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Is A Hair Test Better Than A Blood Test For Health & Wellness?

If you’re wondering which test is best to give an accurate and reliable report of overall health and wellness, it’s important to weigh all the pros and cons. While a blood test might seem like the more traditional option, there are some significant advantages to a hair test that could make it worth considering.

In this article, we’ll dig into the advantages and disadvantages of both hair tissue mineral analysis and blood tests so that you can decide which is the best option for you.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

Advantages Of Hair Testing

Hair mineral analysis offers a few advantages over regular blood testing in certain areas.

Here are some of the most important:

1. Hair tests are noninvasive

Unlike blood tests, HTMA tests don’t require needles, which makes them a more comfortable option for children or those with a fear or phobia.

2. Hair tests provide more information about long-term mineral patterns in the body

While a blood sample can only give a snapshot of what’s happening at that moment, a hair sample can show mineral levels over time.

3. Hair tests are better for detecting heavy metals

Heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, lead, copper, and other minerals or toxic metals are in the environment and can accumulate in the hair over time potentially causing health problems.

Hair analysis is a reliable method for testing chronic exposure. In fact, the EPA has stated that “…biological monitoring of the highest priority toxic metals – lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic,” and “For toxic exposure…(testing) hair appears to be superior to (testing) blood and urine.”

4. Hair testing is relatively inexpensive

Other testing methods such as urine, blood, or even saliva can be more expensive, making HTMA a great option for those on a budget.

5. A hair sample can show the health of cells and tissues

Blood is homeostatic, meaning it will take minerals from cells and tissues if needed to maintain balance.

So when you have a blood test, the test results show what is being transported, not the actual health of your cells or tissues.

In contrast, a small sample of hair from the scalp tested in a reputable lab using mass spectrometry can provide a mineral analysis that offers insight into metabolic health, nutritional needs, and toxic burden.

With just one hair sample, you can gain insight into your health that you couldn’t get from any other method.

This can help you make informed decisions about your nutrition, lifestyle and supplement choices, as well as track progress with these changes over time.

Drawbacks Of HTMA

The disadvantages of hair analysis are few, but there are some so let’s take a look…

1.This is not a diagnostic testing method

An HTMA is not the best test for diagnosing anemia, diabetes, or any other health condition. Hair testing can show trends, mineral excesses, or deficiencies, and can point to possible issues, but it cannot (and should not) be used for diagnostic purposes.

2. Hair samples can take time to collect

Human hair grows about 1/4-1/2 inches per month, so if someone needs to grow out their hair for testing (due to hair color or because it is quite short), it could take time to collect an appropriate sample.

3.Test results can be inaccurate depending on the laboratory

Choosing a reputable lab is essential to getting accurate results. It doesn’t seem like there would be major differences from one lab to another, but there are. Be sure to choose a lab that specifically states it does not wash the hair samples as this can skew the mineral analysis results.

Advantages Of Blood Tests

Ok, we’ve covered some of the advantages and disadvantages of hair analysis, now it’s time to tackle blood testing.

1. Blood tests are widely available

If blood testing is the route you want to go, it is typically easily accessible in most areas. There are a number of labs and medical centers offering testing services in almost any location.

And, if your doctor is willing to order your desired tests, it’s likely that they will be covered by your insurance.

2. Turnaround time is usually fast

With blood tests, there is no need to wait for weeks like you may have to do if you choose to test hair (unless your doctor recommends waiting for some reason). You can usually get blood taken within a few days of receiving the orders, if not the same day. And results are often given in a few days to a week.

3. Blood testing is the most accepted

Let’s face it, if you walk into your doctor’s office and ask for blood testing, chances are you’ll get it. If you walk in and ask them to order a test of your hair, they may have no idea what you’re talking about or try to discredit it as most doctors do not have experience with this type of test.

4.Blood tests are used to diagnose

A diagnosis should take into account a person’s symptoms, lifestyle, and other factors but blood tests are often used by doctors to get a more detailed look into what may be happening and to diagnose or rule out a condition.

Disadvantages Of Blood Tests

Just like any other test, blood testing has its potential disadvantages for example..

1. Cost can be high (although not always)

Blood tests can be expensive depending on the test and if a person has insurance or not. Costs of tests can vary widely on which lab you choose, which test is ordered, and even how it is billed (if using insurance).

2. Blood testing is a somewhat invasive procedure

Taking blood samples is invasive and uncomfortable for many people.

Just the thought of getting blood taken can cause serious anxiety or even panic for some.

(If a blood draw is necessary and anxiety is an issue, I highly recommend something like this for children or adults!).

3. Blood samples may not provide accurate mineral results

As stated in the hair analysis section, the blood’s job is transportation and a test will show the current level of minerals, hormones, and other substances in the body at the time of testing.

But, this does not necessarily give an accurate representation of the cell or tissue levels.

So, for example, you may go to your doctor with complaints related to low thyroid levels, but the test results could show that your levels are fine.

One of the possible reasons for this is that you do in fact have enough thyroid hormones circulating in your blood, but it may not be sufficient in the necessary cells and tissues.

So, Is A Hair Test Better Than A Blood Test?

There are many valuable testing methods you could consider to help improve your health and wellness.

All offer great information if interpreted correctly.

In the case of hair analysis and blood tests, both provide useful information but there are also some critical differences that must be taken into consideration.

My personal belief is that HTMA is a great test on its own and offers unparalleled information to help build a foundation of health, but if you are dealing with complex issues that go beyond foundational- a blood, saliva, or urine test may be a great addition to help complete the picture so you can continue on the path to radiant health!

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