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Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

Updated: Jun 18

Ever wondered what your hair can say about your health?

What are trace minerals?

They are in short, minerals that our body needs in TRACE amounts (at the microgram level (mcg). Examples are zinc, iodine, copper, manganese, selenium, verses other minerals that are needed in

larger amounts such as magnesium, calcium, potassium.

A woman's long hair

Why do we need them?

We need these trace minerals for making enzymes which are proteins that do the work of the body - they are not just for digestion but for the biochemistry of the body – such as making cells and repairing DNA, making and converting hormones. They are the co-factors that these pathways DEPEND on. Zinc is involved with over 300 enzymes; testosterone production, detoxifying chemicals, building immune weaponry to kill off pathogens, breaking down alcohol etc. It is deficient in so many of us for many reasons, one being the amount of phytic acids which is in grains (cereals, crackers and bread), which prevents the absorption of zinc. Iron is the most common deficiency in the world and is needed in 6.5% of all enzymes in every cell in our body. It also used to detoxify hydrogen peroxide, to carry oxygen through the blood, to make collagen and more. Selenium converts the inactive form of the thyroid hormone to the active form. Glutathione is dependent on selenium which is the main buffer of our toxins and chemicals.

So why are we focusing on this?

There are many reasons why it is important to connect with how your trace minerals are functioning in the body, one being that we are not putting these back in the soils. Another is we are struggling with stress and fatigue and not creating our hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes to absorb the trace minerals. And another is simply put, we have sucky diets…

I could go over some common signs of these deficiencies, but you can google that for yourself, and I would rather focus on what happens when they are imbalanced. Here are a few examples: Low copper will leave us open to consistent bacterial infections; Selenium deficiency can cause infertility. Manganese can impact bone growth and make fat and sugar metabolism difficult. Iron can be displaced really easily and becomes neo-morphic (it will go and be put in other tissues and not be utilised), and then we have our bloods come back iron deficient but when we go in with iron infusions, we become iron toxic.

In the clinic, I have been employing the use of HTMA (hair tissue mineral analysis) for over a decade to assist alongside homeopathic support, including tissue salt regulation. This helps us to understand what is happening in the body with ALL our elements, including the trace elements, toxic elements (such as mercury, lead, arsenic) and additional elements (such as when vanadium is creeping up in the chart and the manganese and chromium are out of balance, I know you are struggling with insulin difficulties). Each element has other elements that it works synergistically with and antagonistically with- such as copper and zinc being besties, which means if one is out of whack if affects the other by pushing it up and making it overactive.

So, what is HTMA?

Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) is a comprehensive non-invasive test that measures the levels of minerals and trace elements in your hair, alongside toxic elements.

What is the difference between a blood test and HTMA? AKA Why Hair?

Our hair provides and amazing canvas for monitoring internal biochemical conditions. As our hair grows, it is gathering information from the body's internal environment. Once the hair emerges from the skin, the follicle hardens and encapsulates various metabolic products accumulated during its growth phase. 

Blood shows us a snapshot of what is happening in the blood at that particular moment, whereas a hair tissue stores a permanent record of mineral status over a 3 month blood cycle of time.

Blood tests can be variable based on its consistent travelling of minerals to and from their required needs, whereas hair paints a story of your overall health and wellbeing for the past few months.

How the test results are read:

The test results are broken into 5 parts

1. The essential elements - this allows me to understand where and how all these minerals are working in your body and include:

  • The electrolytes - Calcium, Magnesium, sodium and potassium

  • Copper/zinc ratios 

  • Iron

  • Manganese and Chromium 

  • Molybdenum and Sulphur

  • Phosphorus

  • Boron

  • Cobalt

This chart guides us towards knowledge around our adrenals, thyroid and other ways our endocrine system is working alongside allergies and oestrogen levels or other loads on our body such as bacterial, viral or parasitic load as well as seeing just how much our liver, digestion or blood sugar regulation can be affecting the way our bodies can be holding onto weight, hormonal issues and many other complaints. 

2. The additional elements such as

  • Lithium

  • Titanium

  • Nickel

  • Tin

  • Vanadium

Which can often act as toxic elements or inform us that we have imbalances that are allowing these elements to take over such as a dysfunction in our liver or for example, if vanadium is creeping up in the chart it indicates tendencies towards big blood/sugar regulation as vanadium will mimic insulin in the body.

3. The toxic Elements

These can often be rectified with getting the metabolism working well however can

be critical in understanding exposure, genetic imprints or potential storage of these

elements and why.

4. The Ratios Chart

This chart is imperative in understanding how the elements are relating to each other

and why alongside the specific figures around each ratio. An example of this would be

Calcium/Magnesium ratios:

A. Low Calcium to Magnesium levels – can indicate food sensitivities, aches and pain, very interesting symptoms you would not think are related – but I have a firm belief when you have an imbalance in calcium and magnesium – you have big imbalances in the body- all the muscles in your body are not functioning properly, the bladder, the bowel, the heart, the brain, when you have such a massive imbalance between contraction and release there is not anything in your body that in not affected.

B. Low Magnesium to calcium levels - can be due to GIT disorders, diarrhoea, celiac, hypochlorhydria and pancreatic insufficiency. A very high fibre diet can lower absorption as well as a very low protein or very high protein diet.

5. Nutrition

Allows me to offer a comprehensive guide as to which foods to consider increasing and decreasing in the body and why.

Heard enough? Ready to book?

What Does HTMA Help With?

HTMA is beneficial for understanding various health issues, including:

🌼 Nutrient Deficiencies: Identifies deficiencies or dominances in essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.

🌼 Toxic Metal Exposure: Detects toxic elements such as lead, mercury, and arsenic, which can accumulate in the body and cause health problems.

🌼 Metabolic Disorders: Provides insights into metabolic functions, including adrenal and thyroid activity, blood sugar regulation and digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid production in the body.

🌼 Stress and Fatigue: Helps identify mineral imbalances that contribute to chronic stress and fatigue.

🌼 Digestive Issues: Assesses the mineral status that impacts digestive health and enzyme function as well as liver function.

🌼 Mood Disorders: Aids in understanding the mineral imbalances associated with anxiety, depression, and mood swings.

🌼 Chronic Conditions: Supports the management of chronic health issues by addressing underlying mineral imbalances and toxicities.

🌼 Iron Imbalances: Helps ascertain iron in the body and if it is being used or relocated.

🌼 and many more...

How does it work?

Once you purchase and book an appointment (for 3-4 weeks AFTER you plan on sending in your hair) you will receive an email with full instructions on how to cut and prepare your hair and where you need to send it (including downloadable form and envelope).

The test requires a sample of hair, specifically the first inch and a half of growth closest to the scalp from the nape of the neck, to be sent to the laboratory for analysis. It is important to note:

  • Please ensure you have not been swimming in the ocean before you collect the hair as to not throw the sodium levels off.

  • You also require the hair to be untreated (no perms, dyes etc), so if you dye your hair, simply let it grow out a cm or two and then collect the hair from 2 areas so you can gain the tablespoons worth of hair required.

  • Ensure you are putting no more than 4cm length of hair into the envelope.

As always if you have any questions, please get in touch.

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