Does Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Really Work? I’m sharing my story about HTMA and whether or not it worked for me.
As a continuation of health updates and yesterday’s post on why I stopped eating gluten free, I’m talking about my experience with hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA).
This is actually my second HTMA. I did my first with my local NP a few years ago. But this post is about my most recent HTMA.
I had intended to write about it much sooner since I did my HTMA in May! But I really didn’t have anything to write about for a long time. This has been such a slow process for me. And discouraging at times when I hear of other people that see improvement in a matter of weeks.
Here we are six months later…and not a whole lot has changed.
What is HTMA?
But before I get into the details of my story I just wanted to quickly mention what HTMA is.
According to Dr. Wilson,
“Hair tissue mineral analysis…is a soft tissue mineral biopsy that uses hair as the sampling tissue.
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.”
“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.”
Basically HTMA gives a window into your body, your mineral levels and how they all interact with each other. This information can help you supplement (without guessing) to get things in balance.
I did my HTMA in May with Lydia from Divine Health From the Inside Out. I was not the least bit surprised when the results came back that nothing was in the normal/ideal range for me.
Just about everything was low…except the two things I thought would be low. Calcium and magnesium were high!
Having all of these lows and highs creates major imbalances and my mineral ratios were way off.
I got a whole write up and game plan to address these imbalances. Great! I’m on my way to better health.
But things are never that easy for me.
Have I mentioned before how abnormal my body is? I never follow the norm or what is “supposed” to work (i.e tolerating gluten and corn but not rice or quinoa).
I wanted to get my vitamin and mineral levels up because I am breastfeeding. But my daughter’s allergies made that more of a challenge than I had hoped. It’s a double problem…I’m deficient partly because of her…and I can’t do anything about it because of her. When I want to do something about it FOR her!
All of this was happening at the same time my daughter had just developed a new round of allergies and wouldn’t eat and it seemed like I was cutting things out left and right. My poor baby was literally starving.
(It’s actually hard for me to even look at this picture because I know she was so hungry and in pain. This was about our lowest point.)
I couldn’t tell what was bothering her. And adding supplements on top of that did not help.
I started a special multivitamin…only to realize it had Vitamin A PALMitate. Not so great for a baby with a palm allergy. She was screaming in pain after I took that.
I started a new hcl supplement to help digestion. Again, major issues. I stopped taking them and after more research discovered the betaine comes from beets. My daughter can’t handle any kind of root.
I was supposed to take a vitamin A supplement but never even got started because it too was from palm.
I started a new probiotic and had severe die off reactions and had to take a break and start MUCH slower on the dose.
Basically nothing was working. I couldn’t take any of the supplements. Plus I just didn’t have the time or energy to focus on myself when my daughter was in such rough shape. She was barely eating and I had to put all of my time and energy into her health. And I couldn’t risk trying anything else new.
A new start.
Here I am, six months later. I’m no longer in a daze from being up all night with an infant and under constant stress and worry about a baby that is undernourished and unhealthy.
It is finally time to give my own health some attention.
I have gone over my HTMA game plan quite a few times. Most recently I made my own chart of how all of the different minerals and ratios relate and what health issues they contribute to.
What I learned.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned both from Lydia and from my own research.
- I am a slow oxidizer. This means my body requires a lot more oxygen and energy to digest food. Basically I have a slow metabolism. So I need roughly 60% carbohydrates, 25% protein and 15% fat in my diet. This is HARD for me since I love healthy fats and know just how beneficial they are. Not to mention I think breastfeeding moms need plenty of fat.
- It doesn’t matter how healthy a food is – if you can’t digest it, it doesn’t do you any good. For a slow oxidizer like me this relates to fats and protein. Both are full of vitamins and minerals. But they are so hard for me to digest. Until I improve digestion I need to keep my intake of both on the lower side.
- The first step in my healing journey is to improve digestion through betaine + hcl and probiotics. I have started the probiotics. I need to find a betaine supplement not made from roots.
- With such a high tissue calcium level I can’t take any vitamin D. That means NO cod liver oil! Instead I need to really increase vitamin A to assist this. And since most vitamin A supplements are from palm that means I need to eat more liver!
- I also need to get sodium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, chromium, phosphorus and selenium levels up. This would be so much easier if I could eat any food I wanted.
What I didn’t like.
Here are a few things that I didn’t completely agree with.
- One size fits all diets don’t usually work for me. While the slow oxidizer diet is pretty broad, it still is too restrictive for my current required diet. I wish I could eat according to the suggested diet. But for now I have to do the best I can with the options I have. Which includes eating gluten.
- The diet recommends a little too much water and fiber in my opinion. For someone with a slow metabolism (i.e. a slow oxidizer) water intake should be quite low. And any liquids should be salted. Also, my body can’t handle much fiber at all. I can’t do any kind of whole nut/seed/grain. The bran must be removed or I am in a lot of pain. Yes, we do need some fiber. But I don’t think we need large quantities. It can aggravate an already inflamed digestive tract.
- Although slow oxidizers need a lot of carbohydrates, the diet suggests mostly low starch carbohydrates. I need a lot of starch in my diet else my body temperature will plummet and I’ll have no energy. That is why I need plenty of grains in my diet. Along the same lines the diet says that if you feel hungry after a meal you ate too much starch. That seems kind of silly to me. If you are hungry after a meal it means you need more food! It doesn’t mean you ate too much. I almost always keep munching while I’m cleaning up dinner. And I don’t gain an ounce. I just needed more food. I actually tried cutting back on starch a few days ago to see how it would go. I could barely walk up the stairs to put my kids to bed in the evening because I had no energy. It felt like I was climbing a mountain and my legs couldn’t go any farther. I’m not a fan of the low starch idea.
If you are looking to improve your health, I definitely recommend trying HTMA. It will give you a good picture of what is going on in your body and where you are lacking.
Here are a few tips that just about everyone can use to improve vitamin and mineral levels and digestion.
- Chew each bite of food very thoroughly, at least 15 – 20 times, before swallowing.
- Eat in a relaxed environment. Sit down and take your time. Sitting on the floor to eat can help.
- These are easy sources of lots of vitamins and minerals. Include the ones you tolerate in your diet weekly.
- egg yolks
- desiccated liver
- oral magnesium
- epsom baths
- nettle leaf tea
- lots of vegetables
My take away.
So here I am with pretty much the same health status I had six months ago when I did my HTMA. Does that mean it didn’t work? No. I just couldn’t do much to change my health.
I know I haven’t made much progress due to dietary and supplemental restrictions. But I’m doing what I can. I am trying to move forward right now by increasing my liver consumption to get more vitamin A. I continue to increase my probiotic dose. I take molasses daily for potassium. I use Natural Calm for magnesium. I try to eat plenty of vegetables and carbohydrates.
I know I could use more sleep. Hopefully that will improve as my little one gets older.
I would love to do a retest at some point. I would also love to get all of my family members tested. I’m sure my kids have some imbalances.
It is nice to finally focus on my health now that my daughter’s allergies are under control and she is thriving.
All of the information I’ve been given makes more sense now that I’m not in a fog from an infant and constant stress. So I can start making progress with healing.
I’ll end the way I started.
Does hair tissue mineral analysis really work?
Does it mean you’ll be feeling great in a few weeks?
Probably not. Especially if you are like me and have multiple set backs.
But it is definitely worth it to assess your health!
Have you ever done HTMA?
I’d love to hear your story!
(My heart overflows with joy and gratitude looking at this picture of my happy, healthy, little fighter. She is a true gift and a miracle.)
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