[Minerals] Hair vs urine vs blood: why doesn’t your blood analysis show anything?

hair test mineral analysis - comic

Who never passed a blood analysis? This is obviously the default test used by all doctors. But often, despite fatigue and many symptoms, the blood values ​​look normal. You are then told that you have nothing, or that it’s in your head.

Let’s try to understand this paradox, and see what alternatives are available.

Cell concentration vs blood concentration

What matters is the amount of minerals in the cells, because this is where they are used: to supply muscles and organs with energy, and to ensure their proper functioning. The blood, on the contrary, acts as a highway: it carries minerals from the sources to the final destination: the organs and muscles that need them. Your health and energy is therefore not reflected by the blood concentrations, but by the availability of minerals for the cellular metabolism.

There are two main sources of blood supply: the diet (external source – sometimes it can also be the skin), or the body itself (internal source): if a mineral is missing, it can then compensate this deficiency by drawing minerals from bones and other tissues. This compensation system is necessary for the good functioning of the body when a deficiency appears: it’s necessary to supply the vital functions above all, even if the rest as to undergo the consequences.

Limitation of the blood test

The problem is that we don’t know where the minerals in the blood are coming from, and the body is doing its best to keep these levels constant. If the source is internal, it can create an invisible deficiency. It is completely possible to have normal blood levels while experiencing a deficiency at the cellular level.

minerals of a blood vessel - diagram
Normally, the blood minerals come from the diet
minerals of a blood vessel in deficiency - schema
During a deficiency, the body compensates with the minerals from the bones and other tissues

Besides, many factors affect blood levels:

  • Hour of the day
  • Ingested meal
  • Level of activity / exercise
  • Mood / emotion / stress

Evacuation systems of the body

The body has several mechanisms to get rid of the waste:

  • via the urine – the blood is filtered through the kidneys
  • via excrement – the blood is filtered through the liver, which sends the waste into the intestines via the bile
  • via the airs (including hair), nails and skin – which are constantly renewed

exit - comic

Urine and feces are very good indicators of what the body is currently evacuating at the moment. These systems are privileged in the short term because more effective and faster than the hairs or the nails. The latter, on the contrary, reflect a deeper mechanism, much slower.

Limitation of the urine test

So we have on one side the urine and feces that will reflect the excess of minerals from food (or recent pollution), and on the other hand the hairs and nails that perform a background work, slow but vital.

pissing against a tree - comic

A urine test shows what happened in the body during the last few hours, while a few inches of hair represent 2 to 3 months of activity.

The hair test

The mineral composition of the hair doesn’t reflect what the body evacuates in order to keep a stable blood level. This is the role of the urine and the bile. The mineral composition of the hair reflects the reservoirs of the body: the quantity of minerals in the tissues, available for the cells. If the tanks are full, the excess is then evacuated. The deficiencies are then easily visible: why getting rid of an element that the body needs?

cut hair - comic

Note that the concentration in the hair is 10 times higher than that of the blood, which makes the measurement more accurate.

Preventive analysis

In fact, the excesses and deficiencies of minerals do exist in the blood. This happens when the body can no longer compensate, that is: too late!

Conversely, the analysis of the hair makes it possible to anticipate before a disaster settles in. Deficiencies and excesses of cell metabolism can be seen, while the body is still able to compensate for these disbalances in order to feed the most vital functions. We can then correct the trend and rebalance the body before more severe dirsuptions may occur.

level of body minerals: blood vs hair - situation ok - schema
Healthy situation
level of body minerals: blood vs hair - deficiency situation - pattern
Deficiency situation – blood concentration is normal
level of body minerals: blood vs. hair - situation of severe deficiency - pattern
Severe deficiency situation – it is finally seen in the blood

The time scale

A hair grows about 1 to 2 cm per month. Thus, a hair analysis reflects the history of the body over the last 3 months.

A certain cost

I did the test without going through a doctor. I sent my hair to a German lab, and paid 111 euros. It’s not cheap, and I doubt very much that it’d be refundable even through a doctor.

An excess that means deficiency?
The problem of bioavailability

Bioavailability is the “usability” of an element. A trace element can only be used by the body if it has the right receptors, the right enzymes and the right proteins for the job. Otherwise, the element is present in the body but it’s not usable: not bioavailable.

An element that isn’t available biologically for the body represents consequently a problem: in excess, it can quickly become toxic. It is therefore necessary to evacuate that element, even if the body needs it! So we have on one side a deficiency in the cells, and on the other an excessively high value if we look at the mineral profile of the hair.

This was my case for magnesium (see my analysis of the hair), mineral that is very rarely in a real state of excess.

The case of toxic metals / heavy metals

For heavy metals, the situation is a little different. Unlike essential minerals, the body has to do everything it can to remove them from the blood and prevent any harm: it may then store them in the organs (including the brain) rather than let them wander around freely. Once in the tissues, it’s always possible, under optimal conditions, that these metals are put back into blood circulation in order to be eliminated (urine, hair, bile, nails, skin). But it often appears that the heavy metals stored in the organs won’t show during the hair test.

In addition, heavy metals disrupt the proper functioning of the body.. and therefore the evacuation mechanisms! Add this to the fact that we are continuously exposed to heavy metals via water, food and pollution… it quickly becomes a nightmare for the body, that may saturate. Unfortunately, the heavy metals that are stuck in the organs tend to stay there.

If you look at the comparison I made between my provocation test and my hair analysis, you will see that I have Thallium in the organs (revealed during the provocation test), but that I don’t evacuate it through the hair. Not at all! The hair analysis seems disappointing for heavy metals, and would have let me believe that I don’t have Thallium.

Also, it’s known that autistic people often have very low mercury hair levels1, while organs (including the brain) store mercury because the body can’t evacuate it.

The Counting Rule of Andrew Cutler

I’ve already mentioned the counting rule in the comparison article and I do it again here because many people use it for their hair analysis. This consists in counting the excesses and deficiencies in order to diagnose a general disruption of the minerals, which would mean a mercury intoxication. I may say a little more in my comparison article, but I don’t detail the rule itself.

to wonder - comic


Although it is a medical reference for many parameters, the blood test is probably not the best choice for detecting excess and / or mineral deficiencies.

The hair mineral analysis becomes then essential as more reliable test in term of essential minerals. But it shows its limits when it comes to heavy metals.

For toxic metals, it’s the challenge test (with a chelator) that proves to be the most reliable. Some will claim that it’s dangerous. I did it anyway and it was more reliable than the hair test when it comes to heavy metals. In the end, we can say that the two tests are complementary.

And you? What tests did you do, and with what results? Leave me a note in the comments below!

  1. The association between mercury levels and autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
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