Hair Mineral Analysis

What is hair mineral analysis?

Hair mineral analysis is a toxicology screen used to test for metals in the body (such as uranium, lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, aluminum and nickel). Hair mineral analysis, in combination with nutritional counseling, is a tool that helps provide a better understanding of where our body is currently at on an elemental nutritional scale. This allows us to see where we might have excess build-up, mineral deficiencies/imbalances or toxins accumulating in our bodies. 

Why is hair used?

Hair is used for mineral testing because of its very nature. Hair will grow for 2 - 6 years before falling out, thus absorbing any chemicals your body takes in, as well as your body's sweat, natural oils and any toxins that may be around you. 

Hair is formed from clusters of specialized cells that make up the hair follicle. During the hair's growth phase, it is exposed to the body's internal environment (blood, lymph and extra-cellular fluids). As hair continues to grow, and reach the surface of the skin, its outer layers harden, locking in the metabolic products accumulated during the period of formation. This biological process provides a blueprint, as well as a lasting record of mineral status and nutritional metabolic activity that has occurred during this time.

How does it work?

The precise analytical method of determining the levels of minerals in the hair is a highly sophisticated technique. When performed to exacting standards and interpreted correctly, it may be used as a screening aid for determining mineral deficiencies, excesses, or imbalances. Hair mineral analysis can also check for drug use, if you are prone to certain health problems, identify certain genetic disorders (such as Fragile X Syndrome), identify family members (paternity tests, etc.), and can be used in police investigations.

HTMA (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis) also provides you and your healthcare professional with an economical and sensitive indicator of the long-term effects of diet, stress, and toxic metal exposure on your mineral balance that is difficult to obtain through other clinical tests.

What are contributing factors?

Many factors can affect mineral nutrition, such as: food preparation, dietary habits, genetic and metabolic disorders, disease, medications, stress (known to deplete magnesium and zinc), environmental factors, as well as exposure to heavy metals. Drinking water is often a contributing factor in mineral nutrition due to many areas having tap water that contains one or more of the following: chlorine, aluminum, fluoride and sometimes copper (all deemed not safe in large quantities). The lack of sleep and exercise can also contribute to mineral deficiencies and imbalances. 

Rarely does a single nutrient deficiency exist in a person today. Multiple nutritional imbalances, however, are quite common, contributing to an increased incidence of adverse health conditions. In fact, it is estimated that mild and sub-clinical nutritional imbalances are up to ten times more common than nutritional deficiency alone.