Toxic & Essential Elements (Hair)


Performed by: Doctor's Data

Biomarkers included in this panel:



Possible sources of antimony:  - Food and smoking are the usual sources of antimony. Thus cigarette smoke can externally contaminate hair, as well as contribute to uptake via inhalation.  - Gunpowder (ammunition) often contains antimony.

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Elemental analysis provides a good estimate of exposure to inorganic arsenic (As). However, hair can be contaminated externally with As from air, water, dust, shampoos and soap. Inorganic As, and some organic As compounds, can cause toxicity. Some re

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Hair may be used to evaluate exposure to barium (Ba). Exogenous contamination has been observed from bath water containing Ba. Elevated levels of hair Ba are often observed as a result of exposure to Ba for diagnostic medical tests.

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Beryllium ores are used to make speciality ceramics for electrical and high-technology applications, also used in nuclear weapons and reactors, aircraft and space vehicle structures, instruments, x-ray machines, and mirrors. Beryllium alloys are u

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Bismuth is found in alloys, catalysts, cosmetics, paints, magnets, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, x-ray contrast media, and semiconductors. Bismuth is generally non-toxic, although very high levels may cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Renal, neuro

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Hair cadmium (Cd) levels provide an indication of mild to moderate exposure to the nephrotoxic metal. Very high exposure and assimilation of Cd destroys the hair follicle. Cd is a toxic heavy metal that has no metabolic function in the body. Moderate

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A high hair chromium (Cr) level is likely to indicate excess exposure to Cr. Hair Cr levels do not appear to be affected by permanent solutions, dyes, or bleaches, but external contamination is possible. Trivalent Cr is considered to be an essential

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The relationship between the levels of Germanium in hair and other tissues has not been established and there is currently no published documentation linking elevated hair Germanium levels to Germanium toxicity. However, recent observations indi

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Iodine is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in thyroid function. The thyroid gland uses iodine to produce thyroid hormones, which are responsible for controlling growth, repairing damaged cells, and supporting a healthy metabolism.

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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

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Generally, hair provides a good indication of exposure to lead (Pb). However, elevated levels of Pb in head hair are occasionally an artifact of hair darkening agents, e.g. lead acetate. Although such products can cause exogenous contamination, trans

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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, ha

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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 adre

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Hair mercury (Hg) is an excellent indiator of exposure to methylmercury from fish. Mercury is toxic to humans and animals. Individuals vary greatly in sensitivity and tolerance to Hg burden.

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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 requi

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Platinum (Pt) is a nonessential element that is sometimes detected in hair. However, the clinical significance of hair Pt has not been well studied. Hair treatments may contribute to artifactual contamination of scalp hair. Pt is poorly absorbed i

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The level of Potassium (K) in hair does not reflect nutritional status or dietary intake. However, hair K levels may provide clinically relevant information pertaining to adrenal function and/or electrolyte balance

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Rubidium is a relatively benign element that typically parallels the potassium level. It varies according to levels found in water supplies. 

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Hair silver (Ag) levels have been found to reflect environmental exposure to the element. However, hair may be contaminated with Ag from hair treatments such as permanents, dyes, and bleaches. Ag is not an essential element and is of relatively lo

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Strontium in a hair analysis can provide valuable information about an individual's body burden of strontium and its correlation with calcium levels in body tissues. Strontium levels in hair can be influenced by both endogenous (internal) and exo

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Thallium (Tl) is a highly toxic element which, like lead and mercury, accumulates in many body tissues. Hair levels reflect chronic accumulation of Tl, but alopecia occurs about two weeks after ACUTE Tl poisoning. Thallium occurs naturally in some mi

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Hair Tin (Sn) levels have been found to correlate with environmental exposure. Depending on chemical form, Sn is a potentially toxic element. Inorganic Sn has a low degree of toxicity, while organic Sn has appreciable toxicity. Inorganic Sn is used a

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Titanium (Ti) is measured in hair to assist in the identification of external contamination of hair by treatments and products. Shampoos, dyes, and “highlighting” are the primary sources of Ti, which binds tenaciously to hair. Ti dioxide

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The levels of uranium (U) in hair usually reflect levels of U in other tissues. However, hair may be externally contaminated by shampoos or hair products that contain U. U is a nonessential element that is very abundant in rock, particularly grani

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A high level of zinc (Zn) in hair may be indicative of low Zn in cells, and functional Zn deficiency. Zn can be displaced from proteins such as intracellular metallothionein by other metals, particularly cadmium, lead, copper, and mercury (Toxicology

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Zirconium is one of the elements measured in hair element testing offered by Doctor's Data. This test is designed to assess the levels of various elements, including both toxic and essential ones, in a person's hair. Zirconium testing c

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