Testing for Minerals and Vitamins

Are Vitamins really necessary? How to tell what is right for you?

When most people think of nutrition, they think about consuming various foods. However there is a big difference between the things you eat and the things that you actually absorb and later utilize in your body.

Ideally, we would like to get all of our nutrients from the food that we eat. Unfortunately, in this day and age, this is almost impossible due to the diminished nutrient levels in our food supply. Nutrient content in food depends on the soil and sadly, our soils are greatly depleted from over farming. Furthermore, we rarely eat local foods and since our food comes from far away, nutrients are lost during the shipping process. Many of the foods are commonly sprayed with pesticides which further diminish nutrients. There are also many factors that affect nutrient utilization such as individual metabolic characteristics, endocrine function like thyroid and adrenals, absorption at the intestinal level, utilization at the cellular level and environmental pollutants and stress. Because of all this, most of us require extra vitamins and minerals to balance the body.

What vitamins to take however is the big question. Many reach for a multi-vitamin in the hopes of getting a little bit of every nutrient, but that is not the best answer. You see, we all have different chemical make-ups and retain certain nutrients more than others and thus need different levels of each nutrient depending on each body. For example, someone may be very low in potassium and have normal calcium levels so a multi with just a little of everything will not help because there would not be enough potassium to replenish their very low level and the calcium would add to their normal level raising it unnecessarily. We are all individuals and therefore just like we all do not wear the same clothes, we can not take the same vitamins.

The best way to nourish the body is to find out exactly what vitamins you are low in and which you are high in and supplement accordingly. This can be successfully accomplished with a hair analysis, an amazing test that can measure minerals and vitamins in hair. Test results reflect how much of these elements are in your tissues and provide a vivid picture of your internal environment. With this information, a world of metabolic events can be interpreted. Not only can your nutritional status be viewed, but we can also learn much about how efficiently your body is working. A hair analysis reveals a unique metabolic world of intracellular activity, which cannot be seen through blood tests. This provides a blueprint of the biochemistry occurring during the period of hair growth and development.

Sample hair is obtained by cutting off a small piece closest to the scalp at the nape of the neck. It is then sent to a licensed clinical laboratory where it goes through a 3 phase analysis process using highly sophisticated detection equipment and methods. Each of the three phases are controlled by very strict laboratory procedures and reporting protocol for the most accurate results.
Since hair is a fairly slow growing tissue, there are no daily fluctuations. For instance, if you eat bananas before having a blood test taken, your blood potassium level may be high that day. If you have your blood tested the next day and did not eat bananas, your blood potassium may be normal, or even low. The hair potassium level will be reflective overall, of long term dietary habits rather than what is consumed just in a day or two. Furthermore, hair reflects the storage levels of minerals rather than just what is being transported in the blood.

As the hair is being formed, prior to extrusion from the scalp, it is exposed to the blood, lymph, and intracellular fluids. During this time, it accumulates constituents present in this internal environment - minerals, vitamins etc... As the cortex of the hair shaft hardens and protrudes from the scalp, the evidence of this internal metabolic environment is preserved as a convenient record. Even drugs consumed during this developmental process will be present.
Minerals interact not only with each other but also with vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Minerals influence each of these factors, and they, in turn, influence mineral status. Minerals act as enzyme activators, and vitamins are synergistic to minerals as coenzymes. Therefore a hair analysis can tell your mineral and vitamin status as well is metabolic rate, thyroid and adrenal function and toxic metal exposures.

Nutrition, when properly used has tremendous therapeutic effects. However taking supplements without knowing what the body needs, may contribute to deficiencies of other nutrients and can cause health problems by upsetting the natural balance of the body. For example, calcium supplements or high-calcium-containing foods can help prevent osteoporosis in one person, but actually contribute to brittle bones in another. Zinc can help fight the effects of a virus but too much can contribute to bacterial infections. Even though copper is essential, too much can cause depression, weight gain, PMS symptoms and frontal headaches. Iron is necessary to prevent anemia, but too much can cause a type of anemia, and contribute to migraines, arthritis and cancer. In light of this, my main focus in my practice is to restore balance of the body.

After 30 years of research, hair analysis has emerged as the most practical method of testing for mineral balance in your body. This valuable tool indicates which supplements you need and which ones you should avoid because what serves as good nutrition for one person may not be good for you and a hair analysis is a great accurate way to find out.

Once you know exactly what your body lacks, you can replenish the nutrients that you need safely and successfully. I also want to mention a quick thing about quality. People often say that they have taken supplements but did not notice any difference. That is due to 2 reasons. One, taking things that they do not need or not enough of what they do need as you just saw from the above and secondly, taking poor quality supplements. I caution everyone to stay away from drug store brands as they are very cheap and with nutrients, you get what you pay for. These brands use very poor raw materials and have many additives and binders which prevent the supplements from being properly absorbed and provide absolutely no benefit and even cause hard from the synthetic additives. Supplements should be purchased at a health food store, through a certified on line retailer or through a qualified nutritionist or doctor for best results.

A hair analysis can find the cause to a myriad of health concerns which can then be fixed naturally by balancing the body. Hair is also an ideal tissue for sampling and testing because it can be cut easily and painlessly and can be sent to the lab without special handling requirements. Furthermore, it is also inexpensive so everyone can get this valuable information without breaking the bank.

For more information on hair testing you can visit my website www.CompleteNutritionAndWellness.com and if you have specific questions or would like to have this test run, please contact me at info@CompleteNutritionAndWellness.com or 201-238-2720. I would be happy to run the test for any readers that are interested by mailing you a kit which you can use to cut the hair and mail it directly to the lab. The results will come back to me and we can go over them in person or on the phone for those who are not in the New York area.

4/27/2009 1:24:04 PM
Written by
Inna Topiler M.S., C.N.S is a Clinical Nutritionist. Inna works with patients to help them eat healthier and address the causes of their health concerns. Inna specializes in cutting-edge testing such as Hair Analysis, Complete Metabolic Profiles, Food Allergy, DNA Analysis, GI pathogen panels, Salivary Neurotransmitter a...
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