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(Trace) Element in hair
(Trace) elements are crucial parts of many kinds of biochemical conversions in the body, such as co-factors in enzyme reactions. The (trace)elements belong in the same way as the vitamins, the essential amino acids and the essential fatty acids to the elements human beings need to be able to function well and that a human being is unable to produce from food. Hereditary factors, conditions of life such as stress, nausea, pregnancy, smoking and exposure to toxic substances (like heavy metals) can influence the need for trace elements. It is also possible that the requirement changes during the lifetime. Deficiency or excess of (trace)elements can lead to a decreased function of several (organ)systems and the human body as a whole. Other (trace) elements/toxic metals can influence the need for a (trace) element. Consequently ratios are sometimes also important.

The trace(elements) in a hair test can provide insight into absolute and relative deficiencies, toxicities and imbalances between elements. The test can be used for diagnostic or preventive purpose. Hair is collected easily without trauma on the part of the donor. Elements, in particular trace elements, are accumulated in hair at concentrations that are generally 10 to 50 times higher than those in blood are. Because of these higher levels, more elements can be measured in hair than in blood. The levels found in hair are mean values over a longer period of time (about 3 months).
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Europees Laboratorium voor NutriŽnten Health Diagnostics and Research Institute