As an update to the hair tissue mineral analysis...
I liked the hair tissue mineral analysis test because it is non-invasive and pain free. The only issue is the cost. At USD100 /GBP 50, it is not a test that everyone can afford. Especially when being able to work is problematic for M.E. sufferers, it's clear how those with more money have a chance to access some of the private clinics that can offer tests and treatments not available through the national health service.
Until the hair mineral test, I hadn't previously paid for any M.E. related 'treatments' other than a couple of hypnotherapy sessions pre-M.E.-diagnosis, when I wondered if I was suffering from panic attacks. Having now started to do more research into possible treatments for M.E., I do think the majority of 'treatments' being pushed are miracle cures, which may work for a few people, but for the majority, will only see a lot of money spent with little results. However, there are a few things that I believe worth trying, and those mainly include getting more testing done, to see if there is an underlying condition that does have a clear cause and that could be treatable.
Nutritional elements form the basis of my personal investigation, with which the hair mineral test was the first step. The second will be a hormone check to see whether my underlying cause might lie (particularly) in adrenal exhaustion. (I've already taken a saliva test, and the results should be due back next week - more to report on that in a later post.) After that, I hope to get full stool analysis done for a range of parasitic, viral, or bacterial/yeast infection possibilities. Finally, I believe there is a test for ATP/mitochondrial function, which I'd be really curious to see. I'm targeting my money on at least these particular tests, as I believe they cover the most plausible issues when trying to determine my state of constant zero energy. I last had a full blood test through my regular doctor a couple of years ago. It already seemed to eliminate things such as thyroid disorder, diabetes, and wheat allergy. It would still be worth getting a full blood test at least every couple of years and paying closer attention to the readings that come out.
With the hair mineral test, I got readings of 20 minerals and 10 heavy metals. The results took around 10 days to come through, and I was emailed a thorough report about the potential significance of the results, and what foods I might need to take as a result of my test readings. I was also allowed a follow-up consultation with a doctor in person as part of the USD100 cost.
My readings showed sub-low readings for every mineral, except for sulphur, which is apparently spot on target. It also showed my zinc level as super-high. This high reading for a single mineral suggested that the reading actually indicated it was also low. I'm not sure how this quite works, but it's suggested that a shampoo, such as Head & Shoulders, contains high zinc levels, and I was actually using Head & Shoulders regularly up until a couple of months ago. Another indicator of zinc level being in fact very low, is that there were high heavy metal readings. Cadmium was marked as borderline excessive. Sufficient levels of zinc is important in countering heavy metal toxins. This idea was also mentioned in a lecture I covered below given by Margo Peinemann in that the paradox is that it's not so bad to consume fish that might have heavy metal content provided we could know that fish also had high zinc content, since the zinc would negate the heavy metal absorption.
The mineral that was especially low was magnesium. I had already sensed that I had inadequate magnesium levels after hearing about a study that was conducted with a group of soldiers. One half of the group was given a magnesium-deficient diet, and they consequently reacted to any loud noises by jumping in fear. I was experiencing an extreme of jumping to any sudden sound or movement, or even just encountering anyone coming through a doorway at the same time as myself. It was clearly an abnormal level of nervous reaction.
Again, magnesium works in conjunction with other minerals. Calcium cannot be absorbed effectively unless magnesium levels in the body are adequate. Added to that, calcium needs vitamin D to help absorption. My calcium reading was also sub-low, which of course causes concerns about things like osteoporosis/brittle bones. I think it's really important to catch something like this early, so hair mineral analysis testing is a recommended test for this purpose.
I had finished a supply of multi-vitamin and mineral tablets back at the end of 2011. I had grown sceptical that vitamin supplements were actually of any benefit, and with lack of affordable vitamin supplements where I'm living at the moment, I decided to just not bother with supplements, and just try to consume a bit more fruit and veg in the daytime instead. However, with the increasing number of presentations that I've been watching on YouTube regarding nutrition, the concensus is pretty much that we cannot get adequate nutrition from our food, no matter how well we eat. The soil is depleted of nutrients, and today's generation must find a way to supplement their vitamins and minerals. Therefore researching and finding good nutritional supplements is really important. BUT you also have to be aware of what your current readings of vitamins and minerals are in order to target your money on the right supplements, too. Again, a hair mineral test can provide a good starting point to establish how far on or off target you already are.
For what I can actually do about my results, I was expecting the physician to offer some injections, but he didn't. Instead, his commentary was rather disappointing, as he said I shouldn't be too worried about my readings, and that they weren't really off that much. I would not call close-to-zero readings of magnesium as 'not being off'. The physician also wasn't picking up on how the results might be linked in to M.E. and the sub-optimal digestion that I had experienced for several years with severe IBS. If a person has IBS, again, a lot of expensive nutritional supplementation might be wasted, since food cannot be properly absorped in such a case. Aim to treat the IBS first. My own body is clearly depleted of reserves, and taking supplements could be just like trying to fill a gas tank that has a hole in it.
The physician sent me to a nearby pharmacy to get a bottle of high-concentration magnesium tablets. To be precise, they are magnesium citrate tablets. I haven't had a chance to do much research into how magnesium citrate differs from naturally occuring magnesium in food, except that from initial findings, it seems to be featured in a lot of drink-the-night-before pre bowel exam procedures. I have to take 2 tablets after every meal for at least the next 2-3 months. The physician's instructions were actually quite vague on dosage. The magnesium is bound with vitamin B5 and B6. The concentration per tablet seems to be around 300mg. I haven't read about any side effects of over-dosing on magnesium.
I've been on the magnesium tablets for a week already, but haven't noticed any turn around to my jumpy response at the slightest noise. I'm wondering if I will see that go away after a month or two. The physician didn't recommend anything to fix my zinc levels. I'm suspecting I should just find my own regular multi-vitamin and mineral supplements again. In addition, I've taken the initiative to buy a second-hand juicer, and will make the effort to make a liter of vegetable juice three times a week. I've already juiced some cucumbers and carrots and cress today. It didn't taste as great as I had imagined, but it's definitely the only way that I can markedly increase my fruit and vegetable intake. I thoroughly recommend getting a juicer. After doing research into juicers, it's pretty much unanimous that a vertical single auger juicer is preferable for juicing a variety of fruit and vegetables. Horizontal single augers are best if you only want to juice leafy greens or wheatgrass. Centrifugal juicers are okay, but they leave a lot of pulp and wastage compared to the single auger juicers.
Overall, at least I now have a supported evidence base for my concerns about sub-optimal nutrition. I know that I have to take a range of supplements and increase my vitamins and minerals, otherwise there will be irreperable damage, if there isn't already. I also know that I have to keep the heavy metals in check. Cadmium can apparently take more than a year or two to leach into hair tissue, so the readings could have already been like that for a while. I feel that I would have liked to have been aware of this sooner. For the mineral readings, the hair tissue emerges a centimeter a month, so taking a 3-centimeter specimen of hair gives a cross section of at least the past three months' activity in the body.
I'm reckoning that it would be sensible to take the hair mineral test once every two or three years. Again, it does cost a bit of money, but if you can afford to buy things like cosmetics and a new pair of shoes, you have the power to trade them for something more important - your health.
Get supplements, get juicing, and grow your own food!