Is Hair Mineral Analysis a Cardinal Sign of Quackery?
First, in our opinion and our experience, hair mineral analysis is the most accurate method available as a nutritional screening tool. Perhaps if it would be used as the basis to prescribe drugs it would be more readily accepted and embraced by the traditional allopathic medicine.
Let us help clear up the confusion!
What is written in the article, we place in quotations.
“Proponents claim that hair analysis is useful for evaluating a person’s general state of nutrition and health and is valuable in detecting predisposition to disease. They also claim that hair analysis enables a doctor to determine if mineral deficiency, mineral imbalance, or heavy metal pollutants in the body may be the cause of a patient’s symptoms. These claims are false.
Answer is: When properly read, the information provided in a hair mineral test is very valuable. It is often mistaken by doctors and uneducated, however well meaning, health advisers that whatever a test result is on the test is a representation of the amount of that mineral in the body. When you understand how the body works then you can start to look at the test result with better perspective. The state of the body’s stress levels can definitely be seen in an analysis. It simply tells us what the body is processing out, as that is what happens with soft tissue. We absorb nutrients, and toxins in a various number of ways. The body is supposed to use what it can, get rid of any it can’t use or isn’t supposed to use, and deposit the rest in the soft tissue: hair and nails. Any doctor, familiar or not, with hair mineral analysis can confirm this. So, you can take what is considered a fact and state it with an uneducated viewpoint and come to the incorrect conclusion, of course.
“Most commercial hair analysis laboratories have not validated their analytical techniques by checking them against standard reference materials. The techniques typically used to prepare samples for analysis can introduce errors for many of the elements being determined. "
Answer is: This is true. You definitely want to work with a lab that understands how hair mineral analysis works. We work only with the lab who’s founder is the inventor of Nutritional Balancing Science, Dr. Paul Eck. His children still run the lab today, and know what is necessary, not only for the testing of the hair, but for the preparation of the hair.
“Hair mineral content can be affected by exposure to various substances such as shampoos, bleaches and hair dyes. No analytic technique enables reliable determination of the source of specific levels of elements in hair as bodily or environmental. "
Answer is: This is true. That’s why each client must follow the instructions closely, or the results will be askew. Harsh shampoos, bleaching within 5 washes of the sample, dyes within 3 washes of the sample, or going swimming the day of sampling can all cause issues, as well as oil from not washing within the 4-24 hr time frame, or working out letting the sweat dry.
“The level of certain minerals can be affected by the color, diameter and rate of growth of an individual’s hair, the season of the year, the geographic location, and the age and gender of the individual. "
Answer is: Not so much that it will impede the overall process and change recommendations. Not a big deal, and not worth worrying about. It’s kind of like fussing over what dress to wear to dinner, when you don’t have food or money.
“Normal ranges of hair minerals have not been defined. "
Answer is: To be exact, no, because the environment and the Earth are always changing so we have to adjust levels, because it’s a live science, in that sense. However, we’ve found ranges that seem to be ideal for many and in achieving those ideals many have found terrific relief of many symptoms.
“For most elements, no correlation has been established between hair level and other known indicators of nutrition status. It is possible for hair concentration of an element (zinc, for example) to be high even though deficiency exists in the body. "
Answer is: We are not sure that the critic who wrote this is aware of the hundreds of clinical tests that have been done to correlate mineral levels with symptoms a person has, however the goal isn’t symptom removal, so the point is moot. What we’re trying to do with recommendations based on a hair mineral test is to simply reduce the overall stress load on the body, which causes a variety of different symptoms.
“Hair grows slowly (1 cm/month), so even hair closest to the scalp is several weeks old and thus may not reflect current body conditions for purposes of health diagnosis. "
Answer is: Collecting about an inch’s worth of hair close to the scalp allows us to collect data that is as current as possible to spot Trends. Again, we’re not diagnosing anything here, we’re reducing stress. It’s important to understand the end goal. By reducing stress in the body, the symptoms, often times, no longer are a problem.
“The use of a single multielemental hair analysis test as the sole means of diagnosis violates basic tenets of medical practice that laboratory findings should be considered together with the patient’s history and physical examination, and that the practitioner should keep in mind that laboratory errors occur. "
Answer is: We are not diagnosing, so no worries. As always, we never recommend anyone stop taking their medications. Many have found that after a while, they work with their doctor to come of certain prescriptions or wean themselves down. History is somewhat important, but most of the chronic conditions we deal with today are from Environmental and congenial factors, not genetic. That means we work on exposures, lifestyle, and environmental factors that are going on NOW.
Oh yes, and by the way, we never use a single hair test. For a complete program, it requires ongoing updates and retesting is very important. Because your body changes as it’s needs are met, old layers of metabolism reveal itself and have to be addressed. Old toxins are released and at the same time nutritional deficiencies that a person experienced in the past may present itself to be dealt with and permanently corrected. A true nutritional balancing program using hair mineral analysis is easy to do, cost effective, and changes are permanent. The average person can get terrific results in about a year. Most should stay on it about 2. If you’ve been through any sort of cancer therapy or serious illness, it may take 3 years. For this reason, single cleanses for individual body parts and organs simply won’t give you long term results that reduce chronic stress related conditions.
For the doubting Thomas, Judicial Support can be found in a 1985 case, of the Federal District Court of Alexandria, Virgina wherein Judge Brian stated that Hair Mineral Analysis was a...
