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A Primer on Hair Mineral Analysis

George M. Tamari, Ph.D.*
Original published in: Cytobiologische Revue 1986;3:176-186

Summary

Today we have a health care system treating sickness with an unparalleled technical, pharmacological development - yet illness rates and degenerative disease continue to increase costing astronomical sums. This huge economic burden along with the accompanying personal and social deterioration is forcing the public and their politicians to the recognition that a new approach based on a predictive / preventive model is necessary.

There is a growing body of evidence that effective nutrition and mineral metabolism plays a significant role in reducing and preventing the major killer of today. Coupling this with the newer improvements in detection and analysis, it seems that the assessment of body minerals has an important role to play in this much needed and more enlightened approach to health care.

F
or centuries curious investigators have been fascinated by the rare earths, and many noticed a casual connection between the presence of these mineral substances and human well-being. People felt better after drinking wine or water heated up with a red-hot sword or poker. Great health improvements and "miraculous cures" were reported from drinking the highly mineralized waters at spas. Nevertheless, it's only in the last quarter of a century, with the advent of refined technology, that researchers have been able to better understand the vital role that trace minerals play in human health and nutrition. Although our bodies can manufacture some of the essential substances we need, they can't make any of the minerals. It has been estimated that minerals are involved in more body functions than any other basic nutrients we consume including carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and water. In fact, there are at least 96 times more minerals by weight in our body than vitamins (1).

Over 20 different minerals are now recognized as being essential to man - and certainly others will be added to that number. It has been observed that low levels of certain minerals (the nutrient minerals: eg. Ca, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Se, Zn, K, Na, P, and possibly V and Si) frequently proceed deficiency diseases, whereas the presence of heavy metals such as: Al, As, Cd, Pb, and Hg eventually lead to toxicity and neurological problems.

However, a key problem faces us in measuring mineral levels in the human body: what is the most reliable and accessible source for the data we require? Do we use body tissues or body fluids?

Usually blood, urine, liver biopsy, hair, or nails are the most commonly used objects for mineral analysis. Most of the metabolic processes taking place in the tissues are at the cellular or mitochondrial level. Blood, serves mostly as a transporter of nutrients and is not representative of tissue levels. Also, the minerals in the blood are in a much more diluted form with lower concentrations, causing analytical difficulties. Certain elements like magnesium and potassium, have a much higher concentration in the cells than in the extracellular fluids, like blood (IA). <<It is important to point out that a potassium deficiency may not be reflected in lowered extracellular fluid concentrations until late in the process. This is confirmed by the finding of low intracellular potassium concentrations in muscle biopsy when serum potassium is normal. Thus the serum potassium is not an accurate indicator of the true status of potassium balance (IA).>> The same is true in the case of magnesium (IA).

Other minerals in the blood, like calcium, will show fluctuations in extreme cases only. The homeostatic process will restore, replacing the low levels of calcium (caused by low intake, digestive/absorption problems or by metabolic displacement) by transferring calcium from the bones and / or teeth into the blood. Therefore, <<inadequate dietary intake of calcium is not reflected by changes in serum calcium levels (2)>>. Moreover, changes in blood calcium is a more sensitive measure of the efficiency of the parathyroid than the calcium status (3).

Acute exposure to toxic elements can be detected by blood analysis. As these elements tend to be deposited in different tissues (organs, bones, teeth) their level in the blood will return to normal despite the persisting symptoms of their toxicity. As stated by Petering et al. (4), <<blood is not a suitable material to analyze for cadmium, since the metal remains in the blood only briefly and in consequence, the levels are always low>>. Therefore, studies of cadmium and lead in blood show negative results, while analysis of hair might give a positive indication (5, 6, 7).

All the minerals and trace elements which the body rejects will be excreted in the urine. However, urine levels do not indicate tissue levels, but they are useful in monitoring the removal of toxic elements by chelation and other methods.

