Have you ever thought if a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) is worth it? There are so many tests practitioners throw around today like a DUTCH, an OAT, a GI Map, and eventually, it gets really expensive and we're just chasing symptoms.
The thing is though, an HTMA is not a diagnostic tool. It's a test that provides insight on how the delicate system of the body is working synergistically with other systems. Each mineral has a function, but mineral ratios are different body systems, and metals have an affinity for specific organ systems as well. Connecting the dots of this art can help practitioners but a client's symptoms, medical history, and test results create a foundational protocol to to educate the client on what they could do to feel better and see results.
But just what are the specific benefits of HTMAs?
Hair analysis can be useful for certain purposes, but whether it is worth it for you will depend on your specific needs and goals. Here are some considerations:
1. Medical purposes: Hair analysis can be useful for detecting certain medical conditions, such as heavy metal toxicity, nutritional deficiencies, and drug use. If you have a specific health concern or suspect that you may have been exposed to harmful substances, a hair analysis may be worth it to help diagnose or rule out these conditions. On an HTMA you can see certain ratios connected to specific organ systems like the nervous system, adrenals, thyroid, blood sugar, hormones, and even the immune system. So there is definitely quite a work up to review when running a test.
2. Nutritional optimization: Hair analysis can provide information on your mineral and nutrient levels, which can be useful for optimizing your diet and supplement regimen. Many minerals are considered intra cellular versus extra cellular, and this is why blood work is not as suitable when looking for mineral deficiencies. Blood is simply a highway for things and is not a destination where nutrients accumulate. For instance, majority of our calcium reside sin our bones, and our body works very hard to maintain a specific level of calcium in the blood to maintain other functions like thyroid or the nervous system. Testing for calcium via blood won't be accurate as it will always stay in a specific range so as long the body isn't in an over catabolic state and it breaks down bone too quickly where it elevates or the body goes into a deep parasympathetic state and it struggles to absorb calcium at all.
3. Environmental or occupational exposure: If you work in an environment where you may be exposed to toxins or heavy metals, or if you live in an area with high environmental pollution, a hair analysis may be worth it to assess your exposure levels. That being said, most of us are exposed to metals or pollution on a daily basis due to car emissions, pesticides, unfiltered water, cosmetics and more.
4. Personal curiosity: Some people may be interested in an HTMA for personal curiosity or self-discovery purposes. We all want to learn more about our bodies and how we can best optimize ourselves so as to stay healthy, right? Knowledge is power and doing some self testing can be handy.
Hope this was helpful in providing insight on just how helpful an HTMA can be!