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Welcome back to another episode of The Vibrant Health Podcast!
This week, Lydia and I talk about the nitty-gritty of hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) and answer the most commonly asked questions about this form of testing.
So, let’s not waste and time! Tune in below!
Missed previous episodes? You can find them all here.
Links From This Week’s Episode:
- How Mineral Balancing Helped Regulate My Monthly Cycle
- How HTMA Changed My Life
- How HTMA Has Helped Me Manage Stress
- LOTS of Articles on Minerals
- The HTMA Test I Take Every 3-4 Months
Listen to The Vibrant Health Podcast :: Episode 4
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Download The Vibrant Health Podcast :: Episode 4
Read The Vibrant Health Podcast Transcript :: Episode 4
Jessica: Hi everyone. Welcome to episode number four of the Vibrant Health Podcast. I am Jessica Espinoza from DeliciousObsessions.com. I am here with my co-host Lydia Shatney of DivineHealthfromtheInsideOut.
We are so happy to have you here with us today. Today we are actually going to talk about the hair tissue mineral analysis. You’ve heard us talk about this in some of our earlier podcasts. You’ve seen me write about it and Lydia write about it on our site.
We wanted to give an overview of what that is, what the benefits are of this type of testing and answer some common questions that we get asked about it. So I am going to turn the floor over to Lydia because she is our expert on the hair mineral tissue analysis testing and let her direct this conversation.
Lydia: Hey. Thanks, Jessica. This is an awesome conversation to be having because this topic fascinates me to no end.
I was just telling Jessica a minute ago before we started the show that I learn something new every single time I do a new hair test. It’s just amazing, the information and insight we can see from each hair test into the body and what’s going on there.
If you’re not familiar, a hair tissue mineral analysis is a screening test. And it uses hair essentially as a tissue biopsy to gain some information about your mineral status in your body.
It’s been around for at least a hundred years so it has been around for a while. It is used to screen for the level of at least 20 minerals and toxic metals in just small sample of your hair.
The cool thing about it is that it is a non-invasive and relatively inexpensive method of testing and it’s very accurate so long as a sample is taken properly. It’s a great method for assessing, monitoring and guiding the correction and improvement of your unique body biochemistry. Everyone is going to be different so it’s great to see your unique metabolic blueprint and go from there.
And this is cool because then you get to know what works for you and you don’t have to sit there and guess. You don’t have to try everything that’s broadly recommended but doesn’t work for everyone and be frustrated. Right?
Lydia: We’ve talked about how we’ve been there. So I mean they’re still going to require some detective work and things like that. But hair provides just a window into the entire inner workings of your body.
It really gives accurate insight on how to balance your health through a specific nutritional protocol both with supplements, the right supplements, but also dietary tweaks as well as helping you understand the stage of stress your body is in so that you can make lifestyle adjustments. You can learn how to manage stress, work on improving sleep.
You can even talk about what exercise is right for you. Some people don’t even really need to be doing much exercise at all unfortunately, but they may like that. They may like hearing that. Obviously we all need movement, but the point is depending on where your body is at, you can find out if the exercise you are doing is right for you at the time. That’s a big one too.
So really it’s just an excellent way to see imbalances in your metabolic health and just bring correction to them before deeper health issues set in.
Jessica, I know you’ve gotten your first two hair tests done and have seen some great things. So when you first got your hair test, maybe you can speak to what you felt was so great about it, how it benefited you. I know people are curious to hear from someone who has already done it.
Jessica: Sure. I got my first one done in November of 2014. And then we did my second test in February, 2015.
When I set out doing this, I made a commitment that I was going to do this. You’re supposed to do a retest every three months or so, depending on your observation. So I’m in that three month threshold right now.
I committed that I was going to do this for at least a year and see where I was at one year. November, 2015, I want to see where I’m at. I probably will keep doing that Freedom Walker because it’s going to take longer than just a year to get me to the point that I want to be at. But I really made that commitment.
I really didn’t know anything about the hair test. I knew that they were available, but I had no idea about the types of information that you could get from them.
When I took the test in November – and I have to say I was really excited about being able to get a lot of information just from snipping some of my hair because I keep going to the doctor for blood tests. I have veins that are hard to find and the nurses always tear up my arms and I got bruises whenever they were done. Going and getting my blood drawn is never fun. So for a non-invasive test, I was really, really excited about it.
When I got the report back from you initially, I was just amazed at how much information was in there because it totally blew my mind. I had no idea about the amount of information you can get just by looking at your hair.
I knew that mineral balance was important and I knew that if you’re deficient in certain minerals, your body is not going to function properly. I knew that I was way deficient in stuff, especially magnesium and stuff like that. But I really didn’t know to what level. So being able to see that snapshot on that report of where my levels were based on that hair sample, it was really eye-opening for me.
From there, once I got it back, you created my customized report and that’s one thing that I want to emphasize here. It’s the amount of information that you get back.
It’s not like Lydia just hands you a packet of information and your test results and say, “Hey. Here you go. See you later.” You really get a plan that is customized to your specific needs.
Like she said in the intro, our biochemistry, everybody’s biochemistry is different. So mine is going to be dramatically different from yours. So you really get a customized plan at that point to fit your biochemistry needs.
I coined this phrase “supplementing with a purpose.” Over the last five years or three or four years, I’ve been supplementing with all sorts of different things. You read stuff on Google and you are like, “Oh that sounds like something I should be taking.”
So I would go to the health food store and I would buy whatever the supplement was. I would take it and I was like, “Okay. Well, I don’t really notice any difference.” So I really got to this point where I stopped taking any supplements, except for my hydrochloric acid because I knew I needed that for digestion and I could tell a difference whenever I stop taking it.
I had stopped pretty much everything except for that because I didn’t know what I needed to be taking. And I was so tired of wasting all this money. Supplements are not cheap for the most part and I felt like I was wasting hundreds and hundreds of dollars every year on things that were not even really helping me.
So now I am supplementing with a purpose. Every single thing that is on my supplementation protocol is serving a purpose to help correct my biochemistry. That is super exciting to me. And I noticed some dramatic results.
