This is going to be an unpopular opinion in the ‘alternative’ health space, but for me it’s a hard pass. The science just isn’t there! I know many nutritionists and coaches who swear by it, but usually these tests are run by people in the industry who don’t have the qualifications to run proper labs. I’m going to ruffle a few feathers by saying this – but the truth usually does so what the heck.
So why am I NOT a fan? It seems just as good as many of the diagnostic panels I run, on paper anyway. A hair sample is sent off to the lab to be measured for its “mineral content”. The literature has fancy words and to the untrained clinician could romance us into thinking its a viable tool – but it’s not.
I’ve got a couple of questions about that…I like science, science is cool. I’ve spent decades training so I can understand the science. I’ve fallen for bogus diagnostic panels and been duped into believing the gimmicks.
But now I know better.
These tests have been shown to be unreliable – but so have other tools used. Heck even standard labs have flaws…These seem to be a little more than that though. They’re Just Plain garbage.
You see, the state that our body is in may in fact be completely unrelated to the physical and or chemical condition of our hair. If we are SEVERELY deficient it will likely show, but not always. Low levels in tissue are not the same as low serum values – this can be a good and a bad thing depending on what you are testing.
Let me give an example: a patient of mine tested high for zinc on a hair mineral test but low on both my DBS (dry blood spot) and my serum (blood draw) tests. I phone the lab and asked what their normal range had been defined as and what method they used to determine this. They didn’t have an answer.
Your hair gets washed, dyed, conditioned, is exposed to the elements…. and then we test it? There is no reliable way to get around that. What about the rate of growth, gender, diameter, texture, age etc of a person’s hair – none of this is taken into account? Your hair grows fast enough that even if we look at the hair closest to the scalp it’s still going to be a few weeks old. We wouldn’t use a sample of someone’s blood that was that old would we?
It’s a pretty good gig I’m not gonna lie – take someone’s money to run a test, and take someone’s money to sell them supplements based on that test. I guess it’s similar to Doc’s writing a prescription or myself recommending supplements to my own patients… except I don’t make money off a lot of the supplements I recommend (and I don’t make $$ off the testing either – only my time to review the results and have a sit down reviewing that info).
No matter how you look at it this type of testing should NEVER be used as a stand alone. Most of these labs are not validated for their analytical techniques.That is huge when it comes to testing. There has got to be a standard in which to test against. The typical methods used to prepare a sample are often not utilized – there’s a lot of room for error.
So if you decide you want to spend your hard earned money go ahead, but please don’t depend on these tests as diagnostic and please get more accurate testing done to accompany it. I’m sure the hundreds of dollars of supplements are going to make you feel better – I mean one of them is bound to hit the mark right (or at least the placebo part).