Welcome everybody to More Than Healthy. This is Tip #75 and we’re focusing on part of the hair analysis report. Specifically, we’re doing a deep dive into chemicals and hydrocarbons. Watch the Weekly Video Tip by clicking this link. To listen to the audio podcast, click on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
We’re discussing various aspects of your hair analysis results so you have a better understanding of the wealth of information available in the report. This week we’re addressing an important issue involving toxic exposure.
“What do I do if chemicals and hydrocarbons were flagged on my report?”
A question I frequently get asked is, “What does it mean if my hair analysis shows chemicals and hydrocarbons on my report?” Basically, if these items are flagged on your report, it means your system has a chemical overload.
Where the toxic exposure is coming from is trickier to answer. You could be getting exposure from multiple places. So this post will focus on the most common chemicals and hydrocarbons you could be exposed to. Hopefully it will help you determine which ones they might be.
We will also talk about how we’ve mitigated our exposure and what we continue learning. We’ll share ways to boost your immune system so that you can handle small exposures better and hopefully be able to thrive in this chemical-rich environment we live in without health challenges.
What are hydrocarbons?
Chemicals are fairly self-explanatory, but you may not know what a hydrocarbon is. A hydrocarbon is the most basic type of organic molecule. It’s made up of two elements: hydrogen and carbon.
Hydrocarbons are the main components of fossil fuels and release energy through combustion. They’re also used in chemical synthesis and are major components of lubricating oils, greases, solvents, fuels, wax, asphalts, cosmetics, and plastics.
Where to find chemicals and hydrocarbons in your hair analysis report?
There are two places to check for chemicals and hydrocarbons in your hair analysis report:
- Page 5, the Personal Immune System Support Indicators page, and
- Page 7, the Gut Support Indicators page.
If chemicals and hydrocarbons are highlighted in green on either of these pages (like they are on the example below), that means this is an area you would want to address right away.
This example is actually from my last hair analysis, showing I had chemical and/or hydrocarbon exposure.
What are some common sources of exposure?
If your report flags either chemicals or hydrocarbons like mine, you’ll want to determine where your exposure is coming from. These areas can be flagged due to minor (meaning temporary) or major (all the time) exposure.
Common sources of exposure include:
- Weed killers
- Nail polish
- Swimming pools
- Insect repellent
- Tobacco smoke
- Industrial pollution
Many additional products contain harmful chemicals as well. You’ll want to look to see if any of your detergents, perfumes, cleaning products, cosmetics, toothpaste, or personal hygiene products have chemicals in them that are detrimental to your health.
We use the app called “think dirty” to find out if any product we currently use has questionable chemicals. We’ve written a very informative post on the less-toxic laundry products we use, check it out here. And to learn more about our thoughts and recommendations on toothpaste and mouthwash, read our post here.
Why are plastics one of the worst offenders?
One of the hardest chemicals to avoid is plastics. It’s in everything. We produce over 350 million metric tons of plastic every year, adding to the billions of metric tons that already clog up our landfills and oceans. At the rate at which we’re accumulating plastic, it’s predicted that by 2050, the mass of plastic in the world’s oceans will exceed the mass of all the fish that live there.
Plastics are filled with harmful chemicals, and they’re found in hundreds of things we use every day, including toys, medical devices, and food packaging, just to name a few. Plastic invades our ecosystem and harms both us and animals. Plastic that ends up in the ocean is eaten by sea animals, becoming part of the human food chain.
Exposure to the chemicals in plastics is linked to a myriad of health problems. Plastic toxicity causes issues that include reproductive disorders, developmental dysfunction, behavioral disorders, thyroid problems, low birth weight, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and breast and prostate cancers. Scientists are now detecting microplastics in human veins, colon tissue, and urine.
Avoiding plastic is difficult, but I really think it’s essential. David and I have worked to change our exposure to plastic water bottles. We try to take a metal container filled with filtered water everywhere we go. We’ve changed over to glass containers and try never to heat something up in plastic.
When I looked over the list of chemicals, I knew right away which one was probably causing me the most risk. It’s the chlorine in my hot tub. This is something that I use almost every day. So I started researching what I could do to reduce my chemical exposure.