The main two major results that I’ve noticed are my ability to deal with stress – we talked about that in episode number three. I talked about some stressful things that were going on in my life at the time and how I noticed that. All of a sudden, I was just able to handle that a lot better.
And then also my cycles, my monthly cycles have changed. I was to a point in 2014 where my periods were getting really painful. I would have cramps so bad that sometimes I just wanted to lie in bed all day.
I remember one episode about a year ago where I had cramps so bad that I couldn’t move from the couch. They were absolutely debilitating. And then I was so [floored] the next day that every time I took a step, my entire torso ached that felt like I had literally been run over with a truck. And I was like, “Well, this is not normal.” But I didn’t know what to do about it.
And then it occurred to me that it could be mineral imbalance. So I started my mineral protocol in December of 2014. And then I had my period about two weeks later. I had almost no cramps at all.
I didn’t even realize it until about a little bit later in the month. And then I went like, “Oh, that was weird. Okay, cool.” Then January rolled around and I had that cycle. And I had zero cramps. I was like, “Okay. Now we’re on to something. This is awesome.” February rolled around, the same thing. It has been consistent.
If I do get any kind of cramping at all, it’s very, very faint. It doesn’t even come on full force. There might have been some faint discomfort for an hour or two the morning that I start. But then the rest of my period is completely pain-free up until now.
That was an area that I never even considered improving. It never even crossed my mind when I already started on the mineral balancing protocol. But heck, I’ll take it because I was getting to a point where I was in severe pain and I don’t take pain killers. So I was just muffling through it and using essential oils when I could and hot compresses and stuff. Sometimes I just wanted to pause for a leave and feel better.
So I’ve had an awesome experience with it. I’m excited to finally and hopefully get to the root of the issues that I’ve been having for the last five years or so.
The one thing that’s really apparent to me is that for the first time in a long time, I actually have hope that I’m going to get my health to a point – my main goal right now is to get to a point where my husband and I could start a family.
I feel like I’m going to actually finally get there, whereas before I was feeling a little bit hopeless. And I was just really unsure if I was ever going to recover my health to a point where I could have a healthy pregnancy and have a healthy baby as well.
So I’m just really excited to see what these next years will bring as far as these protocols and seeing how my body changes with this focused effort on the minerals. So that was probably way more information than everybody needed.
Lydia: That’s okay. It’s good. It’s good stuff. I love hearing from other people and their experience too.
You really summed up a lot. No other test in my opinion at this time has the potential like this one to change your health as significantly based on the results you get out of it. It’s very thorough, as long as you’re working with someone who knows how to interpret it and can really work with you.
I have been practicing nutritional therapy, working with clients for several years now. And one of the problems in designing programs for my clients was that some of it was guesswork. I did a thorough intake and I could understand a lot. But some of it was a little bit of guesswork. Sometimes we would strike and get the target right and sometimes we would miss.
With the hair analysis, I feel like I’m able to really come up with a targeted protocol. I just don’t feel like anymore I would even work with someone unless I saw hair analysis first because then I can assess exactly where their body is at and give them a lot more direct information as well as what supplements and what diet even to work with.
That’s been a big problem. Many people feel like they have to get their diet right. They have to get their diet right. They have to get their diet right. Well what the heck diet is right?
Lydia: And there are great healing diets out there that can work for some people and for some people, they may not.
The truth is diet alone anymore is not going to be the thing that totally recovers your health. And it’s not necessarily going to increase your energy enough to let your body have all the vitality it needs to heal on a deeper level.
Jessica: Yeah, I totally agree. You hit on something there. For me personally, I’ve worked with a ton of other practitioners. I’ve done all sorts of different testing. And I actually have a question I want to ask you at the end of this about the hair test versus blood test.
I really felt like I was able to get to a certain point in my healing. I knew what I needed to do diet-wise. And even though I didn’t maybe follow everything that I was “supposed to be doing,” I knew I was pretty dialed in as far as diet. And I knew that I needed focus on sleep.
I felt like I had gotten to a point where I was feeling good. But there were still some residual issues and I just wasn’t feeling well. I knew that I needed more health. And I really went through a period of about of six to nine months where I felt pretty hopeless.
I thought, “Okay. Well maybe this is as good as it gets. I’m just going to have to deal with all the rest of the stuff for the rest of my life and how that’s going to affect me having the child.”
But the first time that I had felt hope is doing these focused protocols and really feeling like yes, I was able to heal myself to a certain place. But I could not get over the hump there without this kind of testing and this focused mineral balancing stuff.
The more I learned about minerals is just – I mean they are the building blocks for everything that goes on in our bodies. So if we don’t address that stuff first, then we’re not going to be able to really achieve the health that we need.
That actually leads me into – I have had tons of tests over the last few years. And most of them, short of the one adrenal test that I took, which is the saliva test, have been all blood based tests.
So can you talk a little bit about why hair tissue test are better than just going to your doctor and getting a blood test? I know that they will check minerals via blood test. So why is the hair tissue test better than a blood test for checking minerals?
Lydia: Right. Blood tests are subject to daily fluctuations partly due to the foods maybe you ate the previous day and maybe the mood you’re in even. So blood work is really hard to stay regulated as well. And it can do so at the expense of the tissues.
So hair analysis does not vary like that. It provides a longer term metabolic blueprint based on the time the hair is growing and the way the hair is growing.
Understanding this difference can help because right now the standard care is blood work. And obviously blood tests are going to be valuable for certain things. We do have times when we need them, especially to check your hemoglobin levels or certain things, whatever it may be. There are times when blood work is really necessary and useful.
But when it comes to getting the overall picture of your whole health status and really knowing what to do to correct the whole thing, hair test is so much better because mineral levels in blood are 10 times less than they are in the tissues. That makes the measurement of minerals in the blood difficult as well.
Jessica: Wow, I didn’t know that.
Lydia: And our blood levels are really not tapped within this tight, tight range. Two of the most tightly regulated systems in our body is the blood pH and the blood sugar. So blood levels are kept within a really narrow limit by the body and there are various reasons for this.
The truth is that those readings aren’t going to be as accurate when it comes to the minerals at least for sure. I hope that makes sense.
