Professional Statements About Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis


"The results of the (hair analysis) quality assurance program, which included 31 participants on four continents, are described.  Of the participating laboratories, 92% consistently meet QA/QC performance limits for the determination of Hg in human hair."

    - Gill US, Schwartz HM, Bigras L., Results of multiyear international interlaboratory comparison program for mercury in human hair., Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2002 Nov;43(4):466-72.



"Bioassay of hair is attractive as it is an effective bio-concentrator, samples can be easily stored, (and) the concentration reflects an integrated value…"

    - Karpas Z, Lorber A, Sela H, Paz-Tal O, Hagag Y, Kurttio P, Salonen L., Measurement of the 234U/238U ratio by MC-ICPMS in drinking water, hair, nails, and urine as an indicator of uranium exposure source. Health Phys. 2005 Oct;89(4):315-21.



"Human head hair is a recording filament that can reflect metabolic changes of many elements over long periods of time and thus furnish a print-out of post nutritional events."

   - Strain, W. H.; Pories, W. J.; Flynn, A.; Hill, O. A.: Trace Element Nutriture and Metabolism Through Head Hair Analysis. Trace Substances in Environmental Health. Hemphill, D. D., ed. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, 1972.



"Statistical evaluation of these data by multivariant analysis (MANOVA) using a contrast matrix and by discriminant analysis showed that elemental hair anomalies can be used to diagnose correctly the above-mentioned pathologies, demonstrating the usefulness of hair analysis as a complementary tool for the detection of disturbances in calcium/bone metabolism."

   - Miekeley, N., et al. Elemental Anomalies in Hair as Indicators of Endocrinologic Pathologies and Deficiencies in Calcium and Bone Metabolism., J. Trace Elem. Med. Biol. 15, 1, 2005



"Changes in element content in hair can serve as a guide to opening up new vistas in the treatment of breast cancer on the basis of an overall analysis of symptoms and signs."

   - Kilic E, Saraymen R, Demiroglu A, Ok E. Chromium and Manganese Levels in the Scalp Hair of Normals and Patients With Breast Cancer, Biol Trace Elem Res. 2004 Winter; 102(1-3):19-25.



"The consensus of most workers in the field is that if hair samples are collected properly, cleaned and prepared for analysis correctly and analyzed by the best analytical methods, using standards and blanks as required, in a clean and reliable laboratory, by experienced personnel, the data are reliable."

   - Toxic Trace Metals in Mammalian Hair and Nails. United States Environmental Protection Agency Publication 1979; EPA-600/4: 79: 049



“An example of how mineral intake is reflected in the hair was demonstrated in a study of several thousand Iraqi peasants, whose diet contained grain heavily treated with fungicides. The fungicides contained organic mercury, which was reflected in higher concentrations in the hair when consumption was highest and decreased when consumption was lowest. Hair concentrations correlated directly with the extent of symptoms.”

   - Al-Shahristani, H.; Al-Haddad, I. K.: Mercury Content of Hair From Normal and Poisoned Persons. J Radioanalytical Chem 1973; 15.

   - Al-Shahristani, H.; Shihab, K. M.: Variation of Biological Half-Life of Methylmercury in Man. Arch Environ Health 1974; 28.



"The results demonstrate the viability of hair as a noninvasive biomonitor in assessing aspects of dietary Se (selenium) and environmental As (arsenic) exposure."

   - Spallholz JE, Boylan LM, Palace V, Chen J, Smith L, Rahman MM, Robertson JD., Arsenic and Selenium in Human Hair; A comparison of Five Countries With and Without Arsenicosis., Biol Trace Elem Res. 2005 Aug;106(2):133-44.



"The proliferation of trace element analysis as a tool for biological investigation of nutrition, growth and development, and disease processes has led to consideration of (hair) trace element analysis as a means not only of present evaluation and estimation, but also as a technique for the reconstruction of past biological events in an organism."

   - Gilbert, R. I.: Trace Elements in Human Hair and Bone. Hair, Trace Elements and Human Illness Brown, A.C.; Crounse, R. G. ed. Praeger Publications, 1980.



"The significance of hair analysis as a biological indicator of abnormal intake of trace elements in man is confirmed.  Geographical variations of hair trace element concentrations, on the whole, depend on geochemical conditions or nutritional factors."

