Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) - Balancing Body Chemistry

Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) is an analytical test that measure the mineral composition of hair. It is regarded by many doctors, naturopaths and nutritionists as one of the most valuable screening tools available in everyday and preventative health care. 

Why Test for Minerals?

Minerals are essential for growth, healing, vitality and wellbeing. They provide structural support in bones and teeth and they maintain the body's acid-base balance, water balance, nerve conduction, muscle contractions and enzyme functions. Minerals participate in almost every metabolic process in the body - they are the true 'spark plugs' of life.

Ideally, we should get all the minerals we need from a balanced diet and unfortunately, this is rarely the case in today's world. Modern farming techniques, fertilizers and depleted soils reduce the mineral content of foods. Environmental toxins, chemical food additives and stressful lifestyles also have a detrimental effect on our nutritional status. Consequently, we need to test and monitor our nutritional needs more than ever. 

I use this test regularly with my clients both in clinic and online as HTMA gives a personalized interpretive test report that assesses your current mineral status, highlights areas of concern and recommends dietary changes based on your results. For example, a lot of people take a magnesium supplement to assist with sleep and they still find that they aren't getting a good quality sleep. Some people are suffering from insomnia. In a lot of cases, the results show that magnesium isn't required, it's an imbalance of both calcium and magnesium along with sodium and potassium that is contributing to the individual not being able to get a good quality night's sleep.


Minerals Tested

Nutritional Elements:- Boron, Calcium, Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Phosphorus, Selenium, Sodium, Sulfur and Zinc.

Toxic Elements:- Aluminium, Antimony, Arsenic, Beryllium, Cadmium, Lead, Mercury and Uranium.

Additional Elements:- Barium, Bismuth, Germanium, Lithium, Nickel, Platinum, Rubidium, Strontium, Thallium, Tin, Titanium, Tungsten, Vanadium and Zironium.

How is this done?

Hair is a body tissue made up of mostly dead, keratinized cells fused together. The shaft of the hair is the portion that projects from the skin surface. The root of the hair, below the skin surface, contains living matrix cells from which the hair grows. Matrix cells depend on the blood supply for nourishment and growth. As they grow and divide, minerals are keratinized into the growing hair shaft, creating a permanent record of metabolic activity and exposure to toxic elements.

Mineral concentrations in the hair can provide a reliable indicator of mineral stores in the whole body. If your health, diet or environment has created a mineral imbalance or toxic mineral excess, it will be recorded in the hair shaft. Research has shown that hair mineral levels reflect stored mineral levels in other body tissues. 

Why not test your blood?

Whilst we can find out a lot of valuable information from doing blood tests, the mineral content of blood gives a good indication of the minerals being transported around the body. However, it cannot accurately measure the minerals stored in tissue.

Very often, the body's homeostatic mechanisms maintain proper serum mineral concentrations at the expense of tissue concentrations. Unfortunately, correct serum levels often mask both mineral excesses and deficiencies in tissue mineral concentrations.

Causes of mineral imbalances

Poor eating habits: Fad diets or following diets that are high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, salt, alcohol and saturated fats can lead to mineral deficiencies and excesses. Even the mineral content of healthy diets can be deficient if foods are grown in nutrient poor soil, which is quiet common due to current farming practices. Farmed seafood is best avoided and opt for wild caught seafood due to the antibiotics and other toxic metals that are found in them.  

Stress: Both physical and emotional stress can lead to mineral imbalances. B-complex vitamins, zinc and magnesium are lost in greater quantities when you are stressed, you also absorb less nutrients from your food. For example, if you are stressed and working out at the gym on a regular basis to try and combat your stress levels, you will often have higher requirements of certain nutrients. 

Medications: Many medications will deplete your body's store of nutrient minerals and can increase levels of toxic minerals. Medications such as diuretics, the oral contraceptive pill, antacids and aspirin can all cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies. 

Pollution: Toxic minerals such as lead, mercury and cadmium can interfere with mineral absorption and increase mineral excretion. They build up in our bodies from sources such as:- air pollution, burning cheap scented oils and candles, scented car air-fresheners, car exhaust, cigarette smoke, vaping, unfiltered water, dental amalgams, cosmetic dentistry, copper and aluminum cookware, hair dyes, fake tanning products and antiperspirants. Toxins also enter the food chain, contaminating our foods especially from fast food restaurants or purchasing seafood from overseas such as basa fillets.  It is almost impossible to avoid some exposure to toxic minerals. 

