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Trace Mineral Analysis


TMA Overview:
Click on any link below to view subtopic

What is Trace Mineral Analysis?

How is TMA done, and what is the test looking for?

Blood tests vs. Hair Analysis

Why should I have a Hair Analysis?

What information will I receive from a TMA?

Hair Analysis and heavy metal toxicity

Advantages of TMA over other tests

What laboratory equipment / quality controls are used in TMA?

Why test for minerals?

What can cause mineral imbalances?

Can vitamin requirements be determined from a mineral test?

Is Hair Analysis supported by research?

How can hair analysis help me achieve better health?

One size fits all? TMA and bio-individuality

Hair tissue mineral analysis (TMA), is an analytical test that measures the mineral content of the hair. The sampled hair, obtained by cutting the first inch and one-half of growth closest to the scalp at the nape of the neck, is prepared in a licensed clinical laboratory through a series of chemical and high temperature digestive procedures. Testing is then performed using highly sophisticated detection equipment and methods to achieve the most accurate and precise results.

A hair sample when properly obtained, analyzed, and interpreted, can provide important information about your overall nutritional status. This includes the effects of diet, supplements, and stress. (We recommend that a nutritional hair test be updated every 4 to 6 months).

Human hair has been accepted as an effective test tissue for biological monitoring of toxic heavy metals by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and is being used for this purpose throughout the world. The use of hair has advantages over other tissues. The blood measures the component that is absorbed and temporarily in circulation before it is excreted and /or sequestered into storage depots. The status of a mineral can also give a strong indication of a vitamin need, especially when vitamin-mineral synergisms and antagonisms are taken into consideration.

Minerals comprise approximately four percent of our total body weight and include a wide variety of nutrients. Their functions range from providing structural support in the formation of bones and teeth, to maintaining the acid-base balance, water balance, nerve conduction, muscle contraction, and enzyme functions. Some minerals participate in hundreds of biochemical processes, while others participate in only limited functions. Their role in health and disease is just now being validated via scientific research.

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Assessment of Mineral Status

As the hair is being formed, prior to extrusion from the scalp, it is exposed to the blood, lymph, and intracellular fluids. When it accumulates as the cortex of the hair shaft hardens, the internal metabolic environment is preserved as a biochemical record. Human hair has been accepted as an effective tissue for biological monitoring of toxic heavy metals by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and is being used for this purpose throughout the world. The use of hair has advantages over other tissues. The blood measures only those nutrients that are temporarily in circulation before being either excreted or sequestered into tissue storage depots. Minerals are also vitamin level indicators due to vitamin-mineral synergism and antagonism. Even though vitamins and minerals work together in the body, excessive intake of a single vitamin can lead to mineral imbalances by producing a deficiency or by increasing the retention of a mineral. Many vitamins are closely associated with mineral functions. Vitamins are considered co-enzymes, aiding the minerals in their activity.

Vitamin-Mineral Interrelationships-Antagonism

Even though vitamins and minerals work together in the
body, excessive intake of a single vitamin can lead to
mineral imbalances by producing a deficiency, or by increasing the retention of a mineral.

Vitamin-Mineral Synergism

Vitamins are closely associated with the metabolic
functions of minerals. Enzymes are proteins that initiate cellular metabolic processes and require minerals for their activation. Vitamins are considered co-enzymes, aiding he minerals in
their activity. Vitamin supplementation may be required in order to correct a mineral deficiency.

 A hair sample, when properly obtained, analyzed, and interpreted, can provide specific information about one's metabolic and nutritional status. This includes the effects
of diet, nutritional supplementation, stress, toxic metal
exposure, and even inherited mineral patterns.

Hair is one of the most readily accessible tissues to examine, and given the vast amount of information of TMA can yield, it is one of the most economical nutritional tests available today.

How Is Hair Analysis Done?

The collection for the hair analysis is simple and absolutely painless. Your sample is then sent to a licensed clinical laboratory for a series of procedures. The tests are performed with highly sophisticated detection equipment and methods to achieve the most accurate and precise results. Dr. Price usually receives the results within 10-14 days after the lab receives the sample.

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Blood Tests vs. Hair Analysis

Hair tissue mineral analysis is unique in that it is non-invasive and an inexpensive way to give information directly about cellular activity—the main site of nutritional metabolism. It indicates the nutritional content of the body's tissue, toxic heavy metals, the ratio of nutrients to heavy metal toxins, and the metabolism type. Blood work provides different information.