Some sources state or imply that trace element content of hair does not adequately reflect the tissue stores (8, 9). But since the various tissue stores do not necessarily correlate with each other, use of the term <tissue stores>> in this sense is confusing. Should one attempt to correlate hair levels with blood, or with liver, or with bone, etc.? The study of different lyophilized animal tissues indicate variations of the mineral levels in the different organ tissues. While the highest levels of Cu, Fe, Mn, and Zn are in the liver tissue, the highest levels of Cr and Ni are in the adrenals of the female but not the male (10).

The involvement of copper in so many essential biochemical reactions in humans has long been recognized. Jacob et al. indicated that hair copper in adult rats was found to correlate directly with copper in whole liver (21). The comparative study of the copper content of the liver and hair of African children with kwashiorkor suggested a direct correlation between the reduced levels of copper in the hair and the liver of these subjects (22). A completely opposing view was expressed by EPSTEIN (23). «In primary biliary cirrhosis, hair copper does not reflect liver content and is of no value as a biopsy material for copper analysis.» As it is defined, cirrhosis is an inflammatory disease in which the normal cells are replaced by fibrous tissue. Passage of blood through this tissue may be obstructed by the cirrhosis. In biliary cirrhosis, the distribution of copper (and other nutrients) will not proceed as in a non-obstructed, «normal» liver. This is usually the case for all tissues, including hair.

In considering hair, the data collected from 3,564 Hair Tissue Mineral Analyses (HTMA) of individuals having a variety of hair colors, suggests that trace mineral levels in human hair are relatively independent of hair color (24). There is a general decrease of hair mineral concentration with age (9). People over the age of 40 tend to have grey or white hair. Further studies are needed to clarify whether the older individuals belonging to this age group lose their hair pigments because of metabolic difficulties caused by impaired digestion and / or absorption which in turn may result in deficiencies of different nutrients, including minerals. Perhaps a deficiency in essential minerals may cause accelerated aging and the resulting loss of hair pigment may serve as an indicator of this process.

In summary, an impressive body of literature supports the view that trace element content in hair reflects its nutritional status from which one can conclude that hair tissue is a suitable source for evaluating body stores (11-20). It is also easy to sample, requiring no special training or equipment and can be done without pain or embarrassment to the donor. Specimens do not deteriorate and may be kept indefinitely without requiring special storage or shipping conditions.

Analytical techniques

Recent improvement in analytical technology makes it possible to detect minerals at a level of parts per million (ppm) and sometimes even at lower levels (ppb). The methods mostly suitable for these analytical purposes are: Neutron Activation, Atomic Absorption and Emission in Flame or Flameless Spectroscopy, Inductively Coupled Argon Plasma Emission Spectroscopy and X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy.

Sample preparation

Always take a hair sample from the same location. A commonly used site is from the nape of the neck. The growth rate of human hair from this area is about 0.45 mm/day, com- pared with pubic hair which grows more slowly, on the order of 0.2 mm/day (26). For this reason, pubic hair is used for confirmation of endogenously present toxic elements only.

J.M. McKenzie (27) studied the effect of various washing procedures upon trace elements in the hair tissue. Table 1 shows the influence of the various washing procedures on human hair which has been soaked in solutions containing zinc or copper of either low or high concentrations, as it relates to a control hair sample.

Table1

Hair zinc and copper concentration after treatment with solutions containing high and low concentrations of zinc and copper, and after various washing procedures.

