|Hair tissue analysis showing presence of mercury,|
lead and aluminium: But are these actual levels, or
indications of more lurking deep in the body?
I have done thousands of hair tissue mineral analyses and the most consistent pattern for elevated mercury levels is fish consumption, regardless of location in the world. More consistent than dental amalgam. It is particularly distressing to see elevated levels in New Zealand (NZ), associated with fish consumption, because we are just about as far away from the industrialised North as can be!
By the way, shark is seldom served as fish and chips nowadays in NZ. It would appear that meercury contamination of the oceans is now ubiquitous. The best fish to eat are those that inhabit inshore fisheries and lower in the food chain (sardines), while avoiding the larger pelagic species, like tuna and salmon.
Selenium, zinc and various antioxidant substances are protective against the toxic effects of mercury. NZ'ers are consistently low in selenium which is easily corrected with supplementation. While there may be selenium in fish I don't see evidence from my testing that it is nearly enough - not for NZ anyway because our soils are generally very low. We are even more deficient in zinc.
A word of caution when interpreting a hair tissue test for elements like mercury: Elevated levels on the test may indicate toxicity, or can indicate that the body is efficiently excreting the toxin (therefore high in the hair sample). Low levels in the hair may indicate that one is accumulating rather than excreting! It is very easy to get the interpretation of the report completely around the wrong way! So, if you are using this test to measure toxins, please consult a practitioner who is thoroughly trained and experienced in the application of this test, including matching test results with history, signs and symptoms.
With regards to blood tests for mercury and other toxins: A blood test will only show what is circulating in the blood at that moment. The body will do all it can to whisk that toxin out of the body. If it can't, due to too much toxin or, say weak liver function, then it will be sequestered in "safe" places like the fat and bone, later to be mobilised and excreted.
This is why polluting industries and their apologists love the blood test while doing all they can to discredit the hair tissue mineral analysis which will accurately show historic contamination. If, for example, there has been a spill of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and mercury into a municipal reservoir, the polluters and authourities can avoid an expensive outcry by keeping the spill quiet for as long as it takes for the water (and blood of those drinking the stuff to clear), then make an announcement while offering free blood tests while avoiding the hair tissue test! Good tactic - and it works! Here is an example from Tasmania:
"In the town of Ringarooma, residents say they weren't told about the lead in the bore water until three months after it appeared at high levels. The bore water had been turned off six weeks after high lead levels were found in late-August, but at the time no one was told why."
The combination of hair and blood tests are the most useful for a clinician when it comes to determining toxic exposures. But don't expect your doctor, employer or health authority to recommend the test!