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How A Hair Mineral Analysis Can Determine Thyroid Health

In this article I’m going to discuss some of the benefits of receiving a hair mineral analysis, as this test can reveal a lot of useful information for anyone who has a thyroid condition.  Most people with thyroid disorders are not too familiar with this this type of testing, as just about all they receive are thyroid blood tests, such as a TSH, free T3 and free T4, etc.  While these thyroid blood tests can do a good job of diagnosing an existing thyroid condition, a hair analysis has a few benefits these blood tests can’t provide.

Before I discuss these benefits, I want to first shoot down any objections you may have about the accuracy of these tests.  Because such tests aren’t recommended by endocrinologists, or most other medical doctors, you might wonder whether these tests are accurate, and if they truly provide any useful information.  A hair analysis is accurate for identifying the mineral levels in the body, and because the mineral levels in the hair are higher than in the blood, it is much easier to detect these levels in the hair.  If you want to read some additional articles and research regarding this, I highly recommend visiting the website www.drlwilson.com [1], which has plenty of information about the hair mineral analysis.

So yes, a hair mineral analysis test is accurate when done by a reputable lab, but you can’t compare this test to a blood test, as they are both measuring different things.  Thyroid blood tests are measuring the level of hormones in the body, not the minerals.  So if you’re interested in just diagnosing a thyroid condition, then a hair mineral analysis is not the test you’re looking for.  On the other hand, if you’re looking to potentially find one of the contributing factors in your thyroid condition, and in some cases the primary underlying cause, then this is a very good test to obtain. 

What Is The Purpose Of Evaluating The Minerals?

The reason why you would want to use a hair analysis test to evaluate the mineral content is because many people have imbalances in these minerals.  And by evaluating these minerals, you can frequently prevent different conditions from occurring.  For example, an imbalance in the calcium/potassium ratio can affect the cellular response to thyroid hormone.  Dr. Paul Eck, who was an expert in nutritional balancing, determined that the ideal calcium/potassium rato in an adult is 4:1.  According to the research he did, “a ratio greater than this is usually associated with an reduced thyroid effect”, while “a ratio less than this is associated with an excessive thyroid effect”.  So in addition to helping evaluate someone with a current thyroid or autoimmune thyroid disorder, the calcium/potassium ratio can be a predictor of whether someone is going to develop “full blown” hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

This of course is just a single example of how these minerals relate to thyroid health.  However, there are other minerals which are evaluated in a hair analysis that also directly impact thyroid health.  For example, selenium is a trace mineral that plays a very important role in thyroid health.  It is involved in the enzymatic reaction that converts T4 to T3, and so a deficiency in selenium can affect the production of thyroid hormone.

Magnesium is another mineral that is important in thyroid function, and many people are Magnesium deficient.  I’ve discussed in the past how Magnesium is important in iodine absorption, and iodine is important when it comes to thyroid function. 

These are examples of some of the minerals in the body, and how an imbalance in them can lead to problems.  But a hair mineral analysis will measure the levels of other minerals in your body, all which play an important role in your overall health.  So while some of them might not directly affect the thyroid gland, any mineral imbalance can cause health issues.  But it’s not just the levels of the minerals that is important, but also the ratios of certain minerals, such as the calcium/potassium, the sodium/magnesium, and the sodium/potassium ratios.  A hair mineral analysis test will also measure the levels of some of the toxic metals in your body, such as lead, mercury, and aluminum. 

How Can You Correct A Mineral Imbalance?

Most of the time you can correct a mineral imbalance through diet and nutritional supplementation.  One of the products I still take daily is called “Trace Minerals”, which is a whole food supplement by Standard Process.  This supplement doesn’t consist of all of the trace minerals required by your body, but it does contain about six of them.

While nutritional supplementation can help, you of course also want to eat a healthy diet consisting mostly of whole foods.  Plus you want to try eating a wide variety of whole foods.  While eating a wide variety of whole foods might help to maintain proper mineral ratios, when someone already has an imbalance, then they will most likely need to take certain nutritional supplements to balance the mineral levels. 

Other Benefits Of A Hair Mineral Analysis

One of the great benefits of a hair mineral analysis test is that it is noninvasive.  It just involves a small hair sample, and so it can easily be obtained from most people, even children.  In addition to this test being noninvasive, it also is relatively inexpensive as well when compared to other types of tests.  Of course this does depend on the healthcare professional you choose, as some will charge higher fees than others.  But for the most part, such a test usually doesn’t cost too much.

Another benefit of this test is that it can be performed from the comfort of your home.  While many doctors will actually perform the test at their practice, you can do it anywhere you have a clean pair of scissors!  The doctor you are working with should give you instructions on how to cut the small sample of  hair, which needs to be done in a specific manner.  The lab I work with comes with instructions for the patient, which are pretty easy to follow.

Warning: Not All Hair Analysis Labs Are The Same

I do need to let you know that not all labs that perform a hair mineral analysis are the same.  For example, some labs will wash the hair samples multiple times before analyzing it, which will actually remove some of the minerals.  Plus, some labs evaluate different minerals than others.  So you just need to be careful which lab you choose.  I personally use a company called Analytical Research Labs, but there are other companies you can use. 

Why Don’t Most Endocrinologists Recommend A Hair Mineral Analysis Test?  

For the same reason they don’t recommend saliva testing…they simply aren’t trained to do so in medical school, and most medical doctors aren’t open minded enough to learn about these tests and incorporate them into their practice.  Most never read the research, and they just conclude on their own that these tests are invalid.  Of course there are some holistic medical doctors who do recommend these tests to their patients, but chances are you won’t find an endocrinologist that will do so.  You will either need to see a naturopath, chiropractor, or holistic medical doctor to obtain this test.

In summary, a hair mineral analysis test can provide a lot of valuable information for anyone who has an existing thyroid condition.  It is also a good test to perform to prevent certain conditions from developing.  After all, by the time the thyroid blood tests are positive, the disease is already “full blown”.  On the other hand, by detecting imbalances in these minerals before someone has positive thyroid blood tests, or even symptoms, one can then take the necessary steps to balance these levels and restore the person’s health before it develops into anything serious.

Other Articles You Might Like To Read:

The Importance Of The Adrenal Stress Index Test In Restoring Thyroid Health [2]

Thyroid Blood Tests vs. Saliva Testing [3]

Using Bioidentical Hormones To Restore Thyroid Health [4]

Thyroid Antibodies & Autoimmune Thyroid Conditions [5]

Why You Can’t Rely Solely On Thyroid Blood Tests [6]