  Zn ug/g Cu ug/g
Washing Procedure Treatment Treatment
  Control 100 ug

Zn/mL

1 ug

Zn/mL

Control 50 ug

Cu/mL

0.1 ug

Cu/mL

Not Washed 228 407 270 61.7 1598 70.4
Ionic Detergent 215 383 236 56.5 1425 70.7
Non-ionic Detergent 191 288 197 55.5 414 67.8
EDTA 198 255 192 59.2 273 59.7
Ionic Detergent +EDTA 196 283 217 53.2 346 63.4
Non-ionic detergent + EDTA 184 247 183 51.8 214 57.7

As can be seen, the combination of non-ionic detergent plus EDTA removed successfully the low concentration of zinc, as well as the copper. However, this superior washing procedure was unable to remove the high concentration of zinc or copper from hair treated with high concentrations of these salts. Therefore, it has to be remembered that hair exposed to chlorinated swimming pools which contain high levels of copper will have high levels of copper of exogenous origin, which can not be removed by this superior washing procedure. Many studies were conducted to find those conditions which would result in a minimum loss of the endogenous elements (28-33). To reduce loss that may occur during the washing procedure, it was recommended by CLEGG (24), that water alone should be used. For environmental studies, where both endogenous and exogenous levels are required, it may be a satisfactory method. Holistic Medicine on the other hand is more interested in the endogenous levels as they indicate the circulatory elements which are deposited in the hair during its formation. Therefore, the washing procedure of McKENZIE (27), seems to serve this purpose.

Maes et al. (35), studied the removal of absorbed elements versus washing time.

By inspecting Fig. 1, one can see that there is a sharp increase in the absorption after the first 5 cm from the scalp. Most probably as the hair grows longer, the protein helix is unwinding and is more prone to exposure to exogenous contaminates. This data indicates that the most reliable source of information can be obtained by using the first 5 cm of the hair close to the scalp for assessment of systemic levels of minerals. As there are variations in the concentration of trace elements according to different scalp locations, a larger quantity of hair (about 1 gram) from the suboccipital region of the scalp can provide an average value of tissue levels of trace elements more reflective of the metabolic state of the individual. The use of smaller size of hair sample or a single strand of hair may give very questionable information concerning the mineral metabolism of the patient (36). The effect of beauty treatments on the trace element content of the hair is another concern.




In Fig. 2 the copper and zinc levels were measured on hair tissue exposed to six different kinds of beauty treatments (28). It shows that only bleach, perm/cold wave and permanent dye alters significantly the mineral content of the hair.


Is hair tissue mineral analysis a diagnostic aid?

This question has been brought up quite often, mostly to prove that indeed it is not a useful aid in making a diagnosis. This is analogous to saying, that the test for low levels of ascorbic acid does not diagnose scurvy. At the same time, one can predict that if the ascorbic acid deficiency is not corrected, the appearance of scurvy can be expected.

The process of breaking down food into its molecular composition and the utilization of the many individual nutrients is a very complex biochemical activity. It involves a great number of enzyme systems, and in many of them, minerals and certain vitamins are playing essential roles either as catalysts and./or co-enzymes. These biochemical reactions are taking place in an interlocking system in which one step follows the other using the product of the previous step. If there are any deficiencies or inadequately balanced quantities present in the reaction mixture, the next step will not be completed and the biochemical activity will come to a halt.

A good example of this process is the test for Glucose Tolerance. It indicates how well the biofeedback mechanism takes care of the endocrine balance and indirectly reveals its adequacy in the production of energy (ADP to ATP). This is well illustrated in Fig. 3. Guinea pigs were fed chow deficient in vitamin C only. After three weeks of such depletion, the animals showed a typical diabetic curve, which returned to a normal GT after replenishing the diet with vitamin C (40).

A very similar effect was achieved by using a guinea pig chow which was depleted by one single mineral, namely manganese. Manganese is recognized as playing an important role in the functioning of isocitric dehydrogenase, an important control enzyme in the regulation of the Krebs Cycle (41). Additionally, manganese is involved in the interconversion of phenylalanine into thyroxine (42), which in turn regulates the intestinal absorption of glucose (43). Guinea pigs deficient in manganese showed decreased utilization of glucose and in consequence, had a diabetic-like glucose tolerance curve (Fig. 4) in response to glucose loading. The supplementation of manganese completely reversed the abnormal GT (44).