Blood tests always will be valuable to determine cholesterol, hemoglobin levels, and many other parameters. However, blood tests cannot provide the information provided by the hair analysis. There are several reasons why…

  • Blood Mineral levels are ten times lower than they are in the tissues.

  • Blood levels are kept within very narrow limits by the body for various reasons, so that readings vary
    but little and less information can be learned.

  • Blood tests are subject to daily fluctuations by the foods eaten the previous day, emotional states, etc.

Doesn't a blood or urine test tell me just as much as a hair analysis test?

Blood tests give information about your mineral levels at the time of the test only. If you've just eaten a banana, your test can indicate a high potassium level, even though you may actually need potassium supplementation. On the other hand, hair analysis result indicate your overall level of potassium - your actual storage levels over a period of time will only accurately report what is being transported in your blood at the time of the test.

Testing for minerals in the urine measures the minerals that are being excreted from your body - not necessarily what has been absorbed as fuel for your body. So blood and urine tests are like snapshots whereas a hair analysis is the video of your mineral retention.

Unlike blood tests, hair tissue mineral analysis will not vary from day to day, and provides a long-term metabolic blueprint. When you understand this difference, you can avoid confusion and use the long-term reading to a definite advantage. A hair analysis indicates the overall level of minerals stored in your body over a period of time. It reveals the metabolic activity that occurs within the cells of your body and provides a blueprint of the biochemistry occurring during the period of hair growth and development. In other words, hair provides a record of past as well as present levels of trace elements in your body.

A hair tissue mineral analysis is considered a standard test used globally for the biological monitoring of trace elements and toxic metals in humans and animal species. The same technology is used for soil testing and testing of rock samples to detect mineral levels.

Hair, like all other body tissues, contains minerals that are deposited as the hair grows. Although the hair is dead, the minerals remain as the hair continues to grow. A sample of hair cut close to the scalp provides past health history information about the mineral activity in the hair-because hair has the long-term memory of the body's health status.

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Why Should I Have a Hair Analysis?

Hair tissue mineral analysis can help anyone who is ill and has no explanation as to why, or the cause seems to be identified but the
therapy is not effective. Hair tissue mineral analysis can open up a whole new approach to solving your own particular problem.

Hair is the second most metabolically active tissue in the body. The hair tissue is affected by the blood, perspiration, environment, genetics, hormones and enzymes. The hair represents what is occurring inside
the cells and the sub-molecular figures of the body. A blood test shows what is happening outside the cell and the waste material being discarded. The hair gives a reading of what is being stored in the body. For example, if mercury is high in the hair, a higher concentration of it would also be found in organs like the kidney and liver.

A hair analysis gives a more complete picture of a person's
health history. Our hair analysis test can show heavy metal
toxicity, mineral deficiencies, nutritional deficiencies and some vitamin deficiencies which have occurred over a long period of time. For instance, magnesium is a "calming" mineral, so if it is low in your tissues, you may have muscle twitches or anxiety. Our hair analysis test will also show if there is an elevated mineral toxicity. This means that your minerals are getting stuck in the connective tissues of your body, instead of being utilized by your body. For instance if the "calming" mineral magnesium is elevated is your tissues it can also cause twitches or anxiety instead of relaxation. The key is that your minerals need to be in balance with each other so they can nourish your body properly as they are supposed to do. All minerals should be functioning optimally in your body so you can function at your optimal level.

Even without a severe health problem, abnormal changes in body chemistry and nutritional deficiencies may result in early, subtle changes in the body such as the following:

  • White spots in the nails, stretch marks, and lack of nail growth can indicate a possible zinc deficiency.

  • Longitudinal ridging in the nails may indicate an iron deficiency.

  • Brittle hair and nails can show a calcium and copper imbalance.

  • Autistic behaviors and mood swings can be linked to possible toxic metal accumulation like lead, mercury, or cadmium.

Hair tissue mineral analysis can help detect these early warning signs and help you prevent potential health problems.

Hair tissue mineral analysis is a screening test. Screening tests are extremely valuable in medicine, although they are not given the importance they deserve. No claims are made for the diagnosis, treatment, or cure of any disease or condition using hair tissue mineral analysis.

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What information will I receive from my hair analysis test?

