Hair mineral analysis - HTMA - can be a very powerful diagnostic tool when used correctly. It measures the minerals and heavy-metals that your body discards in the hair. By having a small hair sample analysed in a lab, the nutritionist can tell which minerals you are deficient in, as well as any heavy-metal toxicities that you may have.
And having a good balance of minerals in the body not only affects your overall health but it also has a huge impact on your moods and mental health, as well as the condition of the skin, beauty in general, hair growth, etc. I will discuss these important health benefits more below. Hair mineral analysis is also called hair mineral analysis and hair tissue mineral analysis.
Hair tissue mineral analysis may be a very powerful tool and you may have a better experience with another lab than the one I used.
Two books specifically inspired me to get the hair mineral analysis report as they both highlight the crucial importance of mineral deficiencies and heavy metal toxicity for mental health and general happiness. These books were: Brain Allergies by Dr. Philpott (book summary) and Diet, Crime and Delinquency by Alexander Schauss (view on Amazon).
I also heard hair mineral analysis recommended in many other health sources and although I didn't know how reliable the method was, I decided to give it a go. My enthusiasm was further fuelled by Ken Rohla recommending hair mineral testing to me in an email. He is an advanced raw foodist and lifestyle teacher, as well as an engineer, who has in-depth-knowledge about the natural world and the behaviour of its materials. Ken Rohla is the author of the website Freshandaliveblog.com. Ken specifically recommended the lab I used for hair mineral analysis, the Analytical Research Labs, Inc (USA). They have a good introduction on hair mineral tissue analysis (HMTA) on their website.
The lab itself does not provide analyses for the general public and you need to find a naturopathic practitioner who collaborates with the lab and helps you interpret the results and provide further advice. I had found Dr. Lawrence Wilson's website before and I was impressed by some of the articles. I do disagree with some of his views too - such as the recommendation to eat large amounts of meat. However, he was knowledgeable about other not so well known health topics, such as colloidal silver, which impressed me, and I decided to give it a try. Dr. Lawrence Wilson's website lead me to find a UK-based nutritionist who he collaborates with.
Thus I ended up ordering my hair mineral testing from Will Houghton. His website is: Nutritional-Balancing.co.uk. I later changed to Christine Meehan of RenewUNutrition.ie.
Below I offer a summary of the first report I received and how useful I thought the findings were. The later tests are linked to at the bottom of this article.
"It is the relationships between the minerals in your body that determine how much energy you will have."
- Dr. Paul Eck (researcher and developer of Nutritional Balancing Science)
You send a small piece of hair cut off from the neck to the lab according to the instructions and you also fill in a form regarding your health and nutritional past. The hair mineral analysis report I received a few weeks later contained plenty of information - I had to take time to process the information and research some of the topics further. I must say that I learned a lot about my health and the hair mineral analysis report was extremely useful. But I also felt that it was very important to have the follow-up emails afterwards, which comes as part of the package, because the mineral analysis report raised many questions as well.
Whereas blood tests are unable to see which minerals you have in the body's cells, as it only shows the minerals currently circulating in the blood, hair mineral analysis shows any minerals that have been deposited in the hair - presumably either because the hair needs them or because the body is trying to dispose of them.
For example, I found out that I had very high levels of magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca) showing up on my results chart (image below). However, this was not interpreted as too much of those minerals in my diet but rather as the inability of the body to utilise and store those minerals. Thus, they showed up as being deposited and 'dumped' in my hair instead of being used by the body as needed.
On the other hand, the chart showed no heavy metals present in the hair apart from aluminium (Al). These metals should not be present in the body at all, thus I found out I was aluminium toxic. I could have guessed that, having used aluminium cookware in the past few years. (But apparently canned drinks and foods, deodorants, etc. can also pose a problem in terms of aluminium.) So, as a result, I will definitely need to detoxify aluminium.
My initial feeling was that the results were being manipulated by the nutritionist to create problems out of thin air and thus a reason for his services. However, after researching further and trying out some of the recommendations I started to understand and trust the suggestions more. And Will Houghton's continued email support and honest answers helped me feel I was on the right track and begun to get a more complete picture of how the process of hair mineral analysis worked.
Below is the lab analysis sheet I received. Right-click and select 'view image' to see the image larger.
