Instructions for taking your Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA)
Wash your hair and rinse well, leave to dry. Do not use any styling products before taking the sample. Ideally we want to have uncoloured hair, but it doesn't usually affect the sample, however it is best if you have washed your hair at least 6 times since dying your hair, or other treatments. The hair should be free of all gels, oils and hair creams prior to sample collection. See information below on medicated or anti dandruff shampoos. Please let me know if you have been using these prior to the test.
For those people environmentally and/or occupationally exposed to external contaminants (welding, mining etc.) special care should be taken to limit exposure to environmental toxins between washing the hair and collecting the sample.
Each sample should be taken in small portions from at least four or five different locations of the scalp. The recommended areas for collection are the nape of the neck, the crown (posterior vertex) and temples (posterior temporal regions)
Length of the sample
Cut the hair as close to the scalp as possible, cut small amounts of hair from the nape of the neck, and back of the head, as this reflects the most recent metabolic activity in the body. The length of the collected hair should not exceed 2.5 to 4 cm (1 - 1.5 inches). The part closest to the root should be retained and the excess discarded if the sample is longer than this. Note: The part closest to the scalp is reflective of the most recent metabolic activity. It is acceptable to have a sample shorter than 2.5 cm as the sample is weight dependent not length dependent. The amount of hair should completely cover the box on the back of the envelope.
The sample size is weight dependent. The weight required is 150 milligrams, which is approximately a heaped teaspoonful of hair, however you will find a purple piece of card in your pack which is a Hair Weight Scale card to ensure that the sample is of sufficient weight. Simply fold the sides of the card to the down position, place on a level surface and keep placing the hair in the box on the card until it touches the tabletop, like a seesaw.
Packaging and Shipment of Hair Sample:
Once cut, the hair should be placed into the clean hair specimen envelope provided and sealed by the glue flap only. Do not be tempted to wrap the hair in anything at all as this may contaminate the sample. Just place it straight in the envelope and seal the envelope.
Please remember to complete the details on the front of the sample envelope. As an absolute minimum they will require your name, age, sex, and any diagnosed medical conditions. This information ensures the interpretative report is relevant to the person being tested. Then place the sample in the sample envelope, put in the prepaid envelope (UK only) and post off.
Hair is a stable sample and once cut will not deteriorate so there is no need for concern should the sample not be posted immediately. While you should post as soon as you can to get your results back quickly, the sample will be fine if you cannot for any reason send it off immediately. Results take up to 3 weeks and will be returned to me.
Taking a hair sample is very simple, but here is a VIDEO CLIP of how to take a hair sample
Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist, Associate Naturopath
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External Factors that may contribute to Sample Variations
Many dyes, such as vegetable dyes, do not appreciably alter the levels of the minerals and safe to use.
Some colouring agents, specifically black dyes may contain lead as lead acetate and, in these cases, the results will show a markedly elevated lead level. This may not be representative of the body’s lead content, however the Indian Journal of Medical Research reported that woman using lead based cosmetics and dyes showed increased urinary excretion of lead. Urinary lead content decreased when the products were discontinued.
Other dyes, such as vegetable dyes, do not appreciably alter the levels of the minerals and are much safer to use.
Medicated Shampoos may contribute to artificially elevated levels of some minerals especially selenium and zinc. Anti-dandruff shampoos and medicated shampoos, or shampoos or hair products containing zinc or selenium should be avoided for a couple of weeks prior to testing to avoid inaccurate reporting of these levels. Please also let me know if you have been using these previously.
Copper contamination can occur due to copper sulphate found in the water purification systems of some pools. Frequent swimmers in pools using these systems may show artificially high levels of copper in the hair.
Improper Sampling Tools
Scissors that are not high-grade stainless steel or plastic, or rusty may cause metal contamination of the hair sample. Mineral Check Ltd once linked a sample showing a very high iron level back to a rusty pair of scissors that had been used to take the sample
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