Frequently Asked Questions
Why Test for Minerals?
Minerals are very important for cellular function and are a requirement for good health and abundant energy levels. Minerals were originally referred to as the "spark plugs of life" by Dr. Henry Schroeder (Trace Elements, Inc., 2011, p 3). We all know, and for some by experience, that when the spark plugs in our cars, ATVs and lawnmowers are worn out, they simply just don't start or they just don't operate as efficiently as they are designed to.
The importance of minerals really comes to light in the following statement, from an interview with Dr. Paul Eck: "Every single physical living cell on earth is derived totally from minerals and mineral-based compounds. Every single living body cell, including the DNA genetic codes themselves, are dependant upon minerals for both their structure and function" (Chatsworth, Colin & Loren, p 112).
A deficiency of certain minerals will undermine the ability of the body to utilize its full scope of nutrients, vitamins included. We also need the correct amount and the right minerals for hormone and enzyme production that support many body systems (Trace Elements, Inc., 2011, p 3). HTMAs for example, reflect the dynamics of the vital mineral system which relate to neuro-endocrine balance or imbalance. In this way, HTMAs reflect how the body is responding and has responded to stress.
What Can Cause a Mineral Imbalance?
Acute illness such as those involving fever, acute stressors and toxic exposure are some examples that could cause a shift in the mineral patterns on a shorter term basis. From a broader scope, stress and trauma, lack of sleep, dietary habits, medications, vaccinations and toxins in the air, water and food supply as well as certain nutritional supplements (when taken and not actually required), could cause a disruption in the mineral patterns. HTMA can illuminate what nutrients are needed (and not needed).
How does an HTMA Compare to Blood Tests for Minerals?
Blood has a very narrow range of pH variability, unlike the pH of urine and saliva which is variable throughout the day. An excess of minerals in the blood are deposited into the tissue to maintain this narrow range of parameters as required by the blood. This applies to toxic metals as well. Although blood will show acute toxic mineral exposure, eventually these toxic elements will be pushed into the tissue. When there are mineral deficiencies, the tissues (hair being one particular tissue) will also register the deficiencies first as stored mineral is taken from the tissue and moved back into blood so it can be utilized. Analyzing the blood for minerals therefore, is a good indicator of the extracellular transport of minerals to and from the storage areas of the body (Trace Elements, Inc. 2011, p 3). An HTMA on the other hand, can give us a more complete snapshot of the metabolic processes pertaining to the minerals occurring on an intracellular level (Trace Elements, Inc. 2011, p 2).
Is HTMA used for Diagnosis?
No. There are clear patterns among individual test results that can provide data that assist in understanding what may be happening in various organ systems, how one is responding in their life to stressors and also, the mineral pattern can give important data on one’s emotional health. A clear example of this is a very high ratio of calcium to potassium which would indicate at the mineral level that the thyroid gland is not functioning as well as it could be. A further look into the full mineral dynamics of the test reveals there is also lowered adrenal function (based on the sodium to magnesium ratio) and yet a deeper look reveals that there is a potential underlying copper toxicity. Overtime, with dietary and possibly lifestyle changes along with individualized supplementation based on HTMA data, this entire pattern can shift and the endocrine system function (in this case, the thyroid and adrenal glands) can improve. HTMA is not intended for diagnosis, only to gather vital information about the wholistic nature of the dynamic mineral system as the above example illustrates.
How Often is an HTMA Test Recommended?
When embarking upon your first HTMA, it can be helpful to understand that backing oneself out of health imbalances can (and most often will) take time. In fact, many people who come to HTMA have already made levels of commitment to their health on a daily and on-going basis. One test will likely not be sufficient if you're really wanting to gauge how your mineral patterns are operating and how the supplements and dietary changes you've initiated are helping to shift your mineral imbalances. Because of our high stress levels today, coupled with nutrient deficiencies, interference fields, toxins and stimulant drugs like caffeine that are today's "norm", it should be understood that changes in one's dynamic mineral patterns are going to take some time and effort. And with the mineral patterns being dynamic and labile, any new stressor that is very taxing to the body can affect the interplay of these minerals once again; however, when one's metabolism shifts to a more balanced state, he or she also can become more resilient to stress.
Initially as we work together, I will likely suggest a HTMA every 3 months. After 3 months, and based on your new HTMA, the supplements may need to be changed to reflect the new test and new dietary recommendations may be made. On a longer term basis, and once the mineral patterns become more balanced, longer spans of time could certainly be observed between HTMA testing if the client chooses this. As a long term preventative health strategy, bi-annually or annual HTMA testing could continue to help one maintain his or her mineral dynamics in a more ideal range. Our health is a commitment and an investment, but I can't think of anything better to invest in.
What type of information does a lab report provide and what can I expect it to look like?
Please feel free to read through a sample Profile 2 Report provided by TEI Labs.
Chatsworth, Colin & Loren. Energy: How it Affects Your Emotions, Your Level of Achievement, and Your Entire Personal Well-Being, p 112. Sam Biser Press.
Trace Elements, Inc. (2011). Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA): Balancing Body Chemistry.