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Upgraded Formulas hair test
Getting mineral testing done (via fur) for my dog Bear was eye-opening and sparked a fire under my butt to learn more about minerals and health on a cellular level.
To read more about Bear’s journey back to health from autoimmune disease (including mineral testing), read the full post here.
First, I will talk a bit about Bear’s process, then about how you can get this done for yourself with Upgraded Formulas.
To begin, I sent Bear’s fur into the lab and received his results a few weeks later. upgraded formulas review
His sodium was high, phosphorus was optimal, and all other minerals were low. Zinc and chromium were close to optimal, but still a bit low. His vet mentioned that chromium is associated with carbohydrate consumption, so me feeding him little to no carbs was likely helping him retain chromium.
The optimal levels of phosphorus indicated that he was digesting his meat well, getting everything he needed from it, and that he had an adequate amino acid profile. This was great to hear.
The vet mentioned that sodium and manganese worked together, so because manganese was low, she could tell that sodium was on its way down. Low manganese is also common in dogs.
She sent me a thorough write-up that explained what the high or low levels of each mineral could indicate. When I reviewed it alongside Bear’s results, many of his symptoms began to make sense. It listed out the mineral’s role in the body and the symptoms a dog may be experiencing if they have a high level or low level of that mineral.
Bear’s heavy metals were low, which was great. The vet mentioned that once the body begins to heal and restore mineral levels, heavy metals are sometimes released from the tissues. This is a good thing, but sometimes the markers will rise on a subsequent test. It can appear like you’re getting worse, but you’re not. So I’m keeping that in mind for future tests.
I asked about his aluminum level and she mentioned that while it looks high on the graph, the number is not of concern. upgraded formulas review
We also talked about critical mineral ratios.
- Carbohydrate indicator (Ca/Mg) – Bear’s was out of balance, meaning he doesn’t digest carbs well and should stay away from sugars.
- Thyroid indicator (Ca/K) – Bear’s thyroid tested slow.
- Adrenal indicator (Na/Mg) – Bear’s adrenals tested fast.
- Energy indicator (Na/K) – Bear’s energy tested fast.
- Autonomic state indicator (Ca/P). Bear’s ANS showed sympathetic nervous system dominance.
“Slow” should not be confused with “low,” or “fast” with “high,” as you may see on a blood test.
For example, Bear’s thyroid tested normal on his blood work, but his mineral test results show a slow thyroid.
Many signs point to Bear’s sympathetic nervous system being chronically activated which is why his thyroid is slowing down to compensate.
The vet explained that if Bear continued on this path, his thyroid could possibly test low on a blood test in the future. At this point, conventional medicine would recommend medication to speed up his thyroid. This is the absolute worst thing you could do for a dog whose body is intentionally slowing down the thyroid to compensate for deficiencies elsewhere.
She recommended tailored supplementation for Bear and suggested retesting his minerals in 4-6 months.
The coolest part? She said all of this applies to humans.
The ratios, the symptoms, everything.
I wanted to learn more, so I looked for books on minerals. There’s not much out there, but I did find this one (Nutritional Balancing and Hair Mineral Analysis) that looked good. However, it is $199!
So I did a Google search for the author (Dr. Lawrence Wilson) and came across his website. There is loads of free information there that I am still sifting through, and he has many free books on his site. If you’re also interested in minerals, his website could be a good starting place for learning. The Root Cause Protocol has some great information too.
If you’d like to get mineral testing done yourself, Upgraded Formulas offers a similar setup to the one I described with Bear.
The kit gets sent to you in the mail, you send in 2 tbsp of hair, then the results are sent to you via email.
The results will show your levels of the following…
- Calcium (Ca)
- Copper (Cu)
- Magnesium (Mg)
- Molybdenum (Mo)
- Sodium (Na)
- Potassium (K)
- Zinc (Zn)
- Phosphorus (P)
- Iron (Fe)
- Manganese (Mn)
- Chromium (Cr)
- Selenium (Se)
- Sulfur (S)
- Mercury (Hg)
- Lead (Pb)
- Cadmium (Cd)
- Arsenic (As)
- Aluminum (Al)
- Beryllium (Be)
- Antimony (Sb)
- Uranium (U)
According to Upgraded Formulas, other important elements such as Vanadium can also be found.
