Welcome to More Than Healthy as we continue to share our weekly health tips. This week is Tip #80, how hair analysis is the missing piece in feeding our mental health. This tip is different from our regular tips, but we think it’s quite possibly the most important topic of all.
Are you or someone you love dealing with anxiety, depression, or any other clinical mental health diagnosis? How about ADD, ADHD, or Autism Spectrum Disorder? If so, hair analysis can provide help and answers that can make a world of difference.
Why does the medical world have a history of slow learning?
For decades, disease was more dangerous for sailors than enemy action or any threat from the sea, with millions of sailors dying from scurvy. As early as the 1600s, trials showed that putting citrus fruits on ships headed out for long voyages eliminated the 40% mortality of sailors with scurvy. Yet it took 264 years before the British government mandated that all ships carry citrus.
In 1846, Hungarian doctor Ignaz Semmelweis discovered something we take for granted today – that hand-washing was the key to drastically reducing maternal death during childbirth. Not only was his theory vehemently rejected, but Dr. Semmelweis lost his job and was eventually committed to an insane asylum. Handwashing didn’t become the medical standard until the 1900s.
Current statistics show that it takes the medical world an average of 17 years for research evidence to reach actual clinical practice. Granted, this is much faster than the examples above, but still surprisingly slow given the age of information and technology we live in.
A modern-day example: Mental health and nutrition
It’s no secret that nutrition affects mental health. There are millions of books and articles written on the subject. But it might surprise you to learn that even today, doctors typically receive almost no nutritional training. In fact, most medical students spend less than 20 hours on nutrition.
The whole nature of medical practice in the U.S. is a barrier, as reimbursement for medical care is focused on treating illness, not preventing it. And the American pharmaceutical industry sure benefits, with global revenues of over $1.42 trillion in 2021.
Consider this quote by Jordan Fallis, author and CEO of Optimal Living Dynamics: “Nutritional deficiencies actually benefit the pharmaceutical industry. Malnutrition leads to chronic symptoms that can be ‘managed’ by patented drugs. Natural supplements can’t be patented. But drugs can. So as long as underlying nutritional imbalances aren’t corrected, doctors will keep prescribing and the pharmaceutical industry will have life-long customers.”
Here is the conventional medical model, which is pretty universal across all medical societies:
- Medications 2. Therapy 3. Other
What does this mean for us? This means that to reclaim our health, we have to be our own advocates. We have to be informed and proactive when it comes to the state of our own health – and the health of those we love.
At More Than Healthy, we really like the idea of flipping the conventional medical model so that it looks more like this:
- Lifestyle/diet/exercise/supplements 2. Stress reduction/therapy 3. Medication
Approaching our health this way is necessary to take back our health.
Is hair analysis the missing piece in mental health?
If you’re tired of six-minute doctor appointments where the bandaid of choice seems to be writing prescriptions, there’s some very good news. We now have an incredible, cutting-edge tool that empowers us with a wealth of knowledge about “what’s going on in there.” Hair analysis is truly a game-changer when it comes to providing “inside information” about our health.
As a mother to one child on the autism spectrum and another who has dealt with severe anxiety and depression, I would’ve given anything for access to this technology decades ago. This truly is the missing piece. Hair analysis removes the guesswork and gives you access to more information than you typically get even from doing bloodwork.
Every body is different
I always knew that what my kids ate made a huge difference, and I tried to make sure they at least got an apple a day and limited their sugar. But what I didn’t know was how incredibly individual all of this is. And, just because someone is eating veggies (or taking a multivitamin, for that matter), it doesn’t mean their body is able to absorb it correctly. After all, it’s not just what you eat, it’s what you absorb that counts.
Enter hair analysis, and the 36-page report that comes from just four hair follicles. No two reports are the same, because every body is so very different.
We’ll talk more about how hair analysis works and some specifics about the hair analysis report in a bit. But first, let’s talk about some of the most prevalent mental health conditions and the irrefutable link to nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices.
I could spend paragraphs talking about the prevalence of anxiety in our current society, but if you’re alive, you already know about that. Chances are that you or someone dear to you struggles with this difficult condition. Let’s take a look at how diet affects anxiety.
Multiple studies show that vitamin supplementation is a beneficial and effective therapy for treating both chronic and acute anxiety. Vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and all the B vitamins are scientifically proven to help reduce anxiety. Magnesium and omega-3s are essential for keeping anxiety under control as well. (Read more about the evidence-based studies backing this up here and here.)
Depression and anxiety often go hand-in-hand, as do the skyrocketing rates of both. The percentage of people using antidepressants increased by 64% between 1999 and 2014. In fact, Zoloft is now the 12th most commonly prescribed medication in the U.S.
But can diet affect depression? Check out these studies:
- In 2017, the first ever randomized clinical trial used food to treat depression. Researchers took individuals already in treatment for depression and added a Mediterranean diet to their regimen. Over 12 weeks, 33% of participants went into full remission from their depression.
- Australian students with depression and poor eating habits were given “brain foods” (olive oil, vegetables, seafood) three times a week plus three tablespoons of nuts per day. Over the course of just three weeks, the students’ stress, anxiety, and depression scores dropped by 30%, and stayed low for three months!
- Researchers in Spain followed over 10,000 students for over four years. They began by ranking how close their diet was to a Mediterranean diet. The students who adhered to this diet most closely had a 42-50% decreased rate of getting depressed.
At the time of this writing, statistics say that about 10% of American children have been diagnosed with ADHD. Public school teachers will tell you that rate is low, as this is another diagnosis that continues to rise.
Nearly two-thirds of all children diagnosed with ADHD also had another mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder, such as conduct disorder, anxiety, depression, autism, or Tourette syndrome.
