A Safe And Simple Way To Check For Toxins

Thrive-JeffBell_Close_Cropped_Headshot_10-29-2013Almost all holistic health practitioners know that toxins, such as heavy metals that accumulate in the body can lead to serious and often chronic health problems.  And lately increasing numbers of “conventional” physicians are beginning to pay serious attention to this important health issue.

Living in the industrial age, and in so-called “developed countries” as most of us do, virtually guarantees that all of us have at least minimal levels of these toxins in our bodies.  These include heavy metals, such as mercury and lead, as well as other toxic elements including antimony aluminum and arsenic.

The levels of these unwanted elements in our bodies are critical factors that affect our health.  Further, the ratios of these elements to those that tend to offset them have a profound effect on health.

For example, if one has a lab value of “0.45” mercury, but has a high selenium value, as well, the mercury is less likely to cause serious harm than it would be for someone with the same mercury level but a low selenium level.  That is because selenium offers some protection from the harm that mercury otherwise would do.

I do not mean to imply that having any detectable level of mercury in the body is ever safe, let alone desirable, but it does tend to cause less harm and represent less risk if it is offset by various elements, including sulfur, selenium and a few others.  (There is no known health benefit from  having any level of mercury in the body, and there is no level that is designated as “safe”.)

Having high ranges (different amounts for different elements are considered high) of these toxins can lead to serious health problems.  These can be both acute as well as chronic health problems.  Some examples include:

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • hormone imbalances
  • MS
  • increased chemical sensitivity
  • sleep disorders
  • weakened immune system
  • mental problems
  • mood disorders
  • emotional problems
  • digestive problems
  • bone loss
  • and a wide variety of neurological disorders. 

just to name a few!

The first step in dealing with this important aspect of health is to do all that is practical and reasonable to avoid exposure and accumulation of these toxins.  This includes being careful what you eat, (for example, many varieties of fish now have unsafe levels of mercury), making sure the water you drink if safe, refusing dental amalgams, avoiding most vaccines, (most of them use mercury compounds as preservatives), as well as other reasonable precautions.

Once you have adopted appropriate measures to limit your exposure to further toxins, the next step is to detect the mineral toxins and unfavorable ratios that are already present in your body.

Some of the elements and toxins can be detected via blood and/or urine testing.  However, a number of them cannot be accurately measured via blood and urine tests.  And, most of those tests require a visit to the doctor just to get the test requisition signed.  They can be expensive and inconvenient.

There are a number of labs that offer alternative ways to detect and measure these toxins.  Some even include some of the very important information about the ratios discussed above.  Most do not.  Further, a number of these labs are either relatively expensive, and/or deliver results that are suspect in terms of accuracy.

So what to do?  For years now, I have used hair testing to keep track of my own toxic metals and the ratios, as well.  This has enabled me to solve several serious health problems of my own, and to do a much better job of managing my overall health.

There are several labs that use various forms of hair analysis protocols.  I have found problems with most of them.  Trace Elements, Inc. has proven to be an exception.

For more than 10 years I have relied on Trace Elements, Inc. to test my hair.  It is simple to do, accurate, reasonable in terms of cost and has proven to be a very valuable health resource for me and for many of my clients.

What’s involved?  It’s simple.  You can use the button below to order your test.  The cost is $95.00, which includes a comprehensive report and an e-mail from me with comments to help you interpret the results.

To take the sample, a small amount of hair is clipped from the back of the head, (you can do it yourself, or get a friend or family member to do it for you).  The sample is enclosed with a simple form that you mail to the lab.  Within about 10 days, (if within the continental U.S. – longer if outside the U.S.), you will have your results and my comments.  If you are outside the U.S. there may be some additional shipping costs – e-mail me with your location if you are outside the U.S. for more information before you purchase your test.

How often should you test?  That depends on 2 factors: what your health challenges and/or symptoms are and what the results of your initial test are.  For example, I had a pretty high mercury level and a low selenium-to-mercury ratio detected in my first test.  So I adopted some measures to correct this, and then re-tested in six months.  The measures were successful and the levels and ratios were much improved.  (The symptoms I was concerned with were gone, as well.)  Since then I have followed up with another test on an annual basis.

Here’s what a typical test report from Trace Elements, Inc. looks like:  This is a link to a typical sample graph showing toxins and ratios.  This is a link to the detailed introduction to the science and technology of Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA).

By the way, the report is likely to be many pages, with the exact number depending on what is found in your sample.  The report will be divided into 2 main sections – findings and dietary recommendations.  The findings typically are about 8 pages.  The information in them is critical and well worth the cost, and then some.  I generally find the dietary recommendations not so useful and tend to ignore them.

($95.00 per kit cost in the continental U.S. – e-mail me for extra costs for mailing outside the U.S. or with your questions.)

Please be sure to include your mailing address in the PayPal form with your order so that I can mail you the collection kit and the test requisition form.  (You do not need to have it signed by your physician.)

To your health!

