I know, you probably have no idea what the heck Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Testing (HTMA) is and up until a few years ago I had never heard of it either! Funny, considering it’s been around for decades, literally.
In short, it’s this awesome affordable, non-invasive, highly accurate hair sample test that reveals mineral imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, and heavy metal toxicity. All of which can have a drastic impact on your health.
It is a preventative screening tool that helps us get to the root cause of many chronic and age-related health issues.
You can’t do much to alter our age, gender or genetics which accounts for about 10% of disease but you certainly can do a lot about the remaining 90%. Your body has the innate desire to move towards a state of balance and the HTMA test will help us do just that. Yes- you can address the 90% of controllable factors by using a HTMA nutrient test.
HTMA provides a mineral outline, and other information regarding your metabolic rate (whether you are a fast or slow metabolizer), energy levels, sugar and carbohydrate tolerance, stage of stress, immune system function and glandular activity.
Whether you are experiencing symptoms or not the HTMA is a great first step screening tool that is accurate and much less expensive than other diagnostic tests. It gives us facts about your body before you become ill or have a disease.
The test costs under $100, now when was the last time you had a doctor order lab work that cost under $100? I will be getting into why the HTMA test is more accurate than blood tests.
Honestly, the test is so valuable, I recommend all my clients get a HTMA test before any other diagnostic test. It allows me to view where your body may be dysfunctioning and takes the guesswork out of trying to figure out a protocol that works for you. I can tailor your protocol to your specific needs based on your test.
No more confusion about what you should and shouldn’t be eating. I’m sure you have wondered if you should be eating more carb or higher fat. This test will tell us if you are a fat burner or carb burner based on your metabolic type.
The test reveals 29 minerals and their ratios including calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, copper, zinc, phosphorus, iron, manganese, chromium, selenium, boron, and molybdenum, to name a few and 8 heavy metals including aluminum, lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, and uranium.
Based on the mineral levels and their ratios we can get a whole lot of information about what’s going on inside the body.
So what does a HTMA test reveal?
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Mineral/ nutrient deficiencies
- Your metabolic rate (fast or slow)- no more guessing about if you should be eating a high fat diet or low carb diet- this tells us exactly that based on your metabolism!
- The state of your adrenals- those glands that handle our stress response
- Thyroid function
- Hormonal imbalances
- Nervous system imbalances
- Energy levels
- Mental health- anxiety/ depression
- Liver function
- Blood sugar imbalances/ diabetes
- Digestive dysfunction
- if any infections or viruses present
Yes! All of that in one simple hair test!
So why is nobody talking about it?
Don’t expect to walk into your primary care physician and ask them if they can run a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis they would look at you like you are crazy. Most western medicine doctors don’t recognize HTMA testing simply because they can’t prescribe a prescription for a low magnesium to potassium ratio or prescribe a pill to detox metals. They don’t care about preventative care they just want to treat symptoms. Most of this balancing has to be done through diet and supplementation and when was the last you walked into the doctor complaining of a symptom and they discuss nutrition and lifestyle with you? Probably never.
So why do we use hair?
Hair contains minerals that are deposited as the hair grows. Although the hair is dead, the minerals remain as the hair continues to grow out. This is why we take a sample of hair cut close to the scalp. It provides all the information about mineral activity in the hair that took place over the past three to four months.
We use hair because 95% of the minerals in your body are intracellular making it a very valuable tool. In other words, hair is one of the many places the body eliminates minerals and heavy metals making it easy to detect them. This test is one of the best as an early indicator of disease states.
For example, a blood test may not reveal anemia. You can have symptoms of iron deficiency long before it is detected in your blood serum levels but a HTMA test will reveal this much sooner.
Another example, you go to your doctor because you are feeling tired all the time, you get a blood test and find out you are totally healthy. In this case, blood tests may look good until there is something seriously wrong whereas the HTMA will prevent that from happening.
An instance would be your sodium/potassium and sodium/magnesium ratios are low which are a clear indicator of exhaustion. We would work together to build these up with food and supplementation while also taking into consideration the other minerals and heavy metals to make sure we are creating balance.
It is an amazing preventative tool, consider it your yearly physical exam!
Why are minerals so important?
“You can trace every sickness, every disease, and every ailment to a mineral deficiency”- Dr. Linus Pauling
Minerals are the sparks plug of life! They are absolutely necessary for the body to function appropriately. They play important roles in enzyme reactions, PH balance, digestive function, hormone balance, transferring nutrients, metabolic rate, muscle relaxation and contraction, and maintaining proper nerve function.
Without proper mineral ratios we cannot achieve optimal health.
