Heavy metal toxicity is a growing threat to our health and the development of our children. High levels of toxic metals deposited in body tissues and subsequently in the brain, can cause significant developmental and neurological damage.
As well, minerals including magnesium, chromium, zinc, copper and selenium are required co-factors for hundreds of important enzymes and also are essential for the normal functions of vitamins.
How do you know if you have heavy metal toxicity or if your body is deficient in an essential mineral? By analyzing your hair, you can find out.
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) measures the mineral and metals content of the hair. It is a simple, inexpensive and non-invasive procedure that can be done from the comfort of home and does not require any special equipment. Well, except scissors.
How does HTMA Work?
Our bodies attempt to remove toxic metals, such as lead, from the blood as a protective measure and deposit it into the tissue such as the liver, bones, teeth and hair.
The test measures the buildup of minerals over the most recent 2 to 3 months rather than the instant snapshot that a blood plasma test would reveal. The individual mineral levels, ratios, and patterns of minerals deposited in the hair can reveal how well the body is functioning at a cellular level, as minerals are involved in all of the body’s enzyme functions.
You can have normal levels of minerals in a blood serum test, but fail to detect high levels built up in the tissue. Hair is a soft tissue, making it the perfect medium for mineral analysis.
Blood tests, by their nature, are unreliable at detecting sub-clinical and physiological deficiencies of necessary minerals. Symptoms of iron deficiency, for example, can be present long before iron levels can be detected in a blood test. Similarly, urine tests measure the minerals that are being excreted from the body, not necessarily what is being absorbed.
Toxic elements may be 200-300 times more highly concentrated in hair than in blood or urine.
Consider this: More than 100 years after his death, Napoleon Bonaparte’s hair was analyzed to determine that he had been poisoned with arsenic.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) acknowledges the value of hair mercury levels as a marker for mothers and babies’ exposure to neurotoxic methylmercury from fish. As well, the U.S. Environmental Protection agency stated that “…if hair samples are properly collected and cleaned, and analyzed by the best analytic methods, using standards and blanks as required, in a clean and reliable laboratory by experienced personnel, the data are reliable.”
What does an HTMA test reveal? Here are a few examples:
- Migraine headaches, for example, can be caused by the toxic buildup of cadmium, mercury or lead.
- Lithium deficiency is attributed to mood disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder and ADHD.
- Excessive calcium deposits in the arteries is a condition known as arteriosclerosis. Magnesium balances calcium so an abnormal calcium to magnesium ratio can be readily identified by an HTMA test.
Procedure to Conduct an HTMA
Using a clean pair of stainless steel scissors, clean dry hair is cut from the root in small portions from several different locations on the scalp. About 100 mg (approximately 1 tablespoon) of hair sample is needed. The lab will provide a simple cardboard weight scale so that you know you have cut enough.
You only need the first 1 to 1.5 inches of your hair, you can discard the rest. The hair samples are mailed in through the regular mail to the lab.
If you color or perm your hair, be sure to let it grow out enough so that you can get 1.5 inches of root growth.
Note: If you are a frequent swimmer, some pool chemicals using copper sulfate may artificially skew the copper results, but the other minerals will be tested reliably.
Where Can I Get an HTMA test?
Trace Elements’ Profile 2 is the typical test panel I use. The cost is $54 and includes 37 elements (minerals and metals) along with an interpretive report and recommendations. HTMA tests are all they do.
Great Plains Laboratory’s HTMA test includes 39 elements for a cost of $115. It also includes an interpretive report but no recommendations.
Here is a sample test from Trace Elements without the interpretive report or recommendations:
Contact me for more information about HTMA testing and how to order one. Don’t guess, test!
Here’s your simple change for the day: Test your body for heavy metals and mineral levels with a simple Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis.
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Joli Tripp and Mind Blowing Wellness are not medical doctors nor licensed medical professionals. No comment or recommendation should be construed as being a medical diagnosis. If you suffer from a medical or pathological condition, you should consult an appropriate healthcare provider.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
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Why Am I Always So Tired? by Ann Louise Gittleman, PH.D., 1999
Nutritional Lithium: A Cinderella Story, Dr. James M. Greenblatt, 2016