   - Batzevich VA., Hair trace element analysis in human ecology studies., Sci Total Environ. 1995 Mar 15;164(2):89-98.



"The result of research studies indicate that hair mineral analysis can be useful as a diagnostic tool in the examination of trace metal exposure, including abnormal nutritional intake, and may assist in the study of certain mental states. They (hair mineral analysis) may suggest mineral imbalances present in the body that perhaps could be rectified by a mineral supplemented diet."


"Hair metal testing is a fascinating new diagnostic tool and often gives unexpected clues to mineral imbalances in the body.  The authors would support this statement from the results that they have accumulated to date."

   - Barlow, P. J.; Kapel, M., Metal and Sulfur Contents of Hair in Relation to Certain Mental States. Hair, Trace Elements, and Human Illness Brown, A.C.; Crounse, R. G., eds. Praeger Publications, 1980.



"By implementation of statistic pattern recognition methods, it has been found that the concentrations of trace elements in hair can remarkably reflect different recovery phases of NPC (nasopharyngeal cancer) patients."

   - Leung PL, Huang HM., Following the recovery of naso-pharyngeal cancer patients by trace elements in hair using statistical pattern recognition methods., Biol Trace Elem Res. 1998 Jun;62(3):235-53.



"We suggest that the changed element status (Zn, Mg, and Cu) in hair may play an indicator role in the diagnosis of epileptic patients."

   - Ilhan A, Uz E, Kali S, Var A, Akyol O., Serum and hair trace element levels in patients with epilepsy and healthy subjects: does the antiepileptic therapy affect the element concentrations of hair?, Eur J Neurol. 1999 Nov;6(6):705-9.



“The constituents of the hair is determined by the entry of substances from external sources and from substances which enter it from the blood stream.”

   - Hopps, H. C.: The Biological Bases for Using Hair and Nail for Analysis of Trace Elements. Sci Tot Environ 1977; 7.



"The analysis of blood, excreted by-products, and human head hair represents method for determining body element levels."

   - Pihl, R. O.; Drake, H.; Vrana, F. Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.: Hair Analysis in Learning and Behavior Problems. Hair, Trace Elements, and Human Illness. Brown, A. C.; Crounse, R. G., eds. Praeger Publications, 1980.



"Thus, it is observed that there exists some positive correlation between element levels in hair and nails and CHD (coronary heart disease), hypertension, and diabetes of these subjects."

   - Sukumar A, Subramanian R., Elements in hair and nails of urban residents of New Delhi CHD, hypertensive, and diabetic cases., Biol Trace Elem Res. 1992 Jul;34(1):89-97.



"The analysis of recently grown hair for zinc provides a biomarker of recent zinc status."

   - Rush E, Li L, Chandu V, Whiting R., Hair zinc concentrations not subject to seasonal variation in adults in New Zealand., Biol Trace Elem Res. 2003 Dec;95(3):193-202.



"These data confirm that the analysis of zinc in hair represents an addition to conventional materials in the assessment of the nutritional status of groups of individuals."

   - Contiero E, Folin M., Trace elements nutritional status. Use of hair as a diagnostic tool., Biol Trace Elem Res. 1994 Feb;40(2):151-60.



“Dietary levels of some of the essential micro-elements have been reported to correspond to hair concentrations of the elements.”

    - Reinhold, J. G.; Kfoury, G. A.; Ghalambor, M. A.; Jean, C.: Zinc and Copper Concentrations in Hair of Iranian Villagers. Am J Clin Nutr 1966; 18.

   - Strain, W. H.; Steadman, L. T.; Lankau, C. A.; Berliner, W. P.; Pories, W. J.: Analysis of Zinc Levels in Hair for the Diagnosis of Zinc Deficiency in Man. J Lab Clin Med 1966; 68.



"…We suggest that hair concentrations of Ca, Cu, Fe, Mg, K, Na and Zn may be correlated with adult female BMI (body mass index), but further studies are needed."

   - Wang, CT, et al., Concentrations of Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium and Zinc in Adult Females hair with Different Body Mass Indexes in Taiwan, Clin. Chem. Lab. Med. 43, 4, 2005.



"The above mentioned results indicate a positive influence of magnesium supplementation on the decrease of lead and cadmium hair content in the individuals studied."

   - Kozielec T, Salacka A, Karakiewicz B., The influence of magnesium supplementation on concentrations of chosen bioelements and toxic metals in adult human hair. Magnesium and chosen bioelements in hair., Magnes Res. 2004 Sep;17(3):183-8.