Where you work and live: Working or living in the city, on a farm or working in the mines, there are various forms of toxic minerals in the air or in the soil. Mechanics, builders or landscape gardeners also have various toxic minerals to deal with on a daily basis.

Genetic and individual factors: A predisposition towards certain mineral imbalances, deficiencies and excesses can be inherited from your parents. Certain individuals can also inherit a higher requirement than normal for particular nutrients to maintain good health.

Nutritional supplements: Supplements can also lead to mineral excesses and deficiencies. For example, excess calcium intake can cause phosphorus and magnesium deficiency. Continued magnesium deficiency increases sodium levels and eventually causes vitamin A deficiency. Some of the cheaper brands of supplements, such as multivitamins, that you can purchase online or over the counter can be full of toxic excipients such as silica, tin, magnesium stearate, colours, fillers, binders and gelling agents and ingredients that are poor quality and are added in higher doses.

Conditions affected by mineral imbalances 

  • Acne 
  • Allergies
  • Alzheimer's diseases
  • Anaemia
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis 
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiac conditions
  • Dental problems
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Digestive problems
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss and poor nails
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Hyperactivity
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Immune impairment
  • Infertility
  • Insomnia
  • Learning difficulties
  • Macular degeneration
  • Memory problems
  • Migraines
  • Mood swings
  • Muscle cramps
  • Osteoporosis
  • PMS
  • Prostrate disorders
  • Skin problems
  • Stress
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Wounds healing poorly, and many more ....

 Collecting your hair sample

I usually do this in clinic or you can do it yourself at home and post your hair sample in a paper envelope and I'll send it off to the tested. 

  1. Freshly washed hair, with no other products applied to it.
  2. I will need to know what brand of shampoo you currently use.
  3. If you shave your head, please collect hair samples over a two to three week period.
  4. If you don't have head hair, we can use nail clippings although they don't give an accurate up to date reading.
  5. Body hair from other parts of your body can be taken, once again head hair is the preferred type.
  6. The new amount is enough to cover a 20 cent piece or teaspoon of hair. 
  • Your results usually take around four weeks from time of collection and are sent through to me.
  • At your Follow up - Report of Findings appointment, you will receive your report that gives a detailed analysis and easy to interpret results. I will discuss the how your results link up with your symptoms along with why this has happened.
  • You will also receive your personal dietary guidelines for you to follow during the recommended time frame - ususally 3 to 4 months and then we can retest to see how well you have been going.
  • You will also receive your list of supplements along with your daily recommendations that will support your body and bring it back into balance.

 What can Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Reveal?
  • Mineral deficiencies and excesses
  • Heavy metal toxicity
  • Metabolic Rate (fast or slow)
  • Adrenal and Thyroid function
  • Immune health
  • Mental health
  • Nervous system imbalance
  • Liver and Kidney stress
  • Diabetes and Insulin Resistance
  • Energy levels and Fatigue
  • Cardiovascular Health
  • Sports endurance and recovery


Why Practitioners use Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

  • Identify heavy metals and toxic element burdens and access progress.
  • Identify nutritional deficiencies, excesses and imbalances then develop a precise nutritional therapeutic approach.
  • Ability to monitor health and nutritional balances over time – retest, review and revise the plan.
  • Recognition of the sympathetic and parasympathetic responses to metabolic dysfunctions.
  • Determining the link between the nutritional, neurological and endocrine systems, as identified by hair mineral patterns.
  • Development of a supplement program for specific bio-individual and metabolic types.
  • Identification of endocrine interrelationships and their impact upon biochemical and nutritional status; recognition of specific nutritional influences upon the biochemical and endocrine systems.
  • Real measurements of nutrient and toxic minerals in parts per million.

If you would like more information in regards to the above, please let me know.  You can book a FREE 15 minute - health goals call or jump in and book your consultation - in clinic or online.

Book Your Consultation Today – Katrina Froome Naturopathy


Yours in health and wellness,



Katrina xxx

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