The delicate balance of minerals in our bodies has far reaching effects on health, both physically and mentally. Almost all physical health conditions, and even many mental health conditions, can be traced to the functioning of our endocrine system. This system (which includes the adrenal and thyroid glands, pancreas, hypothalamus, parathyroid...) is largely affected by key mineral balances. By restoring a healthier balance of minerals, the functioning of the endocrine system improves. HTMA (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis) is a screening test (using hair from the scalp) which accurately indicates mineral toxicities and imbalances and provides the evidence required to design the most effective nutritional programs.
HTMA is a powerful diagnostic tool that provides telling indicators behind a wide range of conditions, including: fatigue and adrenal problems, thyroid issues and weight gain, blood sugar problems, depression, anxiety, sudden or severe changes in perception and/or personality, hormonal imbalances, reactivity to stress, addictions, schizophrenia, osteoporosis, heart attack, hypoglycaemia, liver and kidney problems, digestive issues, inflammation, PMS, and even skin problems.
Why Not Use Blood?
Unfortunately and yet all too commonly, many physicians still rely on blood testing to test for metal toxicity. A diagnosis is then made based on the results of that blood test with neither patient nor practitioner understanding that blood testing does not accurately pick up on stored mineral imbalances. Blood testing will only show high mineral levels immediately after or during acute exposure (and can be useful for hour by hour monitoring), but ignores long term stored and bio-unavailable levels. Blood testing also fails to provide key mineral ratios which, even more important than any individual mineral level by itself, are the essential indicators that must be examined to properly determine the extent of any mineral deficiency or toxicity problem, and the subsequent supplementation and correction program. Without this vital information, any supplementation (or mineral detox) program is being done blindly.
When toxic amounts of a mineral accumulate in the body, they do not stay in the blood. This is because the blood is homeostatic, and must by necessity remove excess toxins and minerals quickly. Some of this excess gets excreted in urine (and urine analysis will therefore show what's being excreted). Much of the excess amount however largely gets stored, in a bio-unavailable form that the body can't use, in the cells and tissues. This explains why, all too often, heavy metal and mineral toxicity results based on blood serum testing return levels showing normal, even when toxic amounts are stored in the body's tissues. The doctor says you're fine, despite the possibility of severe dysregulation still occurring in (and affecting) the body (and mind). Misdiagnosis from blood serum tests, as a result, is astoundingly common. HTMA on the other hand is able to pick up these stored toxic amounts, giving a very accurate indication of the levels of toxicity while offering an evidence based approach to rectifying a number of serious chronic and acute conditions that can result from mineral imbalances.
H.T.M.A. and The Importance of Testing Your Mineral Levels
by Rick Fischer, C.H.H.C.
A Couple of Commonly Asked Questions
Will taking the hair sample affect my beautiful hairstyle?
No. This is a concern for many women especially. The size of the hair sample is so
small (about 1 tbsp), and taken in very small portions from the underneath layers at
the back of the head, that visibly it makes absolutely no difference to anyone's hair-
style. Even on a man with short hair, an adequate sample can be taken without much
being noticeable. For those with short hair, as long as you have 1 cm of growth that
is enough to work with.
What if I live far away?
No problem. I work with clients as far away as Europe, Asia, and South America. I
provide you with a one-page instructional which explains the proper protocol for cut-
ting the hair sample (a friend or family member can cut the sample for you as long as
they follow the instructions I provide). You'd then mail me the sample along with
the completed Lab Submittal Form which I also send you, both of which I then
submit to the testing lab (Trace Elements). After I receive your mineral charts, I then
create a comprehensive report explaining what the charts and ratios mean, along with
a diet / supplement regimen that can help bring you into better balance. Generally you'll
receive these results within 10 to 12 business days of me receiving your hair sample.
I want to proceed with an HTMA. What is the process?
Upon receiving payment I send you a one page instructional which explains how to properly collect the hair sample, along with a Lab Submittal Form which you fill out. Once I receive the hair sample and Submittal Form from you by mail, I forward them to the testing lab (Trace Elements). Roughly 10 business days later I receive the results and charts back from the lab, at which time I create my report to you and send it, along with your charts, to you. In most cases you'll have the report within 10 to 12 business days of me receiving your hair sample.
