Elements are the basic building blocks of all chemical compounds, and human exposure to them occurs both from natural and anthropogenic sources. Many elements are considered nutrients and are essential for the proper functioning of the body. These are generally divided between macrominerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and zinc, and trace minerals including selenium, iodine, boron and molybdenum.
Conversely, there are a number of elements that are toxic to the human body, interfere with its functioning and undermine health—such as mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminum, and arsenic. These toxic metals have no known physiological functions. They can be toxic to organ systems and may disrupt the balance of essential nutrients. Toxic metals and essential element status can be assessed in urine, blood, feces and hair.
Hair Elements analysis provides information regarding recent and ongoing exposure to potentially toxic metals, especially methylmercury and arsenic, and time-averaged status of specific nutrient elements. This noninvasive screening test requires only .25 grams of hair. Doctor's Data offers a Hair Elements profile containing essential and toxic elements and a Hair Toxic Element Exposure profile containing an expanded lineup of toxic metals.
Urine Elements are traditionally used to evaluate exposure to potentially toxic elements and wasting of nutrient elements. Additionally, the comparison of urine element concentrations before and after administration of a chelator can be used to estimate net retention of potentially toxic elements. Subsequent urine element analyses, also following the administration of a chelator, are useful for monitoring the efficacy of metal detoxification therapy. Results are expressed per 24 hours or creatinine corrected to account for urine dilution effects.