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29 June 2023

Hair Mineral Analysis: Common Questions

Hair Mineral Analysis, also known as HTMA, is a powerful diagnostic tool that measures the mineral content and toxic metal accumulation in hair. This analytical test provides valuable insights into an individual’s unique metabolic world, revealing intracellular activity that cannot be observed through other tests. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the significance of hair as a tissue for testing, understand why minerals are essential for our overall health, discuss factors that can cause mineral imbalances, and explore the interrelationships between minerals and vitamins.


Why Use Hair? Why Not Blood?


Hair is an ideal tissue for sampling and testing due to several reasons. First and foremost, it can be easily cut from the scalp without any pain or discomfort. Unlike blood samples which require special handling requirements, hair samples can be sent to the laboratory conveniently. Additionally, hair analysis provides insights into long-term exposure or accumulation of toxic metals in the body that might not be detectable through serum tests alone.

Studies have shown that after an acute exposure to lead, elevated levels may become undetectable in serum within thirty to forty days. This is because the body removes the lead from the serum as a protective measure and stores it in tissues such as bones, liver, teeth, and hair. Therefore, analyzing minerals in hair can provide a blueprint of metabolic activity during hair growth and development.


Furthermore, human hair has been recognized by authoritative bodies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an effective tissue for monitoring toxic metal exposure. The EPA report states that human hair is more appropriate than blood or urine for studying community exposure to trace elements.


Why are Minerals Important?


Trace minerals play crucial roles in numerous metabolic functions throughout our life processes. For instance:


  • Zinc is involved in insulin production and necessary for growth hormones.
  • Magnesium is essential for normal muscular function and heart health.
  • Potassium is critical for nutrient transport into cells.
  • Adequate levels of sodium are required for normal health, while excess sodium is associated with hypertension.


According to the late researcher Dr. Henry Schroeder, trace elements or minerals are more important than vitamins in human nutrition. While the body can manufacture many vitamins, it cannot produce necessary trace minerals and eliminate possible excesses.


What factor cause a mineral imbalance?


Several factors can contribute to mineral imbalances in our bodies:


  • Diet: Consuming a diet high in refined and processed foods, alcohol, or following fad diets can lead to chemical imbalances. Even a seemingly healthy diet may be inadequate if the soil in which the food was grown lacks essential nutrients.
  • Stress: Physical or emotional stress can deplete the body of nutrients and hinder absorption and utilization.
  • Medications: Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications can deplete nutrient mineral stores or increase toxic metal levels in the body.
  • Pollution: Our bodies are exposed to various sources of toxic metals throughout our lives, such as cigarette smoke (cadmium), hair dyes (lead), hydrogenated oils (nickel), and many others.
  • Nutritional Supplements: Incorrect or excessive intake of supplements can lead to vitamin and mineral imbalances.
  • Inherited Patterns: Predisposition towards certain mineral imbalances, deficiencies, or excesses can be inherited from parents.


How do minerals and vitamin interact with each other?


Minerals interact not only with each other but also with vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. These interactions play a crucial role in maintaining optimal health. Disturbances in mineral status often correspond to disturbances in synergistic vitamins and vice versa.

For example:


  • Vitamin C affects iron absorption and reduces copper retention.
  • Boron and iron influence vitamin B2 status.
  • Protein intake affects zinc status.


Evaluating mineral status through hair analysis provides valuable clues about vitamin status and requirements. Ongoing research in this field focuses on understanding the interrelationships between minerals and vitamins.


What can you expect from a hair mineral analysis test?


When you order a complete hair analysis profile, your healthcare professional receives a comprehensive evaluation of significant mineral levels, ratios, and toxic metals tested in the hair. The report includes individualized food recommendations based on food allergy indicators and metabolic requirements.


What research is there that supporting hair tissue mineral analysis?


Hair tissue mineral analysis is backed by an extensive body of literature published in respected national and international scientific publications. Federally licensed clinical laboratories perform over 150,000 hair mineral assays each year in the United States alone. This test has become an integral part of comprehensive patient evaluations for healthcare professionals.


Continuing research studies conducted by private and government agencies further contribute to the growing knowledge base surrounding hair mineral analysis.




Hair Mineral Analysis offers unique insights into an individual’s biochemical makeup, providing valuable information about mineral status, toxic metal accumulation, and potential imbalances. By understanding the importance of minerals, identifying factors that can cause imbalances, and recognizing the interrelationships between minerals and vitamins, we can take proactive steps towards optimizing our health and well-being.

Remember to consult with a qualified healthcare professional who specializes in interpreting hair tissue mineral analysis results for personalized recommendations tailored to your specific needs.

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