When looking to a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) it's important to understand that just looking at minerals independently is insufficient to fully understanding what is happening in the body, nor a proper revision of the test itself.
HTMAs are complicated, and looking to ratios, patterns within the graph and how HTMAs evolve after retesting is the art of comprehending the results, hence singular minerals in themselves are useless without accounting the other factors.
Today though, we wanted to talk about the Step Up Pattern on an HTMA. This pattern is when you see a "stepping up" look on an HTMA starting at calcium, and increasing to potassium, almost like it has formed stairs.
The ratios of Ca:Mg and Na;K are both inverted and this is problematic. This signifies a few things.
- The individual is in a sympathetic dominant state, also recognized as a fast oxidizer. You can find more info on that here. It's significant to acute stress, inflammation or infection.
- A low Na:K ratio is typically a sign of severe burn out, trauma, hostility, kidney and liver stress.
- A low Ca:Mg ratio is a sign of low blood sugar issues, resentment and lifestyle struggles.
- Conversely, we also see a low Ca:K ratio which is a sign the body is in a catabolic state and breaking down its own tissues for energy.
Physically, this pattern doesn't have a great outcome for the most part, unlike a Step Down Pattern which we'll talk about in future blogs. The Step Up Pattern has a higher mortality rate and is correlated to individuals having a heart attack, stroke, arteriosclerosis, angina, cardiac arrythmias or even diabetes. Men also seem to struggle with the Step Up Pattern more commonly, and this makes sense for men are more likely to suffer a heart attack.
Particularly in cases of a fast oxidation and a low Na:K ratio, it could also signify a potential need for copper which is considered a more feminine mineral. This isn't to say we'd want to try and feminize the individual, but it's ironic how most men struggle with this ratio and it comes from a pattern of "pushing too hard", as one would in a toxic masculine state which we'll get into below.
Psychologically though, there is a lot to say about this pattern.
This pattern is acknowledged as a mix of trauma and poor lifestyle choices mixed together. If you haven't read our blogs on how the Ca:Mg ratio and Na:K ratio are representative emotionally, read here and here.
Essentially, a low Ca:Mg ratio is when one is pushing themselves through life and are overwhelmed with the stress they are putting themselves under- almost like they're drowning. Calcium is a sedating mineral, whereas magnesium has more of a spark. Think of being wired, tired, and on the brink of breaking down because of so much you have on your plate. You don't have enough calcium to literally "sedate you" to slow down, and magnesium is what is keeping you going despite the body crying out for help. It's an indication where the ego has taken over, "pushing through life" or rather "burning through reserves" (a fast oxidation) and having it not work, ending up in breaking the body down.
A low Na:K ratio though is a sign of trauma or having a sense of wanting to give up. Sodium is naturally stimulatory, a power mineral, and signifies the hormone aldosterone, helping with energy production and alertness. Potassium on the other hand is a mineral representing our will, and cortisol. One cannot have “will power” without one or the other. Power is the force of one’s action, where as Will is the desire to act. In this case, one would lack the “power” to “act” because our reserves are depleted to create the energy required to come up with that force or stimulation which manifests physically.
Put these two ratios together, and one can say that the individual may be struggling to provide themselves a break, or even some self love.
Nutritionally, it's always best to work with a qualified HTMA consultant when trying to resolve this pattern as it is difficult to fix. As mentioned above, copper is typically needed and could be an indicator of potential iron overload. Magnesium would also be recommended as it is a softening nutrient as well, and when we're in a "fight" state with the nervous system, we're burning through magnesium very quickly. Supplements to avoid with this pattern however are copper antagonists like phosphorus, potassium, molybdenum, zinc, iron, and b vitamins like B3, B5 and B6.
If you're looking to run an HTMA with us to see if this is what you're going through or to get to the root cause of your problem, click here!
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner
Integrative Health Coach