But let's move onto more detailed, concrete sources and what specific help I found from the hair mineral analysis process. At the end of this article I will also highlight some small downsides of this process, which you may want to consider.
The mineral analysis revealed that my calcium (Ca) levels were through the roof. One could say I was toxic in calcium. But keep in mind that this is more likely to mean that my body cannot hold calcium and it gets pushed out instead of utilised for the body functions. On the other hand, I thought it might be a result of the fairly high levels of MSM I was taking prior to the test, as MSM can detoxify your body of bad calcium. Will Houghton agreed that this was a possibility. I will explain what all this means below. In this chapter I just want to briefly list the results.
I also had high levels of magnesium (Mg), just above the high-normal range. Again, I wonder if this had to do with the transdermal magnesium I had been spraying on my skin and the magnesium flake baths I was taking prior to the test.
Sodium (Na) and potassium (K) were lower than ideal but still just within the normal range. All the other minerals tested I had lower than ideal levels of: iron (Fe), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), chromium (Cr), selenium (Se), phosphorus (P), nickel (Ni), cobalt (Co), molybdenum (Mo), lithium (L) and boron (B).
The toxic metals chart showed no sign of lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd) or arsenic (As) and a slight trace of mercury (Hg) as well as an elevated (toxic) aluminium (Al) level. This despite the fact that I have been cycling and living in a large polluted city for the last 15 years! However, it may be that my body is holding onto and storing away some toxic heavy metals in which case they wouldn't show in the hair. This will be revealed when I strengthen my body and eventually retest.
An important measure that the hair mineral analysis uses as well are the mineral ratios, i.e. how much of one mineral do you have in the hair in relation to another. I will explain what this means more below. These were my mineral ratios:
Calcium to Magnesium - high (304% of ideal)
Calcium to Potassium - very high (1013% of ideal)
Sodium to Magnesium - low (30% of ideal)
Natrium to Potassium - perfect, ideal (100%)
Zinc to Copper - high (203% of ideal)
Calcium to Phosphorous - very high (884% of ideal)
As a result, the hair mineral test put me in a slow oxidiser category, which means that my metabolism is very slow. And although the nutritionist agreed that slow metabolism generally is good because it means that you can absorb more nutrients from the food, he also explained that in my case the oxidation (metabolism) was extremely slow, which was quite a bad thing, since it meant that my body was not functioning efficiently enough. Again, more explanation of what this means in practice is provided below.
The key findings of the hair mineral analysis are explained in the articles linked to below. These articles also show the improvement in subsequent hair mineral tests in July 2013, March 2014 and September 2014.
Decreased vitality and protein synthesis as indicated by phosphorus deficiency.
Too slow metabolism due to decreased cell membrane permeability.
Calcium toxicity, with an influence on emotions and calcification.
The hair mineral analysis also found an impaired immune system activity. The report explained that this may limit the body's ability to remain in a healthy state and that it may contribute to fatigue and acute, chronic or recurrent viral, bacterial or fungal infections.
In addition, mild trends for liver and kidney stress were indicated and some good news: no inflammation in the body.
I have two main points of complaint, where I wish the hair tissue mineral analysis would be able to perform better.
The first problem is that of vegetarians. I asked my hair mineral analyst whether there was a way that the diet recommendations could be adapted to vegetarians, vegans and raw foodists. He appreciated my concern but didn't think he could recommend a fully raw diet, or the elimination of meat and animal products. He gave various reasons for this recommendation which I will outline here soon.
The second problem is quite a lot smaller one, and something that might have been corrected anyway through following the other recommendations of the Nutritional Balancing programme: It is the issue of my chronic cough. The hair mineral analysis was unable to give a clear answer to this problem. Now, I understand that this is quite an unfair comment to make, considering how many things they did find out and also, the fact that they did pick up the fact that I currently had a weak digestive system. Nevertheless, a very slight shortcoming was that only an allopathic doctor was able to diagnose my chronic cough as heartburn-related. (I didn't have any other heart-burn symptoms, just a cough.) Once it did get diagnosed, however, I realised that harder-to-digest foods gave me more of a cough whereas digestive enzymes and dairy and gluten free diet got rid of the cough pretty quickly and efficiently.
So, in conclusion, I am very happy with the hair mineral analysis and how much more it has allowed me to understand my current health challenges. Just to remind you, though, that the 'normal' doctors didn't find anything wrong with me and that this kind of analysis looks for much deeper imbalances and aims at a lot higher standard of health.
