HTMA, More Than a Toxic Element Screening Test

Hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) is commonly recognised as a toxic element (Heavy metal) screening test. While hair analysis is an excellent tool for this purpose, the true scope of HTMA is much broader.

One of the main reason that HTMA can be beneficial for many people is that many health conditions have an underlying metabolic dysfunction, typically involving the endocrine system, and cellular "cross-talk" which contributes to nutritional imbalances, and deficiencies.

It is often overlooked that an HTMA profile can indicate an individual's oxidation type

Fast Oxidation and Slow Oxidation patterns are very commonly observed in HTMA profiles. The metabolic rate or the oxidation type is a reflection of the cellular metabolism for the production of energy.

The Oxidation types also give insight into how the Autonomic Nervous System and the Endocrine glands are functioning, and how effective and efficient the energy-producing glands, the adrenal and thyroid, are functioning in response to the environment, stress, diet, supplements, medications, and even recreational drugs.

The minerals in the body determine the biochemical environment in which the organs function. The more optimal the mineral levels and ratios in the body, the more efficient and adaptive the organs and glands will function.

Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, and Potassium are the primary regulatory minerals in the body. When these four minerals are all near their ideal levels as indicated on an HTMA, the thyroid and adrenal glands function at peak efficiency. When electrolyte mineral levels deviate from the ideal levels as indicated by an HTMA, an individual will experience diminished energy levels.

If both the thyroid and adrenal glands are overactive, the individual will be a fast oxidiser; this means the person will have a very fast metabolism. Often, these people abound with energy. Chi-balls as I sometimes refer to them.

  • Fast Oxidation is reflected by lower than ideal levels of the minerals calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) along with elevated levels of sodium (Na) and potassium (K).
  • Fast Oxidation can also be reflected by a lower than ideal ratio of calcium to phosphorus (Ca/P). The ideal Ca/P ratio is 2.6/1; when this ratio drops below 2.5/1, the HTMA reflects a trend towards Fast Oxidation.

Calcium, magnesium, and copper deficiencies are typically observed in the hair mineral analysis of a fast oxidiser. This is an indication of cardiovascular problems. 

If both of these glands are under-active, a person will be a slow oxidiser. Slow oxidisers have a very slow rate of metabolism and usually, lack energy. 

  • Slow Oxidation is reflected by higher than ideal levels of calcium and magnesium and lower levels of sodium and potassium.
  • Slow Oxidation is also reflected by an elevated ratio of calcium to phosphorus (Ca/P). As the Ca/P ratio increases above 2.5/1, a trend towards Slow Oxidation is reflected.

Chronic fatigue, copper excess and potassium deficiency are indicators on the HTMA of a slow oxidiser, as well as a variety of psychological and developmental problems.

It is important to note the qualities and differences between the metabolic rates. 

Determination of the Oxidation type is beneficial in selecting the appropriate nutrients for an individual, and one important reason why cookie-cutter supplementation for individuals may be detrimental to our health. This is primarily because the nutritional needs for each oxidation type are substantially different from each other. For example:

  • Fast Oxidizers typically need much more calcium, magnesium, and copper than a Slow Oxidizer.
  • Slow Oxidizers typically need much more potassium and vitamin C than a Fast Oxidizer.

The broad range of applications of an HTMA is what makes HTMA a valuable resource for insight into chronic health conditions and metabolic dysfunctions.  When an HTMA test is performed correctly, and not washed at the laboratory, a practitioner can gain insight into how the Endocrine glands are functioning, in response to the environment, stress, diet, supplements, medications, lifestyle, and even avoid shot-gun supplementation which can be detrimental to a person's health.