Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis FAQs
▶ Why use the hair? Why not use the blood?
▶ Why test for minerals?
▶ What can cause a mineral imbalance?
▶ Can vitamin requirements be determined from a mineral test?
▶ Is vitamin D deficiency associated with mineral imbalance?
Why use the hair? Why not use the blood?
Hair is ideal tissue for sampling and testing. First, it can be cut easily
and painlessly and can be sent to a lab without special handling
requirements. Second, clinical results have shown that a properly
obtained sample can give an indication of mineral status and toxic
metal accumulation following long-term or even acute exposure.
An HTMA reveals a unique metabolic world: intracellular activity, which
cannot be seen through most other tests. This provides a blueprint of
the biochemistry occurring during the period of hair growth and
development. A few examples:
- For 30 to 40 days following an acute exposure, elevated serum levels
of lead may be undetectable. This is due to the body removing the lead
from the serum as a protective measure and depositing the metal into
such tissues as the liver, bones, teeth, and hair.
- Calcium loss from the body can become so advanced that severe
osteoporosis can develop without any appreciable changes noted in the
calcium levels in a blood test.
- Symptoms of iron deficiency can be present long before low iron levels can be detected in the serum.
Hair is used as one of the tissues of choice by the Environmental
Protection Agency in determining toxic metal exposure. A 1980 report
from the EPA stated that human hair can be effectively used for
biological monitoring of the highest priority toxic metals. This report
confirmed the findings of other studies in the U.S. and abroad, which
concluded that human hair may be a more appropriate tissue than blood
or urine for studying community exposure to some trace elements.
Why test for minerals?
Trace minerals are essential in countless metabolic functions in all phases of the life process. For example:
Zinc is involved in the production, storage, and secretion of insulin and is necessary for growth hormones.
Magnesium is required for normal muscular function,
especially the heart. A deficiency has been associated with an
increased incidence of heart attacks, anxiety, and nervousness.
Potassium is critical for normal nutrient transport into
the cell. A deficiency can result in muscular weakness, depression, and
Excess sodium is associated with hypertension, but
adequate amounts are required for normal health. In the words of the
late author and noted researcher Dr. Henry Schroeder, trace elements
(minerals) are "...more important factors in human nutrition than
vitamins. The body can manufacture many vitamins, but it cannot produce
necessary trace minerals or get rid of many possible excesses."
What can cause a mineral imbalance?
There are many factors to take into consideration, such as:
Diet - Improper diet through high intake of refined and
processed foods, alcohol, and fad diets can all lead to a chemical
imbalance. Even the nutrient content of a "healthy" diet can be
inadequate, depending upon the soil in which the food was grown or the
method in which it was prepared.
Stress - Physical or emotional stress can deplete the body of
many nutrients while also reducing the capability to absorb and utilize
Medications - Both prescription and over-the-counter medications
can deplete the body's stores of nutrient minerals and/or increase the
levels of toxic metals. These medications include diuretics, antacids,
aspirin, and oral contraceptives.
Pollution - From adolescence through adulthood the average
person is continually exposed to a variety of toxic metal sources such
as cigarette smoke (cadmium), hair dyes (lead), hydrogenated oils
(nickel), anti-perspirants (aluminum), dental amalgams (mercury and
cadmium), copper and aluminum cookware, and lead-based cosmetics. These
are just a few of the hundreds of sources which can contribute to
nutrient imbalances and adverse metabolic effects.
▶ Aluminum Toxicity: Learn More ▶ Copper Toxicity: Learn More ▶ Detox from Fossil-Fuel Pollutants
Nutritional Supplements - Taking incorrect supplements or
improper amounts of supplements can produce many vitamin and mineral
excesses and/or deficiencies, contributing to an overall biochemical
Inherited Patterns - A predisposition toward certain mineral imbalances, deficiencies, and excesses can be inherited from parents.
Can vitamin requirements be determined from a mineral test?
Minerals interact not only with each other but also with vitamins,
proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Minerals influence each of these
factors, and they in turn influence mineral status. Minerals act as
enzyme activators, and vitamins are synergistic to minerals as
coenzymes. It is extremely rare that a mineral disturbance develops
without a corresponding disturbance in the synergistic vitamin(s). It
is also rare for a disturbance in the utilization or activity of a
vitamin to occur without affecting a synergistic mineral(s).
example, vitamin C plays a well-established vital role in the body's ability to absorb iron absorption and also reduces copper
retention. Boron and iron influence the status of vitamin B2. Vitamin
B2 affects the relationship between calcium and magnesium. Vitamin B1
enhances sodium retention, B12 enhances iron and cobalt absorption, and
vitamin A enhances the utilization of zinc, while antagonizing vitamins
D and E. Protein intake affects zinc status.
evaluating mineral status provides good clues of vitamin status and
requirements. Continuing research involves the
recognition of many synergistic and antagonistic interrelationships
between minerals and vitamins.
Is vitamin D deficiency associated with mineral imbalance?
Yes. According to research by the National Institutes of Health, vitamin D deficiency is associated with a mineral status of a patient. This study states: "It is important to assess the mineral status of the patient to reveal the hidden mineral imbalance associated with vitamin D deficiency. A well-known test such as the red blood cells is fairly expensive, invasive, and less informative. On the other hand, a hair mineral analysis can be considered an accurate, excellent, highly informative tool to measure mineral imbalance associated with vitamin D deficiency."
▶︎ BUY HAIR TISSUE MINERAL ANALYSIS