You can help promote HTMA awareness by grabbing the image above and sharing.
WHAT ARE THE KEY MINERAL RATIOS?
More important than individual mineral levels are the ratios between certain minerals. Over decades of research and thousands of cases, certain conditions can be clearly determined by the extent of a mineral ratio. Some of the key ratios are mentioned here.
Metabolic Type Ratio (Ca/P)
The ideal Calcium to Phosphorus ratio is 2.6:1. Above 2.6 represents a slow metabolizer experiencing stages of stress burnout and a slowing of the adrenals and thyroid. Below 2.6 represents a fast metabolizer experiencing intense stress and a tendency for magnesium and calcium loss.
Stress Ratio (Na/K)
The ideal Sodium to Potassium ratio is 2.4:1. The higher this number, the more intense the person's stress condition, and with it, a tendency for negative psychological and 'short fuse' reactions, fight or flight, and anger. A high ratio of sodium to potassium is also associated with asthma, allergies, lethargy, kidney and liver problems. The higher the number, the more likely the patient is also losing magnesium. As copper levels rise, this ratio increases. Vitamin D also has a similar effect by lowering the Potassium level, further increasing this ratio (in other words, a person with a high Na/K ratio should NOT be taking Vitamin D!). A low ratio on the other hand can be a reflection of adrenal burnout, and at very low levels can lead to heart attack and cancer and, like a high ratio, liver / kidney disorders. The balancing of this ratio is essential, especially for anyone dealing with copper toxicity who, at high levels of copper or copper mobilization through detox, is greatly affected by the negative psychological aspects of a high Na/K which create reflex 'short fuse' reactions that bypass higher cortical intellect functions. As it affects both the physical and psychological, until this ratio is balanced it can be almost impossible to 'get through' to a copper toxic individual. Even for someone with a healthy copper level, the balance between sodium and potassium is essential for optimal health.
Thyroid Ratio (Ca/K)
The ideal Calcium to Potassium ratio is 4.2:1. Both calcium and potassium play an important role in thyroid activity. A high ratio of calcium indicates a slow thyroid (and symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, cold hands and feet, depression, lack of sweating, and tendency towards constipation…). A low Ca/K ratio indicates a faster thyroid (and symptoms such as excessive sweating, irritability, nervousness, and loose or frequent bowel movements during stress). To help with weight loss, diet and exercise will help, but it will be an uphill battle against a slow thyroid if the Ca/K ratio is not first addressed).
Adrenal Ratio (Na/Mg)
The ideal Sodium to Magnesium ratio is 4:1. Sodium levels are directly associated with adrenal function. A higher ratio represents hyper-adrenal activity (with symptoms including inflammation, aggressiveness, impulsiveness, diabetes, hypertension, Type A personality), while a low ratio represents adrenal insufficiency (leading to fatigue, depression, hypoglycaemia, poor digestion, changes in weight, and allergies).
Hormone & Energy Ratio (Zn/Cu)
The ideal Zinc to Copper ratio is 8:1. A higher level of zinc reflects progesterone dominance and copper deficiency (with symptoms that may include anemia, arthritis, neurological disorders, cardiovascular disorders, amenorrhea, and more). A higher level of copper on the other hand indicates copper toxicity and estrogen dominance with symptoms which may include skin problems (such acne, psoriasis, eczema), emotional instability, "spaciness", detached behaviour, schizophrenia, PMS, reproductive problems, prostatitis, menstrual difficulties including amenorrhea, diminished feelings, depression and fatigue.
Blood Sugar Ratio (Ca/Mg)
The ideal Calcium to Magnesium ratio is 7:1. Hypoglycemia occurs as the ratio moves in either direction away from the ideal and, at both very high and very low calcium levels, mental and emotional disturbances are common. A high ratio of Ca/Mg also leads to increased insulin secretion, increased risk of muscle spasms, increased risk of blood clotting, and heightened anxiety. A very high calcium ratio as can result from copper toxicity can lead to the numbing of feelings and a detachment from reality.
HOW ARE MINERAL LEVELS INTER-RELATED?