Lydia: And that’s a common question people ask. So it’s good to talk about it a little.
Another thing that we skipped over a little bit came up when you were talking before – you were talking, I mentioned helping people find the right eating plan for them.
What I mean by that isn’t necessarily that we can say, “Oh, you’re allergic to this food and that food.” But when it comes to the diet and learning what works for you, it’s definitely a lot of work. But with this information from the hair test, we can see how the body is working as a whole.
So we can determine the oxidation rate someone is in. And basically what this means is how they’re burning their fuel, how the body is currently able to convert the food they’re eating to energy.
This doesn’t come up a lot. Usually, we’re like, “Oh, gluten is bad. And no, this food is bad.” That’s great. We need to know that stuff. But it’s not enough because there are certain macronutrient ratios and compilations that are going to work better for certain people depending on where they are at in their overall metabolic picture.
There are three different types of oxidation. We’ve got slow, fast and mixed. Within those three types, there are varying degrees.
And there are other markers in the hair test too that we can say, “Well, you have this marker. You’re probably in this struggle with digesting fats right now.” Various things, there’s just so much information that we can glean and give a little bit more clarity on foods.
Slow oxidizers are metabolizing their food more slowly. Fast oxidizers are metabolizing their food really, really, really fast. Part of the thing that we can see too is how much fuel you really need, how often you need to eat.
There’s so much more than just the Paleo diet. Oh, it’s a good one. Go do it. Okay, fine. That’s a great starting place for some people, but it’s not enough.
That’s what I really love about the information too. People feel like, “Oh my gosh. Okay, I can work with this. This is helpful.” And usually the find, it makes a big difference for them.
It’s such a relief to see it on paper and understand how these minerals play into each other as well as the individual minerals and then know how your body can respond to types of foods because of that information. It’s crazy. It’s wild, absolutely fascinating. That’s a huge piece of the information people are going to get as well.
Jessica: You’ve mentioned before that sometimes people with food sensitivities may either clear up or become I guess less strong. I think we can use the dairy as an example from the calcium levels.
Is there hope that once you get your mineral levels to a more stable place that you might be able to reintroduce some of those foods that you’re sensitive to?
I know for me – like the dairy is the huge one. Actually I am in the middle of – I reintroduced dairy and I wasn’t having the same – I felt that I was fine actually. So I wasn’t having the same respiratory issues that I would normally have whenever I try to reintroduce from the past.
But I started manifesting skin issues and rashes in my legs and arms. And I am thinking that it’s the dairy. So I’m getting ready to eliminate dairy again. But dairy has always been a hard one for me because I love my cheese and I like to have sour cream. So is there hope?
I mean I know that you can’t say for sure that everybody’s food sensitivities are going to clear up. But is there hope for some people that they may be able to reintroduce food at a later date that they’ve been sensitive to up until now?
Lydia: Absolutely. And yeah, you’re right. I can’t say for sure for every single person under the sun what that would look like. If you have a true food allergy, then that’s a different story. We can’t really guarantee anything there.
But the thing is this. I don’t want to go into this too much. But basically, minerals are the foundation to so much. And we are missing them in our bodies. Our bodies are replacing them with toxic metals instead in these enzyme sites. And our bodies require enzymes to do so many different functions. When these are not correct, that plays into a lot of our sensitivities to things.
We’ve also got people with adrenal exhaustion and that plays into the body’s ability to tolerate things. And we’ve got other things that play into local leaky guts. And there are minerals involved there too.
Generally speaking, if you keep improving the body’s energy and increasing the minerals that are lost and getting out the toxic metals and you’re just continuing to bring the body into better balance, you’re going to tolerate more foods in general. The truth is we really should be able to tolerate more things. I mean obviously not the junk. That should be a no brainer. But real food, when it comes to real food.
A lot of people are like, “Well, I can’t eat this type of food. I can’t eat that type of food. Maybe I should get rid of oxalate foods, but I don’t know. Or maybe I should get rid of this group of foods.” There’s so much out there, right?
Lydia: And so many people are struggling with so many different types of food problems. You got high histamine foods and you’ve got the FODMAP foods and on and on and on. I think it’s extraordinarily defeating to some people to see that and wonder, “Do I need to deal with that?”
So my goal is to get people on a starting point with food through looking at their hair analysis and what it tells me. And then if we need to go more – maybe they do need to get a food sensitivity test for the time being. It depends.
But some people will have issues with histamines and I can see that on the hair test. I can know. I can say that you probably do.
It’s cool because we can target things and get a lot of clarity and get started. And then I don’t really put people on a ridiculously strict dietary game plan because quite frankly most people that are coming in are already exhausted and overwhelmed. And they’re like, “I just can’t do it. I just can’t do it.”
That’s okay. What they need to know is you know what? Even within the food elimination diet, there are so many variables. There’s no one under the sun that’s going to take every food out that your body could possibly react to. It’s just impossible.
Jessica: Right. You would have to just drink water.
Lydia: “I can’t eat anything!”
Jessica: I know.
Lydia: “I might as well die now.”
Lydia: No. That would be dramatic. Honestly though seriously people could get that way.
I don’t want to see that happen. It’s just so stressful to your body to take all this information and think somehow it all applies to you. It doesn’t. It doesn’t. And you can’t do that anyway.
No one can do this perfect elimination diet. It’s just impossible. So we have to start somewhere and we have to move forward and we have to give the body more energy. We have to improve the adrenal health. We have to get digestive support.
And even just some upper GI support sometimes can go a long way into allowing people to tolerate more things. I mean some people want to give up eating meat because they just can’t digest it. That’s why we have so many people turning to vegetarianism. It’s just not, “Oh, I want to save the animals” thing. It’s honestly that they just can’t tolerate meat.
I had a client last year. She was trying to go vegan. She didn’t want to. She wasn’t against eating meat. She just couldn’t eat anything. She was just struggling.
I was able to help her. And now she’s back to eating meat. She’s so happy about it and she can actually tolerate it. Her body just needed a lot more help to get to processing it.
But the problem was because she couldn’t eat it, she couldn’t heal in a lot of ways either. So it stinks when you have to take out all of these foods that have potential benefits as well.
