Hair Mineral Analysis

AnalyzbodytuneupHair tissue mineral analysis or HTMA is a soft tissue mineral biopsy that uses hair as the sampling tissue.  A biopsy is an analysis of a body tissue.  Hair is considered a soft tissue, and hence hair analysis is a soft tissue biopsy.

The test measures the levels of 20 or more minerals in the hair with an accuracy of plus or minus about 3%.

This is about the same level of accuracy as most blood tests, or a little better.  However, for the best accuracy, especially of the water-soluble elements, the hair sample must not bet washed at the hair testing laboratory.  The preparation of the hair sample at our laboratory is a debate that exists among the laboratories that offer hair mineral testing. As an aside, hair is extremely useful for testing many things besides minerals.  These include drugs, toxic chemicals and DNA.


A complete answer to this question could fill several volumes.  Minerals are sometimes called the ‘sparkplugs’ of the body.  They are needed for millions of enzymes as co-factors, facilitators, inhibitors and as part of the enzymes themselves.  As a result, they have a great deal to do with the health of our bodies.  By analyzing mineral imbalances in the body, one can learn a lot about the causes and correction of hundreds of common physical and mental health conditions.

A specific class of minerals, the toxic metals, are also extremely important today due to a nutritionally depleted food supply and the presence of environmental toxicity almost everywhere on planet earth.  Studying toxic metals is thus very important today to monitor their spread and learn about their many damaging effects upon the bodies of human beings, animals, plants and other organisms.

Even more can be learned about human and animal health by studying the ratios of the major minerals in the body.  This is a more complex area, but a very important and fruitful one.  Finally, by studying more complex patterns of minerals in the body, one can learn even more about human health and disease.


Hair makes an excellent biopsy material for many reasons:

1. Sampling is simple and non-invasive.

2. Hair is a stable biopsy material that remains viable for years, if needed, and requires no special handling.

3. Mineral levels in the hair are about ten times that of blood, making them easy to detect and measure accurately in the hair.

4. Hair is a fairly rapidly growing tissue.

5. The body often throws off toxic substances in the hair, since the hair will be cut off and lost to the body.

6. Mineral levels are kept relatively constant in the blood even when pathology is present.  Hair mineral values often vary by a factor of ten or much more, making measurement easier and providing a tremendous amount of accurate knowledge about the cells and the soft tissue of our bodies.

7. Toxic metals are easier to detect in the hair than in the blood.  They are not found in high concentrations in the blood except right after an acute exposure.  However, most tend to accumulate in the soft tissues such as the hair, as the body tries to move them to locations where they will do less damage.

8. Hair testing provides a long-term reading, while blood tests and urine tests provide a more instantaneous reading of the body.  Both types of readings have value in some circumstances.  For example, blood tests can vary from hour to hour, depending upon one’s diet, activities, the time of day and many other factors.  This is beneficial in some instances, but is often less helpful when seeking an overall metabolic reading.  These problems are not present with hair testing.  At times, of course, an instantaneous reading such as the blood provides is needed, especially in emergencies, which is an area in which hair testing is not used.

9. Finally, advancements in computer-controlled mass spectroscopy and other technologies have rendered the hair mineral biopsy an extremely cost-effective, accurate and reliable test when it is performed well.


HTMA provides a measure of the chemical elements deposited in the cells and between the cells of the hair.  It provides a reading of the deposition of the mineral in the hair during the 3-4 months during which the hair grew.  It does not measure the total body load of any mineral, as some claim.
At least 20 elements are measured, depending on the laboratory.  The three classes of these elements are:

Macrominerals include calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and phosphorus.

Trace Minerals include iron, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, chromium.

Toxic Minerals include lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, aluminum, and nickel.


Analyzing hair tissue for chemical elements is quite different from testing blood, urine or feces, although all have great value in the right situation.  Hair mineral analysis can reveal the following:

The metabolic type. This is an important fact of body chemistry. It is most helpful to understand dozens of symptoms, and to guide the dietary and supplement recommendations.  It also helps to understand many emotional and mental symptoms as well.