All minerals are either antagonistic or synergistic to certain other minerals. Meaning when
one mineral goes up, it may raise or lower other connected minerals. This is represented by
the 'Mineral Wheel' on the right. While endless scenarios could be painted with various minerals,
here is a one very basic circuit. As copper goes up, calcium increases while zinc and potassium
drop. The heightened calcium can end up creating a "calcium shell" that numbs emotions,
while the low potassium will increase both the Ca/K ratio (slowing of the thyroid) and the
Na/K ratio. A high Na/K ratio leads to negative aspects of personality including increased
anger, anxiety, panic, fears, a shortening of one's fuse, and a decrease in the functioning of
the higher cortical mind. Meanwhile, magnesium will also drop as a result. The drop in
magnesium increases risk of such things as diabetes, inflammation, and heart attack, while
increase panic, denial, and the sense of stress. In turn, the heightened calcium with the lowered
magnesium leads to a high Ca/Mg ratio, resulting in an increase in insulin, low blood sugar, and
increased risk of muscle spasms and blood clots. Each of these increases stress which in turn
further increases the Na/K ratio, increases the copper level, and lowers magnesium, and the cycle
continues to spiral.
When correcting any condition through nutrition, or when taking supplements, we must recognize that nutrients do not operate independently from other nutrients. Having a clear picture, as presented through HTMA, is essential prior to supplementation, and makes supplementation and corrective guidance much more practical, meaningful, manageable and safer. Understanding one's mineral levels should be an essential first step to any dietary, weight loss, or health restoration program.
"[HTMA] may be the most important health test that exists… Only when you and your doctor know for sure your mineral status and important ratios can you adapt your diet,
minerals and supplements to work toward proper balance."
~Dr. Robert Thompson, MD (author of The Calcium Lie, deemed to be in the top 5 percent of US physicians)
LOOKING FOR AN H.T.M.A. PRACTITIONER?
HERE'S WHAT SETS ME APART:
* While some clinics and doctors offer HTMA amongst their services, many have not STUDIED HTMA. A medical doctor can easily get an account at a testing lab, without necessarily having any understanding of the proper interpretation of the results. The interpretation of HTMA results is a very complex study, extending far beyond just looking at what minerals are 'high' or 'low'. I have studied and specialize in the interpretation of HTMA data.
* I have studied under, and consult closely with, Dr. Rick Malter Ph.D, one of the world's foremost experts in this field, and who in turn was taught H.T.M.A. directly by the pioneers of H.T.M.A. (Dr. Paul Eck and Dr. David Watts)
* It is imperative for the HTMA practitioner to understand the implications of mineral ratios. In fact these ratios are often more important than the individual mineral levels themselves. I have a deep understanding of mineral ratios, and the subtle nuances of how these ratios affect other mineral levels and ratios and, ultimately, your health.
* I work exclusively with TEI Labs, one of only 2 recognized labs worldwide that specialize in HTMA and which follow proper testing protocal and procedures. TEI, in my opinion, has also advanced the science of H.T.M.A. beyond that of its primary competitor ARL by understanding the pseudo Na/K inversion phenomenon that can occur during a copper dump.
* My passionate research and contribution to the study of copper toxicity (available at www.coppertoxic.com) has been medically recognized.
* My client reports and assessments are very comprehensive. Many online HTMA services simply send you a computerized report. Unfortunately, no computer program has yet been developed that can analyze results the way a trained human can. For this reason, relying solely on the lab report recommendations can sometimes be quite misleading. In the 18-20+ page report I create for you, I analyze and interpret your hair data results, giving you explanation to both physical as well as psychological effects of mineral imbalance you may be experiencing. Also included in my reports you receive:
* I am passionate about what I do, motivated by a tragedy that mineral imbalance saliently caused my own family, I am dedicated to helping others understand and heal their own mineral imbalances for optimum health.
HOW CAN MINERALS BE AFFECTING MY CONDITION?
DID YOU KNOW?
• Taking calcium supplementation while you are magnesium deficient (as many people are) could in fact be making your bones even more brittle.
• A very high ratio of calcium to potassium indicates a slow thyroid, with a tendency toward weight gain, fatigue, even constipation.
• Vitamin D supplementation lowers potassium levels. We hear all the time how healthy Vitamin D is, but this is not the case when it negatively affects certain mineral balances.
• Toxic levels of copper will weaken the adrenals resulting in fatigue and brain fog, and can eventually alter neurotransmitter levels in the brain, altering perception, and leading to schizophrenia.
