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Hair Analysis Controversy – Fact or Fiction
Think for a moment, isn’t it amazing how we can marvel over the dietary habits of the 5,200 year-old “Ice Man” using hair analysis or reveal the possibility of Napoleon suffering arsenic poisoning or that Michelangelo may have suffered lead poisoning?
Yet, it is “unscientific” (even criminal according to some!) to analyze the hair of a living person for nutritional and/or toxic elements! Hair analysis is used worldwide and in many institutions, universities, and government sources. In America, laboratories must be Federally and State licensed. Irony?
However, most detractors of hair analysis fail to understand numerous points about Hair Analysis or its history. These points include:
- Hair analysis has a long history (over 60 years) in soil, plant, animal, and human nutrition
- Hair analysis is a “tissue biopsy” used for “cellular” nutritional/toxic elemental screening
- Hair analysis, as with every lab analyses, is subject to human errors and mistakes
- Hair analysis is recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for toxic element screening
- Hair analysis is for people that use Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM’s)
- Hair analysis is not endorsed by the AMA (remember, chiropractors and acupuncturist were, and still are, considered “quacks” by many)
- The healthcare system is driven by pharmaceuticals and surgery – not nutrition
- Hair analysis is NOT a medical diagnostic test as many continually imply. Hair analysis is a nutritional screening that may infer potential manifestations based on long-standing nutrient/disease associations (i.e. low calcium may infer a potential for osteoporosis). Clearly, this is NOT a medical diagnosis.
“The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about” ― Wayne W. Dyer
Hair Analysis is NOT a diagnostic test!
Not to be redundant but we need to reiterate this important point. If you take the time to read many of the “scientific” articles denouncing the validity of hair analysis, you will see most of the controversy is fueled by claims that a hair analysis is a “diagnostic test.” Diagnostic, or any form of “diagnosis” are legally protected terms that can only be used in allopathic medicine and justifiably so.
Hair Analysis is a nutritional screening that may, based on well-known nutrient/disease associations (e.g. low calcium/osteoporosis), produce INFERRED POTENTIALS (or metabolic trends) for a health condition. As such, only your healthcare professional can DIAGNOSE osteoporosis or any other disease.
Hair Analysis is NOT a diagnostic test for disease or toxicity as some people and websites continually promote!
Controversy breeds confusion!
As you know, you can pick any subject (we mean any subject!) and line up a panel of highly credentialed “experts” on both sides of the table. Hair analysis is no different from any other subject.
As for hair analysis, most of the controversy stems from institutions, associations, or individuals that know nothing about nutrition or hair tissue mineral analysis! Moreover, as you know, most people in these institutions must be “published” in order to maintain an income. This simply breeds pseudoscience and even more deplorable, grossly misleads the American public.
After all, we consistently rank behind 30 other nations for healthy longevity in the (unbiased) World Health Organization’s Health Statistics.
Interestingly, there is a tremendous “health tax” on cigarettes yet fast foods, processed foods, and pharmaceuticals, all of which are KNOWN to produce unhealthy affects, permeate our society unscathed. Talk about irony!
In conclusion, we want to emphasize that no disrespect, whatsoever, is intended with the following reference.
“The authors distributed to all 127 accredited U.S. medical schools (that were matriculating students at the time of this study) a two-page online survey devised by the Nutrition in Medicine Project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. From August 2008 through July 2009, the authors asked their contacts, most of whom were nutrition educators, to report the nutrition contact hours that were required for their medical students and whether those actual hours of nutrition education occurred in a designated nutrition course, within another course, or during clinical rotations.
RESULTS: Respondents from 109 (86%) of the targeted medical schools completed some part of the survey. Most schools (103/109) required some form of nutrition education. Of the 105 schools answering questions about courses and contact hours, only 26 (25%) required a dedicated nutrition course; in 2004, 32 (30%) of 106 schools did. Overall, medical students received 19.6 contact hours of nutrition instruction during their medical school careers (range: 0-70 hours); the average in 2004 was 22.3 hours. Only 28 (27%) of the 105 schools met the minimum 25 required hours set by the National Academy of Sciences; in 2004, 40 (38%) of 104 schools did so.
CONCLUSIONS: The amount of nutrition education that medical students receive continues to be inadequate.”
Adams KM, Kohlmeier M, Zeisel SH. Nutrition education in U.S. medical schools: latest update of a national survey. Acad Med. 2010 Sep;85(9):1537-42. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181eab71b. PMID: 20736683; PMCID: PMC4042309. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20736683/
Macaninch E, Buckner L, Amin P, et al, Time for nutrition in medical education, BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health 2020;bmjnph-2019-000049. doi: 10.1136/bmjnph-2019-000049 https://nutrition.bmj.com/content/3/1/40
Source: PubMed.Gov, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Academic Medicine
WELL …ENOUGH SAID!
Additional hair analysis pages that may interest you:
- Hair Analysis History: Hair analysis has been around longer than you may realize.
- What is Hair Analysis: A drug test, DNA test, or Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis?
- Hair Analysis Sample Collection: Follow this simple protocol for an accurate analysis.
- Hair Analysis Laboratories: Choose your hair analysis lab wisely.
- Hair Analysis Provider: 7 important questions you should ask your provider.
- Hair Analysis Consultations: Make certain you understand your hair analysis results.
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“Here we report that the stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values for the hair of the 5200 year-old Ice Man indicates a primarily vegetarian diet, in agreement with his dental wear pattern. Whereas previous investigations have focused on bone collagen, the stable isotope composition of hair may prove to be a more reliable proxy for paleodiet reconstruction…”
Macko, S.A., Lubec, G., Teschler-Nicola, M., Andrusevich, V. and Engel, M.H. (1999), The Ice Man’s diet as reflected by the stable nitrogen and carbon isotopic composition of his hair. The FASEB Journal, 13: 559-562. https://doi.org/10.1096/fasebj.13.3.559