I will return to report here with updates on how the health journey unfolded and which benefits I got from following the advice presented here.
Meanwhile, feel free to request further clarification or additional information via the comments box below. Or tell me about your own experience and thoughts.
Dr. Lawrence Wilson: Nutritional Balancing and Hair Mineral Analysis - A New Science of Energy (2010). This book is 700 pages long but a very useful reference if you are doing the hair mineral analysis and following the Nutritional Balancing Program. It is not something to read cover-to-cover, though, unless you are planning to train as a hair mineral analysis nutritionist. You can read a sample chapter of the book on Dr. Lawrence Wilson's website: Books.
Chapters of the older, 1998 edition of the book (400 pages):
1) What is Hair Mineral Analysis
2) Interpretation Principles
3) Components of Hair Analysis Readings
4) Thyroid and Adrenal Gland Assessment
5) The Oxidation Rate and Stage of Stress
6) Assessing Sugar and Carbohydrate Tolerance
7) Assessing the Energy Level
8) Interpretation Review
9) Cardiovascular and Respiratory Dysfunctions, Allergies and Anemia
10) Reproductive, Renal & Immune System Dysfunctions
11) Musculo-Skeletal Dysfunctions
12) Digestive and Dental Dysfunctions
13) Neurological and Psychological Dysfunctions
14) Minerals and their Relationship to Personality
15) Hair Analysis and Diet
16) Supplement Program Design, Computer Generated Reports and Lifestyle
17) Therapeutic Concepts and Healing Reactions
18) Personality Integration and Advanced Research
19) Healing the Health Care System
I) Glossary of Terms and Concepts
II) Coffee Enemas, Castor Oil Packs and the Genital Bath
III) Meditation, Affirmations, and Visualization
IV) The Mineral Reference Guide:
V) Nutrition Review
VI) Hair Analysis References
Sections of the new 2010-edition of the book (with many more chapters):
I The Basics of Nutritional Balancing
II The Scientific Basis for Nutritional Balancing Science
III Introduction to the Minerals
IV Hair Mineral Analysis
V Physical Health Conditions and Nutritional Balancing
VI Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Aspects of Nutritional Balancing Science
VII Basic Therapeutics and Other Practice Aspects
Best places to start reading introductions to hair mineral analysis are on Dr. Lawrence Wilson's and ARL Labs' websites.
Dr. Lawrence Wilson: "Hair Mineral Analysis, an Introduction"
Analytical Research Labs, Inc.: "Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA)"
Also a very useful reference, though less directly related to hair mineral testing: Brain Allergies by Dr. Philpott
I ordered a retest in June 2013. Not much had changed but my adrenal glands were getting stronger, according to the report. They are still in the 'insufficient' range. I had started detoxifying very slightly more of the heavy metals but am still a 'poor eliminator' of heavy metals.
My sodium-to-potassium ratio had actually got a lot worse - whereas it used to be perfect. I find this slightly worrying but will continue with the programme and see what happens.
I have now started to take all the supplements recommended, as I think the slow progress may be due to not enough effort to follow the programme from my part. In addition to the supplements, I am addressing the problem of carbohydrate sensitivity much more carefully now, and have written an article on that here: sugar addiction. That article also lists most of the current supplements I am taking and gives a short explanation why. Read also a more detailed explanation on the sugar intolerance findings of the report here.
My efforts paid off and some very encouraging results started showing in March 2014, when I did another retest:
Hair Mineral Analysis - Third Test Results.
Update: Fifth test results in April 2015 and a critical review of the hair mineral analysis science.
Though I read a lot about parasites and did a candida cleanse before, I didn't take this aspect of my health seriously, until now, in February 2015, I have come to the conclusion that most of the remaining symptoms I have point towards an aspergillus (mold) infection which the live blood analyst found but didn't know how to get rid of. This is despite juice fasts, raw food diets, paleo diets, hair mineral analysis, Chinese doctor, etc. - albeit I have done all of these only intermittently and some only half-heartedly. In any case, none of the nutritionists I've paid for to see have been able diagnose AND suggest remedies for aspergillus. Luckily one lady who happens to be a hair mineral analyst in Switzerland emailed me last week and suggested isopathic remedies. She said she got over her aspergillus infection with those. I have ordered the remedies, and also a water-ozonator, because apparently ozonated water has been very beneficial in returning energy levels quickly for at least one aspergillus sufferer. I will report on my findings here: Natural Health Remedies: Aspergillus.