• Vitamin D can also cause a deficiency in magnesium.
• High levels of calcium relative to magnesium leads to calcification, cell death, and increased risk of blood clots.
• Women with excess estrogen (and consequently copper) generally require more zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese.
• As stress increases, zinc and magnesium levels drop while copper and calcium levels rise.
• A high level of sodium to potassium intensifies the fight or flight response, increases the emotions of anger and fear, reduces higher intellect cortical function, and shortens one’s fuse (increasing agitation to the slightest irritation)
• ADHD stimulant drugs tend to lower magnesium and increase the sodium to potassium ratio.
Though far from exhaustive, the following provides a quick glance at just some of the many conditions affected by mineral imbalance. The contributing minerals mentioned are also not exhaustive, and also do not include toxic metals - an additional source of many physical and mental problems. HTMA data provides detailed information on over 30 essential minerals and toxic metals.
Adrenal Health & Energy - the balance between sodium and magnesium indicates the strength or insufficiency of the adrenal glands. When the adrenals are activated, sodium rises. High sodium and potassium, especially relative to calcium and magnesium, indicate high adrenal activity. A low sodium level, together with low potassium, indicates exhausted adrenals. High accumulations of bio-unavailable copper are one major cause of exhausted adrenals. With exhausted adrenals, the body will constantly feel fatigued and, in turn leads to many other physical and psychological conditions. Adrenal performance can be improved through the balancing of key minerals.
Anemia - iron deficient anemia can develop as a result of bio-unavailable copper. With a deficiency in available copper, iron will build up in storage areas and also become bio-unavailable, leading to anemia.
Anxiety - a high level of copper is a major contributor to anxiety.
Bi-Polar - a mineral pattern showing a high level of calcium to potassium along with a high sodium to potassium ratio, a low calcium to magnesium ratio, and a high level of copper often creates a "pseudo-bipolar" condition that can be ameliorated through the adjustment of minerals.
Blood Sugar - a high level of calcium relative to magnesium leads to increased insulin secretion, and a tendency of for hypoglycaemia.
Brain Fog - a common occurrence with liver toxicity (and as copper builds up in the liver)…among other factors.
Cardiovascular disorders - low copper relative to zinc allows an increase in LDL and a decrease in HDL. This imbalance can lead to hardening of the arteries, regardless of the total serum cholesterol or triglyceride levels. A low level of magnesium is also a major contributor to heart attacks.
Chronic Fatigue (see adrenal health and energy)
Depression - a high level of copper and calcium, along with the natural effect of depleted adrenals, are all contributing factors to depression.
Digestive Issues / Candida / Yeast - a high level of copper can impair digestion and bowel motility resulting in gas and bloating. Furthermore, copper is a natural fungicide. When the copper level becomes too high it becomes bio-unavailable (creating a deficiency condition), and with this deficiency in bio-available copper, yeast and candida are allowed to flourish. Meanwhile copper lowers zinc. When zinc is low, digestive enzyme and bile production become impaired. When protein synthesis is low (a result of low phosphorus), digestion is further impaired.
Emotional Apathy & Relationship Withdrawal - with depleted adrenals (low sodium and potassium) comes a natural withdrawal from romantic relationships. Physiologically, sex and romance are forced to be put on hold for the survival of the body. As stress increases, so too does calcium. A high level of calcium creates a 'calcium shell', which effectively blocks emotions and deadens feelings. This is often in turn a result of copper toxicity, which raises calcium. Without an understanding of this effect, and left feeling very little for their partner, many people simply walk away from their relationship, believing the relationship to be the problem, rather than a mineral imbalance.
Immune Function - a low zinc level will impair the body's immune system
Inflammation - high sodium to potassium over a long time leads to chronic inflammation. The potassium level reflects glucocorticoid activity, and so a low potassium level may be a warning of an inflammatory process in the body.
Kidney & Liver Function - a high sodium to potassium ratio can lead to kidney and liver dysfunction. A high level of copper (or any toxic metal for that matter) can also overload the liver.
Muscle Mass Loss-Any bodybuilder knows the importance of protein for building muscle. A high phosphorus level indicates rapid protein breakdown, while a low phosphorus level indicates inadequate protein synthesis and tissue breakdown.
