Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (hTMA)
Introduction to HTMA
The hTMA is a screening test that measures levels of minerals and toxic metals present in a sample of hair.
Minerals are the spark plugs of life and play many important health-related roles within the human body. They provide a window into our cellular health, and hair makes an excellent biopsy material. This test reveals a clear record of mineral metabolism and metabolic activity (about 3 months).
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.
Minerals and toxic metals are locked inside the hair during the growth state as the body uses it for the storage and elimination of minerals.
Creating a blueprint of one’s individual biochemistry, hair analysis can assist in identifying mineral patterns which may be associated with our body’s ability to handle stress, blood sugar and carbohydrate imbalances; metabolic rates; biochemical energy and production and glandular imbalances.
Using a science of micro mass spectrophotometry and correct sampling, hair analysis is a highly accurate way to test tissue mineral levels. Hair grows from the inside to the outside of the cell, so it accurately reflects the intracellular mineral content of our bodies. Over 95% of the minerals in the body are intracellular, so hair is an extremely valuable diagnostic tool. Minerals circulating in the blood are under a very different homeostatic control than minerals in the tissue.
Blood pH is more tightly regulated and will work hard to stay regulated at the expense of the tissue. This is why the tissue readings can give us more information. And then with that information, we can see many different homeostatic balances in the body and work to balance them.
The essence of biochemical therapy, or we could say nutritional therapy, is to identify each person’s nutrient overload and deficiencies and provide a game plan that helps normalize the body’s systems. We really have to know for sure our body’s mineral levels to help us know what to eat and how to supplement correctly.
This method of testing has been used for at least 100 years worldwide to screen for the level of 20 minerals and toxic metals in a sample of hair.
It is a non-invasive, relatively inexpensive method of testing and is very accurate. Hair mineral analysis testing is an excellent method for assessing, monitoring and guiding the correction and improvement of one’s body chemistry.
Hair provides a window into the entire workings of the body, giving us accurate insights into how to balance health through a nutritional protocol. Hair is an excellent way to see imbalances in metabolic health and bring correction to them before deeper health pathologies set in.
WHY SHOULD YOU GET A HTMA TEST?
- To determine your current metabolic type (oxidation rate) so you can fine tune your macro nutrient ratios and create an eating plan specific to your unique health.
- To get a clear plan for supplements specific to your current health so you can stop wasting money on supplements you don’t need and that aren’t working.
- Find out if you have current metal exposure.
- To understand why you have fatigue and determine your current vitality.
- Find out whether you have adrenal or thyroid insufficiency.
- Find out whether your body is dealing with some level of blood sugar imbalance.
There is so much information this test provides. It is an excellent addition to all the other evaluative tools I use.
For this newsletter I want to talk a bit about oxidation rate and the autonomic nervous system.
The major take away is this ~ HTMA testing helps us efficiently prioritize your next steps:
- Are you in the most effective nervous system for digestion and elimination?
- Is there balance between anabolic systems (building yourself up) or catabolic systems (tearing yourself down)?
- Are you actually able to absorb nutrients? What should YOU be eating based on your metabolic rate?
- How is your body able to handle stress?
Let’s maximize your health so you can do all the things you want to do! No limits.
OXIDATION RATE and AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM
HTMA interpretation relies on metabolic blueprint. Oxidation rate is another way to talk about the metabolic rate. Oxidation rate provides insight into fuel needs of the body. It is primarily controlled by the neurological and endocrine systems. Oxidation is the bridge between neuro/endocrine control and mineral response shown on HTMA.
Honestly our food supply is deficient in minerals. It is nearly impossible to replenish mineral reserves through food alone. Food plays a large role in pulling us in, or pushing us out of oxidation patterns. The goal of the dietary plan is to help modulate the oxidation type.
A key part of vitality is the health of our Autonomic Nervous System.
Common causes of imbalance include:
- Inherited chemical imbalances
- Insufficient diet
- Stimulants (caffeine, stress)
- Negative thinking
- Traumas (physical/emotional)
- Toxic metals/chemicals
Only REST will rebalance this system!
The autonomic nervous system regulates many functions in the body and consists of the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic branches.
The Sympathetic branch activates the brain muscles and the thyroid and adrenal glands, which enable the body to respond to stress. We primarily use our sympathetic nervous system during the day, and it is associated with spending energy.
The Sympathetic nervous system is also called the “fight-or-flight-or-freeze” system that could reach the brain and the muscles and is the speed-up system. It causes expenditure of energy and is catabolic, which means “a breaking down of body tissues.” We can say that one is in more “sympathetic state” when one is physically and mentally active.
The Sympathetic branch of the nervous system is balanced by the Parasympathetic branch, which is more associated with the nurturing and repairing of body tissues. The parasympathetic branch also enhances digestion and elimination of toxins.
The Parasympathetic system is conserving, nurturing, nourishing and restful. It activates the digestive organs. It is anabolic and regenerates the body. Healing really requires that an individual spend plenty of time in the “parasympathetic state” in order to allow for proper digestion and elimination of toxins and to rebuild the organs and glands, or really, the entire body.
We are more “parasympathetic” when we rest, relax or sleep. So the body balances these two systems and the minerals associated with them. Animals are actually quite good at this. My dog, Marzipan, models this so well. She runs fast chasing critters all day, but is equally comfortable spending the afternoon sleeping in the sun (on my bed!).
Humans, however, have difficulty balancing the autonomic system. We live in a world that dysregulates our autonomic system through systems of oppression and domination. Many people are required to fight all the time, for actual or perceived survival. Others are in a “give-up mode” where they no can longer muster the fight and are often de-pressed, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Most people today have either overactive sympathetic nervous system function or they have exhausted the system and end up in an unhealthy parasympathetic state. The body is in a state of exhaustion. Healing looks different for everyone, but an essential ingredient is a safe place to heal and regenerate, alone and in community. Remember, we are connected even if we can’t tell.
It’s imperative for health to maintain a proper balance between the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system, so you can function actively as well as heal and regenerate the body.
Here are some common causes of imbalance. They can include inherited chemical imbalances. Eating foods that we are allergic to or sensitive to drives imbalance. Having pathogens also contributes to stress. The use of stimulants such as caffeine, drugs, energy drinks or even stressful lives driven by adrenaline or over-exercising deplete us. A lack of exercise keeps the body unable to eliminate toxins.
Negative thoughts and narratives about our world affect us deeply. Think placebo here. Our thought patterns and belief systems informed by inherited and/or generational trauma can “run” us without our awareness. Addiction and spiritual dis-ease, an inability to receive based on our understanding of our worth and value, sitting in resentments and fear, all these factors affect our vitality.
Our digestive systems only function when we are in a healthy parasympathetic state. Only then can we restore healthy digestion so we can metabolize our nutrient dense foods! We are what we absorb, not what we eat.