Jeff Bell


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  1. colleen
    Posted May 23, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    in canada how much is it truely accurate

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted May 23, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      That’s a difficult question to answer. The lab equipment for analyzing the mineral and related content of a hair sample is extremely expensive and takes extensive training to use properly. So there are only a few labs, world-wide, that I know of that even do this type of testing. I suppose one could take several hair samples and send them to all of the known labs and then compare the results. It is inevitable that there would be some variation in results from each lab. Just differences in the humidity and barometric pressures in the varioius labs would account for some of that. Then once one found the variations a method for figuring out which lab had it right which ones were out of accuracy ranges would be needed.

      So I cannot make any meaningful guarantees. But I can tell you this: I have used Trace Elements, Inc. for nearly 2 decades. I have used their testing as guidance to improve my own health, that of my family memebers and many of my clients over the years. The results have been excellent. And I have never found a reason to doubt their accuracy.

      However, I do not take their nutritional advice to be very worthwhile. As I said in my review, I greatly value the raw numbers and ratios they report. And that is well worth the coszt of the test. Then I skim through the nutritional advice that they include at no extra charge, but I mostly ignore it. I usually have much better ways to accomplish nutritional balancing.

      Hope that helps!

      To your health!

      Jeff Bell

  2. Natalie McGregor
    Posted September 12, 2014 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Would you advise cost involved in sending a hair sample from Auckland, NZ?

    Prior to sending sample are we required to list present symptoms / concerns which have prompted us to take a test? Or will the proof of the tests accuracy be relayed in that the toxins found often result in the symptoms we currently experience.

    Also, way do you overlook their nutritional suggestions? Is it merely a ‘sell’ on their own products?

    Apologies for 101 questions, but eager to learn more.


    Natalie McGregor

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted October 16, 2014 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      Hi Natalie, Please forgive the long, long delay in getting back to you. Somehow your comment got stuck in some filter on my site and I did not even see it until just now. Again, I apologize.

      Now to your questions: The total weight of the test kits that I send out to people who want to get the Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis done is 24 grams, or just under an ounce. And they fit nicely in a single, standard #10 mailing envelope. So to anywhere in the continental U.S.A. a single U.S. First Class Letter postage stamp is what I need to use to get the kit mailed. The person receiving the kit takes the sample and mails it, along with the questionnaire that they fill out, using the pre-addressed envelope that I include, aback to the lab in Texas, U.S.A. So they are responsible for the postage to send the kit to the lab. The results are then e-mailed to me and I review them and forward them to the person whose hair is being tested. So there is no extra cost to get the results back to them.

      According to what I can find on-line, it looks like it would cost about an extra $2.50 in postage for me to get the kit to someone in New Zealand. And I am guessing it would cost that person about the same amount to send their sample back to the lab in Texas.

      So it does not look like the cost goes up much to do this test for someone in New Zealand. If you want the test please just pay an extra $2.50 via PayPal at checkout.

      The questionnaire does ask you for your primary symptoms. I do not think that is to “rig” the game, so to speak. Rather, I think it is to help the lab focus on specific areas and run specific tests on the sample that they otherwise may not run. I am very careful in choosing what labs I use. And I have confidence in the reliability and accuracy with this lab.

      I do not pay attention to their nutritional advice because it is based on an approach that is quite different than the one that I have developed and learned to follow in the course of the more than 345 years I have spent doing this work. The lab does sell supplement packages, which they recommend to address issues uncovered in the test results, and confirmed by the symptoms. And I doubt that they are significantly swayed by financial motives. As I said, I trust the lab. But I still follow a different approach.

      I hope I have addressed your questions. Please let me know if I can be of further help.

      To your great health!

      Jeff Bell

  3. lyn
    Posted August 17, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    If someone is taking Oganic Sulphur ( from the Study) how will this effect the HTMA

    Which parts of the body does the Oganic Sulphur crystals affect first, second, third fourth etc?

    How long does it typically take for fibromyalgia to improve?

    Does the Organic Sulphur chase away stuck built up lactic acid ? If so how long does it take?

    What;s your take on this: Back muscles sort of ok but then vacuuming rugs within 5 minutes burning pain in muscles of the back and glutes? ( had chiro check had Xrays no problems. Adjustments don’t hold either for very long and spasms start again.)

    Thank you ahead of time.

    • Jeff Bell
      Posted October 9, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Hi Lyn,

      First, sorry to take so long to reply. We had a technical problem which prevented me from getting the usual notices for pending questions and comments. I apologize for that.

      Now to your questions: No, the organic sulfur will not impact the accuracy of a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) test. However, the longer you take it, the better your HTMA profile should look. That is because the organic sulfur should help; the liver to detox and should help with detoxing, in general.

      Unfortunately, I cannot say which parts of the body organic sulfur will affect first and in which order this will proceed. It really depends on what is going on in the body. There are a lot of variables at work here and I cannot predict the specific order without knowing more about what is going on, overall, health-wise.

      I also can’t tell you how long it will take for fibromyalgia symptoms to improve. Again, there are too many variables. Both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, which are similar in many ways, are sort of medical “catch-alls” for a whole host of symptoms and causes. I would need a health history to be able to tell you more.

      You may want to consider getting a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis to see what heavy metals may be present and what trace mineral ratios may need attention. That might be a good starting point to help you.

      You can contact me directly for some more specific advice.

      To your great health!

      Jeff Bell

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