Hair Tissue Analysis [ARL (Analytical Research Labs)]

Providing a mineral blueprint of one's biochemistry, a hair tissue mineral analysis can provide pertinent information about one's metabolic rate, energy levels, and stage of stress.

A hair tissue mineral analysis performed by Analytical Research Labs, Inc., is a screening test for the level of 20 minerals and toxic metals in a sample of hair. It is a tissue mineral biopsy that is non-invasive, relatively inexpensive and extremely accurate. Our laboratory uses only the most advanced and sophisticated instrumentation available today, the Perkin Elmer ICP-MS nexION 2000B Mass Spectrometer to assess mineral levels in parts per million or parts per billion.

A hair tissue mineral analysis is considered a standard test used around the world for the biological monitoring of trace elements and toxic metals in humans and animals species. The same technology is used for soil testing and testing of rock samples to detect mineral levels.

Hair, like all other body tissues, contains minerals that are deposited as the hair grows. Although the hair is dead, the minerals remain as the hair continues to grow out. A sample of hair cut close to the scalp provides information about the mineral activity in the hair that took place over the past three to four months, depending on the rate of hair growth.

Boron (B)

Optimal range: 0.05 - 0.3 Units

Boron is normally found in hair but the correlations among Boron absorption, and tissue and hair levels of Boron have yet to be determined. Boron has a low order of toxicity, but excessive intake induces riboflavinuria. Boron is frequently high in hair in association with high levels of potentially toxic elements (i.e. lead, mercury, and cadmium) and exposure to toxic chemicals. Exogenous contamination of hair with B is possible since B is present in some soap. Boron is also present in some cleaners, cements, ceramics and glass.


Calcium (Ca)

Optimal range: 32 - 64 Units

Calcium is found in every cell throughout the body. Over ninety percent is found stored in the bones and teeth.

- Calcium is regulated by the thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal and pituitary gland. It’s use in the body is involved in maintaining the acid alkaline balance.

- It is necessary for normal blood clotting, nerve conduction, muscle contraction and relaxation, cell division, heart rate, and maintenance of the bones and teeth.

- It is a primary extra-cellular element.
- Excellent quality bioavailable calcium is lacking in the diets of most people. The main food sources are raw and organic dairy products, carrots and carrot juice and a few other vegetable sources such as nuts and seeds. However, when cows milk is pasteurized and homogenized, calcium availability declines greatly. As a result, most people are not benefitting enough from the calcium in the milk, cheese and yogurt they are consuming.


Chromium (Cr)

Optimal range: 0.09 - 0.15 Units

Chromium enhances utilization of insulin, resulting in improved burning of glucose. Chromium is involved in maintaining blood sugar levels and energy levels. It is also associated with cholesterol regulation.

Hair Chromium is a good indicator of tissue levels and may provide a better indication of status than do urine or blood/serum.

Chromium is generally accepted as an essential trace element that is required for maintenance of normal glucose and cholesterol levels; it potentiates insulin fucnction. 

Deficiency conditions may include hyperglycemia, transient hyper/hypoglycemia, fatigue, accelerated atherosclerogenesis, elevated LDL cholesterol, increased need for insulin and diabetes-like symptoms, and impaired stress responses. 


Cobalt (Co)

Optimal range: 0.03 - 0.06 Units

Cobalt is an alkaline-forming and somewhat toxic element.  It is widely distributed in foods.  It is required for the formation of vitamin B12, also called cyanocobalamin or methylcobalamin.

Sources Of Cobalt

Meats (as vitamin B12)

Roles In The Body

Needed for the formation of vitamin B12 - blood formation, nervous system


Seafood - sardines, salmon, herring

Meat/Organs - liver, kidney

Nuts/seeds - peanuts

Vegetables - peas, okra

Dairy - butter

Grains - buckwheat, wheat bran, wheat germ

Miscellaneous - molasses, raw sugar, cornstarch, cornmeal, some artificial prosthetic hips


Copper (Cu)

Optimal range: 1.5 - 3 Units

Copper is an essential mineral in the body and directly or indirectly affects virtually every bodily system function. Copper is required for energy production, cardiovascular health, neurotransmitter activity, female reproductive system, skin health, blood formation and the immune system.


Iron (Fe)

Optimal range: 2.1 - 4.2 Units

Iron is required in hemoglobin for transporting oxygen in the blood, for detoxification and for energy production in the cells. Iron is found in lean meats, organ meats, shellfish, molasses, beans, whole-grain cereals, and dark green vegetables


Lithium (Li)

Optimal range: 0.1 - 0.3 Units

Lithium (Li) is normally found in hair at very low levels. Hair Li correlates with high dosage of Li carbonate in patients treated for Affective Disorders. However, the clinical significance of low hair Li levels is not certain at this time. Thus, hair Li is measured primarily for research purposes. Anecdotally, clinical feedback to DDI consultants suggests that low level Li supplementation may have some beneficial effects in patients with behavioral/emotional disorders. Li occurs almost universally in water and in the diet; excess Li is rapidly excreted in urine.


