Cutting Strands for Analysis…
A couple of weeks back I submitted a hair metals test to check out the levels of both toxic and essential elements in my body.
Hair is an excretory tissue and in general the amount of an element found in growing hair is proportional to the level of that in other body tissues. This makes hair analysis a great way to test to see if we have too much or too little of good and/or bad elements in our bodies.
To note: there are some factors that can alter the results of hair metals tests. If you bleach or dye your hair or treat it with other chemical products then these could impact the results. (This is not something that I had to worry about since I’ve long stopped dying my hair and only use 100% pure shampoo to wash it).
I was specifically interested in seeing how my lithium levels are before starting on hydroxy B12, which is supposed to help with the breakdowns I have with my COMT genes. Lithium is a carrier for B12, so if it is low then B12 supplementation essentially does no good.
In the Presence of Mercury…
I was happy to see that my levels of toxic metals were all below the recommended ranges. My mercury levels, however, were on the higher side and closer to the cut off point.
This was not terribly surprising to me. I had a mercury filling in my mouth for most of my life and I went through a period of time where I was eating a lot of sushi, and I spent over five years living across the street from a landfill. Oh man!
Once inside the cells mercury creates free radicals which can do further damage to enzyme activity, membranes and DNA. Mercury levels become problematic as they are related to auto immune conditions
There are different ways to help remove mercury and other heavy metals from the body. I wrote a post about mercury and ways to remove it about a year ago.
To help continue to move out the mercury from my system I am going to continue efforts to cleanse my liver. Planning another cleanse following Christmas 🙂
Low Levels of Essential Elements: Boron & Lithium
I had two essential elements that came back low: boron and lithium. I must say these were two items that have definitely not been on my radar. I recall learning about their place on the periodic chart… and that’s about it, LOL.
In case you are in the dark like I was, here’s a little low down on why these two elements are important to have in proper levels in your body.
Why We Need Boron:
Boron assists in proper absorption of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus from the foods that we eat.
Low levels of magnesium leads to systemic inflammation. My hair test also showed that my magnesium levels were on the lower end. I am assuming these two factors are related.
Boron is also needed to balance blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels are off then this can result in systemic inflammation and further hormonal imbalances.
Why We Need Lithium:
Lithium is needed for proper functioning of enzymes, hormones and vitamins in your body. Specifically, it is needed to transport folate and vitamin B12.
Lithium is an important element for proper and stable mental health. It is often times recommended as a supplement for those with anxiety and depression.
I’ve learned that Lithium deficiency is becoming more and more common. This relates to the depletion of the soil quality our produce is grown in, which no longer provides the same level of these essential elements.
Ways to Increase Boron & Lithium
I am leery to supplement with Boron since it’s been shown to increase estrogen levels and is not recommended for women with estrogen dominant conditions like endometriosis.
Rather then start with a Boron supplement I’m going to try and increase my Boron levels with some choice herbs recommended by Dr. Yasko including:
To address my low Lithium levels I’ve ordered a supplement called lithium orotate. As suggested, I am going to start at a very low dose (2.5 mg) since too much lithium can be toxic.
Additional food sources of Lithium include kelp, sardines, and pistachios, but the levels are pretty low in these foods so I’m thinking I’d need to intake a lot of those to be effective 🙂
To note: Lithium impacts thyroid hormone as it competes with iodine. Something to keep in mind if you are taking thyroid medication.
Potential Adrenal Issues…
My hair test results also showed a potential for adrenal issues. This is something that I’ve considered for awhile now as I have creeping (and often crippling) fatigue some days that is undeniable. I tend to address this with caffeine, which I know only makes things worse if my adrenals are in trouble.
Potential adrenal issues were shown by my low sodium levels. This could have no significance or it may be consistent with electrolyte imbalances associated with adrenal insufficiency.
My potassium levels also showed on the low side. When tested in the hair this does not reflect nutritional status or dietary intake, rather it provides evidence of additional adrenal malfunctioning and/or electrolyte balance.
Per Dr. Yasko’s notes on my test results, coupled low sodium and low potassium is very common in association with “emotional stress”, which requires additional investigation.
On the Positive Side?
I feel like I have a better understanding of the essential and toxic elements in my body. I was happy to see that I don’t have a huge amount of heavy metals present.
I plan on starting with the new supplement of Lithium Orotate soon and will be putting in an order for the herbs said to boost Boron levels. I will be re-testing my hair levels to see if improvements are made before I start supplementing with hydroxy B-12.
I don’t have the best health insurance so much of this testing has been on my own. I am very appreciative of health leaders and pioneers like Dr. Yasko who provide these self-test options along with a wealth of free information on her web site and in the free support group she hosts.
I feel like I am getting a better idea of the next moves I need to take on my healing journey, which has shifted focus to a more individualized look of improving breakdowns in my methylation cycle.
What about you…. have you done a hair metal test? Did you find any revelations you were not expecting? Made any moves to improve the issues you found? Interested in getting your hair tested?
I’d love to hear from you….