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Is Hair Analysis Accurate?

  • If lab methods are similar, the minerals and metals measured are nearly exact

Are you considering trying hair analysis. Do you want to know if hair analysis is accurate before you try it?

You can find lots of information questioning the reliability of hair analysis. Unfortunately, this misinformation delayed my using hair analysis.

The lab comparisons on this page indicate that hair analysis is reliable, provided the labs use similar methods.

I sent samples to two labs (ARL and TEI) to see if they obtained similar results. The results were extremely close.

I was considering the Nutritional Balancing program. The high rate of success people were having for treatment for adrenal fatigue impressed me.

I did this comparison in order to satisfy myself that minerals and metals could measured reliably by hair analysis.

After seeing this page, another kind person sent me his results of the same experiment. He also found the results of TEI were very close to ARL.

Hair Analysis - Person #1

Person #1 is me, Fernand. The tables below show the results of my experiment.

It would have been better if I had mixed the hair and then split it for each lab. This would have increased the odds of each lab getting a similar sample.

Since I did not mix and split, there may have been some clumps from a different location on my head which grew at a different rate and would therefore have slightly different metal and mineral levels.

Even though I did not mix and split, the results are very close. Close enough to conclude the hair analysis is accurate and reliable.

Table 1 shows a comparison of the minerals obtained by each of the labs.

The following two links will open a pdf of the actual lab results:

Minerals
Person #1
ARL TEI
Calcium

84

108

Magnesium

5.0

6.0

Sodium

4.0

4.0

Potassium

1.0

1.0

Iron

0.9

1.1

Copper

7.4

10.2

Manganese

0.024

0.033

Zinc

16.0

20.0

Chromium

0.067

0.04

Selenium

0.073

0.08

Phosphorous

14.0

17.0

Table 1: Comparison of Minerals.
Person #1

You can see from Table 1 that the results are very close. There are no significant differences in any of the key minerals. A couple of the values are exactly the same.

Toxic Metals
Person #1
ARL TEI
Lead

0.018

0.1 (1)

Mercury

0.01

0.01

Cadmium

0.001

0.001

Arsenic

0.007

0.005

Aluminum

0.58

0.60 (1)

Table 2: Comparison of Toxic Metals
Person #1

Table 2 shows Toxic Metals.

Aluminum, Mercury and Arsenic are very close.

For the toxic metals shown by (1), TEI notes that it is outside their calibration range.

Other Minerals
Person #1
ARL TEI
Nickel

0.014

0.030

Cobalt

0.002

0.004

Molybdenum

0.003

0.003

Lithium

0.001

0.001

Boron

N/A

1.10

Table 3: Comparison of Other Minerals
Person #1

Table 3 shows Other Minerals. They are all very close.

Hair Analysis - Person #2

  • Another person with identical results from two labs

Great book on Copper Toxicity

Why Am I Always So Tired?

Person #2 is a gentleman named John. He participates in a forum of people doing the Nutritional Balancing program.

When John saw this article, he was kind enough to share the results of his comparison of TEI and ARL.

Table 4, 5 and 6 below show the results of his experiment. The results are nearly identical.

His results also show that hair analysis is reliable and accurate.

The following links will open John's actual labs. The results are shown in the tables below.

Minerals
Person #2
ARL TEI
Calcium

36

38

Magnesium

4.0

4.3

Sodium

10.0

9.0

Potassium

20

18

Iron

0.9

0.6

Copper

1.0

1.0

Manganese

0.009

0.008

Zinc

14

14

Chromium

0.080

0.060

Selenium

0.060

0.060

Phosphorous

13.0

13.0

Table 4: Comparison of Minerals.
Person #2

As you can see, the hair analysis results are very close between the two labs.

It would seem that hair analysis is reliable ... at least from these two labs.

Toxic Metals
Person #2
ARL TEI
Lead

0.021

0.1 (1)

Mercury

0.09

0.08

Cadmium

0.001

0.001

Arsenic

0.005

0.005

Aluminum

0.35

0.3 (1)

Table 5: Comparison of Toxic Metals
Person #2

For the toxic metals shown by (1), TEI notes that it is outside their calibration range.

Other Minerals
Person #2
ARL TEI
Nickel

0.007

0.01

Cobalt

0.001

0.001

Molybdenum

0.003

0.004

Lithium

0.001

0.001

Boron

N/A

0.88

Table 6: Comparison of Other Minerals
Person #2

The other minerals are also close.

Lab Methods Matter

  • Similar methods result in similar lab values

Why are these two lab results so close? The reason is that their methods are similar.

As WebMD notes,

  There is no standard procedure for cutting, washing, and analyzing hair. Different labs may report different results from the same hair sample1.

This is the problem pointed out by many who say that hair analysis is not accurate. But why were TEI and ARL so close in my tests?

The reason is ARL and TEI use similar methods. Both of these labs do not wash the hair sample at the lab 3. Labs that wash the hair tend to have erratic results3.

It should be noted that TEI was founded by Dr. David Watts, who worked with the founder of ARL, Dr. Paul Eck. This would explain the similar lab procedures.

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Summary

Studies comparing labs using different procedures have resulted in different results. 4 These studies have been used to question the accuracy of hair analysis.

It would seem that hair analysis is very accurate and reliable, provided the lab procedures are similar, and the hair sample is not washed by the lab.

I hope this small study of these two excellent labs will help convince you that hair analysis is accurate. The results are consistent if the lab methods are consistent.

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References

1. WebMD: Hair Loss Health Center
2. Hair Analysis Interpretation Methods and Laboratories
3. HAIR ANALYSIS CONTROVERSY
4. Assessment of commercial laboratories performing hair mineral analysis

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