Lets take a look at some of the minerals and their ratios and how they can indicate certain things going on in the body:
Too high calcium can indicate that the calcium is not getting into the places it needs to be like the bones and teeth but rather being stored in the soft tissue. It also indicates copper toxicity and the need for magnesium.
Too high sodium can indicate inflammation, copper toxicity and stress response and low can indicate chronic dehydration. Due to the copper toxicity this can indicate hormonal imbalances like estrogen dominance and PCOS. High potassium can indicate excessive thyroid activity.
Low sodium and chloride indicates you are not able to produce hydrochloric acid which can cause heartburn and digestive distress.
Let’s look at a couple ratios…
The sodium/ potassium ratio is an expression of the adrenal hormones. Both are sensitive to the effects of stress and inflammation. When sodium is high and potassium is low that can indicate an inflammatory response in the body.
The calcium/potassium ratio is a thyroid indicator. When low it can indicate elevation of the thyroid and when high it can indicate lowered thyroid function. Blood tests don’t always correlate with this because they are only taking a snap shot in time. Depending on what you ate, how your stress levels were, what you were exposed to the day prior and of your blood draw will be depicted in the blood.
See, it’s not just about being too low or too high in a mineral and supplementing with it. We have to consider the ratios as well. Minerals are a game of co-factors, they need to be in balance and in appropriate ratios for the body to function appropriately.
Examples test results:
So what causes mineral deficiency and imbalance?
Mineral deficiencies are among the most common and serious nutrient deficiencies in our population due to industrialized depleted soils and increased toxins, water quality, pesticides, preserving foods, table salt, copper piping in homes, eating processed foods (excess calcium and iron in fortified foods) – you know what I’m talking about, those processed cereals that claim to be nutritious by adding in synthetic fortified vitamins and minerals.
Some of the biggest offenders- the birth control pill and pharmaceuticals (whether you take them now or in the past).
And let’s not forget mental, emotional and physical stress! I could write a 10 page essay on how important stress management is especially in relation to our mineral stores.
Symptoms of mineral imbalance:
- Adrenal Dysfunction
- Brain Fog
- Lack of Concentration
- Digestive Issues
- Food Intolerances
- Low Energy Levels
- Heart Problems/ Palpitations
- High Blood Pressure
- Kidney Stones
- Thyroid Issues
- Hormonal Imbalances
- Weight Problems
Heavy metals and mineral deficiencies have been linked to many degenerative diseases.
Heavy metal toxicity and detoxing
This is the part where clients get a little too caught up in. Clients will get their results and immediately think they need to do some detox juice cleanse or something hardcore to eliminate the metals but there is SO MUCH more to it than that!
There is a few steps to this process.
1. We need to eliminate the possible contaminant from your diet or environment.
2. We need address digestion to make sure you are absorbing your minerals and nutrients.
3. We need to make sure all your detox pathways are open in order to actually detox the heavy metals and not have them circulating back into the body.
4. We need to balance out all the minerals so that your body can naturally detox on it’s own.
We take a gentle approach to detoxing. You certainly do not want to dump metals too fast. You will end up feeling so uncomfortable and want to end your protocol.
The problem with heavy metals is that they deplete our body of minerals. They can displace minerals because of their higher atomic weight. Toxic poisons accumulate in our bodies and interfere with the way minerals and vitamins are used. This creates disease in the body.
For example, lead and cadmium have been show to leach calcium from our bones which can in turn lead to arthritis and osteoporosis.
Few notes on heavy metals. We have to understand that we live in a very toxic world and we will never fully detox or eliminate toxins and heavy metals completely. We often forget our bodies are machines. They are capable and made to detox all the time.
We tend to run into problems detoxing when our minerals are out of wack, our digestion is less than optimal and our detox pathways are not open. That’s where the HTMA and my expertise comes in, I look at the whole picture.
Who should get a HTMA test?
Everyone! It doesn’t matter if you have symptoms or not. This is a wonderful tool you can use to prevent disease. Like I said- use it as your 6 months physical exam!
How do I get a test and how often should I do them?
You can view my packages and pricing here. Depending on your metabolic rate we will re-test every 3-6 months.
What would a protocol look like?
The protocol would be designed specifically for you based on your HTMA results and nutrition assessment questionnaire. In most cases it would be a combo of food and supplementation, along with some lifestyle changes, digestive support and detox protocols.
So have I convinced you? Do you see the value in a HTMA test yet?
What questions do you have? Wondering if this test is right for you? Feel free to email me!
Curious about learning more or working with me? Rewild Your Gut or Wild + Well-Fed might be for you!
Here’s what you need to know:
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