Energy and vitality level.  Energy is a common denominator of health.  This means that if one’s energy is low, hundreds of symptoms can occur.  Restoring one’s biochemical or adaptive energy is a key to healing.  This is one of the most basic healing principles.  Hair analysis is fabulous to evaluate the reasons for lowered energy and vitality, and guiding exactly how to increase real energy production rather than just stimulate energy, as most healing program do.

Gland and organ insights. Hair testing provides indirect and direct indicators for the cellular effect of the thyroid and adrenal hormones, and at times the ovarian hormones as well.  It can also be used indirectly to assess the activity of the liver, kidneys, stomach, intestines and perhaps other organs as well.

Assessing carbohydrate tolerance. Hair analysis can be used to quickly screen for hypoglycemia and, at times, diabetes, although a glucose tolerance test (GTT) should be done if one suspects diabetes. Hair testing can, however, usually guide a practitioner to correct Type 2 diabetes and some Type 1 diabetes without the need for most drugs.  Mineral imbalances and chronic infections are often involved with these conditions.

Toxic metal assessment. No method of testing can detect all the toxic metals in the body.  Hair analysis is sometimes helpful, however, to assess the levels of the major toxic metals in the body.

Trends or tendencies for over 60 common health conditions. This is a great benefit because it enables a practitioner to predict health problems that may arise in the future, and thus help prevent their occurrence.  This is much less costly and more effective than waiting until a disease such as cancer or heart disease occurs.
This fact about hair mineral testing alone would save billions of dollars if it were used widely.  It is a wise and easy way to screen for tendencies for diabetes, heart disease, chronic fatigue, cancer and many other serious conditions.

Monitoring Progress. Hair analysis can help monitor a person’s healing progress.  Symptom changes alone are often not a good way to know if a person is progressing on a healing program.  However, the hair test will often detect subtle changes in body chemistry, which is another wonderful benefit of this test.

Stress patterns. A properly performed hair mineral analysis is superb to assess the stage of stress and some 20 to 30 stress response patterns of the human body.  This type of analysis and interpretation is based on the stress theory of disease, first put forth by Hans Selye, MD some 60 years ago and still not well accepted by the medical profession.  However, it is most useful to help reverse many types of pathology that do not respond well to other methods of care, either traditional medical care or holistic health care.

Autonomic nervous system assessment. A properly performed hair mineral test can assess many aspects of the functioning of the autonomic nervous system.  This is critical imbalance today in thousands of people and leads to hundreds of symptoms from digestive disturbance and inability to eliminate toxic metals, to sleep disturbances, blood sugar problems and even cancers.

Psychological/emotional illness assessment. Among the most interesting use of the hair mineral analysis is the assessment of causes for mental and emotional symptoms such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, ADD, ADHD, autism, schizophrenia, dementia, violence, bipolar disorder and several others.  This is a fascinating area in which hair analysis has a treat contribution to make to medical and psychiatric science.


Some authors criticize hair mineral testing when it is used to recommend nutritional supplements or even foods for improving one’s health. In particular, vitamins may seem difficult to recommend because the test only detects mineral levels.  Let me explain how this is done, however, with a simple example.
It is known that certain vitamins, such as vitamin C, can be used to help remove toxic metals.  Thus a practitioner may recommend supplementary vitamin C if a hair analysis reveals excessive toxic metals.  There are many other ways the test can be used to recommend herbs, vitamins and other nutritional products.

Energy and vitality level.  Energy is a common denominator of health.  This means that if one’s energy is low, hundreds of symptoms can occur.  Restoring one’s biochemical or adaptive energy is a key to healing.  This is one of the most basic healing principles.  Hair analysis is fabulous to evaluate the reasons for lowered energy and vitality, and guiding exactly how to increase real energy production rather than just stimulate energy, as most healing program do.