These disturbances are the result of only a single substance deficiency. In normal physiology the metabolic processes are much more complex involving not a single vitamin or mineral, but a huge number of them. This can lead to an impairment in the vital biological functions which after months or years may appear as degenerative symptoms of unknown etiology.

Table 2 lists the best researched elements: their biological functions, their deficiency symptoms and their main food sources. The only paradoxical element is zinc, which causes deficiency symptoms not only when it is low in the tissue, but also when it is considerably elevated above the reference value. It has been claimed that it aids in the growth of hair (and other) tissues (39). However, in the case of chronic deficiency, the rate of growth declines and the resting hair tissue is exposed also to a low level of zinc. But the same amount of hair will actually absorb a proportionately larger amount of zinc because of the longer period of exposure. In this case, supplementation of zinc will lower hair zinc and elevate previously low blood zinc to normal levels, thus verifying the described condition.

Many elevated levels in the tissues should be checked for consumption of foods rich in these elements, or for the possibility of over supplementation. This question can be clarified by using a computerized Diet Survey.

The presence of elevated tissue levels of elements, like calcium or magnesium may indicate - in the absence of excess intake - a process to restore a disturbed homeostatic condition, such as in a nutritionally induced metabolic acidosis (45-46).

Deficiency symptoms may occur not only in the case of low intake of certain nutrients, but in the presence of toxic elements (Al, As, Cd, Pb, and Hg). These toxic elements may displace nutrients like zinc or copper which play a key role in essential enzymatic processes and cause impaired cell respiration.

Table 2

Biological functions Deficiency Symptoms Food Sources
Ca: Bone and tooth formation, blood clotting, catalyst for biological reactions, maintenance and function of cell membrane. rickets and osteomalacia, osteoporosis milk, cheese, egg yolk, beans, lentils, nuts, figs, cabbage, turnip greens, cauliflower and asparagus
Mg: Important catalyst in many biological reactions, mostly in the mitochrondria, activates ATP-ADP changes, influences protein synthesis, controls membrane permeability and influences the secretion of thyroxine. increased soft tissue deposit of calcium, the cardiovascular and renal systems are effect- ed (vasodilation and skin changes) nuts soybeans, whole grains, molasses, clams, cornmeal and spinach
Zn: Over twenty-five zinc containing enzymes involved in digestion and metabolism, integrity of skin, wound- healing, growth factor-like activity, essential to brain growth in intrauterine development, granulation and storage of insulin in the beta cells of the pancreas. acute eczematoid dermatitis, diarrhea, malabsorption, mental apathy, depression, ophthalamic (chronic) growth retardation in adolescene, decreased weight, hypogonadism in males, rough and dry skin, impaired woundhealing, and susceptability to infections oysters, nuts, oats, lima beans, whole wheat and eggs
Cu: Facilitating iron absorption, part of respiratory enzyme system of an enzyme producing melanin, the dark pigment in hair and skin, in conjunction with ascorbic acid, copper maintains the activity of enzymes involved in the synthesis of elastinin the wall of the aorta and the connective tissue protein- collagen. defective bone matrix, pain, severe diarrhea in infants, depressed iron absorption, iron nonresponsive anemia, elevated blood cholesterol levels, a major factor in the ethiology of coronary heart disease liver, oysters, nuts, mushrooms, whole grain cereals, gelatin, eggs, fish, poultry, beans, peas, milk, fresh fruits and vegetables
Fe: The role of iron in the body is almost exclusively confined to the process of cellular respiration. It is a component of hemoglobin, myoglobin, cytochrome and in the enzymes catalase and peroxidase. easy fatigue, pallor, shortness of breath, palpitation, edema, tinnitus, and headaches, visual blurring, atrophy and erythema at the corners of the mucosa of the tonge, tachycardia, spoon nails organ meats, egg yolk, whole wheat, fish, oysters, clams, nuts, dares, figs, beans, asparagus, spinach, molasses, and oatmeal
K: Catalyst in many biological reactions, especially those involved in the release of energy in glycogen and protein synthesis. Maintenance of osmotic pressure acid-base balance; it plays a roil in the transmission of nerve impulses, and in the release of insulin from the pancreas. Along with magnesium, acts as a muscular relaxant. swelling of ankles and hands, muscle weak ness, irritability and paralysis, tachycardia and poor intestinal tonus with resultant abdominai bloating. A magnesium deficiency also leads to decreased retention of potassium

