Maybe you’ve heard me mention this heaps but you’re still thinking ‘what the heck is this mineral balancing thing?’, ‘what have minerals got to do with hair?’, and ‘how can balancing my minerals with hair tissue mineral analysis help me?’.
Well…Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) is an analytical test that measures the mineral composition of hair. Hair is body tissue, and minerals get deposited in certain patterns, which ultimately, when read, provide us with a blueprint for your unique body’s biochemistry.
Minerals are essential for growth, healing, vitality, and wellbeing. They provide structural support in bones and teeth, and maintain the body’s pH, water balance, nerve activity, muscle contractions, energy production and enzyme reactions. They are the basic ‘spark plugs’ in the chemistry of life.
Our health and well-being may be aggravated by mineral imbalances and toxic metal excesses, aggravating conditions including cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, migraines, learning difficulties and hyperactivity in children, to name just a few.
HTMA (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis) is a non-invasive cellular biopsy that measures the mineral composition in hair to reflect the level of nutrients and toxic elements in the body tissue.
We use it to investigate your levels of 35 nutrient and toxic minerals, and over 25 important mineral ratios (minerals are things like calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, potassium etc.).
WHY SHOULD I DO A HAIR TISSUE MINERAL ANALYSIS (HTMA)?
Because knowing your mineral levels can tell us about heaps of stuff going on in your body and why you’re feeling as you are both physically and emotionally. Here are some things we can look into…
- how effectively your body is making energy (your metabolic or oxidation rate) – it’s not healthy for this to be slow or fast, it’s important for it to be balanced,
- how well you’re managing stress,
- energy levels and fatigue
- thyroid and adrenal health
- your mental health
- liver and kidney stress
- why you keep getting sick
- how well you are digesting food
- nutritional deficiencies
- your blood sugar and glucose metabolism,
- how well your body is detoxing things,
- your heavy metal toxicity status,
- we can even discover things about your personality!
…plus so much more! Minerals are literally the spark plugs of life.
Dr Linus Pauling, said “You could trace every disease and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.”
When we balance minerals, often things like hormonal imbalances, fatigue, anxiety, brain fog etc. get fixed. Balancing minerals is of benefit to anyone.
It’s been a game changer for me after having my twins. Growing a baby requires around 10% of our minerals, then when you add on the sleepless nights, breastfeeding, and stresses of becoming a new mumma, you can see how we can become incredibly depleted. Mineral balancing has been particularly useful to me for:
- increasing my energy levels and vitality (replenishing my depleted stores)
- decreasing brain fog and increasing focus and clarity (I was seriously scared to drive before, my concentration was so poor),
- helping with my mood (way less crazy, angry, irritated, and frustrated moments – I even like myself again!),
- digestion (way less gut issues and bloating).
DON’T I JUST GET MY MINERALS FROM THE FOOD I EAT?
In an ideal world yes, but unfortunately our world is far from ideal at the moment. Modern farming techniques, fertilisers and depleted soils reduce mineral content of foods. Environmental pollutants, chemical food additives, pharmaceutical medicines, and stressful lifestyles also have detrimental effects on our nutritional status.
Even if you now grow our own food in an amazing bio-dynamic set up and live in the outback away from industry, have you always lived that way?
WHY CAN’T I DO A BLOOD TEST TO LOOK AT MY MINERALS?
HTMA provides clinical data missed by standard blood, urine or stool testing.
Blood tests are great, but blood is a transport medium that is outside of our cells. The body does it’s best to keep blood content as constant as possible, drawing from stores and depositing components in other parts of the body where needed. Bloods provide us with a snapshot in time, they don’t, however, give the full picture of what’s going on at a deeper tissue level.
Hair, on the other hand, is cellular tissue, so with the HTMA we see what’s getting into your cells. Neat huh! I love the example of magnesium to show what I mean here…only 1% of magnesium is in the blood, 99% is in the cells…so a blood test to look at your mineral levels isn’t going to give you a whole lot of the story hey?…you need HTMA! Plus, with magnesium, your recorded level is dependent on how long they leave the tourniquet on for, amongst other things.
Plus, bloods tests don’t even test for half of the minerals on the HTMA panel. Ever asked your doctor to blood test you for mercury toxicity before? Nope!
Even if they do test for say zinc, they often don’t test for its’ ratio with other minerals, which in many cases can be just as important as the isolated mineral itself.
For example, if copper and zinc aren’t balanced this can suggest copper toxicity, oestrogen issues, endometriosis, fibroids, and/or psychological/mood disturbances. If calcium and potassium aren’t balanced, then this can suggest issues with the thyroid and even early onset hypothyroidism…before a blood test can even detect it!
HOW DO MINERALS IMPACT MY HEALTH, GIVE ME SOME EXAMPLES?
To give you some idea of the importance of minerals I thought it would be good to show how a few are involved with your health…
Calcium is a primary structural element, but it needs to be directed where to go or it can cause issues. It also helps control our nervous system, maintain pH (alkalinity), is involved in muscle contractions, stops excess lactic acid, promotes insulin secretion, and high calcium can inhibit thyroid hormone. Imbalances may be linked with anxiety, difficulty falling asleep, adrenal hyperactivity, hyperthyroidism, excessive thirst, muscle aches, memory loss, depression, hearing difficulties, fatigue, joint stiffness, weakness, restless leg syndrome, constipation, and kidney stones.
