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  • Writer's picture Shiri Mesica

Balancing Body Chemistry with HTMA- Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

Balancing body chemistry with Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

What is Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis?

Hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA), is an analytical test which measures the mineral content of the hair. The sampled hair, obtained by cutting the first inch and one half of growth closest to the scalp at the nape of the neck, is prepared in a licensed clinical laboratory through a series of chemical and high temperature digestive procedure. Testing is then performed using highly sophisticated detection equipment and methods to achieve the most accurate and precise results..

Why test for Minerals?

Trace minerals are essential in countless metabolic functions in all phases of the life process.

Zinc is involved in the production, storage and secretion of insulin and is necessary for growth hormones.

Magnesium is required for optimal function of your nervous system and normal muscular function, especially the heart. A deficiency has been associated with increased incidence of heart attacks, anxiety and nervousness.

Potassium is critical for normal nutrient transport into the cell. A deficiency can result in muscular weakness, depression and lethargy.

Excess sodium is associated with hypertension, but adequate amounts are required for normal health and vital energy.

The HTMA test checks for other minerals such as Copper, Chromium, Iron, Cobalt, Selenium, Boron, Sulfur, Molybdenum, Manganese and Phosphorous. These minerals need to be balanced, and in proper ratios for optimal and balanced body chemistry.

HTMA also checks for toxic elements like Mercury, lead, Uranium, Cadmium, Aluminum and more. Toxic elements can interfere with proper absorption of essential minerals and nutrients causing imbalances and degradation of health.

What Can Cause a Mineral Imbalance?


Poor diet, high intake of refined and processed foods, alcohol and fad diets can all lead to a chemical imbalance. Even the nutrient content of a healthy diet can be inadequate, depending upon the soil in which the food was grown.


Physical or emotional stress can deplete the body of many nutrients, while also reducing the capability to absorb and utilize many nutrients.


Both prescription and over-the-counter medications can deplete the body store of nutrient minerals and or increase the levels of toxic metals – for example: diuretics, antacids, aspirin and oral contraceptives.


From adolescence through adulthood the average person is continually exposed to a variety of toxic metal sources- such as: cigarette smoke (cadmium), hair dyes (lead), hydrogenated oils (nickel ), antiperspirants (aluminum), lead based cosmetics, copper and aluminum cookware and dental amalgams (mercury and cadmium). These are just a few of the hundreds of sources which can contribute to nutrients imbalances and adverse metabolic effects.

Nutritional supplements

Taking the incorrect type of supplements or improper amounts of nutritional supplements can produce many mineral excesses and or deficiencies contributing to an overall biochemical imbalance.

Inherited Patterns

A predisposition toward mineral imbalances, deficiencies and excesses can be inherited from parents.

Did You Know?

Excessive mineral intake can negate the beneficial effects of vitamins, for example:

· Zinc can reduce the beneficial effect of vitamin D

· Calcium can reduce the beneficial effect of vitamin A

Excessive vitamin intake can negate the beneficial effects of mineral, for example:

· Vitamin C can reduce the beneficial effects of copper

· Vitamin D can cause a deficiency of magnesium

· Taking too much iron can contribute to such symptoms as arthritis, high blood pressure and tension headaches with dizziness

· Frontal headaches (behind the eyes) are associated with too much copper.

· Taking too much Calcium alone can contribute to osteoporosis, weight gain and fatigue.

· Toxic metals can contribute to learning disabilities in children.

Why Use The Hair?

Hair is ideal tissue for sampling and testing. First, it can be cut easily and painlessly and can be sent to the lab without special handling requirements.

Second, clinical results have shown that a properly obtained sample can give an indication of mineral status and toxic metal accumulation following long term or acute exposure.

HTMA Reveals a Unique Metabolic World:

Intracellular activity, which cannot be seen through most other tests. This provides a blueprint of the biochemistry occurring during the period of hair growth and development.

Hair is used as one of the tissues of choice by the Environmental Protection Agency in determining toxic metal exposure. A 1980 report from the E.P.A. stated that human hair can be effectively used for biological monitoring of the highest priority toxic metals. This report confirmed the finding of other studies in the U.S and abroad, which concluded that human hair may be a more appropriate tissue than blood or urine for studying exposure to some trace elements. For example: The body sequesters lead from the blood and into the bones after a few days of exposure. Once Lead is stored in bones, serum blood tests will not reflect the exposure or toxicity.

Though I utilize several functional lab assessments in my practice, I am constantly fascinated with this particular lab, and the insight it gives me about healing opportunities.

HTMA helps me understand my client's body chemistry and metabolic type. As I always say, I do not believe in the cookie cutter approach, each person has a metabolic individuality that makes him/her unique. When I create customized healing protocols, I always take into consideration my client's body chemistry needs and metabolic type requirements.

content provided by Trace Elements Lab

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