Anyway, I was [tangenting] a little here.
Jessica: Yeah, but…
Lydia: I mean – go ahead.
Jessica: No, go ahead. Sorry. The dietary plan with the hair test protocol is I think a relief to some people because there are so many diets out there. You got Paleo and NIP and Keto diet, everything under the sun.
You’re right. People get overwhelmed thinking that they need to do all of them. So it’s really nice to just be handed a dietary protocol. And you’re right, they’re not super restrictive. You really can tailor it to your own needs.
Just focus on eating the foods that are presented to you on your dietary protocol and forget everything else for a while. Just stop listening to what people tell you that you should be eating and what you shouldn’t be eating. And stop Googling it and just focus on this dietary protocol.
Just the amount of relief that you get from just not having to think about food anymore is great. That’s the great aspect of the test.
Lydia: People need to understand why the food is a problem more than just hearing, “Dairy is bad. Grains are bad.” I say it like that because that’s the way people hear it. Do you know what I mean?
Jessica: Yes, absolutely.
Lydia: They feel like they’re being told, “Tsk, tsk… shame, shame.” And so, really, people are perceiving this information that way.
So I’m here to say, “Listen. You have sky high tissue calcium right now. You maybe need to avoid dairy for a while just to not add to that.” We don’t know exactly why it’s high, but typically these high-calcium people could benefit from cutting back.
It doesn’t mean you have to do it forever. It doesn’t mean you’re truly allergic to it either. That’s a whole different realm. But for now, people need to eat. They need to not be stressed and they need to move forward.
Unfortunately, I don’t give this little plan and say, “Here, go do it.” I have to explain things to people. That’s how I work.
I want people to be empowered to take action with the plan, knowing why they’re doing it. Otherwise, they’re going to come back to me and they’re going to be like, “Why did you say I can’t have this?”
Jessica: Right. A lot of the value of working with you as a practitioner or finding a practitioner that you resonate with that really knows this stuff in finding out is that you get so much more support than you ever would if you just go to a doctor.
When you’re in a doctor’s office, you get five minutes if you’re lucky. So the focused attention that we get with you has been important too in knowing that you are an advocate for my health.
It’s like I have somebody who’s rooting me on and wanting me to be healthy. And I don’t have to feel like I have to do it all on my own anymore. So it’s great.
Lydia: Yeah. And people are tired of trying to figure it out on their own. It takes a lot of energy and it takes a lot of questioning even still.
If you do the whole Dr. Google thing, you’re going to get 18 million different views. It doesn’t work, man. You might find something good. You might stumble upon something good. And you may gain some momentum.
I think everybody needs to do some basic stuff for sure. But when it comes down to it and you’re already eating clean and you’ve done a lot of the stuff and you’re still not healthy enough, you really do need someone supporting you.
That’s what’s so great about this hair test. It gives you so much accurate and concise information to work with. It’s just a relief, a huge relief.
Lydia: Another thing I focus on – I know other practitioners who are using hair analysis focus on – is rebuilding the body’s energy mechanism basically.
So we have to have adequate energy. We have to have it for everything. Not just to get up in the morning and go to work, but for all the systems in our body to be working properly. And in order to heal, we have to have adequate energy.
With the hair tissue mineral analysis, we can assess the efficiency of someone’s energy system. And a lot of factors help to assist and rebuild that.
Two of the main – the two main energy producing glands in the body are the adrenals and the thyroid. As you know because you are on your own journey, but you’re also a blogger and you’re out there, the majority of people that you and I are running into have thyroid problems, their hypothyroid or have Hashimoto’s or whatever it may be. And they’re [inaudible 01:28:30] and they’re talking about adrenal fatigue.
The majority of women are already in a very hypothyroid state and a hypo-adrenal state as well. Once I explained that to them, they’re like, “No wonder I feel so bad.” It’s a shock to see how bad it can look, but it’s a relief.
And then, it’s like, “Okay. Well guess what. The specific ratio is 0.54 which is so low. But if we just double that, which will still be low, the significance in energy you’re going to feel will be major.”
So it’s amazing that even though someone can have these extreme ratios, we can just increase them a little bit. And it’s amazing how much difference they can feel from even just small gains.
Anyway, with that, it can take some time to get real robust vital health or vibrant health I should say. But this is a starting point to really know where to go with it and also to know too not just what you should eat, but that you need to eat.
A lot of women aren’t eating enough food. They are faint. Their thyroid is tired. Their adrenals are tired. And they are worried about gaining weight. They don’t eat enough. That’s something I address too because these women need food as their fuel.
And they need to re-nourish. This is no time to try and diet. This is no time to restrict calories. This is no time to focus on weight, on weight loss as your top priority. It’s just not going to work.
Usually I tell people to eat more. And they’re either happier about it or they’re confused. And I’m like, “Guess what. It’s Thanksgiving for you. Let’s go eat some food and let’s re-nourish your body here.”
Jessica: After my hair test in February, you told me that I needed to start eating more carbs. And I still have not gotten my brain to a point where I feel like it is okay for me to eat carbs, to eat things like yams and starchy squash and stuff like that.
I am coming from – I pretty much follow a low carb diet probably at least the last three years. I was keto for part of that. And it used to be that anytime the weight started to creep on, I could just lower my carbs and up my fat and the weight will come right off.
But boy, I can’t do that now. And I have regained some weight over the last – this is a topic for a totally different conversation. But I have regained some of the weight that I lost.
When you told me to eat more carbs – it’s been two months ago. Even now if I eat a piece of yam or if I have a serving of even white rice or something, I feel guilty that I’m eating it because I have this list in my mind of “This is a bad food and this is a good food.”
So even the healthier carbohydrates like your yams and your squash and stuff like that, those were always in the bad food category for me. Or I have found that my brain has put them in the bad food category.
I still haven’t wrapped my head around the increased carb intake. But you said – what my last test indicated was that my adrenals were slowing down even more and I do need that faster energy source. Boy, the mind shifts around diet is huge.
Lydia: Yes, it is.
Jessica: It’s hard for me. I mean as much as I am involved on a daily basis, it’s still hard for me to eat enough.
