A hair elements test is one of the easiest, cost effective and best ways of assessing heavy metal burden if interpreted properly. Toxic metal accumulation is one of the biggest hurdles that people need to overcome to achieve their health goals and accelerate fat loss. Understanding how heavy metals can interfere is complex but important in helping people attain optimal body composition.
Over the 30 years I have been in the health care industry I’ve met quite a number of amazing and brilliant people. One of them is Dr. Andrew Cutler who I believe is one of the most knowledgeable individuals when it comes to heavy metals and hair elements testing. His clear understanding of the chemistry involved is second to none. Dr. Cutler is also the author of two books on the subject, Amalgam Illness and Hair Test Interpretation: Finding Hidden Toxicities.
His theories on the effect of the heavy metal mercury on health and how it effects the results of a hair elements test is impressive. Here is an excerpt from his book Amalgam Illness on how mercury poisoning can cause critical disruptions to important biochemical processes. “Cytochrome P450 system – the heart of phase 1 metabolic processes, oxidative phosphoylation, and also of steroid biosynthesis. Mercury inhibits the different enzymes in this system to different extents. Cysteine dioxygenase is one of the CYP450 enzymes that makes hypotaurine (which becomes taurine) from cysteine. Mercury inhibition of this enzyme will lead to low taurine which can only be corrected with taurine supplementation, as well as high cysteine which must be controlled by dietary restriction.”
When I talked about plasma amino acid testing, I mentioned how important taurine was in fat metabolism. When a person is mercury toxic, their ability to produce taurine is impaired. It is not enough to take taurine though as this is merely a cover-up of the problem.
The question I keep getting when I recommend hair elements testing is why not do a urine provocative test instead. There are two important reasons why I don’t use urine. First problem is that there is a potential for serious side effects from a DMSA or DMPS challenge in a small percentage of people. The risk outweighs the information you might get. The other is it is not an accurate method for testing many of the heavy metals that can be picked up in the hair elements test. The interpretation of the results of hair testing is something that I teach at my classes, the first pair coming in February in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.
Another important issue that comes up post hair elements testing is what to do if you find elevated levels of toxins like mercury, lead, arsenic, and cadmium. Each has a particular protocol for chelation that is effective and most importantly safe. My Lab Assist report helps the health practitioner to determine the best method available.