Hair Toxic Element Exposure Profile &
Hair Elements Analysis'
Since 1972, Doctor's Data, Inc. has performed over four million hair elements tests for physicians and other health care providers, accumulating what is probably the largest database regarding this procedure.
With respect to its contained elements, hair is essentially an excretory tissue rather than a functional tissue. Hair element analysis provides important information which, in conjunction with symptoms and other laboratory values, can assist the physician with an early diagnosis of physiological disorders associated with aberrations in essential and toxic element metabolism.
As protein is synthesized in the hair follicle, elements are incorporated permanently into the hair with no further exchange or equilibration with other tissues. Scalp hair is easy to sample, and because it grows an average of one to two cm per month, it contains a "temporal record" of element metabolism and exposure to toxic elements.
Nutrient elements including magnesium, chromium, zinc, copper and selenium are obligatory co-factors for hundreds of important enzymes and also are essential for the normal functions of vitamins. The levels of these elements in hair are correlated with levels in organs and other tissues.
Toxic elements may be 200-300 times more highly concentrated in hair than in blood or urine. Therefore, hair is the tissue of choice for detection of recent exposure to elements such as arsenic, aluminum, cadmium, lead, antimony, and mercury. The CDC acknowledges the value of hair mercury levels as a maternal and infant marker for exposure to neurotoxic methylmercury from fish.
Through recent vast improvements in technology, instrumentation, and application of scientific protocols, hair element analysis has become a valuable tool in providing dependable and useful data for physicians and their patients. The U.S. Environmental Protection agency stated in a recent report that "...if hair samples are properly collected and cleaned, and analyzed by the best analytic methods, using standards and blanks as required, in a clean and reliable laboratory by experienced personnel, the data are reliable." (U.S.E.P.A. 600/4-79-049)
Hair, however, is vulnerable to external elemental contamination by means of certain shampoos, bleaches, dyes, and curing or straightening treatments. Therefore, the first step in the interpretation of a hair element report is to rule out sources of external contamination.
Hair element analysis is a valuable and inexpensive screen for physiological excess, deficiency or maldistribution of elements. It should not be considered a stand-alone diagnostic test for essential element function, and should be used in conjunction with patient symptoms and other laboratory tests.
Hair Toxic Element Exposure Profile Sample Report
Hair Elements Sample Report
Urine Toxic Metals & Urine Toxic &
Essential Elements Analysis'
PLEASE NOTE: KelatoxTM is an EDTA suppository and does NOT contain DMPS nor DMSA. For the sake of people who might be going through these treatments, we decided to include this part of the information from the Doctors Data website.
Urine element analysis is an invaluable tool for the diagnosis or confirmation of toxic element burden and monitoring of detoxification therapy. For diagnosis of the presence of certain toxic element burdens, a challenge consisting of pre and post provocation testing is recommended.
A pre-provocation urine elements analysis requires a urine collection prior to administration of a chelating or complexing agent to establish baseline elemental levels. It is highly recommended that a creatinine clearance test be ordered at this time to assess glomerular filtration as currently available chelation agents are excreted as metal complexes that pass through the kidneys. A creatinine clearance test can be used to determine patient candidacy and appropriate chelation agent dosages. This test requires a 24 hour unprovoked urine specimen and a serum sample drawn during the 24 hour urine collection period. A single unprovoked 24 hour urine collection can be used to perform both the urine elements analysis and the creatinine clearance test (also requires a serum collection). The second part of a challenge test is the post-provocation urine elements analysis. This involves urine collection following oral or intravenous administration of chelating or complexing agents that mobilize elements from otherwise slowly exchanging tissue pools. For example, non-provoked levels of cadmium, mercury, and lead may not be indicative of deep tissue stores and only reflect ongoing or very recent exposure. Collection periods for provocation agents are dictated by the active half life of the specific agent:
Common Agents Half Life Collection Period
- EDTA ~1 hr 6 - 24 hrs
- DMPS (IV) ~1 hr 2 - 6 hrs
- DMPS (oral) ~ 9 hrs 6 - 9 hrs
- DMSA 4 hrs 6 - 9 hrs
Unprovoked urinary levels of essential elements such as magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium may be indicative of renal wasting conditions and provide early warning of renal dysfunction. Magnesium loading tests can also be performed using urine elements testing. Provoked urinary levels of elements that chelation agents have an affinity for can provide valuable information as to the efficacy of the provocation. For example, a DMPS challenge with a copper value that is not elevated usually indicates improper infusion or urine collection techniques, or low effective strength of the agent. It may also indicate extremely low copper status within the patient. Blood levels are better indicators of nutritional element status.
For increased convenience, urine elements results are reported in standardized units that allows variable collection periods and ease of comparison between tests. For example, a pre-provocation test using a 24 hour urine collection will be reported in both units per 24 hours and units per mg creatinine. A post-provocation 6 hour collection will be reported in units per mg creatinine. Less than 24 hour collections are expressed per mg creatinine to account for urine dilution variations. This allows the physician to order tests with different collection periods within a single challenge on a patient and accurately compare the results.
Urine Toxic Metals
Urine Toxic & Essential Elements
|Fecal Metals Analysis
Analysis of elements in feces provides a comprehensive evaluation of environmental exposure, potential for accumulation in the body, and possibly endogenous detoxification of potentially toxic metals. For many toxic elements such as mercury, cadmium, lead, antimony and uranium, biliary excretion into the feces is the primary natural route of elimination from the body. The primary process by which the body eliminates the insidious sulfhydryl reactive metals is through the formation of metal-glutathione complexes, of which greater than 90% are excreted into the bile. Evidence for the extent of exposure to mercury from dental amalgams is provided by the fact that fecal mercury levels are highly correlated with the number of amalgams in the mouth. It also clear that fecal mercury levels for people with dental amalgams are remarkably similar from day to day, and approximately ten times higher than in people who do not have mercury amalgams.
Administration of pharmaceutical metal binding agents results in excretion of toxic metals primarily through the kidneys into the urine. In contrast, support of natural detoxification processes enhances the rate of excretion of toxic metals into the feces. Elemental analysis of fecal specimens can provide a valuable tool to monitor the efficacy of natural detoxification of metals in infants or patients who are on very limited and defined diets that do not contain contaminated solid foods. A preliminary study performed at Doctor's Data indicates that biliary/fecal excretion of mercury and lead may be markedly enhanced following high dose intravenous administration of ascorbic acid. Other orthomolecular or nutraceutical protocols may also enhance the fecal excretion of metals and hence potentially decrease burden on the kidneys. Further research to identify and validate such therapies is warranted.
A primary objective of preventive medicine is avoidance or removal of exposure to toxic substances. The rate of oral absorption of toxic metals varies considerably among elements, and among subspecies of a particular element. Fecal elemental analysis can provide a direct indication of dietary exposure. Orally, the percent absorption of nickel, cadmium and lead is usually quite low, but varies significantly in part due to the relative abundance of antagonistic essential elements in the diet. That is particularly evident for lead and calcium, and cadmium and zinc. Chronic, low-level assimilation of the toxic metals can result in significant accumulation in the body. The results of fecal elemental analysis can help identify and eliminate dietary exposure to toxic metals.
The fecal metals test was not developed to replace the pre and post urinary toxic metals provocation test, but rather provides an alternative for infants, children or adults for whom urine collection is problematic, or for individuals who do not tolerate the available pharmaceutical metal detoxification agents. Elements are measured by ICP-MS and expressed on a dry weight basis to eliminate variability related to water content of the specimen.
Fecal Metals Sample Report