Hair Analysis – What Is Hair Analysis & How Does Hair Analysis Work?
Blood tests. X-rays. CT scans.
These are all commonly performed tests that most people are quite familiar with. In fact, you may have had one or more of these tests done before.
It’s not uncommon for your doctor to send you for a quick blood test to try and figure out the root of what could be causing you some health issues.
But, at the end of the day, blood tests – or any other conventional test for that matter, does not always tell you everything you need to know.
At times, you need to look further.
This is where hair analysis can come into play. Your hair is a very good representation of what’s going on in your body and by closely examining it, you can spot changes that may be occurring on a cellular level, which can then help you figure out a proper treatment protocol going forward.
To help you get a better idea of what hair analysis is all about, check out the following video where I cover it into more details.
To help you better answer the question of what is hair analysis, let’s go over a few details you need to know.
Hair Analysis 101
Each and every hair on your head is growing out of a hair follicle, which is imbedded in the skin. Normal hair will grow for a number of months at a time, slowly getting longer and longer before it stops growing and then eventually falls out.
As it falls out, a new hair then grows in its place and the cycle continues on like this month and month again.
Because the process of hair growth and new hair replacing old can take many months, this also means that it can take months to notice changes in the body.
By analyzing your hair, you can get a very good idea of what’s going on in the body over the last few recent months and then also look at changes that are occurring over the long-term.
This can then give you a better indication of your current health status as compared to where it was before.
It’s important to note this lengthy time process to show changes however as some people think that by making a change to their nutrition or lifestyle, they will almost immediately see the results. And while you may feel changes taking place in the body almost immediately, they won’t show up in a hair sample until many months have passed.
How Does Hair Analysis Work?
When you go for a routine hair analysis, there aren’t many preparation instructions you need to follow, other than not putting any sort of hair care products in your hair the day of the exam. You want your hair to be as clean as possible so that these products to not interact with the results.
When you go for testing, a few hairs will be taken (typically from the nape of the neck so it’s not visible) and then they will be sent off to the lab for testing.
Note that if you want a DNA test done on the hair (which is often used in criminal investigations or when trying to figure out paternity tests/blood relatives), the root of the hair must be attached.
As the hair is sent to the lab, the technician will also include other relevant data about the sample including any type of hair treatments you have recently had done (such as coloring or perming), along with your age, height, weight, gender, and whether or not you are a smoker.
This information will help give the lab all the relevant details they need to paint a full picture of the information they’ve gained during the testing process.
The results of the hair analysis typically take about three weeks to come back and the full report will be sent to your treating physician.
It’s important to note that since there is no industry standard for cutting, washing, and analyzing the hair, results may vary from lab to lab, even from the same hair sample. Likewise, if one lab gets more than one hair from the same person, each hair may also produce a slightly different result as well.
Therefore, while you will gain some good information from the hair analysis process, it shouldn’t be taken to be exactly perfect. There is some standard deviation at play here so you should be looking for trends more than anything.
Likewise, the results from your hair sample will be determined not just by the nutrition that you have been utilizing, but can also be influenced by your internal metabolism, the environment you live in (and the amount of air pollution you subject yourself to), the mineral content of the water you are drinking, the level of exposure you’ve had to industrial waste, as well as any hair products that have been put in the hair, either that day, or possibly in time periods before if they are not fully cleaned off the hair.
Some medications such as birth control pills may also impact the mineral content of the hair, so this too can sway the results slightly.
All in all, after receiving the results from your hair analysis, you’ll want to use them as a guideline online and preferably, use them in conjunction with blood and urine tests as well.
So after your hair arrives at the lab, apart from DNA, what can they look for? Let’s go into more details on that.
What Hair Analysis Can Test For
There are many different things that hair analysis can test for.
- Heavy Metal Toxicity
One of the primary things that many people go to get a hair analysis done for is heavy metal toxicity. If you are coming into contact with a number of heavy metals in your environment, the results will show in your hair shaft.
Heavy metals, when your exposure levels are high, can become quite toxic to the body and could set you up for multiple health problems over the long term, so understanding your exposure risk will be important.
Testing for heavy metals, especially if you are experiencing health problems like ongoing fatigue that isn’t explainable, is often recommended.
- Mineral Imbalances And/Or Deficiency
Another very helpful piece of information that hair analysis can give you insight to is any mineral imbalances and/or deficiencies.
Unfortunately we live in a world where the soil that our food is grown from has become more and more depleted of the natural minerals that it should contain.
Back in earlier times, we could get our needed dosages for a variety of minerals right from the foods that we ate. This, however, is often not the case any longer.
As soil quality has gone down, our foods now lack many of the minerals that our body needs, so if we aren’t supplementing with outside sources, this can mean we quickly become deficient.
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While your body does not need large quantities of key minerals in the body such as calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, and so on, it does still require them.
And, if you are falling short, side effects will result. By analyzing hair, you can get a better sense of what minerals you may be short in, which can then help you better understand what changes you then need to make to your diet plan or supplement regime.
In other cases, this may also give information on how well your body is absorbing the minerals that you are eating. If you know for certain that you are taking in sufficient levels of a particular mineral for instance but your test is still coming back showing that you are deficient, this could possibly indicate an issue related to the absorption of that mineral in the body.
