Often people ask me if there's some test to find out whether they are deficient in vitamins and minerals. Individual vitamins can be tested for in your blood, but it's a pricey proposition to test for each of them. That is not the case with minerals. In addition, blood only reflects what is in circulation, not what is stored and also available. Stored mineral levels can be checked through having a sample of your hair tested.
Minerals get used throughout the body for a variety of chores. They are strong ions, so they tend to work electrically - supplying electrons and gobbling up random electrons. In addition, they form key molecules in the thousands of enzymes we have facilitating all our biochemical reactions. We all know that calcium (and magnesium) is used in bones and teeth. Sodium & potassium create the charges used in muscles and the nervous system to enable body motion. Zinc is key to your stomach's ability to produce stomach acid among a host of immune system tasks. Chromium is used in blood sugar regulation, selenium in thyroid function. The list goes on, so, knowing your levels is helpful.
What we've also learned is that vitamins and minerals both work best when they are in the right balance with one another. Too much of one can force another out creating a deficiency, while simultaneously a certain amount of one is necessary to the absorption or utilization of another (synergism.) As an example of this interplay, the following is a diagram of the mineral antagonisms from Dr. David L. Watts' book, Trace Elements and Other Essential Nutrients, c. 1995. Antagonisms are mineral relationships that push those connected out of the body. For example, calcium is at the 12:00 o'clock position and magnesium is at the 6:00 o'clock position. Their arrows go toward one another, so if one is in greater supply it will force the other out.
You can see how complicated it is! This is a major part of the reason that some doctors recommend against multiple vitamin supplements. Your body has a store of these minerals. Your diet contributes a store of these minerals. And yet, we know the mineral levels in our soils have also been declining, making it difficult to get some of the trace elements through food. So, who is to know if the supplements you're taking help the balance or hinder it?
Hair analysis supplies us with a fairly good indication of the minerals stored in our bodies. From the information, we can then determine what supplementation might make the most sense.
Another assessment provided through hair analysis is a reading of what heavy metal toxins you've been exposed to. Heavy metals play havoc with your mineral balances by acting as decoys or bad substitutes for your other minerals. Lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic are 4 especially common environmental toxins to which we can be exposed. Hair analysis measures the presence of these bad players in your health. We can then determine a detoxification protocol to reduce or eliminate them from your body.
Hair analysis costs about $100 for all the main health-connected minerals and heavy metals. It takes a small amount of hair snipped from the back of your head. Results come back in a week to 10 days. Get hold of me if you're interested.