It turns out that my spa company, Bullfrog Spas, has created a mineral system that keeps the water clean and lowers the chlorine levels by 75%. So I purchased the system and gave it a try. It really does use less chlorine than I’ve ever used before. In fact, I’m using 20% of the chlorine I used to use. I feel like it keeps the water clean, and it seems less harsh on our skin.
The other change I made is that now most days I use my hot tub before I get into my sauna. That way, I’m detoxing the chemical effects of the chlorine right away.
Since I didn’t have any symptoms of chemical exposure, I’m pretty sure we caught this one early. That’s what I love about hair analysis testing. It usually provides data on an environmental indicator way before symptoms appear.
By making these changes, we’ve hopefully ensured that I will be able to continue to safely use my hot tub for years to come.
What are the symptoms of prolonged exposure to chemicals and hydrocarbons?
Some of the symptoms of prolonged chemical or hydrocarbon exposure include:
- Irritation of the eyes, nose, or skin
- Excessive cough
- Shortness of breath
- Blood in phlegm
- Loss of appetite
- Hormonal imbalances
- Bone, and joint weakness
- High blood pressure
Fortunately for many of our clients, we have been able to mitigate their exposure before they start showing any serious symptoms. This is the beauty of hair analysis.
Why do symptoms show up when they do?
It was such a shocker to me to have chemicals and hydrocarbons flagged on my hair analysis report. I’ve been using my hot tub for most of my life and never had a problem. Why was my system suddenly unable to handle the chemical exposure it’s been dealing with for years?
This is a question I get asked a lot. One client has been a nail technician for over 35 years. All of a sudden she started experiencing skin irritation so bad she had to wear gloves to work on her clients. When we did her hair analysis, it showed chemicals and hydrocarbons, and we wondered if it could be the nail polish or the other solvents she used.
She made a few changes in some products she has used for years (she found ones that were less toxic) and started to get some relief. So she had the same question – Why, after years of using the same products, do they suddenly cause a problem?
Why do our bodies work, until they don’t?
Here’s the easiest way I can explain it: Our bodies are great at dealing with toxic exposure until they’re not. It’s the very same with food sensitivities that show up all of a sudden. Why have you been able to eat gluten, dairy, nightshades, or nuts, but suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, you can’t eat them without having an adverse reaction?
Our bodies are pretty darn amazing, and they can often handle things for quite a while until it’s just too much. When that happens, you have to make a change, or you will continue to experience adverse symptoms. And, left unaddressed, those symptoms can intensify and worsen, leading to chronic conditions.
How can you detoxify from chemicals and hydrocarbons?
Along with mitigating your exposure, there are other things you can do to detoxify your body and boost your immune system to better deal with the constant chemical exposure we’re bombarded with. We recommend doing a quarterly cleanse using a gentle cleanser called SuperCleanseR. We’ve got a very informative post on this, check that out here. There’s also a link where you can order SuperCleanseR on our website.
Which foods fight toxic exposure?
Our bodies are pretty smart. They come with a lot of built-in systems to help us get rid of waste and toxins. Eating the right foods helps to support these systems and ensure they don’t get overworked.
On page 23 of your report is a list of suggested foods to help deal with chemical exposure. (See the example below). You’ll want to eat more beets, sweet potatoes, lemons, green leafy vegetables, garlic, apples, onions, nuts and seeds, and take a good probiotic. The probiotic we recommend is Pendulum Metabolic Daily.
How can you get empowered with a More Than Healthy hair analysis?
I hope this has helped you understand more about chemicals and hydrocarbons. Our goal is that you can utilize the data in your hair analysis report as the powerful resource it is on your journey to optimal health.
If you haven’t had a hair analysis yet, what are you waiting for? It is easy, affordable, and so empowering! Go to our website and schedule your hair analysis today. With just a few strands of your hair, you’ll receive a full report that looks at the information we discussed today and so much more.
Do you have any questions about chemicals and hydrocarbons? We love hearing from you and try to respond to all comments and questions. Find us on our social media pages on Facebook or Instagram @morethanhealthyliving.
We’d love to become your health coaches as you work to become “more than healthy” and achieve optimal health. Thanks for joining us, and we’ll see you next week.
Note: Remember, we’re not doctors. We’re just sharing what’s worked for us on our health journey. You will want to consult your doctor before significantly changing your diet and supplementation.