Have you ever wondered how contaminated you are by your environment? We live in an increasingly polluted world, with our immediate environment contaminated by a range of elements that includes airborne pollutants, hazardous chemicals and an agricultural system that is heavily dependent on the use of fertilisers. ntpages spoke to Ian Tracton from InterClinical Laboratories who have developed a range of personal test kits suitable for personal use in the home including one for heavy metals, free radicals and a hair tissue mineral analysis test kit.
Where am I exposed to heavy metals?
“Heavy metals are all around is in our cars, cosmetics, medication and even drinking water. Other common sources include tobacco and exhaust smoke as well as fertilisers.”
What is so bad about them?
“Some heavy metals are needed for health body function, but when they exceed normal levels they can become toxic. In the worse case scenario heavy metals can poison us with potentially serious consequences such as learning difficulties in children and birth defects in newborns. Lower level exposure to any toxin can cause anything from skin irritations to liver damage as well as hormonal and metabolic imbalances.”
What are some of the most toxic types and where are they found?
“Lead is present in car exhaust fumes, hair dye and some kinds of paint, while mercury is found in batteries, laxatives and dental amalgam. Cadmium is found in cigarette smoke, drinking water and many industrial chemicals.”
How does your heavy metal test kit work?
“There are two kinds of test kits – one for general heavy metals and another for specific heavy metals. Both test for different substances in a liquid solution and work based on calibrated colour charts. So you simply match the dissolved solution to the corresponding chart which indicates the presence of a particular heavy metal.”
Tell us a bit about hair tissue mineral analysis?
“This is a simple test that measures the levels and ratios of nutrient and toxic minerals in your hair.”
Why is hair used?
“Using hair analysis is a non-intrusive screening tool, which unlike taking a blood sample can measure the minerals stored in tissue. The root of the hair is fed by blood vessels which feed and nourish the cells there. As these grow and divide minerals are embedded into the growing shaft of hair – providing a permanent record of metabolic activity, exposure to toxic elements and mineral concentrations.”
Why should I be testing myself?
“Many mineral are essential for the growth, healing and general vitality of many of our body’s structural elements and processes. Modern diets and lifestyles do not always provide us with this resource and there is also contamination from environmental pollutants, food additives and stress. The test kit allows you to take some measure of control of your healthcare, by taking preventative measures to control any imbalances you may have.”
What might cause a mineral imbalance?
“There may be a number of causes including poor diet, stress, medications, pollution and genetic factors.”
What conditions can be caused by mineral imbalances?
“Anything from acne to cardiac problems, fatigue, hyperactivity, infertility, migraines and stress – so a whole range of conditions.”
Tell us about your free radical test kit?
“This uses a urine sample to detect the presence of free radical activity in the body.”
What are free radicals?
“Free radicals are naturally occurring unstable atoms in the body which can cause damage to our DNA and cell membranes if an excess develop. They are thought to be one of the primary causes of ageing and tissue damage.”
What can I do to limit free radical activity?
“Antioxidants are the natural way of combating free radicals, so try include as many sources of antioxidants in your diet – including fruit and vegetables.”