I find myself eating less than I know that I should because I’ve got just all of these pre-conceived ideas of what my diet needs to look like. So yes, it’s really interesting.
Lydia: I know. It’s funny we end up starving ourselves because we’re worried that we’re eating the wrong thing all the time because we spend too much freaking time reading all the stuff. And we get, “Oh!”
I’m on the phone with people every time and I can tell who I need to pep talk a little more because of where they’re coming from. I’m like, “Listen. You got to shut all that stuff out and you’ve just got to eat.”
I’d much rather see people go eat a carton of freaking ice cream than skip a meal. Please understand my point here.
People need to eat. They need to fill themselves and they need to get nourished. And this whole skipping food and worrying about food is not helping anyone’s health. So this is a great way to get that really solid starting point. And people are still having trouble.
Some people really do have deeper food sensitivity problems. That’s something that can be looked into further after getting started with something.
That’s a whole big part of the whole thing, talking about food and getting somewhere with that. Boy, have we dug ourselves into a pit of crazy when it comes to what to eat?
Jessica: Oh boy, yup. That’s a whole separate episode or 10.
Lydia: Yeah. Oh man, it sounds like a year’s worth of conversation for goodness sakes.
Lydia: Another thing that I think people find interesting that they learn more about – I don’t think it’s talked about enough – is detecting toxic metals.
It’s really a big problem anymore and we all have a bunch of toxic metals stored inside our bodies. We just all need to assume that they’re there and they are going to be problematic.
So we work on improving the body’s energy. I also teach people gentle ways to get them out. We’re not talking chelation or anything here. That’s too harsh and most people can’t handle that.
People that I work with need to be educated on this process, how these metals that are showing up in their hair can be affecting their health. My plan helps you eliminate them safely and effectively. And then they need to know where in their life they can look for these things and make some changes there.
We’re never going to be able to avoid all the toxic metals in the world. It’s impossible. So we need to understand the role they play in our health I think.
It’s not something that people are understanding clearly enough. But once you see your hair test – and people will write back to me as soon as I send them their graph. And they’re like, “What the heck is up with all this aluminum?”
Jessica: Yeah, aluminum was high for me too, and I was like…
Lydia: I’m like, “Okay. Take a deep breath. Guess what. Everybody has aluminum showing up. So you’re not the only one.” But the point I’m making with saying that is that it’s an awareness all of a sudden that, “Oh my gosh, this is an issue too.”
It’s not something that I want people to feel overwhelmed by that they have to go run around and be like, “Oh gosh, there’s aluminum in this and aluminum in that. Oh crap.”
We can’t ever avoid it entirely. We just have to know how to empower ourselves with information, equip ourselves in our daily life in a way that we can and then give our body more support overall through food, through supplements, through some basic detox strategies and just know it’s going to take time to really get the major load of these things out of the body.
So that’s a whole another piece of it that I think is pretty eye-opening to most people.
Jessica: I think that’s what I like about your approach to the heavy metals on the hair test. It’s not overwhelming because heavy metals are one of those things that – I don’t know. It probably resonates with a lot of other people too that you speak of that. All of a sudden, all of these – it’s the fear-generator.
You’ve heard about all of these stories of people who are heavy metal toxic and they had to do this really, really strict and intense chelation. And they had to do all of these really, really in-depth protocols in order to get well. There are people that need that.
But you help take some of the fear out of it with not – we don’t have to be overwhelmed with thinking about the heavy metals. There are gentle ways for everybody to detox. You don’t have to go get chelation out of the clinic and stuff like that in order to heal.
So heavy metals for me have always been a fear trigger. I appreciate that I’m able to see them differently now and understand that it doesn’t have to be a scary as it sounds and how we’ve all been led to believe.
It’s still important to address. And it’s still scary when you think about the stuff, how these heavy metals impact our health. But we don’t have to be scared of it.
Lydia: All right. A healthy fear is good. Understanding where can we be exposed, how can we be exposed, what can we do to reduce exposure. A healthy fear is always good. We don’t want it to cause panic or anxiety. So it’s important.
For example – I will give you a silly example. In my first hair test, I had high nickel, really high nickel. And I was like, “What the heck? Where is this coming from?” So to me, I would have never thought in a million years, “Oh I have high nickel in my body.” Who thinks of that? Nobody.
But then you look up. “What can nickel do in my body?” So I am looking at it, and I’m like, “Wow. I have a lot of the symptoms.” And they’re related to skin, my respiratory issues and things. I’m like, “My goodness.”
So I did a little research and I started to check into it. First I got like, “Oh, I need to get rid of all of my cookware and look at my pots.” And then I was like, “Stop it. All right. Calm down, lady. Let’s take a more reasonable approach here…”
I’ve got to talk to myself in this way too sometimes. So I figured out. Get this. I figured out that the source of the nickel that I was exposed to was from rooibos tea.
Jessica: I remember you telling me about that. Yeah, it’s fascinating. I would have never considered that.
Lydia: It’s crazy, right? And I’m like, “Okay.” I drank rooibos tea every single day for two months that summer because I love it and it was hot and it was refreshing.
Guess what. It’s not like I’m saying, “We’ll I’ll never drink rooibos tea ever again.” But I am just not going to drink it everyday.
That’s just one small example. And nobody knows this stuff until you look at the hair test. And then it forces you to look at the sources of these things and do a little detective work and think how you could be exposed to this. Is this something that’s really invasive? Or is this something that we can deal with?
For example, some people will have lead showing up on their first hair test. That’s a little bit more serious. So we want to talk about and find more about that. Usually it’s a current exposure. Someone maybe had done some work in their house, [inaudible 01:41:06] or something.
It’s just good to know. If it’s in a child, it’s good to know. Some people don’t take the precautions necessary when it comes to these kinds of things.
I have a whole family that was exposed to lead. And now she’s like, “Okay. Well, now I know.” Now she can tell other people. Now when they go to fix the next room that has to be done, they can take more precautions. And now they have strategies to deal with that in their body. They know what they’re doing.
Lydia: It takes away this wondering and it gives a plan. And it’s okay. And you can move forward. So that’s a whole other big piece of it that doesn’t come up when you’re talking about diet and working with diet alone.
