Frequently Asked Questions about hair analysis.
If you have additional questions please call 877 442-4786. For more details, see Contact Us
Is this a home hair analysis or lab hair analysis?
Our hair analysis is performed in a laboratory using the most advanced and sophisticated technology for mineral analysis in the hair. You collect your hair sample in the convenience of your home.
Do I need to “order” a hair analysis or just send you a hair sample?
You need to order your hair analysis first. All lab analyses are prepaid. Once you order your hair analysis, you can download your kit or we will Priority Mail you your lab kit. The lab kit includes all the instructions and items needed to properly collect and mail your hair sample directly to our lab.
How much hair is required for a hair analysis?
The amount of hair required for a hair analysis is about a heaping teaspoon full. However, your hair analysis kit includes a “hair scale” so you can make certain you are submitting the proper amount of hair. For more details, see Hair Analysis Sample Collection Protocol.
How do I prepare my hair for an analysis?
For accuracy, we prefer untreated scalp hair (up to 1 1/2 inches of new growth from the scalp). Dyes, bleaches, gels, sprays, and other hair treatments could interfere with the accuracy of the results. In our view, this is unacceptable because an inaccurate analysis is not of any value.
Some labs will analyze treated hair but we don’t. You only need to wait for a few weeks until untreated hair is available for an analysis.
Prior to collecting your hair sample, simply shampoo your hair (leave out any conditioners) and let dry. This will remove your environmental contaminates and help assure accuracy of the results of your analysis. For more details, see Hair Analysis Sample Collection Protocol.
Can I use hair other than scalp hair?
When using hair for a nutritional/toxic element analysis, we prefer scalp hair because it provides the most accurate metabolic record. Scalp hair is one of the most metabolically active tissues and grows at a more consistent rate than auxiliary hair such as chest, underarm, or pubic hair.
If scalp hair is not available, in descending order, pubic, auxiliary (e.g. beard, underarm) and nail clippings can also be used.
How do I collect a hair sample?
Collecting the sample is simple. Your kit includes a “hair scale” to ensure you collect the right amount.
You will collect your hair sample from the top and back of the head (draw an imaginary line across your head from the top of the ears) to the nape of the neck. This provides a wide area to collect samples.
Using stainless steel scissors merely cut 10 to 15 strands of hair at each site. Use multiple sites until your hair scale tips.
Cut the hair as close to the scalp as possible. Keep the first 1 ½ inches of the sample (closest to the scalp) and discard the rest. Place each sample on the hair scale until the scale tips.
Once the scale tips, indicating a sufficient weight of hair, simply place the hair sample into the hair sample lab envelop and then place the hair sample envelop (and Lab Submittal Form) into the mailing envelop with the lab address. For more details, see Hair Analysis Sample Collection Protocol.
Do not pull your hair by the roots!
Are you the laboratory?
Hair Analysis Report is not the laboratory. We, like other qualified professionals, provide laboratory services for labs that do not sell direct to the public.
Does your laboratory “wash” the hair?
Our laboratories are the only two laboratories we know that DO NOT wash the hair. Numerous studies have revealed the potential for removing exogenous minerals from the hair during pre-analysis preparation of the hair sample. This in turn will skew the results and basically render the results of the analysis inaccurate.
Are the laboratory results accurate?
The laboratory results are extremely accurate as long as the sample collection, sample preparation, and sample analyses are conducted under strict protocols. For more details, see Best Hair Analysis Lab
What is hair mineral analysis?
Hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA), is an analytical test which measures the mineral content of the hair. The sampled hair, obtained by cutting the first inch and one-half of growth closest to the scalp at the nape of the neck, is prepared in a licensed clinical laboratory through 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. For more details, see What is Hair Analysis
Why test for minerals?
Trace minerals are essential in countless metabolic functions in all phases of the life process. Zinc is involved in the production, storage and secretion of insulin and is necessary for growth hormones. Magnesium is required for normal muscular function, especially the heart. A deficiency has been associated with an increased incidence of heart attacks, anxiety and nervousness. Potassium is critical for normal nutrient transport into the cell. A deficiency can result in muscular weakness, depression and lethargy. Excess sodium is associated with hypertension, but adequate amounts are required for normal health. For more details, see Why Test for Minerals
In the words of the late author and noted researcher, Dr. Henry Schroeder, trace elements (minerals) are “…more important factors in human nutrition than vitamins. The body can manufacture many vitamins, but it cannot produce necessary trace minerals or get rid of many possible excesses.”
What can cause a mineral imbalance?
Numerous factors can cause mineral imbalances that include:
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.
Toxins – 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), anti-perspirants (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.
Can vitamin requirements be determined from a mineral test?
