Roots show health

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR BODY -

How healthy are you re­ally? One way to find out is to have a hair fol­li­cle anal­y­sis.

For al­most 80 years hair anal­y­sis has com­monly ex­am­ined a per­son’s hair sam­ples for chem­i­cals such as ar­senic poi­son­ing or illegal drugs, or pro­vided DNA for pa­ter­nity and crim­i­nal cases. As a scalp hair lives for five to six years, its self­con­tained fol­li­cle, like a root or plant bulb, keeps a longer record of what passes through the body than blood or urine sam­pling.

Mod­ern meth­ods are sen­si­tive enough to find traces of min­er­als/ met­als/drugs that are a thou­sandth of a gram (mi­cro­gram), or a nanogram (one bil­lionth of a gram) or even a picogram (one thou­sandth of a nanogram) per gram of hair. It makes sense that hair fol­li­cle anal­y­sis is also now be­ing used to as­sess the in­flu­ences our en­vi­ron­ment is hav­ing on us.

It of­fers peo­ple of all ages a de­tailed per­sonal well­ness pro­file, so they can see what to tar­get – what to avoid, or which min­er­als, vi­ta­mins and other nu­tri­ents they need more of. It could sim­ply be to boost their im­mune sys­tem to beat win­ter lur­gies, or to kick-start their jour­ney to­wards a more op­ti­mised state. They can then cor­rect any im­bal­ance with food or sup­ple­men­ta­tion.

Four hairs are plucked from the back of the head for ex­am­i­na­tion, and the fol­li­cle is un­af­fected by hair colour­ing or how short the hair is. Anal­y­sis takes 15 min­utes and pro­vides a com­pre­hen­sive per­son­alised book­let of a per­son’s en­vi­ron­men­tal in­flu­ence in re­la­tion to 16 min­er­als and 16 vi­ta­mins, 23 amino acids, omegas (3, 6 and 9), 13 an­tiox­i­dants and ex­po­sure to food ad­di­tives, viruses, mould and spores, fungi and bac­te­ria, par­a­sites, toxic met­als, ra­di­a­tion, chem­i­cals, EMF and ELF, and food sen­si­tiv­i­ties. Each of these is pre­sented in an easy to un­der­stand pie chart.

The ac­tual anal­y­sis is done in Ger­many from an as­sess­ment cen­tre that uses CE-ap­proved biores­o­nance tech­nolo­gies, man­u­fac­tured to EN ISO13485 stan­dards, and which op­er­ates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, from se­cure servers. It is over­seen and sup­ported by a team of doc­tors, bio-in­for­ma­tion spe­cial­ists and com­puter engi­neers. Peo­ple can then ex­am­ine their re­sults with their health pro­fes­sional, and dis­cuss ways to ad­dress im­bal­ances.

Hair anal­y­sis is now avail­able at Health 2000 Broad­top. About five per cent of adults in New Zealand are de­fi­cient in vi­ta­min D and another 27 per cent do not meet the rec­om­mended level of vi­ta­min D in their blood.

Vi­ta­min D is im­por­tant for good bones. Ev­ery­one needs vi­ta­min D to ab­sorb cal­cium and phos­pho­rus from their diet, min­er­als that are im­por­tant for healthy bones.

Young chil­dren who don’t get enough vi­ta­min D can de­velop rick­ets which causes bowed legs and knock knees. Adults who don’t get enough vi­ta­min D can de­velop bone weak­ness and in­creased risk of frac­ture.

Some groups of the pop­u­la­tion are more at risk of vi­ta­min D de­fi­ciency than oth­ers. These groups are:

All preg­nant and breast­feed­ing women

All ba­bies and young chil­dren from six months to five years old (un­less they are hav­ing more than 500ml a day of in­fant for­mula) Peo­ple aged 65 and over Peo­ple who are not ex­posed to much sun – for ex­am­ple, those who cover their skin, or who are house­bound or con­fined in­doors for long pe­ri­ods

The sun is the most ob­vi­ous source of vi­ta­min D. Our bod­ies pro­duce it when­ever the sun shines on our skin. While the sun is seen less fre­quently in win­ter, the ul­tra­vi­o­let in­dex is usu­ally less than 3 (low) in the South Is­land in the coolest sea­son and there­fore less likely to cause skin dam­age.

You should still be able to ac­cu­mu­late enough sun ex­po­sure to main­tain ad­e­quate lev­els of vi­ta­min D with a daily walk or another form of out­door phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, prefer­ably about the mid­dle of the day.

You can’t make vi­ta­min D by sit­ting in­side by a sunny win­dow. UVB waves do not pass through glass.

You can aug­ment your vi­ta­min D lev­els by in­clud­ing in your diet foods that con­tain small amounts of vi­ta­min D. They in­clude oily fish (eg salmon, sar­dines, eel and ware­hou), milk and milk prod­ucts, eggs and liver.

Some peo­ple with a high risk of vi­ta­min D de­fi­ciency may need to take a vi­ta­min D tablet. Talk to your GP or di­eti­cian if you are con­cerned.

Symp­toms of vi­ta­min D de­fi­ciency in­clude bone pain, mus­cle aches, chronic fa­tigue and im­paired bal­ance.

Some dairy prod­ucts are for­ti­fied with vi­ta­min D though they alone do not con­tain enough to meet your vi­ta­min D re­quire­ments.

Mush­rooms are the only nonan­i­mal source of vi­ta­min D in food. Just make sure the mush­rooms have been ex­posed to UV light.

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