"....Useful guide in the hand of a health care professional" and that when "used along with other relevant information in the treatment, the results of this procedure can help in prescribing nutritional supplements and in the caring for a specic patient where a chemical imbalances in the body is suspect".
Hope we have cleared up some of your questions. Let's move on to the following questions:
How Do I Order a Hair Analysis?
Simply go to the Contact Page and fill in your information so that we can contact you immediately for payment and send you the lab kit with instructions.
What Does the Hair Test Measure?
The hair test measures the 11 major minerals, the 6 major toxic metals, and a few more ultra-trace elements. It also contains 6 major mineral ratios, and all is presented on an easy-to-read graph that shows what the ideal value is.
Other labs may test numerous other elements, but these are less important or useful as their testing procedures are not as accurate, they do not have ideal values for them, and they are less important for nutritional balancing. And in case you haven’t guessed yet, we are Not doing hair testing for drug residues.
What Laboratory Do You Use?
We use Analytical Research Labs as we consider them to be the best. They are only 2 laboratories (the other lab is Trace Elements) that do not wash the hair prior to analysis. Washing the hair removes more of the water-soluble minerals, and can skew the results.
PS The sample must be sent to a licensed clinical laboratory for analysis. The best labs are Analytical Research Labs in Phoenix, Arizona (my (Dr. Wilson) first choice) or Trace Elements, Inc. (a very poor second choice because they read more minerals, but results may not be as accurate and worse, their corrective programs are terrible).
We are designing nutritional balancing programs based on these results, and we absolutely need everything to be as precise as possible. According to what we know, they have the strictest quality-control standards. ARL are the only lab that even has the optimum or ideal level of a mineral listed on their forms. They have also been in business for a long time, and was founded by the pioneer of hair mineral analysis and nutritional balancing science, Dr. Paul Eck.
Is Trace Elements INC (TEI) a Lab I should Use?
Problems with TEI include spotty accuracy of the test, in my (Dr. Wilson's) view. This is a critical problem.
Also, this lab does not suggest the detoxification procedures and the mental exercise. Without these, one cannot get well. One may feel better, but it is not the same as getting well. For this reason alone, there is no comparison between nutritional balancing as we offer it, and TEI.
Also, TEI does not offer current nutritional balancing science. Their test interpretations are different, and the products are different. They do not recognize the newer patterns such as four lows, sympathetic dominance, the hill, the bowl, the criminal patterns, the trauma patterns, step up, step down, the shell, the death patterns, patterns of the second four minerals, and others.
In addition, at this time, TEI does not list the ideal values on their graph. These are needed to identify the patterns properly. Their test interpretations and diet suggestions are not at all similar to ours. The results we see are not nearly as good. You can read here
How Much Hair Do I Need and How Do I Send It?
Just about a tablespoon or so, which can be sampled in small areas from the back of the head and will not interfere with anyone’s hairdos. After you have ordered your hair test, you will be sent specific instructions as to how to properly take a hair sample, and other variables that will influence the accuracy of the test.
I have bleached/dyed/permed hair. Will this affect the results?
Some labs recommend that the hair will not be accepted if it has been treated, but we have found that it does not influence the test so much that you need to wait for weeks for months before getting your hair tested. You should wash it at least 6 times after your hair treatment. The hair sampling instructions you will receive will also contain other factors that may influence the results, and what to do about them, including the use of certain shampoos and water softeners.
Should I wash my hair before the test?
Yes, but do not use hair spray or styling products
How long till I get my results?
It can take up to 3 weeks and you will get it from us, via email.
How often should I get a hair analysis?
We recommend testing every 3 to 6 months to see how you are progressing and if your protocol should be updated.
Who Benefits from Hair Analysis?
Everyone from infancy to the elderly.
What do I get for my money?
The package includes lab results with reference ranges and information on all mineral/metals tested plus suggested dietary protocol based on the lab results and your answers on the questionnaire, plus your lifestyle.
Is this covered by my insurance?
Some insurers in the USA do cover the testing. You can contact your insurance company and ask for their coverage.
Is Hair Analysis accurate?
Yes. Our lab has over a quarter of a century experience in performing Hair Analysis. We have access to a tremendous database of results and protocol to draw upon. This together with our own professional experience gives you the assurance of getting the most accurate results and protocols available.
Why do I need to fill out a questionnaire?
Our practitioner needs the information about you and your health concerns to write an accurate protocol.
Is all my information confidential?
Yes. All your information is secured and can only be released with your authorization.
Why take just specific amounts of nutritional supplements?
For optimum health, one needs newer and more scientific concepts about nutrition than the outdated idea of RDAs and MDRs. One of these is biochemical individuality. This term originated with Dr. Roger Williams to describe his research finding that nutritional needs vary tremendously from person to person. From this perspective, average standards mean very little.
Physicians use many methods to try to figure out people’s supplement needs. Nutritional balancing science uses a rather unique way to assess nutritional needs that involves hair mineral testing. It involves the following:
To learn more about supplements click here.
Can you diagnose with a hair analysis?
No. Hair Analysis cannot be used to diagnosis any medical condition. It is best used to identify toxins that have accumulated in the bodies tissues and nutrient deficiencies. If a diagnosis is needed, the hair analysis results can be used to direct you to the testing needed to get a diagnosis.