Hair Analysis

Key Benefit: Hair sample analysis helps determine trace mineral/nutritional status and deficiencies and possibly heavy metal/toxic burdens.

What is hair analysis? Is it reliable?


Hair is a much better determinant than blood with regard to sustained (chronic) deficiency or exposure, and the sampling procedure is painless. A small number of hairs are cut at the root from the area at the nape of the neck using stainless steel scissors. The hair is then placed into an approved container and sent to the lab for processing. Hair analysis tests have been used for over thirty years and are commonly utilized in a very large number of clinical situations. Results are considered quite reliable, especially when used in conjunction with other assessment procedures.


What are trace elements, and why do they matter?


“Trace elements are present in low concentrations and …their functions range from providing structural support in the formation of bones and teeth, to maintaining the acid-base balance, water balance, nerve conduction, muscle conduction, and enzyme functions” (Watts, 1).

These microelements play a role in preventing diseases and disorders, aging, and even emotional health. If you seem to have problems in one of these areas, hair analysis tests can be extremely helpful in determining and treating the cause. “The status of a mineral can give a strong indication of a vitamin need” (Watts, 8), thus allowing us to take corrective action in both areas.


What about heavy metal burdens?


“Human hair has been accepted as an effective tissue for biological monitoring of toxic heavy metals by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and is being used for this purpose throughout the world” (Watts, 2). Toxic metals do not serve a biological function, and, in fact interfere with important processes because they displace nutritional metals, such as zinc, calcium, and iron.

Heavy metals in the body may include but are not limited to lead, arsenic, mercury, aluminum, beryllium, or cadmium. Symptoms of contamination depend on the metal involved, but can include fatigue, joint pain, memory problems, learning disabilities, weakness, nausea, headaches, and lung problems, as well as more severe conditions, such as cancer, cerebral palsy, and seizures.