"From the analyses, it was clear that hair concentrations of Ca, Fe, and Zn could reflect the effects of supplementation."

    - Leung PL, Huang HM, Sun DZ, Zhu MG., Hair concentrations of calcium, iron, and zinc in pregnant women and effects of supplementation., Biol Trace Elem Res. 1999 Sep;69(3):269-82.



"The lithium content of human hair shows an approximately linear response to extra-dietary lithium supplementation at dosage levels of up to 2000 micrograms/d."

    - Schrauzer GN, Shrestha KP, Flores-Arce MF., Lithium in scalp hair of adults, students, and violent criminals. Effects of supplementation and evidence for interactions of lithium with vitamin B12 and with other trace elements., Biol Trace Elem Res. 1992 Aug;34(2):161-76.



"One such procedure which has shown great potential, at least for the determination of micro-element nutriture..., is the use of hair as the biological sample.  Perhaps an even more important advantage would be that hair, by the very nature of the sample, should reflect a rather long-term nutritional state rather than recent (i.e. previous meal or day) dietary intake."

    - Sauberlich, H. E.; Scala, J. H. Department of Nutrition, Letterman Army Institute of Research, San Francisco, California.

   - Dowdy, R. P. Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Food Systems Management, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri.



"Hair may provide a continuous record of nutritional status."

   - Maugh, T. H. Hair: A Diagnostic Tool to Complement Blood Serum and Urine. Science1978; 202.



"Changes in the hair iron concentrations were accompanied by similar changes in the concentrations of the markers most commonly used to diagnose and monitor iron deficiency. The results suggest that quantification of hair iron may be useful to complement evaluations of the body iron status."

   - Bisse E, Renner F, Sussmann S, Scholmerich J, Wieland H., Hair iron content: Possible marker to complement monitoring therapy of iron deficiency in patients with chronic inflammatory bowel diseases?, Clin Chem. 1996 Aug;42(8 Pt 1):1270-4.



"It is suggested that the low zinc level in the hair might provide an important clue for diagnosing prostatic carcinoma at the early stage."

    - Ouyang SY, Li SL., Investigation of trace elements in hair of patients with prostate carcinoma, benign prostatic hypertrophy, and normal controls., Hunan Yi Ke Da Xue Xue Bao. 2000 Jun 28;25(3):279-80.



"Hair calcium concentration did reflect the risk of CHD on a population basis and was strongly influenced by both the hardness of the water supply and the annual sunshine hours which also independently affected the SMR for CHD."

    - MacPherson A, Bacso J., Relationship of hair calcium concentration to incidence of coronary heart disease., Sci Total Environ. 2000 Jun 8;255(1-3):11-9.



"Wilcoxon rank sum tests showed that patients with fibromyalgia had significantly higher calcium and magnesium levels than the control subjects at alpha = .025 and .05, respectively."

           - Ng SY, Hair calcium and magnesium levels in patients with fibromyalgia: a case center study, J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1999 Nov-Dec;22(9):586-93.



"High content of mercury in hair may be a risk factor for acute coronary events and CVD (cardiovascular disease), CHD (coronary heart disease), and all-cause mortality in middle-aged eastern Finnish men."

    - Virtanen JK, Voutilainen S, Rissanen TH, Mursu J, Tuomainen TP, Korhonen MJ, Valkonen VP, Seppanen K, Laukkanen JA, Salonen JT., Mercury, fish oils, and risk of acute coronary events and cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and all-cause mortality in men in eastern Finland., Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2005 Jan;25(1):228-33. Epub 2004 Nov 11.



"The elemental analysis of hair is becoming increasingly popular for the assessment of nutritional status."

 - Katz, S. A. Professor of Chemistry, Rutgers University.: The Use of Hair as a Biopsy Material for Trace Elements in the Body. Am Lab, Feb. 1979;



"Regarding certain factors (age, sex, health, occupation, etc.), the influence causing the change in element levels is obvious, whereas the influence of other factors (structure of hair, height and weight of the subject, etc.) is obscure.  It is very important to consider all the factors at the time of investigation for effective interpretation, validity, and application of results of hair analysis."

   - Sukumar A., Factors influencing levels of trace elements in human hair., Rev Environ Contam Toxicol. 2002;175:47-78.


