Hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA), when done properly, will generate precise, accurate, and reliable results. ([1])  HTMA is regularly used for drug testing and has already been used to successfully monitor the presence of THMs as in the study comparing lead in HTMA results to blood concentrations of Pb and in comparing mercury in the hair to systolic blood pressure. ([2],[3])  There is also the study of 100 autistic spectrum disorder children who were found to have significantly increased levels of mercury, lead and aluminum in comparison to the 100 children in the control group ([4])  and other studies. ([5]) The HTMA typically shows levels of THMs less than what is considered necessary for general toxicity even though symptoms of THM toxicity will be present.  This is in accord with Haschek and Roussex’s Handbook of Toxicologic Pathology that states “most THM ions are toxic for immune components at dosages below those resulting in general toxicity.”([6])

hair analysis time zones

Understanding the Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Process:

According to Trace Elements Lab (in Addison, Texas testing for over 46 countries), a hair sample typically consist of the first 1 ½ inches of hair starting at the scalp.   Since hair typically grows approximately half an inch each month, the hair sample will cover a three-month period. ([7],[8]) Therefore, if the first sample is 1 ½ inches long, it will look at the period of time occurring approximately 1 day to 3 months before the sample is taken.  (See the yellow rectangle labeled 1 in the image above.)  The first month that the DC is done (labeled with an * in the figure above) should not be included in the follow up HTMA as that month’s results will include the unpredictable, irregular releases of phase 2.  Continuing the DC process for 3 more months will allow the plateau of phase 3 to occur.  Now, when 1 ½ inches of hair is cut, it will contain months 2, 3 and 4 (labeled accordingly in in the image above).  We do not repeat the HTMA again until the DC water changes from severe releases of metals to mostly moderate releases.  Once the moderate releases appear, we wait 3 months to do the HTMA to allow the new plateau to register all the way to the end of the 1 ½ inches of new growth.

Information Provided by Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

HTMA is a good indicator of what is in the blood as that is what is available to the hair as it is growing. ([9])  Since the body’s goal is to keep the blood clean, it is understood that we only see significantly elevated THM concentrations if the body is unable to store them fast enough and sufficiently enough to keep the blood clean.  Therefore, significantly elevated THM concentrations suggest elevated stored levels.  Unfortunately, HTMA gives no exact indication of the amounts stored in the bone marrow tissues and organs of the body.  A PUA gives a better snapshot of the stored THM concentrations.

Collecting the Sample for Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis:

The client’s hair is washed three times a few minutes before the sample is collected.  This ensures that the test is quantifying what the hair absorbed from the person’s body and not from the external environment to which the hair was exposed.  One of our specialists will collect a sample of the client’s freshly-washed hair, weigh it and then put it into a protective sample envelope in accord with Trace Elements Laboratory’s recommendations for collecting hair samples.  The sample envelopes are placed into a larger envelope and mailed to Trace Elements.

Determining When to Recommend Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis:

At our center, it is not feasible to put everyone through the expense of a HTMA.  Therefore, a HTMA will only be recommended if a BS film forms on top of the water thick enough to prevent the feet from being seen during the first DC session.  However, for the purpose of this study, all participants will have a HTMA done on day 1 and every four months thereafter.  If a consistent, significant change is seen in the contents of the DC water, a HTMA will be scheduled for 4 months after the change first appeared and then every four months thereafter.

(Note: Our center, Optimum Health, has been designated by Trace Elements Lab as the preferred location in the state of Virginia for hair tissue mineral analysis. The designation was made because of our reliability and technique, and because our detoxification protocol yields the highest, consistently-measurable and reproducible results in the state.  As Trace Elements performs chemical hair analyses for companies and individuals all over the United States and in 46 other countries, this is quite an accomplishment.)

[1] Bass DA, Hickock D. Trace element analysis in hair: factors determining accuracy, precision, and reliability. Altern Med Rev. 2001 Oct;6(5):472-81.

[2] Niculescu T, Dumitru R, Botha V, Alexandrescu R, Manolescu N. Relationship between the lead concentration in hair and occupational exposure. British Journal of Industrial Medicine. 1983;40(1):67-70.

[3] Fillion M, Mergler D, Sousa Passos CJ, et al. A preliminary study of mercury exposure and blood pressure in the Brazilian Amazon. Environ Health. 2006;5:29–46.

[4] Mohamed F El Baz, Zaky EA, et al. Assessment of Hair Aluminum, Lead, and Mercury in a Sample of Autistic Egyptian Children: Environmental Risk Factors of Heavy Metals in Autism. Behav Neurol. 2015; 2015: 545674. Published online 2015 Oct 5. doi:  10.1155/2015/545674

[5] Li J, Cen D, et al. Detection and analysis of 12 heavy metals in blood and hair sample from a general population of Pearl River Delta area. Cell Biochem Biophys. 2014 Dec;70(3):1663-9. doi: 10.1007/s12013-014-0110-6.

[6] Haschek, Wanda M., Rousseaux, Colin G and  Wallig, Matthew A, editors.   Haschek and Rousseaux’s Handbook of Toxicologic Pathology. Second edition Volume 1, Academic Press; 1991,2002.

[7] Niculescu T, Dumitru R, Botha V, Alexandrescu R, Manolescu N. Relationship between the lead concentration in hair and occupational exposure. British Journal of Industrial Medicine. 1983;40(1):67-70.

[8] Van Neste D. Thickness, medullation and growth rate of female scalp hair are subject to significant variation according to pigmentation and scalp location during ageing. Eur J Dermatol. 2004 Jan-Feb;14(1):28-32.

[9] Van Neste D. Why care about linear hair growth rates (LHGR)? a study using in vivo imaging and computer assisted image analysis after manual processing (CAIAMP) in unaffected male controls and men with male pattern hair loss (MPHL).  Eur J Dermatol. 2014 Sep-Oct;24(5):568-76. doi: 10.1684/ejd.2014.2428.

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