This could then possibly warrant further information and investigation into your gut health and whether or not you have a sufficient level of healthy bacteria (probiotics).
If not, supplementing with a high quality probiotic such as P3-OM (https://bioptimizers.com/shop/p3-om-probiotics/) could remedy the situation.
- Metabolic Rate Testing
The next information that can be very beneficial that you can get from hair analysis is information on your metabolic rate.
Everything that you do on a daily basis, whether it’s your workout in the gym or what you did in your free time last night impacts your resting metabolic rate.
Likewise, the foods you eat and how much muscle mass you have also play a role in determining how many calories you burn on a daily basis.
By better understanding where your metabolic rate currently sits and watching for changes to your rate over time, you’ll be better positioned to help achieve body composition goals you may have.
For instance, if someone is trying hard to lose weight and not seeing much success, this could be due to a slow metabolism. By doing metabolic rate testing, you can pinpoint this slow metabolism and then work towards clearing up the issue by engaging in proper strength training and metabolic based workout sessions.
Then through re-evaluating your metabolic rate later on, you can see how well these steps have paid off.
- Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue is a very real issue that impacts a number of people and is common thanks to the high stress lifestyles we lead today.
Our adrenal glands are constantly on ‘high alert’ and are secreting the stress hormones in higher dosages than what is normal or considered to be healthy.
As this goes on over time, eventually the adrenal glands can burnout and adrenal fatigue will then set in.
When this happens, the individual will be faced with increasingly low energy levels and may find it hard to function in their daily lifestyle activities.
Hair analysis can help pinpoint the extent of this adrenal fatigue and can give you a better idea of what steps you may need to now take to get yourself back on track again.
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Along with figuring out your metabolic rate, understanding where your thyroid function is will also help you better manage your body weight and achieve body composition goals.
Your thyroid is the gland that regulates your metabolism and is responsible for determining how quickly all the reactions in your body are taking place.
If you are suffering from low thyroid output (otherwise referred to as hypothyroidism), this can cause symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, foggy brain, poor recovery from illness, difficulty sleeping, and so forth.
On the other hand, if you suffer from high thyroid output (referred to as hyperthyroidism), this can be equally as problematic and often leads to issues such as racing heart rates, high levels of anxiety, nervousness, and weight loss.
Knowing where you stand on the spectrum can be beneficial as it can then help you discover whether or not you may want to look into medical treatments to better manage your thyroid gland.
While you can test your thyroid function through the blood, hair analysis will provide one additional step to getting the full picture.
- Nervous System Imbalances
Along with thyroid function, hair analysis can also assess your nervous system imbalances as well.
If you are constantly stressed all the time or have been using stimulatory products (such as caffeine, energy drinks, and of the like), this can be contributing to nervous system burnout.
Those who have nervous system imbalances often report high amounts of fatigue as well and may have trouble concentrating and staying focused.
They may also be at a higher risk for disorders related to the central nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, as well as multiple sclerosis.
While your doctor will likely want to run additional tests if one of these conditions is suspected, the hair analysis can give you a starting point to work off of.
- Protein Synthesis Levels
The level of protein synthesis taking place in the body can be a good indication of how much tissue repair is taking place, which is important to know if you are someone who is focusing on trying to build muscle or recovery from surgery or another serious injury.
Hair analysis can indicate whether your protein synthesis rates are on par with where they should be or whether you may want to be taking additional steps to improve them to maximize your recovery and muscle building efforts.
Inflammation is one of the leading causes of diseases today and comes about due to poor lifestyle and nutrition choices.
As more and more people are consuming diets riddled with processed carbohydrates and trans fats, we are noting our inflammation levels skyrocketing to record high levels.
If you are curious about where your level of inflammation currently is and just how at-risk for disease you may be, a hair analysis can give you details on this information.
From there, you can then take this and make appropriate changes to your lifestyle as needed in order to better manage your inflammation levels.
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Liver And Kidney Stress Levels
The liver and kidney are two hard working organs in your body and it’s vital that you are keeping them in top working order. When one of them fails or indicates that it may be on the way to failing, serious health problems can arise.
Hair analysis can help you pinpoint issues with your liver or kidney very early on before they have failed, which can then help you take preventative action by reducing the stress load being placed on them and ensuring you are doing everything possible to keep yourself at a healthy level.
Hair analysis is often a great tool to use to help you make adjustments to your life as you go, adapting your lifestyle so that you are promoting maximum health.
- Insulin Resistance
Finally, hair analysis can also be a good way of determining whether you are suffering from insulin resistance and if so, how bad it currently is.
Insulin resistance, like inflammation, is one of the leading causes of a number of diseases today such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
If you suffering and don’t realize it, unless changes are made to your nutrition plan and lifestyle, you may find yourself soon riddled with one of the conditions noted above.
By doing a hair analysis, you can get a better sense of where you stand and ensure that you are doing everything possible to improve your insulin sensitivity so you can side-step those problems.
So as you can hopefully see, there are a great many benefits to doing a hair analysis test. While it won’t cure illness, it can certainly help you gain more awareness of your current state of health and use it as the basis of information to make positive changes moving forward.
Then by retesting, you can see how your plan for change has paid off.
Do you have any experience with hair analysis? Comment on it below.
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