Magnesium (Mg)

Optimal range: 4 - 10 Units

Magnesium is extremely important in keeping calcium in a bio-available form. In other words, magnesium is necessary for the utilization of calcium. Magnesium tends to follow calcium up and down. Magnesium is required for the bones and nervous system. It is also essential for over 600 vital enzymatic reactions in the body. It is a primary intra-cellular element.


Manganese (Mn)

Optimal range: 0.024 - 0.06 Units

Manganese (Mn) is an essential element which is involved in the activation of many important enzymes. However, Mn excess is postulated to result in glutathionyl radical formation, reduction of the free glutathione pool, and increased exposure of adrenal catecholamines (e.g. dopamine) to free radical damage.

Hair Manganese (Mn) levels generally reflect actual body stores, and external contamination can influence hair Mn. Since particulate manganese-containing dust is the most common source of Mn toxicity, hair is considered to be an excellent tissue for the assessment of Mn exposure.


Molybdenum (Mo)

Optimal range: 0.06 - 0.14 Units

Molybdenum (Mo) is an essential trace element that is an activator of specific enzymes such as: xanthine oxidase (catalyses formation of uric acid), sulphite oxidase (catalyses oxidation of sulphite to sulphate), and aldehyde dehydrogenase (catalyses oxidation of aldehydes).

Possible effects or symptoms consistent with Mo deficiency are: subnormal uric acid in blood and urine, sensitivity or reactivity to sulphites, protein intolerance (specifically to sulphur-bearing amino acids), and sensitivity or reactivity to aldehydes.

Molybdenum (Mo) deficiency has been linked to gout. Low levels in heavy meat eaters reflect digestive disorder, the need for digestive enzymes and dietary changes. Such patients should avoid pork, beef, wholegrain and rather eat poultry, fish and other lighter proteins.


Nickel (Ni)

Optimal range: 0 - 0.1 Units

Hair is a reasonable tissue for monitoring accumulated body stores of Nickel (Ni). However, hair is OFTEN contaminated with Ni from hair treatments, dyes, and hair products. There is substantial evidence that Ni is an essential element which is required in extremely low amounts. However, excess Ni has been well established to be nephrotoxic, and carcinogenic. Elevated Ni is often found in individuals who work in the electronic and plating, mining, and steel manufacture industries. A cigarette typically contains from 2 to 6 mcg of Ni; Ni is absorbed more efficiently in the lungs (~35%) than in the gastrointestinal tract (~5%).


Phosphorus (P)

Optimal range: 13 - 20.8 Units

Phosphorus levels are highly indicative of one's ability to synthesize protein. The inability to synthesize protein frequently results in impaired digestion.

Phosphorus is an essential mineral that is involved in protein synthesis and energy production within the cells. All proteins contain phosphorus and thus are a significant source of organic phosphorus. The hair tissue mineral level of phosphorus is often associated with the adequacy of protein synthesis in the body. This depends on the diet, lifestyle, condition of the intestinal tract and liver and the levels of other nutritional minerals such as zinc and copper.


Potassium (K)

Optimal range: 5 - 15 Units

Potassium is a primary intra-cellular element required for fluid balance, nerve activity and muscle activity.


Selenium (Se)

Optimal range: 0.12 - 0.21 Units

Selenium is required for thyroid function. Selenium is an essential component of the enzymes that convert Thyroxine (T4) to Triodothyronine (T3). Selenium is also important in heavy metal detoxification and is also important in enhancing immune system function.

Selenium (Se) is normally found in hair at very low levels, and several studies provide evidence that low hair Se is reflective of dietary intake and associated with cardiovascular disorders. Utilization of hair Se levels to assess nutritional status, however, is complicated by the fact that use of Se- or sulfur-containing shampoo markedly increases hair Se (externally) and can give a false high value.


Sodium (Na)

Optimal range: 17 - 35 Units

Sodium is an essential mineral for maintaining water balance and blood pressure in the body and is a primary extra-cellular element


Zinc (Zn)

Optimal range: 16 - 24 Units

Zinc is found in small quantities in the body (about two grams) and is essential for over 50 functions including all protein synthesis, growth and development, male reproductive system, insulin production and secretion, vision, digestion, prostate health, skin, hair and nail health, and immune system activity.