Magnesium is involved with 500+ different enzyme reactions and is a key element for cellular metabolism. It helps regulate sugar metabolism (clears insulin from blood), it’s involved with energy production, reduces inflammation, and helps the relaxation of muscles. As I mentioned, magnesium is an intracellular mineral (99% in cell therefore HTMA best way to test), it is also a ‘heart’ mineral (keeps it healthy), and helps regulate cell permeability (how things move in and out of cells). Imbalances can cause twitches, spasms, you may find it hard to relax, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, depression, PMS, cardiovascular disease, noise sensitivity, hypothyroidism, anxiety, hyperactivity, tremors, excessive sweating, confusion, diarrhea, fatigue/lethargy, low/high blood pressure, and muscle weakness.
Sodium is the body’s great solvent (helps other minerals dissolve) so is vital for health, but too much can increase blood pressure (why table salt is bad) and increase heart rate. Sodium maintains fluid balance and pH levels, and it influences cell permeability. Imbalances may be linked with allergies, apathy (lack of interest), anorexia, abdominal bloating, depression, dizziness, fatigue, low/high blood pressure, low stomach acid levels, poor protein digestion, weakness, headaches, inflammation, irritability, nervousness, and oedema/water retention.
Potassium is the body’s primary solvent, and is also an intracellular mineral (99% in cell), that regulates blood pressure with sodium, maintains fluid balance and the pH level of body, lowers heart rate and dilates arteries (can get heart palpitations if low). Imbalances may be linked to allergies, constipation, fatigue, irregular heartbeats, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, muscle weakness, skin problems, oedema/water retention, depression, high blood sugar, muscle spasms, and muscle weakness.
Mercury is very toxic and causes hundreds of symptoms. Common sources include metal fillings, fish (especially tuna, salmon, cod, shellfish, and halibut), vaccines, contact lens solution, Chinese herbs, tattoos (red ink), Ajax, Lysol, Comet, DermaScrub, Dove soap, Ivory Liquid. It tends to accumulate in the brain making it difficult to remove, often causing neurological issues (mad hatter, Alice in Wonderland – chemicals in hat making industry). Also accumulates in the kidneys and liver. Impacts the nerves, kidneys, immune system, endocrine system and muscles. Causes weakness, fatigue, anorexia, weight loss, gastrointestinal disorders, tremors, depression, anger, anxiety, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke.
Aluminium is a big contributor to Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia, and Parkinson’s. It is also linked with blood disorders, autism, colitis, cavities, fatigue, breast cancer, peptic ulcers. Early symptoms of toxicity include flatulence, headaches, colic, dryness of skin and mucus membranes, tendency for colds, burning pain in the head relieved by food, heartburn, and aversion to meat. Later symptoms may involve paralytic muscular conditions, loss of memory and confusion. Common sources are aluminium foil, cookware (often in restaurants), utensils, ceramics, baking powders, cosmetics, dental amalgams, deodorant, nasal sprays, vaccines, processed cheese, and cigarette filters, antacids, aspirin, fireworks, flour (anticaking agent).
HOW DO I DO A HAIR TISSUE MINERAL ANALYSIS (HTMA)?
If you have hair you can do this test! Even if you don’t have hair on your head we can use ‘other’ hair on the body if absolutely necessary. Head hair is what’s best, however, as it grows slower and gives us the bigger picture, plus it has the most science behind it.
All you need is a 0.5gm (about tablespoon) of hair that’s 4cm long from the nape of your neck cut as close to the scalp as possible. You get a special envelope with a scale so it’s easy to know if you have enough hair, plus if you do the test with me, I send you a video so there’s no uncertainty for you! Ideally this will be undyed hair, so you want to get your sample right before your next hair appointment (6-8 weeks fresh growth).
WHERE DO I GET MY HAIR TISSUE MINERAL ANALYSIS (HTMA)?
If you google about HTMA you will find a real mixed bag of opinions. This is largely due to incorrect interpretations of results and how the labs test and run their samples. Interclinical Labs run the Trace Elements Research Labs HTMA here in Australia and are THE ONLY lab I recommend for this test.
Not all HTMAs include the important ratios or have such a vast mineral profile. Other labs often wash hair before testing, may cut hair up and mix by hand, may use the long ends of the hair etc., which may affect the results. So, it’s important to pick the right lab!
It is also incredibly important that you get a practitioner well versed in interpreting HTMA results. I cannot stress this enough! It’s not as simple as minerals just being in or out of set ranges. Each mineral must be assessed against other minerals on the panel as well as with the presenting conditions of the client. A comprehensive understanding is vital if the HTMA is to be interpreted correctly.
Computer-generated protocols don’t work either. A computer is not a human brain and cannot collate the information required to interpret the test in the correct way. I should add here that I am a practitioner with extensive training on interpreting HTMA!
If you would like to look at a sample test result then please click here.
SOUNDS GOOD BUT I STILL HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT HAIR TISSUE MINERAL ANALYSIS…
If you’ve made it to this point and find yourself thinking, “so Carla, this all sounds good but I’m still not 100% sure how it will help me and what to expect after I run this thing”, I get it! That’s why I’m happy to offer you a complementary no obligation chat to discover if, and exactly how, this lab will help you personalise your health protocol…just click the button below.