STEP 12. Hair Testing for Mercury, Heavy Metals and Some Nutritional Deficiencies. In my opinion, getting a hair test done is a no brainer for a man that is experiencing many of the typical symptoms that I see all the time on Peak Testosterorne Forum.
Of course, many other symptoms could be listed as well, but the key thing to notice is that a lot of the symptoms of low testosterone overlap with mercury another heavy metal overloads. And hair testing does a good job of picking up on these type of toxic overloads. Better yet, here in the U.S. anyway, it's cheap and there are excellent materials from the labs and in books to help you understand your results. (Of course, you should go to a doctor or naturopath who works with this day an dnight to get the actual interpretation of your results in my opinion.)
NOTE: Let me say that I am indebted to the Dr. Andrew Hall Cutler's two books on the subject: Hair Test Interpretation and Amalgam Illness, Diagnosis and Treatment. .
Here are the simple steps that one can take based on what I have gleaned from these books:
Step 1. Mercury Fillings. First of all, have someone look in your mouth (if you don't know) and see if you have any metal (mercury amalgam) fillings. These are not as widely used as there were a few decades ago, but many of us have some of them. (My wife had five removed and I still have two in my mouth!)
Step 2. Hair Test. Get a hair test done. I used Direct Labs, who mailed us out a hair test kit. The test was called "Hair Toxic & Essential Elements-DD KIT" and was $100 on sale. We cut samples of my wife's hair and mailed it back where it ended up in well-known hair analysis lab called Doctor's Data. Doctor's Data then sends the lab results back to Direct Labs, who posts it on their web site for your or your practitioner's review. Conveniently, Doctor's Data is what Dr. Cutler uses in his books and case studies. (I have no affiliation with either.)
3a. Results - Mercury. Evaluate your results for mercury overload. This can be done with a protocol outlined by Dr. Cutler in his Hair Test Interpretation book in great detail. The reason that this requires special consideration is that the great majority of men with mercury overload will not actually show up high mercury, because mercury usually gets trapped deep within tissues including neurons behind the blood brain barrier. So mercury is actually stored and plasma mercury levels then fall and can be quite low even though the person is quite toxic.
And how do you tell if someone has too much mercury stored and if is causing issues? The answer lies in something Dr. Cutler describes as "abnormal mineral transport". What happens is that mercury attaches to a large number of enzymes in your body and disrupts their normal function. One of the direct effects of this is that your body often loses its ability to handle, detoxify and clear various minerals and metals. Dr. Cutler shrewedly came up with a way to identify this condition and has outlined Five Rules of Dysfunction Minteral Transport in his book Hair Test Interpretation. I will show an example of this in my page on Hair Testing and Mercury.
3b. Results - Other (Non-Mercury) Heavy Metals. Your hair test results will also cover a wide variety of other metals - lead, antimony, tin, silver, arsenic, etc. If any of these are high, this can cause ugly issues and should be addressed by either removing the source of exposure and/or chelation. It should be mentioned, however, that these can be high due to high mercury levels causing transport issues.
By the way, a case in this category that really caught my attention was that of one of our senior posters (EH) on the forum. EH is a smart and well-educated man that works as a scientist and he got a hair test that showed that he had high levels of cadmium. Cadmium is not something you want a lot of - it essentially acclerates aging in the body. EH's high levels of cadmium struck him as odd, so he did some research. He found out that Consumer Reports had done an expose showing that most cocoa sold today had been contaminated with cadmium, and he had been consuming large amounts of cocoa powder before his test. You can read his thread here if you are interested: Cadmium and Cocoa.
The point is that if he had not had this test, he probably would still be consuming large amounts of cocoa and in a year would have started feeling lousy with no idea as to why.
3c. Results - Mineral Deficienies / Adrenal and Thyroid Deficiency. While hair testing will not give you an exhaustive nutritional analysis, it does still cover a lot of key markers. Furthermore, since magnesium, calcium, potassium and sodium are measured in the hair test, valuable information about adrenal and thyroid function can be extrapolated as well.
4. Chelation. If you are high in mercury - and between 1% and 5% of the population are - then some chelation is likely in order assuming that you do not still have the metal fillings in your mouth.
Dr. Cutler states that ALA (alpha lipoic acid) is an excellent and safe chelator. ALA is available in any vitamin store as well as many retail chains. He recommends a protocol with ALA every few hours for a few days and then stopping for a few days. Sometimes DMSA or DMSP are added in order to bind up the extra mercury and make the process a little safer during the chelation process. I hope to cover Dr. Cutler's chelation protocol on another page.
NEWS FLASH: Dr. Cutler - and a number of alternative physicians as well - have been reporting miraculous results. The reason is that mercury overload can cause schizophrenia-like, ALS-like and autistism-like symptoms, resulting in many misdiagnoses. However, many of them when chelated using Dr. Cutler's simple and inexpensive protocol, are in large part and sometimes totally cured. Dr. Cutler believes that a significant percentage of children diagosed with autism undoubtedly have a heavy metal issue and his book relates some very moving stories of children who have started speaking again and become fully functional through chelation. Just do a search on "Cutler protocol mercury" or something similar and you'll pull up many interestin stories.
CAUTION: As mentioned above, chelation with ALA should not be attempted with mercury amalgams still in your mouth. The reason is that the fillings are leaking mercury into your system and then chelation usually moves some mercury, and so this may not lead to unsafe levels.