You can’t even touch on the toxic metals. You can’t even really go there other than making sure you’re not eating the heavy mercury fish. And now we’re finding arsenic in beer and wine and things like that. I mean that’s starting to come out to the open while we’re hearing that more and more.
So yeah, we can be equipped with that knowledge and start to avoid these things. But until you see inside your body and what’s going on there – I don’t know if people take it all that seriously. Do you know what I mean?
Jessica: Yeah. I don’t think we realize just how many hidden sources there are for heavy metals because I would have never known about the rooibos tea or the arsenic in beer and wine and stuff like that. We just don’t realize how easy it is to be exposed.
When you typically think of heavy metals, the first thing that everybody thinks of, especially in the alternative health world, is amalgam filling, mercury. That is the first thing that people will think about. That’s an easy correlation. “Okay. I have metal fillings. Then I probably have mercury being stored in the body.” But we don’t think about our teeth having heavy metals in it.
So we don’t realize how many sources of exposures we are up against really. We just assume that it’s the big things like the lead paints in the house or that kind of stuff.
Lydia: Right. And the crazy thing is that they can be stored in the body for a long time. Some people, when they were a kid, their parents smoked. And they’ve got high cadmium and things like that.
Toxic metals can’t get out of the body if the body doesn’t have the ability to get them out. That’s another piece of it, just understanding that you’re working to improve your energy like you would.
If you have energy, you can tackle projects. If you have energy, you’re more willing to do a thorough cleaning of your house. Versus if you don’t have energy, you just look at the piles of dusts and say, “Eh, I don’t care.”
And your body is the same way. Low vitality, low energy, it’s like, “Eh, I can’t deal with these toxins right now. I got to keep you alive.”
When we work to improve that, then the body can say, “Hey. Let’s do some spring cleaning here.” So that’s an important piece of the whole thing.
This test is literally not just, “Oh, I get to see a test. And here, I know what’s going on in my body.” Well yeah, you know a lot. And then it creates this really thorough game plan to get started with.
Sometimes looking at it at first, I want to warn people, it can seem overwhelming. It really can because it’s like, “Oh my gosh.”
Lydia: Then you’re thinking about what you have to do and you’re getting overwhelmed.
I’m usually very much, “Listen. Just get your supplements. Implement them slowly. Start to think about the macronutrients your body needs that we talked about. Just remember this is going to take a couple of months. You got to get your sea legs under you and just get going. You have to get started. You don’t have to do this all perfectly. Just get to work. Start where you can.”
Usually people feel a little bit better pretty quickly. And then they’re excited and then they want to do more stuff.
So it just has to be a natural flow. The other thing and I think as a good segue way into explaining that the process of utilizing hair analysis to create a game plan isn’t just a one-time thing, especially when you’re looking at recovering the adrenals from the extreme state, rebuilding certain minerals that are just way depleted, getting out the toxic metals. I mean this takes time.
Really it’s a game plan to do in a repeat method. Depending on where you’re at, you may retest in two months or three months or four months. It can vary. And you want to see how your body is shifting to re-assess and come up with a plan to work with where you’re now at. You saw that yourself. And then we can see which way the body is shifting and work with it from there.
It’s a great way to provide answers as to whether improvement is occurring and why some symptoms might be persisting. It can help you to know what to expect in general with your health. There’s just a vast amount of information and insight you’re going to get from seeing a properly assessed hair analysis.
Jessica: Yeah, I agree. It’s more info from one test than I had ever received on any other tests that I had taken over the last three or four or five years.
Lydia: You just reminded me of the lady I was talking to recently. She was saying, she goes, “I’ve had a hair test done before in the ’70s and I had another one done. They just gave me the graph and they didn’t really tell me anything. Your hair test is like the Bible of hair tests.”
Jessica: It really is. I don’t think people understand how much information can be gleamed from it. Yeah, it’s amazing. My mind is blown every time we do this.
Lydia: It’s so cool. Yeah, it’s so cool.
Lydia: And I’m doing this with my own family. It’s not something I’m just telling people that they should do because I do this for a living and I am biased. I’m actually doing it with my family, my entire family.
So I also have that to bring to the table. When I have families that come with all their kids, I have experience with this myself in implementing it for my whole family.
I am not just like, “Here, do this. I’m not doing it, but you should.” I am doing it too. I’m doing it right along with everybody else.
And I’m learning. Every day, I’m learning something new. I’m honing in on things even better as time goes on. So I am sharing that with my people and educating them along the way through the newsletter that they get as well.
It’s so cool. And I had a lot of fun with it because I’m really passionate about what I do and I’m really excited to share it with people and see them improve their overall lives.
It’s just that I love that I get to do this. It’s my job, but it’s also my passion. I’m living it myself.
I think that’s exciting too when you can find someone like that to work with. I mean I can say that for people I want to work with to help me with something. I want them to be all in and invested.
Lydia: So it’s pretty important.
Jessica: It is important to find a practitioner that you really resonate with. I’ve worked with a bunch of different practitioners over the last few years. Sometimes, you have a really good feeling about them. You just click right away.
Then I’ve had practitioners where I’ve had my first complication with them. And then I’ve never gone back because of my gut. We didn’t click in the way that I felt like we needed to.
So it’s really good to just find that person that you resonate with and that you know has your back and is committed to your health. Like you said, you’re doing this right along with all of your patients. You’re doing it for yourself and you’re doing it for your family.
I’m doing it for myself. We actually just sent in my husband’s hair. Hopefully his will go back in the near future. And then my mom is also doing it. My mom had some pretty dramatic improvements pretty quickly on things that she noticed.
Once you start doing it and you see the results in yourself, then you want to share it with everybody. And then you want your family to start doing it so that you can start helping improve their health.
Geez, I’m really excited to get my husband’s hair test back. I’m a little nervous, but I’m also excited too because I know that he needs some help, especially in the mineral area. So I’m excited to get him build that too.
That goes back to our family planning. It takes two to tango. I want him to be in good health too and have his minerals stored up and all that too so that we have the best chance of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Lydia: It sounds like a whole other podcast there.
Jessica: I know. You’ve talked about the whole family doing it. So this kind of testing is safe for kids and it’s beneficial to have done on the children.
