Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA)
HTMA is an analytical test that assays the mineral composition of the hair. This test may provide indications of mineral imbalances, deficiencies, and excesses of many essential and toxic elements. It can greatly assist the clinician in assessing a patient's health and nutritional status. It can provide a more holistic and comprehensive picture upon which to base the most effective therapy.
The hair is the second most metabolically active tissue and may provide a record of the metabolic activity occurring within the body during its period of growth (in the last 6-8 weeks). The hair test can indicate a possible deficiency, excess, or bio-unavailability of the particular mineral within the body. There is a close correlation between trace element levels in the hair and levels in the internal organs.
The serum contains minerals, but they may not be representative of the body's mineral storage. Serum concentrations may fluctuate with emotional changes, the time of the day the blood is drawn, or foods eaten prior to taking a sample - blood analysis for minerals detects only minerals to and from the storage areas of the body.
The excess accumulation of minerals in the body is often undetected by sampling the serum due to their removal from the blood for deposition into the tissues such as the liver, bones, teeth, and hair. The hair analysis is more cost-effective than mineral testing through other means, provides a record of past as well as present trace element levels, and is invaluable in the assessment of toxic metal levels.
Why test for minerals?
They are necessary elements in the chemistry of life. For example, manganese and copper are necessary for the catecholamine synthesis; zinc is involved in the production, storage, and secretion of insulin. A mineral imbalance can be caused by an inappropriate diet or stress, medications, pollution or wrong nutritional supplements. Conditions associated with mineral imbalances include: arteriosclerosis, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, hyperactivity, migraine headaches, learning disability, attention deficit disorder, or decreased academic performance.
This test distinguishes also persons with a fast metabolism (people who are experiencing a considerable amount of stress, enjoying and even seeking stressful situations, being late for appointments, who are somewhat agitated or hyper excitable, often are called workaholics, and who usually gain weight in the abdominal region) from persons with a slow metabolism (people whose weight gain usually is noticeable on the thighs and hips, and in whom, if their metabolism continues to decrease, protein foods, especially meats, will become poorly tolerated, which in turn may increase their tendency toward vegetarianism). Knowledge of these influences will aid in developing a much more specific therapeutic approach.