Apparently aspergillus mold is a fairly common mold infection and thrives on sugary food. Therefore I suspect that the extreme sugar intolerance I am still experiencing is NOT because of copper detox, as the hair mineral analysts thought, but because the mold gets fed and inflammation/ infection gets worse. Aspergillus produces neurotoxins and free radicals, which wear down the nervous system as well as the rest of the body. So it is no wonder that I'm experiencing heart palpitations, anxiety, inability to tolerate stress and other nervous system related problems. All the sugar intolerance symptoms seem to disappear fairly quickly with blood electrification, and this fact seems to clearly point towards parasites as well.
There are now various home testing kits available on Amazon. I don't know if these are good or not.
"Trace Elements, Hair Analysis, and Nutrition" by Richard E Passwater and Elmer M Cranton.
"The Strands of Health: A Guide to Understanding Hair Mineral Analysis" by Rick Malter. I haven't read this book but it seems interesting and has good ratings on Amazon:
"Trace Elements and Other Essential Nutrients: Clinical Application of Tissue Mineral Analysis" by David L. Watts and Beth E. Rosenthal:
"Fight Back Against Stress and Fatigue!: How the Secrets of Your Hair Can Reveal Underlying Health Issues" by Peter Holsman:
"Minerals for the Genetic Code: An Exposition and Analysis of the Dr. Olree Standard Genetic Periodic Chart and the Physical, Chemical and Biological Connection" by Charles Walters. This is a very strange book but nevertheless provides some very interesting information on different minerals and their deficiency symptoms.
My approach now is to supplement with natural ionic trace minerals (liquid form) and magnesium. I don't dare to supplement with calcium due to the issues discussed in this article: Calcification. I don't do hair mineral analysis anymore, I prefer to save my money and focus on overall healthy diet and lifestyle instead. Although I currently take chelated magnesium, I'm very careful with the idea of chelated minerals which can bypass the body's own system of determining whether to absorb or to discard a certain mineral from the gut. I use natural salts (rock and sea salt) which will give me sodium. I determine which minerals I take more of by checking the deficiency symptoms.
Plants have minerals in ionic form. We cannot take in minerals in rock form, therefore we need soil, worms, bacteria and plants to process the minerals for us into a form that we can utilise. Therefore natural minerals from plants would seem to be most effective and safe. We may not always get enough minerals from food, however, due to depleted soils, but to grow highly mineralised plants yourself there is now a huge amount of information available. Keep in mind that mineral rich plants are also more resistant towards disease and attack.
There is so much to say, I have to write another article on minerals, but if you are interested in this, put some volcanic rock dust in your garden and read about High Brix gardening and Ormus/ Orme. Some of these books can get you started also:
The Enlivened Rock Powders by Harvey Lisle:
"The Anatomy of Life and Energy in Agriculture" by Dr. Arden Andersen:
"Sea Energy Agriculture: Nature's Ideal Trace Element Blend for Farm, Livestock, Humans" by Maynard Murray.
"Fertility from the Ocean Deep: Nature's Perfect Nutrient Blend for the Farm" by Charles Walters:
'Rare Earths Forbidden Cures': by Joel D Wallach and Ma Lan:
This book is not very well laid out, and some parts of it are not for the faint of heart (e.g., where he documents different diseases in photographs). However, the authors put together a proposition that aging and disease is largely due to mineral deficiencies, and that the longest lived people live in mineral rich environments. In the book he includes newspaper cuttings of people claimed to have lived well beyond 100 years old, even over 200 years.
Phosphorus deficiency: decreased vitality and protein synthesis.
Cell membrane permeability: Low energy
Sugar intolerance shown by the calcium-magnesium ratio.
Calcium toxicity causes calcification and emotional symptoms.
Mineral Analysis: Copper Toxicity - Second test result
Fifth HTMA test results, April 2015
Holistic Practitioner Visits
Live Blood Analysis
Traditional Chinese Doctor Visit
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Ulla is the Editor of Cheap Health Revolution, covering natural remedies and health solutions.