Research does not yet show that diet causes ADD or ADHD, but it does confirm that certain foods can trigger or sharply worsen symptoms. Elimination diets, where you identify which foods are triggering, are very helpful. A diet high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids is recommended for those with ADD/ADHD.
Many studies confirm the great impact that diet and nutrition have on ADHD. In one study, micronutrients were used in the treatment of ADHD in adults. Over eight weeks, twice as many participants went into remission from their depression, and hyperactivity and impulsivity were reduced to normal. Even one year later, those who stayed on the micronutrients maintained their changes or showed further improvement. Those who stopped eating the micronutrients or switched to medication showed a worsening of symptoms.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Food and autism is tricky. Children with autism have significantly more eating issues than other children and eat a significantly narrower range of foods. These poor eating habits can lead to all sorts of nutritional problems, which in turn can lead not only to health issues, but to behavioral problems as well.
Here are some additional interesting facts about ASD and food/nutrition:
- Children with autism have more gastrointestinal issues than other children.
- Children with autism are especially sensitive to certain foods, like gluten, artificial sweeteners, and dyes.
- People with autism have increased risk of eating disorders.
The gut microbiome and ASD
Recent studies have shown the gut microbiome is a key player in the development of ASD. Researchers found the microbiota of autistic children lacked the necessary beneficial strains of bacteria. Studies also found a significant increase in harmful gut bacteria.
Scientists have now identified a molecular connection between a commonly-used food preservative and autism spectrum disorders. These findings suggest a link between eating processed foods during pregnancy and the rise of autism.
Does what we eat affect the brain?
We could fill a book with similar studies linking nutrition to all of these conditions. But the verdict is in: What we eat profoundly influences the brain. When we eat the typical Western diet, studies show the brain actually shrinks! And by age 60-70, we will have lost enough brain cells to fill your pinky finger. That’s a lot of brain cells. We need to appropriately feed our mental health.
A well-nourished body and brain are simply better able to withstand ongoing stress and recover from illness. Plus, studies show that when people get well through appropriate nutrition and lifestyle choices, they get well across the board, showing improved sleep, mood stabilization, and a reduced need for unhealthy self-medicating behaviors.
Some study-backed additional benefits of appropriate nutrition include:
- Reduced aggression in prisoners
- Slower cognitive decline in the elderly
- Plus, the cost is less than 2% of the traditional treatment
And…science also says that appropriate nutrition can actually stop these problems from developing in the first place!
Instead of treating mental illness, let’s build mental health. We know how much appropriate nutrition matters, and that you truly can feed your mental health. Hair analysis tells you exactly what to feed yours!
Hair analysis provides you with substantial data; information that gives you control. It gives you something you can do every single day to both treat and prevent mental health problems.
What exactly is hair analysis?
Conventional lab work (like blood draws) typically diagnose and treat what’s above the surface, focusing on symptoms. Functional labs, like hair analysis, look at what’s below the surface, focusing on the root cause of the disease. Hair analysis gives you an overview of all systems being affected in the body. It allows a close-up look at vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fatty acids, and amino acids. It also identifies problems that keep you from absorbing all of those things properly, like environmental exposures, parasites, mold, and fungal overgrowth.
Hair analysis is an invaluable tool that allows us to build a nutrition profile specific to what your body needs. With the results, we can put together a nutrition plan that can include:
- An individualized diet
- Vitamin and mineral supplementation
- Probiotics to combat bacteria overgrowth and improve gut health
- Specific cleanses to take care of heavy metal exposure, parasites, molds, fungi, and viruses
How does hair analysis work?
Hair analysis is easy and non-invasive. All you need are 4 hairs (we use small tweezers to grab them from the back of the head at the base of the skull), and then we place them on our scanner. In about 15 minutes, a comprehensive, 36-page report will be sent to your email.
The Hair Analysis Report, titled “90-Day Optimize Immunity and Wellbeing” is a thorough, comprehensive, and easy way to review the information derived from your hair scan.
Let’s review the main sections available in each report:
- Key Optimization Overview of all your Key Indicators
- Energetic Indicators
- Personal Immune System Support Indicators
- Gut Support Indicators
- Circulatory Support Indicators
- Frequency Interference Indicators
- Vitamins Indicators
- Minerals Indicators
- Fatty Acids Indicators
- Antioxidant Indicators
- Amino Acids Indicators
- Environmental Challenge Indicators
- Resistance Indicators (Viruses, parasites, bacteria, fungus, molds/spores)
- Food Restrictions (i.e. food sensitivities)
- Your 90-Day Step-by-Step Optimize Plan
- Self-Check Progress Pages for Day 1, Day 30, Day 60, and Day 90
Like I said, it’s a wealth of information. Information that would have made an immense difference when I was raising my children with substantial health challenges.
Reclaim your health today
It makes sense that with the direct link between nutrition and mental health, knowing exactly where you (or your child) is deficient, and what is keeping you from properly absorbing nutrition, is a total game changer.
Hair analysis truly is the missing piece when it comes to feeding – or building –our mental health.
A More Than Healthy hair analysis is quick, informative, and inexpensive. With just a few strands of your hair, you receive a full report looking at toxins, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, electromagnetic frequency exposure, chemicals, radiation, parasites, immune factors, and foods you should avoid.
Go to our website to learn more. You can schedule a local hair analysis or order it online to be mailed to you.
What are you waiting for? Take the first step to reclaim your health, and your mental health, today.
Note: Remember, we’re not doctors. We’re just sharing with you what’s worked for us on our health journey. You will want to consult your doctor before making any major changes to your diet and supplementation.
Also, we encourage you to watch these informative TED talks to learn more about the link between nutrition and mental health: