Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) – Hair Testing

Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) – Hair Testing

Hair Testing is a reliable method of seeing mineral and toxic metals excretions.Ā  It is non-invasive and a sample can be easily cut and sent to the lab from home. All hair test orders require a Practitioner to receive the results. Hair test consultations are available for those living anywhere in the USA or Canada.Ā  Contact us for more information.

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About Toxic Metals and Hair Testing

  1. Toxic metals, no matter which ones, are not selective as far as where, or how they can be detected.
  2. Mercury amalgams as well as mercury found in fish, or other sources of contamination can be found in the blood, hair, and in urine, using a urine challenge test.
  3. Toxic metals do not always show up on a hair analysis test on the first test.
  4. Depending on the state of your body’s energy levels, it may take several tests before the toxic metals show up in the hair.
  5. Blood tests, unless the contamination is recent within a week or so, or unless it is a continuously occurring contamination, will not indicate the presence of toxic metals.
  6. Once a toxic metal leaves the blood, it is then either eliminated or stored in other organs and tissues of the body.

About Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) Test: Mineral Blueprint

  • Hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) is a screening test for the level of 20 minerals and toxic metals in a sample of hair.
  • Hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) provides a mineral blueprint of one’s biochemistry. It will provide pertinent information about one’s metabolic rate, energy levels, sugar and carbohydrate tolerance, stage of stress, immune system and glandular activity.
  • It is a tissue mineral biopsy that is non-invasive, relatively inexpensive and extremely accurate. The laboratories we use in the USA (Analytical Research Labs and Trace Elements). Both labs have the most advanced and sophisticated instrumentation availableĀ  to assess mineral levels in parts per million or parts per billion.
  • Hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) is considered a standard test used around the world for the biological monitoring of trace elements and toxic metals in humans and animals species. This is the same technology that is used for soil testing and testing of rock samples to detect mineral levels.
  • Hair, like all other body tissues, contains minerals that are deposited as the hair grows. Although the hair is dead, the minerals remain as the hair continues to grow out.
  • A sample of hair cut close to the scalp provides information about the mineral activity in the hair that took place over the past three to four months, depending on the rate of hair growth.

Why Use Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) For Accurate Understanding Of Mineral Imbalances

  • There is a huge importance of looking at the bigger picture, and not just one mineral level in isolation.Ā 
  • The hair reflects the tissue level, which is what we want to know in terms of our minerals status.
  • Hair is a a form of soft tissue and provides a great window into what is happening inside the body at the tissue level.
  • If we want to know the stored tissue level, blood tests and urine tests are not the answer. They can provide a secondary source of information however.
  • An inch or so of hair taken closest to the scalp provides approximately a three-month window into the mineral and metal status of the body. Hair is not prone to the hour to hour fluctuations that affect the blood reading.
  • Another major advantage that Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) offers is data on the key ratios between mineral pairs as determined through the exhaustive research in the 1970’s and 80’s by Dr. Eck and Dr. Watts, the pioneers of the science of nutritional balancing.
  • When it comes to rebalancing minerals, or assessing mineral status, looking at any one mineral level in isolation explains very little.
    • If the hair chart shows high magnesium, is it really high?
    • Not necessarily, as stress depletes magnesium and most people are magnesium deficient.
    • If we look at the ratio between sodium (Na) and potassium (K), known as the stress ratio, and we see a high Na/K ratio, we know that the individual is under a lot of stress.
    • The high magnesium level is representing an intracellular loss of magnesium which shows up high in the hair but indicates magnesium deficiency.

Copper Toxicity and Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA)

  • We must look at what is happening with the other mineral levels and ratios in order to determine copper status and for the correction of copper.
  • Hidden copper toxicity occurs when high levels of copper are stored in various body tissues but have not yet been released to show up in the hair. Ā 
  • A copper toxic individual can have either high (overt) copper showing up in the hair, or may have low (hidden or latent) copper.
  • For example, when copper appears low in the HTMA, we look at other key indicators such as a high calcium, low potassium, (a Ca/K ratio over 10), low molybdenum (<.003), low Na/K, and a number of other levels and ratios to understand what is really happening with copper.
  • If you look at a graph and see at a low copper level and suggest the client needs to consume more copper, doing so would would greatly compound the problem
  • You must have a trained Homeopath or Practitioner who understands these various HTMA markers and can professionally guide you with homeopathy and nutrients to balance the key issues shown in the hair test.
  • Tests are also repeated about every 4 – 6 months to see how things are shifting in addition to monthly monitoring of symptoms.

Quick Tips On Hair Mineral and Heavy Metal Levels That Show Up In HTMA Testing


  • Arsenic accumulates in the hair tissue
  • Hair analysis is considered a valuable means of detecting arsenic toxicity.


  • Hair aluminum levels appear to correlate well with bone levels of aluminum.
  • Several hair tests may be needed before aluminum is revealed on the test.
  • This is because the aluminum may be tightly bound within body tissues, and several months on a nutrition program may be required to mobilize the aluminum.
  • Children today are commonly born with cadmium toxicity passed from mother to child via the placenta.


  • Significance in the hair is unknown.


  • “…Cadmium data from blood have little diagnostic value.” (Cranston & Passwater, 1983).
  • This is because cadmium is rapidly removed from the blood soon after it is ingested.
  • Blood challenge tests can detect cadmium in the blood and arteries.
  • Cadmium levels in hair show good correlation with cadmium levels in the kidneys.
  • Often, however, several months of nutritional therapy and several hair tests are required before cadmium is revealed in the hair.


High Hair Calcium:

  • usually indicates that calcium is leaving the bones and accumulating in the soft tissues of the body
  • high calcium is associated with a slow oxidation rate
  • good indicator of hidden copper toxicity
  • high calcium on a retest often means the body is eliminating excess calcium

Low Hair Calcium:

  • a low calcium level usually means calcium is being lost in the urine
  • associated with fast oxidation rate – alarm stage of stress
  • often associated with copper deficiency


High Hair Chromium:

  • a high chromium level is often indicative of a loss of chromium through the hair, and is frequently caused by an iron toxicity or another mineral imbalance problem.

Low Hair Chromium:

  • supplementing chromium when chromium reading is low, is frequently helpful in correcting symptoms of fatigue, or sugar and carbohydrate intolerance.
  • excessive iron intake is a frequent cause of both high and low chromium levels.


  • Bio-unavailable copper: Often copper status can be tricky to assess.
  • Copper may be present, but unavailable for use in the body.
  • This occurs any time adrenal gland activity is low.
  • Copper and Oxidation Type: Fast oxidizers generally are deficient in copper
  • Copper and Oxidation Type: Slow oxidizers usually have either high copper or bio-unavailable copper.
  • Hidden Copper Toxicity: Copper is often normal on hair tests, but may actually be locked in body tissues.
  • Test indicators of a hidden copper imbalance are:
    • Calcium level greater than 75 mg%
    • Potassium level less than 3 mg%
    • Sodium/potassium ratio less than 2.2:1
  • Mercury toxicity often indicates a hidden copper toxicity
  • Copper level less than 1.0 mg%
  • Zinc/copper ratio less than 6:1


  • Iron is referred to as the strength mineral

High Hair Iron:

  • often associated with feelings of anger and hostility
  • more often seen in fast oxidation
  • often associated with high aluminum levels
  • can be due to an iron loss due to destruction of body cells
  • iron toxicity can be due to iron cookware or excessive iron in drinking water

Low Hair Iron:

  • most often associated with a slow oxidation rate
  • common to see iron levels around 1.0 mg%
  • low hair iron does not necessarily indicate anemia
  • low iron often seen with symptoms of fatigue
  • taking iron tablets will not necessarily raise iron levels


  • Ā Children can also be born with elevated lead, passed through the placenta from their mothers.
  • Diets deficient in calcium, magnesium, or iron increase lead absorption


  • Lithium appears to lower sodium levels. This would correlate with the research by A. Frazier.
  • The meaning of hair lithium levels is a topic of research.


High Hair Magnesium:

  • often associated with a SLOW oxidation rate, fatigue and depression.
  • a high magnesium level often indicates that magnesium is being lost through the hair, resulting in deficiency symptoms such as anxiety and hyper-irritability.

Low Hair Magnesium:

  • often associated with a FAST oxidation rate, anxiety, irritability and high-strung personality.


  • Manganese is called the maternal mineral because manganese-deficient animals cease to care for their young.

High Hair Manganese:

  • May be due to manganese toxicity derived from drinking water containing excessively high levels of manganese.

Low Hair Manganese:

  • Low hair manganese levels are extremely common. However, if the manganese level is below .03 mg% it is considered very low.
  • Low manganese usually correlates with slow oxidation and low energy levels.


  • Both blood and hair have been used to detect mercury poisoning.
  • In one study, hair levels generally correlated with blood levels.
  • Hair levels are about 300 times higher than blood levels.
  • Copper toxicity and zinc deficiency are often associated with mercury toxicity.


  • Molybdenum is a powerful copper antagonist.
  • Most copper antagonists such as zinc displace copper.
  • A unique property of molybdenum is that it binds or complexes directly with copper and facilitates its removal.
  • This enables copper to be removed from the body without the common side effects that often occur with copper removal.
  • Another reason for this action is that molybdenum raises sodium, offsetting the sodium-lowering effect that occurs when copper is eliminated.
  • Molybdenum absorption is antagonized by copper, sulfur, methionine and a high-protein diet.
  • Molybdenum metabolism is antagonized by manganese, zinc and at times sulfur.


High Hair Phosphorus:

  • An elevated phosphorus level is frequently indicative of excessive protein breakdown of body tissues.
  • As proteins break down, phosphorus is released.
  • Phosphorus levels may increase temporarily as toxic metals are being eliminated in the course of a nutrition program.
  • Very high phosphorus (greater than 25 mg%) can indicate a serious metabolic disturbance.

Pubic hair samples often show elevated phosphorus readings. This is a characteristic of pubic hair.

Low Hair Phosphorus:

  • A low phosphorus level is frequently associated with inadequate protein synthesis.
  • Although most diets are adequate in phosphorus, those on low-protein diets or vegetarians may have a low phosphorus intake.
  • Zinc is required for protein synthesis.
  • Often a low phosphorus level is associated with a zinc deficiency, cadmium toxicity, or zinc loss.
  • When these imbalances are corrected, the phosphorus level improves.
  • A low phosphorus level may be due to poor digestion or assimilation of protein.
  • This may be due to digestive enzyme deficiency, low hydrochloric acid level, or other factors.


  • Potassium is known as the follow-through mineral.
  • Hair must not be washed at the laboratory to obtain accurate potassium readings.

High Hair Potassium:

  • indicates high sugar and glucocorticoid levels.
  • very high potassium can be a potassium loss due to excessive breakdown of body cells.

Low Hair Potassium:

  • indicates adrenal gland exhaustion.
  • very low potassium is associated with allergies, fatigue, low blood sugar, sweet cravings and low blood pressure.


High Hair Selenium:

  • can be due to the use of shampoos containing selenium
  • may indicate a loss of selenium through the hair

Low Hair Selenium:

  • may be due to dietary deficiency, which is relatively common, especially among those who eat refined foods

Why Do Selenium Supplementation?

  • Selenium may be given to help prevent or correct cadmium, mercury, or arsenic toxicity.
  • Selenium is an anti-oxidant and may be given to help protect against free radical damage.
  • Note that excessive selenium supplementation may be toxic (RDA 200 ā€“ 400 mcg daily).
  • In addition, there is extensive research presently being conducted on the functions of selenium and iodine with regard to thyroid function and it is becoming clear that there is an interaction between the two that should be noted.


  • Sodium is referred to as the “volatility” mineral

Low Hair Sodium:

  • excellent indicator of impaired adrenal gland activity
  • very low sodium is indicative of exhaustion
  • hair must not be washed at the laboratory for accurate readings

High Hair Sodium:

  • indicative of excessive adrenal gland activity
  • often indicates excitability and fast oxidation
  • sodium levels can be elevated by toxic metals, especially cadmium


  • Zinc is considered a “masculine” mineral, because of its importance in the formation of male sexual hormones.

High Hair Zinc:

  • An elevated zinc level is commonly due to a loss of zinc from the body tissues.
  • In these cases, zinc supplements will often be recommended.
  • Zinc levels may appear high to help compensate for copper toxicity.
  • Thus high zinc can be a tipoff of a hidden copper toxicity.
  • Use of Head and Shoulders shampoo occasionally results in an elevated zinc reading.
  • Cadmium toxicity can cause a zinc reading to appear high.

Low Hair Zinc:

  • Zinc will often read low if the sodium/potassium ratio is less than 2.5:1.
  • In this case, it is not always wise to give much zinc.
  • Zinc is commonly low in “fast” oxidizers.
  • Very low zinc levels are often associated with emotional instability and with problems of growth and development in children.