When I tell people I recommend all clients to have a Hair Mineral Analysis, most people haven’t even heard of it.
What is Hair Mineral Analysis?
Hair Mineral Analysis (HMA) is a laboratory-based test that uses a small hair sample to check that your body has the minerals you need – and in the right ratios. It’s an affordable DIY test that uses state of the art science to assess your mineral status and, from the findings, produce lifestyle and dietary advice plus a supplement program tailored to your current needs.
Why Do We Need Hair Mineral Analysis?
Few people give any thought to their mineral levels, unaware that 4% of our body weight consists of minerals, vital to our health because of their many different functions. Minerals are used in almost every bodily function you can imagine: digestion, nervous system, immune system, hormones. Without minerals to activate them, vitamins in our food or supplements are almost useless.
Dr Gary Price-Todd states that “The human body requires at least 60 minerals in order to maintain a disease and ailment free status”.
Most people are familiar with nutritional minerals, such as zinc, calcium, potassium, manganese, and there are many others vital to optimum health. By contrast some minerals are considered toxic – for instance: lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium. In excess these can cause problems such as depression, headaches, infertility, loss of energy and many more. Others are essential minerals, but harmful in excess (e.g. copper). HMA checks for the status of nutritional minerals as well as toxic minerals.
Mineral Balance Matters
Correct mineral status isn’t just about the quantity of minerals in your body; it’s about ensuring that they are in the correct balance with each other. Too much of one can depress the level of another. People are usually amazed to hear that the most common imbalance I see in clients’ reports is an excess of calcium and a deficiency of magnesium.
As another example, close monitoring of the mineral copper is crucial, as it is vital for certain functions, but toxic if too much is present – which of course applies to almost every substance to which we may be exposed. What is essential, and what is excess? It depends on many factors, including your present mineral levels.
Iron and copper working together in the correct proportion will produce red blood cells, but an excess of either will prevent absorption of the other. I could have quoted several other examples.
Vitamins and Minerals
Looking now at vitamins, it is common knowledge that vitamin D can increase absorption of calcium (which may in itself be good or not), whereas an excess can lead to a potassium deficiency.
Another example of possible but unintended consequences is that taking large doses of vitamin C may help prevent colds, but as vitamin C has a copper-lowering effect you may leave yourself more at risk of bacterial infections.
So without a HMA you are unlikely to know whether you have correct balance of minerals in your body.
Why Use Hair To Determine Mineral Levels?
Hair, easily and painlessly available, contains the minerals incorporated during its growth. Vital information about the body’s chemistry is locked into every strand of hair, reflecting your energy, diet, environment and well being. On reaching the skin’s surface, the hair’s outer layers harden, locking in a blueprint of the nutritional metabolic activity during the past 1-2 months. So a hair sample indicates your body’s current mineral levels and your accumulation of toxic metals. The closer to the scalp, the more recent, and current, the information contained.
Based on scientific research, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has accepted that hair analysis is an effective way to measure mineral status, and studies have shown that, unlike blood samples, levels of toxic minerals in the hair correlated with kidney and liver concentrations, and were therefore a good indicator of bodily accumulation.
A blood sample will be skewed towards what you have eaten most recently. For instance, a blood sample taken after just eating a banana could show an atypical level of potassium. Unlike blood, hair can be sampled without training and it’s easy to transport, even over long distances. I have clients as far afield as Hong Kong and New Zealand.
A correctly analyzed sample will provide a wealth of information about a patient’s nutritional status, the effects of their diet, stress levels and exposure to toxic metals. If you wish, after following the recommendations, you can have a re-test, to see how the levels have changed as a result of any changes you made.
HMA gives useful information on diet and lifestyle, it also recommends a supplement program that clients can either order, or just refer to for information.
How Does Hair Mineral Analysis Help Choosing Supplements?
Choosing your supplement program should not be a hit-and-miss affair, but it so often ends up that way. You may start taking a decent multi, then you read an article about zinc (for instance) and add in a zinc supplement, then you hear potassium is important – so another gets added, or substituted. And before you know where you are there’s a complete hotch-potch of supplements which may lead to excesses of some minerals and shortages of others.
Taking vitamin and mineral supplements without knowing your mineral status can be wasteful and may even exacerbate existing imbalances. If you’re not aware of your body’s mineral levels, you can’t know its needs.
Complicated mineral interactions, together with ever increasing knowledge from scientific research, must all be taken into consideration when choosing a supplement program, otherwise you run the risk of nutritionally induced deficiencies caused by high dose single vitamins or minerals.
There are so many complex interactions between minerals that it’s almost impossible for a human to consider them all, and I believe this is one situation where a computer program is more capable of the analysis than human learning and intuition.
I hope that has given you an insight into the benefits of Hair Mineral Analysis and the reasons I prefer to use it as a tool for assessing a client’s needs. However, it’s such a multi-faceted subject I have only scratched the surface of the importance of minerals to your health.
If you would like to learn more about minerals and Hair Mineral Analysis click here to download my free ebook , and there are FAQs and a sample report on my website. Thanks to the Internet and email I provide this service and information to customers world-wide.