Lydia: Yeah. Even babies. Yeah, absolutely. Anybody can do it, as long as you have hair. You can do it. It doesn’t matter how old you are.
Babies and children respond really quickly and they really do not need a whole lot of supplements. It’s amazing how quickly the children respond to this. I think it’s interesting because people don’t think that you can give a baby a hair test. I don’t know what they think.
But even mom who just had a baby and she’s breastfeeding, if I have seen her hair pattern and I’m like, “Listen. You may want to go ahead and get the baby looked at and checked out and see where they’re at because we could help improve that child’s sleep.”
Jessica: That’s a big one.
Lydia: Yeah. I’ve got moms who aren’t sleeping and their babies aren’t sleeping. I’m like, “Listen. I can’t help anybody until you’re sleeping. Let’s get you sleeping.”
Lydia: That’s the worst just to work on. Even pregnant women can do it. Nursing women can do it, anybody. It doesn’t matter what stage of life you’re in, what’s going on in your life.
You don’t have to get your act together before you look at your hair test and hope that the results are going to be better for some reason. That’s just silly. You might as well just do it now.
Some people are like, “Well, I can wait until this date because everything will be perfect on that date because there will be less stress in my life.” And I’m like, “That’s silly.”
Jessica: Oh, I’ve done that.
Lydia: I know, right? That’s a little silly because you need it now. And maybe then you feel good enough to get all through the stress that you’re dealing with.
Yeah, we get all kinds of hang ups, everybody does. We have just all these things we tell ourselves.
Never think there has to be the perfect time, the perfect age, the perfect anything. Just now is the right time that you’re ready. If you really think, “I really want to help,” do it.
There are lots of people doing this. It’s not just me. I mean I’m not going to just toot my horn here. There are a lot of great practitioners out there. So if you can find someone that’s close to you and that is important to you, you just start looking for that just based on this information alone.
There are a lot of great people out there that are starting to really gain momentum with this test and working with people and helping them. So hopefully we’ll see that become more of a standard of care out there. I would love that. That would be so awesome.
Jessica: That really is a good place to start for everybody.
Lydia: Yes. It’s accessible to anyone too. That’s the other cool thing. You don’t have to go to your doctor. You don’t have to have any specific scenario. You literally can just do it. There’s nothing that’s holding you back as far as red tape.
Jessica: Yeah. I’ve worked with medical doctors on the test where I’ve asked them to run specific tests. And they won’t run them for me. Or sometimes, they’ll look at me and they’ll roll their eyes. They’ll run it, but there’s some resistance. So it’s nice to be able to just order some of these tests independently.
And you don’t have to deal with the doctors that may not – I have a family doctor that I go to when I do get my annual exams and all that stuff. But that’s all I use him for.
Even when I asked him to run my antibody levels in November when I went to have my physical, he was like, “No, that’s not important. I’m not going to run it.” He actually refused to run it. I said, “Okay, whatever.” So it’s nice to be able to have access to tests that give you good information without having to go through your doctor.
If you are one of the lucky people who have an awesome doctor, not all MDs are bad. There are some really great MDs out there. I work with a couple of them. They have been great and very open to alternative treatments even though they may not always agree with it. So if you’re one of those lucky people, then hang on to that doctor because they’re hard to find.
Lydia: All right. You know…
Jessica: Go ahead.
Lydia: Just on the coattails of that, doctors can save lives. That has a value to it. But typically speaking, most doctors are not trying fully – but some are, most aren’t – to teach people how to live a preventative lifestyle.
That’s what this is. This is getting inside to your specific health situation to begin to correct and prevent. That is one of the most useful concepts in healthcare. That is to identify trends before they occur.
So you can take action to avoid them. We just spent our last podcast talking about that.
You can determine a ton of trends from a properly interpreted hair analysis. And this alone makes this so valuable because you can see where your body could be headed.
Even in some people I say, “Let’s see if this specific ratio improves next time.” If not, we may want to look into getting your doctor involved because of X, Y or Z.
And I can say, “Here is what you can go to your doctor for. This is what you do need your doctor for because obviously I’m not going to be doing everything.” So that’s useful.
Some people may not even know, “Oh I should probably get a screening for diabetes or something.” They may not know. A lot of people don’t know they need that until they’re so bad off.
That’s the problem in healthcare now. We’re waiting to get bad and then that’s when the tests are being permitted to be run because of the whole insurance and stuff like that.
So this is a great way to skip all of that and get started now and have something to work on.
Jessica: Yes. That’s a great point. I’m glad you brought all of that up. Awesome.
Well I think we’ve covered a lot in this episode. And I just have a couple of other questions and we can cover anything else that you want to cover.
But I know a lot of people ask, and I asked you this before I did my first test with you, specifically about the hair that’s needed for the test.
How do certain shampoos or how do color-treated hair – I use henna on my hair. How does that affect the results? Can you do these hair tests if you color-treated your hair?
And then for those of us that have short hair, especially for men, do the hair have to be a certain length? I mean with my husband, he has a relatively short hair anyway. So I was concerned about him not having enough hair for the test.
Can you talk a little bit about those things so people know what types of hair is acceptable? What do they need to look for?
Lydia: Sure. I’ll start with the hair treatments first. And we’ll go with shampoo first.
There are a couple of shampoos that will affect your reading if you’re using them regularly. And those are things like Head & Shoulders, Selsun Blue shampoos or a version of them or a generic version of them. They can alter some of the readings. So those need to be avoided before you take a hair sample.
Typically you need to avoid them for a little – maybe a couple of weeks would be a good idea just because they can create a little build up of some things. Also, Grecian Formula – I don’t know who uses that, but I just have to say it. That has lead in it.
So those are a couple of types of shampoo that could skew some of the readings. But generally speaking, shampoo is not on the hair for very long, so not a lot of absorption is happening. So that’s not a big deal.
When it comes to color, people are so worried about that one. You really want to wash the hair and I would say 10 times. [inaudible 02:00:10] said, six to eight. But I’ll say 10 just to be safe.