Muscle Twitches - often a sign of magnesium deficiency
Osteoporosis - though most people understand that calcium is important for preventing osteoporosis, what many aren't told is that too much calcium, relative to magnesium, will actually increase the risk for osteoporosis. Adequate magnesium is required for calcium to deposited in the bone. This is why it is imperative that you understand your magnesium level before supplementing with calcium.
PMS type symptoms - one of the many negative effects of excess copper are PMS type symptoms
Schizophrenia & Paranoia - numerous studies show that 1/2 to 2/3 of schizophrenics have high levels of copper. Combined with copper's effect on neurotransmitter imbalances and impairing neocortex functioning, paranoia is also a common side effect of copper toxicity. It is time the mental health community starts acknowledging this important mineral connection rather than simply treating patients with dangerous psychotropic drugs!
Skin Conditions (such as eczema and acne) - as copper builds up it it can clog the lymph system which leads to toxins breaking out through the skin.
Stress tolerance- During the alarm stage of stress, sodium rises relative to potassium. With high Na/K the person is easily overwhelmed by the slightest stress or irritation and can over-react. This response by-passes the higher cortical intellectual functions, so you can't verbally counsel a person out of this. Instead you need to balance the Na/K, and this will allow the person to better control their emotions and awareness. If left uncorrected, eventually the body's adrenals will exhaust themselves from the stressor and low sodium together with low potassium will result, an indicator of adrenal exhaustion.
Thyroid Health & Weight -Calcium slows down the thyroid while potassium speeds it up. The balance between calcium and potassium is a great indicator of the efficiency of the thyroid gland, which can in turn lead to both energy and weight challenges.
Fellow Holistic Health Coach Aga Postawska shares her HTMA experience here.
SAMPLE SCENARIOS THAT SHOW HOW HTMA CAN BE A LIFE SAVING TOOL
A physician recommends to an elderly female to take Calcium supplementation in order to prevent osteoporosis. She has low magnesium levels (as many people do), yet the doctor has not verified this through testing. By increasing her calcium supplementation, this increases the ratio of calcium to magnesium in the body. A high calcium to magnesium ratio results in the calcium not being properly deposited in the bone, and instead it gets stored in cells and tissues, leading to a hardening of the arteries (calcium plaque) - leading to possible stroke or heart attack - and a further weakening of the bone. This vital calcium to magnesium ratio can only be properly determined through an HTMA test, and the magnesium level should first be known before given any calcium supplementation is given.
A young, healthy female has a copper IUD inserted. A few months later her adrenals burn out, her personality changes, and she becomes numb to her relationship. Her physician recommends a blood test, which shows elevated copper, and subsequently her IUD is removed. A second blood test later then shows a 'normal' copper level; she is advised she's now fine, and subsequently divorces her husband because she realizes she no longer 'feels anything'. This not uncommon scenario plays out all too often with physicians failing to recognize that excess bio-unavailable copper is stored in tissues (primarily the liver and the brain), and not the blood. After the IUD is removed, blood levels quickly return to normal, and subsequent blood testing completely ignores stored bio-unavailable copper in the tissues which can lead to severe psychological changes, compounded with the already severe symptoms and changes that occur after adrenal burnout. This stored copper increases calcium levels (creating a calcium shell effect that numbs feelings leaving a person dead emotionally), lowers magnesium and increases sodium (both of which in turn increases the stress response and negative aspects of ones personality, along with anxiety, anger, and panic), and can lead to wide range of psychological problems, many of which are easily recognizable through HTMA results. Had an HTMA test been done, the patient would have understood that, contrary to what the blood test showed, her copper levels were still high, and a proper, corrective detox and nutritional balancing protocol could have been advised based on her specific mineral levels as determined by the HTMA.
A middle aged male suffers from chronic fatigue. Years of traditional testing and lifestyle / dietary adjustments have been unsuccessful. An HTMA test is then performed, which shows the patient has an extremely low level of magnesium. Such a low level of magnesium puts this patient at very high risk for a sudden fatal heart attack, not to mention increased feelings of stress, anger, and depression. Should this same patient, for any number of reasons, start taking high dose Vitamin D (as is commonly recommended for immune function and overall maintenance of good health), this patient is putting himself at even greater risk for a heart attack as Vitamin D lowers magnesium even further. Thanks to the specific findings of the HTMA, the patient is able to begin a proper magnesium and mineral supplementation program that not only increases his energy, but also lowers his risk of early death.
