy material for many reasons:

Sampling is simple and non-invasive.

Hair is a stable biopsy material that remains viable for years, if needed, and requires no special handling.

Mineral levels in the hair are about ten times that of blood, making them easy to detect and measure accurately in the hair.

Hair is a fairly rapidly growing tissue.

The body often throws off toxic substances in the hair, since the hair will be cut off and lost to the body.

Mineral levels are kept relatively constant in the blood even when pathology is present.  Hair mineral values often vary by a factor of ten or much more, making measurement easier and providing a tremendous amount of accurate knowledge about the cells and the soft tissue of our bodies.

Toxic metals are easier to detect in the hair than in the blood.  They are not found in high concentrations in the blood except right after an acute exposure.  However, most tend to accumulate in the soft tissues such as the hair, as the body tries to move them to locations where they will do less damage.

Hair testing provides a long-term reading, while blood tests and urine tests provide a more instantaneous reading of the body.  Both types of readings have value in some circumstances.  For example, blood tests can vary from hour to hour, depending upon one's diet, activities, the time of day and many other factors.  This is beneficial in some instances, but is often less helpful when seeking an overall metabolic reading.  The mineral content of the blood is also kept fairly constant.  These problems are not present with hair testing. At times, of course, an instantaneous reading such as the blood provides is needed, especially in emergencies, which is an area in which hair testing is not used. however, for nutritional balancing, blood testing simply will not work for the reasons given above.

Finally, advancements in computer-controlled mass spectroscopy and other technologies have rendered the hair mineral biopsy an extremely cost-effective, accurate and reliable test when it is performed well.

 

Reading HTMA Result

Reading an HTMA result is a little different from reading a blood test result, in that the low level of some elements in HTMA does not necessarily mean that those certain elements are deficient in the body. For example, iron is an element that is not an indicator in this test, i.e. its low level in the test result is not an indicator of its deficiency in the body. For this very reason, to determine or measure the amount of iron in the body, blood tests are recommended. Another element which is not an indicator in HTMA is calcium whose high level in the HTMA result does not mean that the body has an excess of this element. Instead, it indicates that the body is not able to use calcium, which results in its depositing in soft tissues including the hair. This condition could be caused by hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, or copper toxicity. Therefore, it is extremely important that the reader of HTMA result be a specialized practitioner or a nutritionist who has the required experience and expertise in reading and deciphering HTMA results and in devising treatment plans accordingly.

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