Hair Calcium (Ca) levels have been correlated with nutritional intake, several disease syndromes, and metabolic disorders. Interpretation of low hair Ca levels is difficult and other variables need to be considered.
Ca is the most abundant element in the body. Although most Ca is contained in the skeletal system, Ca is actively involved in muscle contraction, the nervous system, hormone secretion, and immunological responses.
Causes of Ca deficiency include but are not limited to inadequate dietary Ca, protein or vitamin D, excess dietary phosphorus and malabsorption. Malabsorption is likely if other essential elements such as magnesium, cobalt, manganese, and chromium are also at low levels in hair. Other factors associated with poor Ca status include physical inactivity, chronic stress, hormonal imbalance, aluminum containing antacids, chronic use of diuretics or laxatives, high alcohol intake, and exposure to toxic elements (e.g. lead, cadmium).
Symptoms of Ca deficiency include: muscle cramps or tetany, myalgia, and skeletal pain. Chronic Ca deficiency (or negative balance) results in osteoporosis.
Hair is vulnerable to external contamination by Ca as a result of hair treatments (permanent solutions, dyes, bleach). Other means to assess Ca status include: dietary assessment, whole blood elements analysis, and measurement of bone density, serum vitamin D-3, and parathyroid hormone.
Hair Calcium (Ca) levels have been correlated with nutritional intake, several disease syndromes, and metabolic disorders. However, hair Calcium is sensitive to contamination by permanent solutions, dyes or bleaching. If hair has been treated, the reported Calcium level is likely to be artifactually high and not indicative of Calcium status or metabolism.
When external contamination is ruled out, elevated Calcium is most often interpreted as a maldistribution of Calcium. Rarely is elevated hair Calcium indicative of excess dietary Calcium. However, overzealous supplementation is possible. A high result for hair Calcium is more likely to be indicative of an inappropriately low ratio of dietary Calcium : phosphorus. Conditions associated with elevated hair Calcium include but are not limited to: hyperparathyroidism, osteoporosis, excess dietary Calcium or protein, excess vitamins A and/or D, phosphorus/magnesium/calcium imbalance (assessed by whole blood element analysis), hypoglycemia, hormonal imbalances, and metabolic disorders.
Hair analysis is not the preferred way to assess body Calcium stores. Calcium status should be assessed through: dietary analysis, whole blood or serum Calcium level, vitamin A and D levels, blood concentrations of other electrolytes (sodium, magnesium, potassium), parathyroid hormone determinations, and bone density measurement.
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