(Scroll towards the bottom of this page to learn about some of the key mineral ratios and how they affect the body and mind.)
WHY IS HTMA NOT MORE COMMON?
HTMA is a form of advanced nutrition science that threatens both the politics and finances of the health ("disease") care system. Money is not made by selling 'awareness' or natural healthy foods high in mineral content, but rather in pharmaceutical drugs that can be patented and sold for large profits - many that then cause side effects which then require more pharmaceutical drugs - a system that perpetuates profits at the expense of the public's health. In 1985 and again in 2001, two studies were picked up by the Journal of the American Medical Association that on the surface seemed to dismiss the findings of HTMA. These studies however violated most all acceptable protocol for testing, including ignoring the most basic principles for how to cut the hair itself and even using an illegally operating unlicensed mineral testing laboratory. Nonetheless, those bias studies cast an unnecessary doubt over HTMA among those who simply didn't understand it or take the time to research it further. As a result, those behind the studies have disgracefully impeded the progress of medicine, the health of people, and a greater understanding of natural based healing & testing methods which, contrary to the aforementioned bias studies, has been proven over & over again to be extremely accurate when performed as intended.
A widely watched 'Nightline' expose in the late 1980s on hair analysis subsequently tried to dispel the benefits of HTMA by doing their own test. However, instead of using human hair, they submitted DOG hair, without mentioning this to the testing lab. Since the results came back odd compared to what should have been expected (for a human), the show suggested HTMA was a fraud!
Another reason, and perhaps most important, as to the greater lack of acceptance in the medical community of HTMA, is that doctors themselves simply have not received any proper training on assessing HTMA charts. Understanding HTMA charts is not as simple as just looking at a mineral level. An advanced understanding of mineral ratios and their various effects on physical and personality changes is required. However most practitioners do not receive this training. Rather, as happens often, some will open an account at a testing lab (as any M.D. is easily able to do), run hair tests on patients, and then prescribe supplements based on simply looking at mineral levels as being high or low. (As an illustration of this, lets assume a patient shows a high Mg level with an extremely low K level. Looking simply at Mg, Mg would therefore not be recommended. However, with a deeper understanding of how to interpret HTMA, the low K is resulting in a high burn rate of Mg, leading to Mg deficiency, and thus Mg for this patient is required!). Ultimately, such incorrect interpretations of HTMA data have led to poor improvement in patients by doctors not trained in this field, and they will then dismiss HTMA as not being accurate. In effect, they have dismissed a very accurate screening tool based on their own lack of understanding.
As a result of bias and flawed studies and doctors who were not able to help patients through HTMA due to their own lack of understanding how to use it, the toll has been taken, and many in the medical community who have not taken the time to research HTMA further simply shy away from it. There are however thousands of peer-reviewed references that support HTMA, decades of research behind mineral interrelationships and balancing, and those who understand the benefits of HTMA (including various heads of government, world class athletes who have access to the very best medical care, forward thinking doctors and health practitioners, as well as the US Environmental Protection Agency) choose HTMA as the primary method of heavy metal testing and mineral screening.
NOT ALL HTMA TESTING IS THE SAME
Of course, for HTMA testing to be both accurate and affective, not only are specific and standard testing procedures required, but also required is an understanding of what the results mean. Unfortunately, not only do some labs not follow proper procedure (for mineral testing), but also damaging to the reputation of HTMA is the mis-interpretation of results by physicians who are not properly trained in understanding the sometimes very powerful effects (both physical and psychological) of mineral patterns and ratios. Interpreting results involves FAR more than just looking at the individual mineral levels, as will be explained further below.
Trace Elements Inc (TEI) and Analytical Research Labs (ARL) are distinctly different from other medical labs in the way they both test and interpret results, and thus in this author's opinion, are the only two recommended labs for HTMA. Most other medical labs analyze mineral levels in isolation, independent of other mineral levels. Doing so ignores one of the most important benefits of HTMA, that being the specific ratios and patterns between dynamically interconnected minerals that indicate dysregulation and/or health concerns. To illustrate an example of this, consider a chart that shows high Magnesium. Looking at magnesium independently, some labs (and physicians too) will assess this to mean that magnesium levels are adequate and there is no need for supplementation. However, when one looks further and understands the importance of ratios, one may see that there is also a high level of Sodium to Potassium, which in turn can lead to an intracellular loss of Magnesium (into the blood - which then shows as a high Mg level), and is in fact a sign of current or impending magnesium deficiency.