 

 
Na: Maintenance of osmotic pressure in the extracellular fluids, and normal water balance. Its function aiso includes the preservation of normal irritability of muscle and transmission of nerve impulses. Essential for the absorption of glucose and transport of other nutrients across membranes. general lethargy, high blood pressure, edema and blurred vision table salt (sodium chloride)
Mn: Essential in the carbohydrate metabolism, in superoxide dismutase. It is necessary for normal skeletal and connective tissue development. It acts as a catalyst in the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol and release of energy. weight loss, dermatitis, nausea, marked hypocholesteremia, glucose intolerance, slowed growth of hair and nails, reddening of hair and beard. Low in rheumatoid arthritis nuts whole grain cereals, dried legumes, green leafy vegetables and dried fruits
Se: Part of the enzyme glucathian peroxidase, preventing degenerative changes in the pancreas and exudative diathisis in chick. Together with vitamin E, exerts a protective effect or cell integrity and retarding growth of cancer tissue. lt provides protection against cadmium and mercury toxicity. Part of the enzyme responsible for destroying peroxides derived from unsaturated fatty acids. partial cause in cardiovascular diseases, cardiomiopathy (in children) or Keshan disease, muscular dystrophy, suggested contributing factor in cystic fibrosis and other degenerative diseases, loss of hair, nails, teeth, skin inflammation, lassitude, paralysis, death seafood, meat and cereals
Cr: Part of the Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF) essential in optimal utilization of glucose. reduced tolerance to glucose, and increasing incident of matureonset diabetes, decreased glycogen reserves, retarded growth, disturbed amino acid metabolism, increased aortic lesions associated with elevated blood cholesterol foods of plants origin, whole grains, fruits and yeast

 

Mo: Essential part of enzymes like xanthine oxidase, aldehyde oxidase and sulfate oxidase, actively involved in the nucleic acid metabolism and in mobilizing iron from the liver. retarded growth, impaired clearance of uricase (chick) peas, beans, meat and whole grain cereals
Co: Essential part of vitamin B12. pernicious anemia organ meats, oysters, clams, lean beef; lamb, veal and salt water fish

In the case of metabolic acidosis (MA), where there are elevated levels of Ca and Mg, the system is deficient in both elements because they are cell bound in a biologically unavailable form. In order to correct MA, the following steps are recommended:

1. correct nutritional imbalance, like high intake of refined foods, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine leading to exhaustion of the different organs (pancreas, adrenal, etc.),

2. check possible food sensitivities (elimination of offending foods, and by recommending a rotation diet (47),

3. supplement amino acid chelated calcium and magnesium in the following manner:

6-8 wks Ca: Mg in a ratio 1:2

6-8 wks Ca: Mg in a ratio 1: 1

6-8 wks Ca: Mg in a ratio 2: 1, completing the amount already being consumed according to the Diet Survey.

The suggested dosage of mineral supplements, designed primarily for adults, can also be used without change for teenager. For younger children, the amounts can be halved, and for very young children, the amounts in each case can be cut to one third of the suggested amounts for adults (48). Synergistic vitamins should also be included in the program (eg. Ca/Vit. D). After six months, a retest of tissue mineral levels will indicate the individual response to the supplementation program and signal the kind of corrective measure needed.

If the MA is caused by the presence of increased phosphoric acid in the system, and a pattern of elevated tissue levels of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus appears, the following steps are recom- mended:

1. Check Diet Analysis, it may reveal low intake of calcium vs. phosphorus. Ca: P ratio if lower than 1: I, may indicate the elevated consumption of protein (in all forms) which is high in phosphorus,

2. Lower meat, poultry, fish, as well as legumes consumption,

3. Increase Ca consumption such as dairy products (if no food sensitivity is present toward these products), grains, nuts, and vegetables in diet or in the form of supplements.

