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HTMA – Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

Hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) is a mineral biopsy type of test. A biopsy is an analysis of a body tissue. This one detects the levels of 20 or more minerals in the hair.

Hair makes an excellent biopsy material for many reasons. Sampling is simple and non-invasive, and hair is a stable biopsy material. It requires no special handling and will remain viable for years. In addition, mineral levels in the hair are about ten times that of blood, making them easy to detect and measure accurately in the hair.
Mineral levels are kept relatively constant in the blood even when pathology is present. Hair mineral values often vary by a factor of ten or much more, making measurement easier and giving us a tremendous amount of accurate knowledge about the cells and the soft tissues of our bodies.
Toxic metals are also much easier to detect in the hair. They are not found in high concentrations in the blood except right after an acute exposure. However, some of them tend to accumulate in the soft tissues, where they are far easier to detect and measure accurately. However, toxic metals are one of the least important reasons for having a hair mineral analysis.
Another reason we like the hair test is that blood tests can vary from hour to hour. They can vary quite a lot depending upon one’s diet, activity level, the time of day and many other factors. This is beneficial in some instances, but is often less helpful when seeking an overall metabolic reading.
Finally, advancements in computer-controlled mass spectroscopy and other sciences have rendered the hair mineral biopsy an extremely cost-effective, accurate and reliable test if and when it is done right.

HTMA provides a measure of the chemical elements deposited in the cells and between the cells of the hair. It provides a reading of the deposition of the mineral in the hair during the 3-4 months during which the hair grew. It does not measure the total body load of any mineral, as some claim.
At least 20 elements are measured, depending on the laboratory. The three classes of these elements are:

  • Macrominerals include calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and phosphorus. Some labs also read sulfur.
  • Trace Minerals include iron, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, chromium, and some labs measure others.
  • Toxic Minerals include lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, aluminum, and nickel. Some labs read others as well.

Analyzing hair tissue for chemical elements is quite different from testing blood, urine or feces, although all have great value in the right situation. Hair mineral analysis can reveal the following:

  • Your metabolic type. This is an important fact of body chemistry. It is most helpful to understand dozens of symptoms, and to guide the dietary and supplement recommendations. It also helps to understand many emotional and mental symptoms as well.
  • Energy Analysis. Energy is a common denominator of health. This means that if one’s energy is low, hundreds of symptoms can occur. Restoring one’s biochemical or adaptive energy is a key to healing. This is one of the most basic healing principles. Hair analysis is fabulous to evaluate the reasons for lowered energy and vitality, and guiding exactly how to increase real energy production rather than just stimulate energy, as most healing program do.
  • Personality, Emotional, and Mental Assessment. Hair mineral analysis is excellent to assess a person’s tendencies for autism, ADD, ADHD, anxiety, depression, mood swings, irritability, nervousness, schizoid tendencies, bipolar disorder and many other common conditions. In our experience, these are often linked to metabolic imbalances, some of which are quite simple to correct once they are identified properly.
  • Gland and Organ Insights. Hair testing provides indicators for the cellular effect of the thyroid, the adrenals, the ovaries, at times, and perhaps other gland functions as well.
  • Assessing carbohydrate tolerance. Hair analysis can be used to quickly screen for hypoglycemia and, at times, diabetes, although a glucose tolerance test (GTT) should be done if one suspects diabetes. Hair testing can, however, usually to be used to correct diabetes very quickly without drugs. The patient must follow the diet, however, for best results. Mineral imbalances are often at fault with these conditions.
  • Toxic metal assessment. Hair testing is the simplest and most cost-effective way to assess general toxic metal status. No method of testing can detect all the toxic metals in the body. Other mineral levels and patterns on the test provide indicators of the presence of hidden toxic metals.
  • Reducing guesswork in recommending diets, nutritional supplementation and detoxification methods.
  • Trends or tendencies for over 60 common health conditions. This is a great benefit because it enables a person to predict health problems that may arise in the future and prevent their occurrence. This is much less costly and more effective than waiting until a disease such as cancer or heart disease occurs.
  • Monitoring Progress. Hair analysis can help monitor a person’s healing progress. Symptom changes alone are often not a good way to know if a person is progressing on a healing program. However, the hair test will often detect subtle changes in body chemistry, which is another wonderful benefit of this test.