We would like to think our children are immune to getting sick because they're so vibrant, innocent and have built resilience that makes them seem unstoppable. However, there is an unfortunate uptick in our children getting sick from a young age, showing symptoms of imbalances with the increased diagnoses of mental health disorders like eating disorders, anxiety and depression in children, as well as chronic manifestations like diabetes, hypothyroidism, psoriasis and more.
Typically, when a child is sick, we bring them to their doctor, they'll run blood work, and they'll either conclude a diagnosis or not, but never quite look into the root cause. This is when we step in and how we're different. This isn't to say allopathy isn't useful- of course it is. These practitioners save lives every day. That being said, there are alternatives to going about searching for a solution which doesn't just offer answers, but also potential solutions.
What's interesting about hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) is that anyone can have it run- including animals. Hair is a type of soft tissue, thus we can consider HTMA as a soft tissue mineral biopsy to measure mineral status and heavy metals. Minerals are what we would consider the "sparkplugs" to the body, stimulating enzymatic reactions to occur, which then produce hormones and even physical matter itself. Everything is mineral based if you truly think about it.
That being said, HTMA is not a test one uses as a method for diagnosis, but rather a tool to receive insight on as to what could be happening in the body and provide correlation to symptoms. HTMA testing is quite complicated, for unlike blood testing, nothing is black and white. There are a series of connections one has to make when looking to mineral independently, mineral ratios, heavy metals, symptoms and a client's medical history.
This is one of the reasons why it could be so useful for children, because unlike blood work which simply catches a moment in time on what could be manifesting in a child's body in the blood stream, HTMA testing is a non invasive method to peeking into a child's mineral status of 3 months (on average). Children are growing, and at a much faster rate than adults, so they're metabolism is quite electric in the sense that blood work results could vary from day to day or week to week. HTMA testing on the other hand can't come back as falsified like that.
On that note of how a child's metabolism is much quicker, one also has to take that into account when reading an HTMA and not review it the same as an adult's. It is not uncommon to see a child's phosphorus level to be high or for them to have a lower Ca:P ratio considering their nervous system and metabolism is quicker. Same thing if we were to look to their Na:K ratio or sodium level in general, it's typically on the higher side because their body's typical reaction to stress is to treat it acutely rather than chronically. Unfortunately, as mentioned before, chronic issues seem to be on the rise in our younger ones, hence the usefulness of this test.
Another thing to consider when looking at the results of children is their heavy metal status. In the case that a child comes back with higher levels of metals, it's not to say that they are more intoxicated than someone who has lower levels, it's just their body is capable of removing them at a quicker rate because their metabolism tends to fare on the faster side. Granted, one should still consider a protocol to make sure the metals are removed, but thought it'd be important to mention so it doesn't scare anyone when receiving results. Most adults are what we would call "slow oxidizers" and that's usually correlated to a "poor eliminator" meaning someone who has trouble detoxing metals, thus showing up as low in them when in fact they have many.
Aside from using an HTMA as an investigative tool for when a child is doing unwell, it could even be considered as a yearly method of testing to just peak in and see how a child is faring in nutrient status. Minerals are so important for not just mental and structural development, but hormones, digestion, immunity as well as cognitive function.
If this is something interesting to you and feel like your kiddos would benefit, definitely check out our page here on ordering an HTMA and booking a consult with one of our nutritionists on staff!
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner
Integrative Health Coach