"Research literature supports the view that trace element content of the hair and nail reflect body intake...from which one can conclude that hair and nail are suitable samples for evaluating body stores."

    - Hopps, H. C.: The Biological Bases for Using Hair and Nail for Analysis of Trace Elements. Trace Substances In Environmental Health VIII. Hemphill, D.D., ed. University of Missouri, Columbia. 1974.



"This reference range of trace elements in the mane hair of racing horses should be used to assess disease and the nutritional status in equine practice."

             - Asano R, Suzuki K, Otsuka T, Otsuka M, Sakurai H., Concentrations of toxic metals and essential minerals in the mane hair of healthy racing horses and their relation to age., J Vet Med Sci. 2002 Jul;64(7):607-10.



"Hair concentrations may provide useful information on longer term nutrition."

   - Casey, C. E.; Hambidge, K. M.: Trace Element Deficiencies in Man. Advances In Nutritional Research Vol.3. Draper, H. H., ed. Plenum Pub., 1980.

   - Hambidge, K. M.; Walravens, P.A.: Trace Elements in Nutrition. Prac Ped 1974, 1:1



"There was good correlation between chromium levels in hair, sweat, and serum (r = .536 to .729, P < .0001 for all correlations), indicating that hair and sweat chromium levels are valid additions to the serum levels in assessing chromium status."

     - Davies S, McLaren Howard J, Hunnisett A, Howard M., Age-related decreases in chromium levels in 51,665 hair, sweat, and serum samples from 40,872 patients--implications for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes mellitus., Metabolism. 1997 May;46(5):469-73.



"The patients were divided into three groups of ten; one group was studied two years after total hip replacement, one at four years, and one at six years.  High levels of titanium and aluminum were found in the hair, especially in the group studied six years after implantation, while the levels of the three ions in the blood and urine were not significant."

    - Trinchi V, Nobis M, Cecchele D., Emission spectrophotometric analysis of titanium, aluminum, and vanadium levels in the blood, urine, and hair of patients with total hip arthroplasties., Ital J Orthop Traumatol. 1992;18(3):331-9.



"The study holds promise that hair selenium may be used as a monitoring tool for low-level occupational exposure to selenium."

    - Srivastava AK, Gupta BN, Bihari V, Gaur JS, Mathur N., Hair selenium as a monitoring tool for occupational exposures in relation to clinical profile., J Toxicol Environ Health. 1997 Aug 8;51(5):437-45.



"This study has found association between NTD (neural tube defect) and decreased hair zinc levels and large population based studies are recommended to confirm the association between zinc and NTD and to investigate whether zinc supplementation would reduce the overall incidence of NTD."

    - Srinivas M, Gupta DK, Rathi SS, Grover JK, Vats V, Sharma JD, Mitra DK., Association between lower hair zinc levels and neural tube defects., Indian J Pediatr. 2001 Jun;68(6):519-22.



"In particular, hair magnesium and cadmium levels of control and patient groups appear to have promising features for future work concerning urinary tract stone disease."

    - Durak I, Kilic Z, Perk H, Sahin A, Yurtarslani Z, Yasar A, Kupeli S, Akpoyraz M., Iron, copper, cadmium, zinc and magnesium contents of urinary tract stones and hair from men with stone disease., Eur Urol. 1990;17(3):243-7.



"Hair lead levels have been found to correlate well with body lead contamination."

    - Black AP, Knight R, Batty J, Haswell SJ, Lindow SW., An analysis of maternal and fetal hair lead levels., BJOG. 2002 Nov;109(11):1295-7.



"The hair concentrations of Ca, Fe, Cu, and Zn in the three groups of gravida (pregnant women) were lower or significantly lower than those in controls.  In sera, the differences did not show statistical significance in most cases"

    - Huang HM, Leung PL, Sun DZ, Zhu MG., Hair and serum calcium, iron, copper, and zinc levels during normal pregnancy at three trimesters., Biol Trace Elem Res. 1999 Aug;69(2):111-20.



"There is now a considerable body of literature on the use of hair in forensic science, in the diagnosis of disease states, and in the assessment of nutritional status."

    - Stevens, B. J.: Determination of Aluminum, Copper, and Zinc in Human Hair. Atomic Spectroscopy 1983; 4:45



(thanks to Dr. D. Watts, who compiled these quotes)


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