A hair re-test after the nutritional balancing would be useful for follow-up purposes.

The environmental impact on human health is recognized as important among health practitioners.In Table 3, the toxicity symptoms of nutritional elements and toxic metals are listed, with information on the sources of contamination.

Table 3

Toxicity Symptoms (37,38) Sources of contamination
Pb - Low level exposure: muscle pains, indigestion headaches, constipation, fatigue, tremors, anemia, pallor, decreased intelligence, memory impairment, hyperactivity and senility.

Moderate level exposure: compromised immune system, kidney damage: high level lead may lead to cancer.

Tetraethyl lead in gasoline, pipes, paints, alloys, solders, glass, pottery, glazes, rubber, plastics, insecticides, lead containing hair lotions
Hg - Low level exposure: insomnia, dizziness, weakness, depression, loss of memory, loss of appetite, nervousness, headaches, dermatitis, numbness, tingling of the tips and feet, loss of vision and hearing and kidney damage.

High level exposure: brain damage, other CNS disorders and birth defects.

Methyl mercury fungicide, dental fillings (amalgam) fish, seafood, mercury containing cosmetics, latex and other mercury containing paints, some diuretics, mercury containing disinfectants like Methiolate, calomel containing laxative, psoriatic ointment, floor waxes and polishes, fabric softners, some wood preservatives, industry polluted air, water and soil
As - Moderate level exposure: produces cancer.

High level exposure: causes death.

Insecticides, fungicides, weed killers, magolica, alloys, medicines, pigments
Cd - Kidney damage, high blood pressure (systolic), impaired calcium metabolism, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary emphysema. Rubber tires, plastics, pigments, plated ware, alloys, insecticides and solders, pigments (cadmium yellow and red), some French lipsticks, cigarette smoke
Al - Neurological changes like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and hyper- activity in children. Aluminium pots and pans, aluminium foil, sodium aluminium sulfate in baking powder and cheese, antacids, antiperspirant (aluminium hexachloride), toothpaste, table salt
Mn - Fatigue, languor, weakness, headaches and drowsiness, sometimes followed by insomnia. Salivation and excessive sweating, mental disturbance (manganese madness) including unaccountable laughter, euphoria, impulsiveness and halucination. Muscle rigidity, tremors and speech disturbances. Organic manganese compounds are used as smoke inhibitors and combustion improves; they produce excellent anti-knock effect, and used in many instead of lead
Se - Discolored teeth, skin eruptions, brittle nails, edema, gastrointestinal disorders, partial or total loss of hair. Soil, water, coating of stainless steel, glass pigments, dyes, rubber, insecticides, plastics, dandruff preventives
Zn - Fever, gastroenteric irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, exhaustion, headaches, dizziness and muscular pain. Mental fumes, bronze powder, cosmetics and spray containing zinc compounds
Cr Salts. - Low level exposure: skin dermatitis, ulcers, perforated nasal system and kidney malfunction.

Prolonged exposure (in industry): revealed predisposition to lung cancer.

Industrial exposure
Co - Nausea, vomiting, nerve deafness, thyroid hyperplasia, myxedema, skin hypersensitivity, interstitial pulmonary fibrosis and contact dermatitis.

Cobalt-beer drinker’s cardiomyopathy: 1. ingestion of moderate to large amounts of beer containing cobalt. 2. Fulminant right-sided heart failure. 3. Cyanosis. 4. Marked lactic acidosis. 5. Hemorrhagic pericardial effusion.

