Toxins that are found in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and in the products we regularly use can wreak havoc in our bodies, eventually causing illnesses after prolonged exposure to them.
Lead emissions coming from fuel have been linked to a rising number of asthma cases in children. In high concentrations, lead can cause brain damage, seizures and death. Certain food additives have also been closely identified as triggers of hyperactivity in children, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Other examples of toxic elements that may be found in the environment are mercury, arsenic and cadmium. These and other toxic substances usually enter your body in small doses and begin to weave damage as they accumulate in your vital organs. By the time symptoms begin to show, irreversible damage may have already taken place in your body. Due to the prevalence of toxins in everyday life, early detection through reliable tests should form part of your health maintenance plan.
Testing for the presence of toxic substances becomes necessary when symptoms are not enough to determine the underlying cause of a health problem.
Health professionals rely on a battery of tests that fall under three types:
Heavy metals and other toxins may be found in your blood stream if exposure is immediate or chronic. Due to the changing nature of blood, however, a blood test is not helpful for determining prolonged exposure or detecting traces of toxins when exposure is not too recent. The procedure is also uncomfortable for those who have a fear of needles or whose veins make it difficult to obtain blood samples.
Urine analysis or urinalysis is a relatively inexpensive testing method that now comes in simple testing kits. While a urine analysis may indicate the presence of heavy metals in a urine sample, it cannot show the actual level of toxicity of those metals in your body.
For a more conclusive analysis, provocation testing may be administered in conjunction with a urine analysis. In provocation testing, a detoxification agent is administered before a urine sample is obtained. This procedure can detect the presence of a toxic element and its positive reaction to the detoxification agent. The provocation sample is then compared to a baseline urine sample that was taken without a detoxification agent. Aside from provocation testing, some health professionals read the results of a urine analysis together with those of a hair analysis.
Hair tissue mineral analysis has been regarded as the most accurate method of detecting and measuring toxicity in the human body. It is the only method to date that is able to detect the presence of metals long after an actual exposure. As your hair grows, it may also serve as a good chronicle of chemical changes that take place inside your body over a period of time. Unlike a urine analysis, a hair analysis can be very expensive for testing the presence of certain metals.