This underscores the importance of physicians being properly trained in understanding the dynamic connection between minerals. It is not as simple as looking at one mineral level alone to determine if one is toxic or deficient, and yet, a surprisingly high number in the medical field are not adequately trained to understand this.
Another reason why patients may receive a misdiagnosis from HTMA is the way the lab itself runs the test. For example, almost all other labs (including one used by a large percentage of physicians and which markets itself as a specialist and pioneer in essential and toxic elemental testing) wash the hair sample beforehand. The problem with such practice is that washing the hair beforehand undermines the validity of both sodium and potassium levels, by depleting each. Many of the key ratios (including the Ca/P, Na/K, Ca/K, Na/Mg) are then thrown off and the results become largely invalid.
If you are considering having HTMA done, ensure that the lab does NOT wash the hair beforehand - TEI and ARL being the only labs that correctly follow this protocol. Incomprehensibly this is common practice in the majority of labs worldwide, and washing the hair can remove 15% or even more of the mineral content (especially potassium and sodium as mentioned). This will significantly throw off key ratios. Equally important, ensure that the person analyzing your results understands the interconnection of minerals and both the physical AND psychological effects common for each of the key mineral ratios and patterns. If the practitioner offering you an HTMA is not able to tell you about the various mineral ratios, patterns, hidden toxicities, and effects both physical and psychological, it would be wise to rethink where you get your test done.
TEI vs ARL
Dr. Paul Eck (founder of Advanced Research Labs (ARL) and Dr. David L. Watts were the pioneers of HTMA research in the 1970s, breaking the "code" of hair mineral data in 1975. In their work together, they also applied concepts including the stages of stress (Dr. Hans Selye), sympathetic and parasympathetic balancing (Dr. Melvin Page), oxidation types (Dr. George Watson), and mineral balancing (Dr. William Albrecht). They further went on to develop specific mineral ratios that represent 'ideal' levels, with deviations from this 'ideal level' resulting in various yet consistent medical manifestations, both physical and psychological.
Over time, Dr Watts began noticing that people who were dumping copper (detoxing) would have high Potassium levels, and would often get worse when ARL's recommended correction involved a reduction in Potassium. What Dr. Watts discovered is that the elevated Potassium level during copper dumping is actually a loss of Potassium from the cells, reflecting a Potassium deficiency, rather than excess. This led to a difference in treatment protocol between what Dr. Eck was offering at ARL and what Dr. Watts believed to be true. Dr. Watts then went his own way to create TEI in 1984.
Both labs are well recognized as the two leaders in HTMA testing, only their approach to treatment, as given in the example above, differs slightly.
Integrative Health Coaching works exclusively with Trace Elements Inc for hair sample lab testing. As a uniquely specialized expert in HTMA and mineral balancing, the report I create for you as the client is very comprehensive - addressing not only your high and low minerals, but also the ratios and patterns and the specific health issues they can lead to, along with a dietary and supplementation protocol customized for you to bring your mineral levels (and health ) back into better balance.
WHY HAIR (H.T.M.A.) IS SUPERIOR TO BLOOD FOR MINERAL TESTING
Above I mentioned how the blood works quickly to remove excess minerals, and this excess gets stored in tissues,
which is then evidenced in soft tissue such as hair.
HTMA offers the following key benefits:
* sampling is simple and non-invasive
* mineral levels are much more accurately detected in hair than in blood
* Blood serum tests are misleading because excess minerals are not stored in the blood, they are stored in tissue!
* Since hair is a non-essential, excretory, storage, soft tissue of the body, the body tends to deposit more excess
minerals and dangerous metals here than in many other tissue areas of the body.
* HTMA provides key ratios & indicators which can detect imbalances that individual mineral 'levels' don't show.
* hair remains stable for biopsy for months or even years
* it is extremely cost effective, accurate, and reliable
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