 

Industry and cobalt containing beer
Cu - Nausea, vomiting, exitability, fatigue, nervousness, depression, irritability, muscle and joint pain, tiredness, behaviour problems, learning disability and mental disease. Increased incidence of respiratory cancer was found among workers in copper smelters. Copper cookware, copper water pipes (dangerous mostly in conjunction with acidic foods or water), copper hot-water boilers

Interaction of minerals and trace elements

The observation in nature that soils rich in certain minerals can cause a deficiency in others has incited many nutritionists to study this interrelationship among the different elements. In the last 40 years, many studies were conducted in order to find the explanation for these antagonistic.

It was found that ions whose valance shell electronic structures (49) or electronic configurations (50-52) were similar, would be antagonistic. These studies were conducted on animals, and the survival time and body weight gain or loss were used to measure the biological effects of the interaction of the different elements.

Impressive data was compiled by the Task Group on Metal Interaction in 1978 (53) and also on nutrient interaction with toxic elements (54).

All of the above information was collected and is shown in a chart form in Fig. 5. The elements connected by a line indicates antagonism. In using this chart as an aid in preparing a supplementation program, one should be aware of any imbalance among the elements and the antagonistic effects should be taken into consideration, when calculating the dosage of the supplimented element. Also, the time of intake should allow an interval of 2-3 hours in order to avoid possible competition at the absorption site.

Some examples are given here to emphasize the importance of a well- balanced mineral environment of the body and the possible detrimental effects caused when it is lacking. A recently published work (55) shows, that children with lower dietary calcium intake are more prone to lead-burden than children with a diet richer in calcium (Table 4). Ingesting a low calcium diet and a given quantity of lead (56), resulted in approximately a four fold increase in blood lead concentrations in rats (Fig. 6). Tissue lead concentrations were greatly elevated with a low calcium diet; however, the increase of lead in soft tissue was much greater than in bone (Table 5).

The same imbalance is illustrated in the paper of CAPEL et al. (57), in which dyslexic to normal children were compared. The dyslexic had increased levels of aluminum and cadmium in hair tissue, compared to low levels of calcium and zinc (paradoxical).

The data on the interaction of essential minerals and toxic elements can be used effectively in two ways:

A. By balancing the elevated nutritional mineral with increased intake (food, supplementation) of an antagonistic nutritional element,

B. Replacement therapy: removing toxic body minerals with antagonistic elements, which are most probably deficient in the diet in the first place.

For instance, lead can be removed by zinc and calcium. Zinc displaces cadmium, mercury,. and aluminum as well. Also, copper is antagonistic to lead and cadmium; its use for this purpose is more limited than that of zinc. As its tolerance level is much lower before it becomes toxic. As a basic principle, if the presence of a toxic element is indicated in the HTMA, a re-check of this element in pubic hair would confirm it as being systemic and not merely exogenous contamination. This would then fully justify proceeding with a replacement / de-toxification program.

It is a pleasure to acknowledge the excellent technical assistance of Mrs. Lesley Marsh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 




TABLE 4: Dietary calcium intake in control and lead-burdened children *

Dietary calcium intake in control and lead-burdened children * Control Children Lead-burdened Children
Mahaffey et al., 1976 570+/-23 457+/-18
Sorrell et al, 1977 800+/-30 580+/-15
Johnson & Tenuta, 1979 615+/-25 463+/-15

*mg Ca/day. ’ Mean + SEM. ’ Mean a standard deviation (SD).

 

TABLE 5: Effect of dietary calcium deficiency on kidney and femur lead concentration in rats*

Effect of dietary calcium deficiency on kidney and femur lead concentration in rats* Kidney Pb (mcg/g) Femur Pb (mcg/g)
Normal Ca 2.6+/-1.2 3.2+/-1.0
Low Ca 4.4+/-0.6 9.7+/-2.2
Normal Ca + Pb 29.6 +/-7.0 202.0+/-22.0
Low Ca + Pb 691.0+/-203.0 225.0+/-15.2

* Pb in drinking water; 200 ppm Pb added as lead acetate.

References

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* - George M. Tamari, Ph.D., President, Anamol Laboratories

 
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