Hair Mineral Analysis
Hair Mineral Analysis discussion with Rick Potts, D.C

Hair Mineral Analysis
Hair mineral analysis is test to measure the levels of 22 or more minerals in the hair tissue.  Hair is tested because it is a rapidly-growing tissue that can be sampled easily and safely.   The site of metabolism is the tissues, not the blood or urine.  Hair provides a unique, biopsy type of reading of metabolic activity.

The test is performed by burning the sample of hair at a high temperature in a mass spectrometer The technique has been used in laboratories for about 80 years.  Computer-controlled instruments have improved the accuracy and reduced the cost of mineral analysis.

Minerals tested include the electrolytes - calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and phosphorus.  Trace minerals tested include copper, manganese, chromium, selenium, iron, molybdenum, lithium, cobalt, zinc and others.  Toxic metals tested include lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, nickel, aluminum and others.

A Window Into The Cells.  Hair analysis provides information directly about metabolism at the level of the cells - the main site of many nutritional processes. 
Glucose Tolerance.  Many minerals are involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates including manganese, zinc, chromium and vanadium.  Ratios of sodium to potassium and calcium to magnesium also provide information about glucose tolerance.  Toxic metals interfere with glucose metabolism.  Inefficient carbohydrate metabolism drastically reduces cellular energy production, leading to many serious health conditions.
Detecting Toxic Metals.  Hair mineral analysis is one of the few accepted methods to detect chronic toxic metal poisoning in the body.  Toxic metals may contribute to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, fatigue, depression, anxiety, infections and many other conditions.  Metals that are deeply buried may require a year or more before they are revealed on repeated mineral analyses. 
Assessing Organ and Gland Activity.  Mineral levels and ratios reflect the activity of glands such as the thyroid and adrenal glands.  By calculating these ratios on a tissue mineral test, organ and glandular activity can be assessed.

Measuring The Energy Level.   Energy is a common denominator of health.  Many minerals are required for the production of energy within the cells.  ‚Hair analysis can help assess and guide the enhancement of the energy level.

When energy efficiency is low, many body systems break down.  When cellular energy production improves, many symptoms and conditions resolve by themselves.  This is a basic principle of many natural healing methods.

Determining The Oxidation Type.  Some people metabolize carbohydrates and fats at a more rapid rate than others.  The rate at which food is burned has been designated the oxidation rate.  Each chemical reaction in the body has an ideal rate of reaction.  Hair analysis can help determine this rate, and identify which foods and supplements would be most helpful to optimize the oxidation rate.

Identifying Disease Trends.  Prediction and prevention are important concepts in health care.  Over thirty disease trends can be identified from a properly interpreted tissue mineral analysis.  Tendencies are often revealed long before they show up on x-rays and blood tests.

Monitoring Progress.  Comparing the results of repeated tissue mineral tests over a period of months is an excellent way to monitor subtle changes in body chemistry, regardless of which type of therapy is used.

Understanding Behavior.  Tissue mineral analysis is a powerful tool to identify and correct biochemical causes of mental and behavioral conditions.  Minerals control neurotransmitters and other neuroactive chemicals.  All the toxic metals are neurotoxic.  Conditions that often respond include depression, anxiety, epilepsy, phobias, insomnia, fatigue, mood swings, attention-deficit disorder and learning disorders. 

Replacing Less-preferred Minerals.  When mineral deficiencies occur, toxic metals replace the missing vital minerals in enzyme binding sites.  This allows the body to survive in the face of nutrient deficiencies.  Nutritional balancing science involves reversing this process, replacing the toxic metals with the preferred vital minerals.

Improving Energy Efficiency.  When the metabolic rate is too slow or too fast, energy efficiency declines.  This is analogous to pedaling a bicycle too fast or too slow.  Restoring health to the biochemical system allows thousands of chemical reactions to proceed at their optimum rate.

Hair tests versus blood tests.  Blood tests do not provide the same information as a properly performed hair analysis.  Hair analysis measures a different body compartment.  Minerals are shifted from the tissues to maintain blood levels.  This means that deficiencies or excesses often show up earlier in the hair than the blood.

Toxic metals rarely remain in the blood for long, but often deposit in the hair where they can be measured.  Blood levels of minerals vary very little, while hair values may vary 10-fold, providing information not available from the blood.

Blood tests give an instantaneous reading that may be affected by many factors.  Hair analysis gives a long-term reading that is unaffected by recent meals, activities such as exercise, or emotional states.  These and other differences make blood and tissue testing very different, with each providing valuable information.


Trace mineral analysis is an inexpensive, accurate screening method that can be of great help to understand body chemistry and design individualized diet and supplement programs.  These can relieve biochemical stress to help restore and maintain optimum health.

Dr. Rick Potts  

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