So you want to take at least 10 washings or wait four to six weeks for the hair to grow out. Usually people wash their hair 10 times before four to six weeks. Do you know what I mean? So that’s a little bit of a quicker way to go about it.
Then you can take a sample to cut. But if you had your hair bleached or permed, you may want to wait a full six weeks or so to let the hair grow out.
So those are some guidelines there. Once you waited the amount of time and amount the washings, you can take a sample and it should be fine. I get a plenty of accurate readings from all kinds of different hair situations.
There are a couple of other things. Heavy sweating just before taking your hair sample can increase your sodium and potassium ratings. Actually this happened with one of my kids. I’m supposed to know this, but I did it anyway.
And then swimming in pools right before you took a sample. So you do want to have your hair washed and clean.
The other thing I had heard of is someone has taken an Epsom salt bath and then just cut her hair after that. And the magnesium might be skewed.
Generally speaking, you just want to wash your hair with a natural-ish shampoo and wait a few hours. Make sure you’re not sweating and doing anything else. And then take your hair sample.
Jessica: I have henna on my hair every two to three months. But I coordinate my hair sample around when I need to re-henna. Actually, I’m going to have to re-henna coming up in May. That’s going to correlate probably with when I need to get my next hair test in. So I’m just timing it like that.
Jessica: I know people who are color-free in their hair. They may do it more frequently than that. But that’s how I do it. I just chart it out on my calendar and I coordinate. And I do my hair test right before I do batch of henna. So that way I’ve got a good amount of roots.
I let my hair grow out quite a bit between my coloring sessions. So I have a decent amount of roots. So that’s how I am coordinating things for my testing.
Lydia: Sure. A lot of women do that one thing though. They get started on this process.
Actually a lot of women go to their hairdresser and have them do the hair sample for them. They just take the kit with them and they show them the instructions.
Usually, they feel better about that because they’re worried that they’re going to mess up their hair and make it look all choppy and weird. So they have a hairdresser do it. And then they can just put it in an envelope and set it aside.
The other thing that people worry about is how much hair they need to give. A lot of women, especially women with thyroid issues are already losing hair. They’re like, “Oh my gosh. I don’t have enough hair. I can’t do it.”
Well, you can. I understand it’s a sensitive thing and topic. I get it. But guess what. If you want your thyroid to get better, you need to do this test to help yourself. So it’s worth that little bit of hair you’re going to lose. It’s not a big deal. About a tablespoon of hair is not a lot of hair and it will grow back.
Jessica: It’s so minimal.
Lydia: Actually, I just had someone tell me, “My hair is growing so much better now.” That was one of the main things she noticed from her program. That’s incentive there for you.
Jessica: Absolutely. And it’s not [inaudible 02:03:55]. I was apprehensive too because I dealt with a lot of hair loss over the last few years.
So the hair is a sensitive subject for me. But once I actually snipped everything that I needed – it’s like a teeter-totter thing. You just keep putting your little pieces of hair on this. Once it tips over, you’ve got enough.
It really wasn’t as much as I expected. I really thought that I was going to have this massive handful of hair. And it wasn’t. It might have probably been a little bit less than a tablespoon.
It’s not scary as a lot of people think it is. It’s not like you have to send in all of your hair.
Lydia: Right. It’s really not scary. It’s not.
Lydia: It’s just the unknown that people get worked up about. Once you do it, it’s like, “Oh, cool. No biggie.”
So there’s that. You also want to make sure that the scissors are not coated in someone else’s hair. That’s not that big of a deal, but it’s just something to know.
And then you said something about short hair. Especially guys who have crew cuts and they get their hair cut every two, three or four weeks, whatever it is. You can still get a sample.
It’s a little harder. Thinning shears can be used, but guys really only need the quantity versus the length. We just need to get enough of the newer growth of hair to sample.
For example, my boyfriend has a really short haircut. And I was able to trim enough off the nape of his neck of hair and get the right quantity. Plus he has really thick hair. So it didn’t take much to get the amount we needed because his hair is very heavy duty. It’s thick hair.
Jessica: It sounds like Nathan too.
Lydia: Yeah. So it’s really not a lot of hair. It’s totally workable. It’s just a matter of knowing you can and getting it done.
I think that covered everything about the hair questions, right? Okay.
Jessica: Yeah. So those are some really common questions that I get asked. I know that they were questions that I myself had whenever I first started doing this. So I definitely appreciate you answering those.
Lydia: Yes. Yes. Yes. And you can even test your pets. We won’t talk about that today. But it’s useful for animals too.
And you can store the samples as well. You can go to your hairdresser, stick it in an envelope. Your hair is not going to deteriorate. You just want to get it submitted pretty soon. You don’t wait months or anything. That won’t be any good.
So yeah, hopefully that was helpful information for everyone in terms of understanding better what this whole test is about, what you’re going to get out of it and maybe motivate you or inspire you or just give you something to think about.
Jessica: Absolutely. And we have a whole bunch of posts on my site, Delicious Obsessions and Lydia’s Divine Health From The Inside Out site about the hair test and also about these minerals in general and about how minerals help the body.
Make sure you check out. This podcast is going to be embedded in blog posts in both of our sites. And we’ll make sure to link down below it to a lot of those articles for some further reading if you’re more interested in learning about minerals and why they’re important and everything that goes into the body – the functioning, why minerals are good for the body functioning.
So we’ll put links to that as well. Make sure you check those out if you want to read more.
As always, if you have questions, make sure you leave a comment down below. Or you can e-mail us. We are going to try to do some reader’s Q&A where we’ll just go through a list of questions that we get because we both get questions all the time. So we want to try to answer as many questions as possible. If you got questions, make sure you just let us know what those are and we’ll try to get those answered as well.
I think I’m done. I’ve gone through my list of questions that I had for you. Do you have anything else that you wanted to touch on before we wrap up for today?
Lydia: Oh no, man. I don’t want to overwhelm people. This has been pretty, pretty thorough.
Thank you so much for listening. Hopefully you found this helpful. And we will back soon because we have so much great stuff we want to share.
Jessica: Awesome. Okay. We will sign off now and we will see you again next week. Have a great day, everybody.
Lydia: Yeah. Thanks for listening. Bye-bye.