What is hair tissue mineral analysis and why should I use it?

HTMA (hair tissue mineral analysis) is a powerful tool for rebalancing your health. The proper interpretation is paramount, as the measurements of the toxic metals and essential minerals on your report do not tell the whole story. When I interpret your hair test data, I use a unique hybrid method that combines an accurate statistical and probability analysis with knowledge of the relationship between each essential and toxic element and your mineral system as a whole, as well as insights into the functional implications of specific mineral ratios.

The proper interpretation of hair test data always occurs in the context of your health history and your current nutrition, lifestyle, medications and supplements. There isn’t a tool that can automate a report and recommendations.

The hair mineral system is a dynamic system that offers insights into your health on many levels. Each individual mineral is a microcosm, part of the macrocosm that is your mineral system, that is your health – that is you.

Does it matter which lab I use for hair tissue mineral analysis?

Several major labs offer HTMA. While I’m experienced in reading HTMA reports from various labs, I recommend Doctor’s Data’s Toxic and Essential Hair Elements test. Not only does this lab measure the levels of a statistically significant number of essential minerals and a variety of toxic metals, but it also provides reference ranges on the basis of age and sex.

When clients send me a report from a different lab, I have to manually convert the values of each mineral and metal to the age and sex-specific reference ranges in order to have useful data. This is a time-consuming process, as you can imagine. With a busy full-time practice, I don’t have the time to do this manual conversion, so if you’d like to work with me for HTMA, please use the recommended lab only. If you work with someone else, please be aware that most of the labs are using ranges and values based on data gathered exclusively from young adult male athletes, whose hair mineral profile is quite different from that of women and children. Sex hormones and minerals have powerful synergistic and antagonistic relationships, so age and sex have a deep impact on hair minerals.

hair tissue mineral analysis

How can I order my hair tissue mineral analysis test kit?

I can order the hair test for you for $104 if you’re in the US. If you’re elsewhere in the world, I can refer you to the best lab service for your location.

What is included in hair test interpretation services?

I offer hair interpretation services as part of a three-month client plan where we look at your mineral balance and toxic metal exposure within the broader context of your health history, current signs and symptoms, and health objectives.

How do I take my hair sample?

Make sure your hair is clean and dry. Sweaty hair will skew the values of some of your minerals. Avoid sending dyed or permed hair to the lab, as this can alter your readings. Avoid using anti-dandruff shampoo and the application of sunscreen to the hair and scalp area. Generally speaking, you should gather your hair sample 4-6 weeks or longer after your last dying or perming treatment. Avoid exposing your hair and scalp to water from swimming pools and hot tubs, as well as to Epsom Salt or other mineral baths or mineral hot springs, during the 7-10 day period leading up to the hair collection.

You can gather your hair sample from any part of your head. However, the hair at the nape of your neck is most discreet. Gather a few chunks of hair, trim them so they are about an inch long, and place them on the scale provided with your kit until it tips. If you have very thin hair, you may be surprised at how long it takes the scale to tip. But it will eventually tip, and at that point, you’re ready to send in your sample. Make sure you fill in the form correctly with your name, birth date and sex clearly legible. When you receive the lab report, double-check that your age and sex are correct.

Please submit a head hair sample if at all possible! The most accurate reference ranges are based on data collected from numerous head hair samples. The data available on the mineral composition of pubic hair is more limited. Thus pubic hair samples are more difficult to interpret. However, if you cannot gather a head hair sample, pubic hair is acceptable. Please make sure you note on the specimen collection kit whether your sample comes from head hair or pubic hair.

It’s also very important to mark your sex and birth date accurately on your requisition form. Age and sex profoundly affect the reference ranges.