here's a good research abstract you can show your folks, in order to justify a trip to the doc to ask for testing:
Alterations of serum zinc, copper, manganese, iron, calcium, and magnesium concentrations and the complexity of interelement relations in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22383079
The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the status of serum trace elements: zinc, copper, manganese, iron, calcium, and magnesium concentrations in obsessive-compulsive disorder patients. Forty-eight obsessive-compulsive disorder patients and 48 healthy volunteers were included in this study. Patients were recruited from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University by random sampling. Serum trace element concentrations were determined using flame atomic absorption spectroscopy (for zinc, copper, iron, calcium, and magnesium) as well as graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy (for manganese). Data were analyzed using independent t test, Pearson's correlation analysis, regression analysis, and ANOVA. Statistical analysis of these data showed a definite pattern of variation among certain elements in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder compared to controls. In patients' serum, zinc, iron, and magnesium concentrations decreased significantly (p < 0.05) compared to the controls. Serum manganese and calcium concentrations were significantly higher (p < 0.05) in patients compared to the controls. These data showed a definite imbalance in the interelement relations in obsessive-compulsive disorder patients compared to controls and therefore suggest a disturbance in the element homeostasis.
i can give you serum targets for serum zinc, iron (ferritin actually) and magnesium - they're in the first post of my regimen thread (link below). they are all very specific points within the 'normal' range so if you get the tests, do use these targets to evaluate your status. the normal range at the lab won't really tell you anything other than whether you are like, or worse off than, all the other sick people who had that particular level tested there.
the nutrients studied in that test form three important ratios. eg the copper-zinc ratio, the calcium-magnesium ratio, and the iron-manganese ratio. if you push the low side up, you can balance out the ratio overall.
if they still don't go for it, you can just try boosting your intakes of foods high in mag/zinc/iron:
magnesium - http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tnam ... oodsources
(basically, eat a cup of boiled chard or spinach every day to get a third of what you need, build from there. boiling these specific greens for 3 minutes is key, as it allows you to consume the high volumes without accumulating oxalic acid. boil the water first, then dump in the greens and set the timer, drain at three minutes, season to taste) (note: these foods are considered healthy copper foods as well but the amounts are appropriate at a fraction of a mg per serving)
zinc - http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tnam ... oodsources
(pay attention to the amount in mg per serving - i would take venison or beef any day over crimini mushrooms)
iron - http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tnam ... oodsources
on this list, i'm seeing decent nutrient amounts for things like venison, spinach, lentils, chickpeas, soy/tofu, etc. (again, chard and spinach are listed as sources of manganese, but the amounts are less than 2mg per serving)
you can avoid magnesium depletion by minimizing coffee, alcohol (in future
), etc; and avoid zinc depletion by minimizing intakes of gluten grains, dairy, sugar etc