As I mentioned before, I hear that hair testing is ideal if you want to see mineral stores and blood testing is ideal if you want to see your body’s current mineral state. Minerals and heavy metals are also found in much higher levels in hair.
This is why I chose a hair test (instead of a blood test) for my mineral/heavy metal levels, but if a blood test resonates with you more, you can have one done with Marek for many of the above-listed heavy metals and minerals.
As for the hair you give for your sample, it needs to be as close to the skin as possible. Even though Upgraded Formulas says pubic hair is okay, I have read in multiple places (including Dr. Wilson’s website) that it is not as accurate as head/underarm hair (levels can be higher because pubic hair takes longer to grow so higher mineral levels accumulate).
Since I was not willing to shave a part of my head hair, I waited weeks for my underarm hair to grow out only to realize that it was not enough (a full tbsp is required). So I was left with my pubic hair, which I guess may not be as accurate, but I figured having some data was better than none, and even if my individual minerals are all a bit higher compared to where they would be if I gave my head hair, the ratios should still be the same.
As you can do with Marek Diagnostics, with Upgraded Formulas, you can also choose to:
- get the results only
- add a consultation to help with results interpretation
If you choose results only and decide you need help with interpretation after the fact, you can purchase a consultation separately too.
You can find all information about hair mineral testing with Upgraded Formulas on this page here. Use ASHLEYR at checkout for a 10% discount. upgraded formulas discount code
Upgraded Formulas’ quoted results turnaround time is 10-14 business days from the day you ship out your sample. My results came back on the tail end of this timeframe and my husband’s results came back a few days sooner.
As for my results, this is how they were presented.
Here is a snapshot of my individual mineral levels:
The first thing that jumped out at me was my sky-high magnesium level.
From what I understand, having a high level like this on a hair test doesn’t automatically mean sufficient cellular levels. It means the body is dumping high amounts into the hair, sufficient levels or not.
What a high level like this does mean is that I probably don’t have an “absolute” magnesium deficiency. Low test magnesium levels + a fast metabolic rate (derived from the CA/P ratio – mine points to a slow metabolic rate) can indicate an absolute deficiency on a cellular level.
There is still a possibility for a “relative” magnesium deficiency, but since my Ca/Mg ratio was fine, it is not likely. The higher the Ca/Mg ratio, the more likely a deficiency is present.
Here are my ratios:
Ca/P: metabolism indicator (can be slow, normal, or fast…mine (high ratio) reflects a slow metabolism)
Na/K: energy indicator (reflects how your cells balance sodium/potassium…the more taxed your adrenals are, the harder it is to maintain this balance)
Ca/K: thyroid indicator (how efficiently T3 can access each cell…when this process is inhibited (high ratio), it can lead to fatigue)
Zn/Cu: inflammatory stress marker (relates to emotional stability)
Na/Mg: adrenal indicator (the lower the ratio, the longer it takes for your body to recover from stress)
Ca/Mg: blood sugar ratio (how sensitive you are to sugars)
Fe/Cu: another inflammatory stress marker (iron/copper relationship…high ratio = possible iron toxicity, low ratio = possible copper toxicity)
Here are my toxic metals results:
Nothing too concerning.
These are the other elements that were found in my hair:
High barium can be related to bath water. This intrigues me since I take a lot of baths (as does Farrah), so I will be looking into that. My levels aren’t overwhelmingly high, but high enough to raise a brow. While my bismuth and nickel levels appear to be fine, I learned that high levels of these elements can be related to toxic cosmetics (hair dyes, shampoos, etc.). If you use such products regularly, you may be interested in getting your levels checked.
I am still learning about the other elements. There’s a lot to learn here (and with hair mineral analysis in general). It’s a disconcerting thought to think I have things like tin, titanium, and zirconium circulating inside of me, but I’m no chemist, so that could be common/normal for all I know.
This is my husband’s graph and my graph (of our individual minerals) side by side (mine’s on top): upgraded formulas review
They have almost the same shape, which I thought was cool. And if you take into account that my levels may be falsely elevated due to giving public hair, we probably have very similar levels (Aside from him having almost no cobalt, me having sky high mag, and our Mo/S levels being inverted).
Not sure if this “shape” os common or if it is unique to us and happened because we eat/live similarly. Cool to think about.
Our individual mineral graphs may follow the same shape, but look at how different our ratios are (mine’s on top). upgraded formulas review
upgraded formulas review