Replacement therapy is a method of treatment that many physicians use when they obtain a hair analysis on a patient. This approach involves supplementing minerals that appear deficient on the hair test and to avoid recommending minerals that are elevated on the test. Analytical Research Labs does not recommend this form of therapy.
This is a very important topic and a major difference between ARL and other laboratories and doctors who use hair mineral testing. The failure of replacement therapy is the main reason hair analysis is misunderstood and attacked in the media, even in the alternative healing literature. Researchers attempt to alter the level of one mineral in the hair by supplementing that mineral. When this approach fails, they often condemn the entire validity of hair analysis.
Replacement therapy is popular because it is simple. It is based on the premise that mineral levels in the hair are a reflection of the levels in the body. Therefore, if a mineral is low, it must be deficient. A second assumption is that by ingesting more of the low mineral, the level in the hair will rise.
Replacement therapy also assumes that an excess of a mineral in the hair means there is an excess present in the body. It also assumes that by reducing the intake of that mineral the hair level should decline. All of these assumptions are incorrect.
In the mid 1970's, Dr. Paul Eck discovered that hair mineral levels do not represent the levels of the mineral in the entire body. This may come as a shock to some. However, it is easily understood. The hair is a tissue of the body. Some minerals concentrate in the hair, while other minerals concentrate in other organs and tissues of the body.
Also, at times an elevated level of a mineral in the hair represents an excretion or loss of that mineral from the body. For example, a high hair calcium level is often found in cases of osteoporosis.
At times, a deficiency of a mineral in the hair can also occur in order to raise the level of another mineral or ratio. For example, the body may lower the zinc level to help raise the sodium level. In any case, the first assumption of replacement therapy is utterly false.
Since the body may keep a mineral level low in order to defend another level or ratio, giving more of that mineral will not raise the hair level. It would cause more health problems. Therefore, the second assumption of replacement therapy- that giving a mineral will raise its hair level - is often false.
Dr. Eck experimented with replacement therapy on many clients when he first began researching hair analysis. He recommended zinc to an individual whose hair zinc level was low. But often, the more zinc that was given, the lower the zinc level would go on a retest! He recommended calcium to those with a low calcium level and the calcium level would not budge!
He also discovered that some individuals who never salted their food had a high sodium level. Others, who put salt on all their food, had a low sodium level that would not go up, no matter how much salt or sodium-rich foods they ate! The premise of replacement therapy, that a high level of a mineral represents an excess in the body is also false. And many times, giving more of a mineral does not increase the level in the hair.
The common failure of replacement therapy was very puzzling and made little sense. However, Dr. Eck persisted in his research. He noticed other unusual phenomena. For example, if he recommended copper to an individual with low calcium, the copper might not go up, but the calcium level went up. He noticed that if he recommended potassium to a person with a low sodium level, the sodium level would often rise. For several years, the results of Dr. Eck's research were both inconclusive and puzzling.
The turning point came when Dr. Eck learned about mineral interactions, or as he called it, the 'intimate relationships' between minerals. He first found this in a book about minerals by Davies and in the work of Dr. William Albrecht at the University of Missouri on the minerals in soil. Dr. Albrecht, in particular, taught that there is a "mineral system" in the soil and in nature. The body keeps all the minerals in a delicate balance, in order to maintain homeostasis or equilibrium. Only a systems approach can explain why one mineral remains high while another remains low, and so forth.
The truth is the levels on a hair analysis represent a blueprint of how the body is responding to stress. The purpose of the mineral balance and mineral system is to keep the blood and to some degree the tissue mineral levels relatively constant. For example, if replacement therapy were valid and one ate a very high calcium meal, the calcium level in the body might rise so high it would be fatal. The same would be true if one ate too much potassium, or too much sodium. Our bodies have powerful buffering systems to avoid such a calamity. The minerals are maintained in balance, even if one ingests a large amount of one mineral.
Dr. Eck discovered that in order to change the balance of the minerals, one had to work with, not against, the mineral system within the body. It is a complex system, in which the minerals not only interact with each other, but also with vitamins, with the glands and with other body systems.
A rough summary of the major mineral interactions is found in the mineral wheel on the cover of the hair analysis report. A simpler and more precise explanation is found in the text, Nutritional Balancing and Hair Mineral Analysis. This book explains much of Dr. Eck's research. Only by paying heed to the principles of mineral balancing can one reliably and precisely change the levels of the minerals.
The development of the science of mineral balancing took twenty years and thousands of trial and error experiments. Slowly, Dr. Eck found that the mineral system could be simplified by identifying the oxidation types according to Dr. Watson and the stages of stress according to Dr. Hans Selye. He found that mineral ratios are more important for assessing the mineral system than mineral levels. Over the years, more pieces of the puzzle fell into place.
Unfortunately, the years of research are hard to appreciate just from reading a hair analysis report. It is like trying to appreciate the years of research that went into the car you buy.
To obtain excellent results with hair analysis, we strongly suggest following the recommendations that come with the hair analysis report. This is why ARL issues the reports, which most other labs do not. Try to avoid the temptation to engage in replacement therapy. If you wish to understand the recommendations more thoroughly, read the textbooks we offer and listen to the seminar tapes and the compact discs we offer that are available on the subject. Replacement therapy is simple. The design of the human body, however, is not.