Minerals interact not only with each other but also with vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Minerals influence each of these factors, and they, in turn, influence mineral status. Minerals act as enzyme activators, and vitamins are synergistic to minerals as coenzymes. It is extremely rare that a mineral disturbance develops without a corresponding disturbance in the synergistic vitamin(s). It is also rare for a disturbance in the utilization or activity of a vitamin to occur without affecting a synergistic mineral(s).
For example, vitamin C affects iron absorption and reduces copper retention. Boron and iron influence the status of vitamin B2. Vitamin B2 affects the relationship between calcium and magnesium. Vitamin B1 enhances sodium retention, B12 enhances iron and cobalt absorption, and vitamin A enhances the utilization of zinc, while antagonizing vitamins D and E. Protein intake will affect zinc status, etc. Therefore, evaluating mineral status provides good clues of vitamin status and requirements. Continuing research at Trace Elements Inc. involves the recognition of many synergistic and antagonistic interrelationships between minerals and vitamins.
Is Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis supported by research?
Hair tissue mineral analysis is supported by an impressive body of literature in a variety of respected national and international scientific publications. Over the past fifteen years, hair mineral testing has been extensive. Each year in the United States alone, federally licensed clinical laboratories perform over 150,000 hair mineral assays for health care professionals interested in an additional screening aid for a comprehensive Client evaluation. This does not take into consideration the thousands of subjects used in numerous continuing research studies conducted by private and government research agencies. For more details, see References
How can hair analysis help me achieve better health?
If we consider that diet is what we consume and nutrition is what we retain, then we can see that discovering what your body needs when it needs it is a valuable tool in creating health. After 35 years of research, hair analysis has emerged as the most practical method of testing for mineral balance in your body. This valuable tool indicates which foods and/or supplements you need and which ones you should avoid. And it’s no secret doctors of almost every specialty as well as nutritionists and dietitians routinely use hair analysis. Progressive health care providers are now well aware of the vast amount of research linking nutrition to disease. But what serves as good nutrition for one person may not be good for you. For more details, see Hair Analysis History
Doesn’t a blood or urine test tell me just as much as a hair analysis test?
Keep in mind, a blood test, urine test, and hair tissue mineral analysis are very different tests. Each test has its advantages and disadvantages in different situations. Each test must be used appropriately when advantageous and interpreted correctly to be of value.
Blood tests provide information about your mineral levels (nutritional or toxic) circulating in the blood at the time of the test only. This is a “snapshot” of minerals (nutritional or toxic) and does not reflect cellular utilization. For example, if you’ve just eaten a banana, your blood test can indicate a high potassium level, even though your cellular level of potassium is extremely low. Potassium is an intracellular mineral, which means the majority of potassium resides inside the cell.
Urine is an excretory route. Urine does provide valuable information (i.e., organic acids, toxic element exposure within hours) as well as other important information but it does not reflect mineral absorption or cellular utilization.
A hair tissue mineral analysis is advantageous only as a long-term mineral (nutritional and toxic) analysis over a period of three months or so. Hair is one of the most metabolically active tissues of the body and it is not subject to homeostasis (constant changes to maintain metabolic balance). Hair is an excretory route but hair is formed by cells. As such, a hair tissue mineral analysis provides excretory information as well as cellular utilization information. For more details, see What is Hair Analysis
Can I just eat my 3 square meals a day or do I need supplements?
Foods, more specifically Healthy Foods, are your primary sources of nutrition. As such, by following the food recommendations included in your comprehensive analysis (i.e., Trace Elements Inc. Profile 2), you can begin to shift your nutritional biochemistry. However, there may be times you need more of specific nutrients than foods alone can provide. This would be an instance when you may want to consider our supplement program.
Am I required to buy your supplements?
NO, you are not required to purchase our supplements. Remember, foods are your primary source of nutrition. As such, your comprehensive hair analysis report provides a specific list of foods to increase and eliminate from your diet until your next analysis.
However, there may be instances during a consultation that we may highly recommend our laboratory supplement program. For example, if the results of your analysis reveals very excessive or deficient nutritional elements or high values of toxic elements, we may recommend our supplement program. Our laboratory supplement recommendations are specific to the results of your analysis and our supplements are synergistically formulated to increase nutrient absorption and cellular utilization.
The supplement program targets the exact minerals and vitamins and the required amounts to create a biochemical shift sooner and keep you pointed toward success. Because of the synergistic mix and concentration of minerals and vitamins in our supplements, we do recommend a re-test every three months to make necessary adjustments in your supplement program.
We request you do not use any other vitamin supplements during the biochemical balancing process, unless prescribed by your physician or health care provider.
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