The test results are printed on an easy-to-read graph. The printed graph shows mineral results, metal toxicities,
major mineral ratios, and the oxidation type.
See sample TMA reports Below.

Graphs of your:

  • Metabolic Rate

  • energy levels

  • sugar and carbohydrate tolerance

  • immune system

  • autonomic balance

  • glandular activity (for a potential thyroid or adrenal condition)

  • mineral levels

  • heavy metal toxicities

  • Nutritional element levels

  • Toxic element levels

  • Additional trace element levels

  • Significant ratios of your nutritional element levels

  • Important ratios of toxic elements

Explanation of:

  • Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

  • Understanding the graphs

  • Your metabolic type

  • Mineral to endocrine and organ

  • Your nutrient mineral levels

  • Your nutrient mineral ratios

  • Your toxic metal levels

  • Your toxic metal ratios


Dietary Suggestions:

  • Guidelines for your metabolic type

  • Foods you should increase in your diet

  • Foods you should avoid

Recommendations for:

  • Nutritional supplements

  • Re-evaluation


Trace Mineral Analysis Sample Report

Multi-Element Assay of Hair (36 Elements)
Includes: Comprehensive interpretive reports for both the Doctor and Patient

Click on graph 1 to view simple printout of report. Click on graphs 2 or 3 for more in depth reports.

For more information or to request a TMA, contact  Energy Medicine Center - Phone: 781 545-1277



Important minerals and trace elements that are tested in the hair analysis include:





Conditions which may Result or be Aggravated by a Mineral Imbalance or Metal Toxicity:


  • ADD / ADHD

  • Adrenal Dysfunctions: Overdrive / Under-activity

  • Allergies

  • ALS

  • Alzheimer's Disease

  • Anemia

  • Arthritis

  • Autism

  • Cardiovascular Disease

  • Copper Toxicity

  • Depression

  • Diabetes

  • Digestive Disturbances

  • Emotional Problems

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Hair Loss

  • Headaches

  • Hypertension

  • Hyperactivity

  • Hypoglycemia

  • Insomnia

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Parkinson's Disease

  • Psoriasis

  • Hypthyroidism

  • Food Intolerances


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Hair Analysis and Heavy Metal Toxicity

Hair mineral testing for toxins can show if toxic heavy metals have accumulated in the body. Some of the metals which cause toxicity are mercury, chlorine, iron, aluminum, arsenic, copper, lead, cadmium and nickel. Surprisingly, heavy metal toxicity isn't uncommon. It can also lead to a variety of debilitating symptoms. Toxic metals tend to cause havoc to the nervous system.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concluded in a 1980 report that "human hair can be used effectively for the biological monitoring of the highest priority toxic metals - lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic," and "For toxic exposure... (testing) hair appears to be superior to (testing) blood and urine."

A hair analysis is a powerful tool for parents that are searching for alternative treatments for ADHD, Attention Deficit or Hyperactivity.

If you are searching for fibromyalgia relief, our hair analysis can show you if your symptoms may be caused by heavy metal toxicity or mineral deficiencies.

TMA has become a significant research tool in the health, medical, environmental, archeological, forensic, epidemiological, biochemical and nutritional fields. The first documented use of hair mineral analysis was about 100 years ago in London for determining arsenic poisoning.

A hair analysis is an exceptional screening tool and can reveal potential health tendencies or trends. A screening tool by definition is not intended or to be construed as diagnostic of any disease or condition. Only your healthcare professional can diagnose, treat or cure disease.

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Advantages of hair tissue mineral analysis

  • Hair specimens can be collected more quickly and easily than blood, urine, or any other tissue, using a non-invasive method.

  • Hair analysis is more cost-effective than mineral testing through other means.

  • Unlike blood, hair is less susceptible to the homeostatic mechanisms that quickly affect trace element levels.

  • Long-term deviations of mineral retention or losses are more easily detected in hair than blood.

  • Concentrations of most elements in the hair are significantly higher than found in the blood and other tissues.

  • Hair provides a record of past as well as present trace element levels, i.e. biological activity.

  • Hair provides information of substances entering the hair from the blood serum as well as from external sources.

  • Hair is invaluable in the assessment of toxic metal levels.

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Laboratory Equipment Used in Hair Analysis

As seen in the Mineral Testing Comparison, it is extremely important to choose the right laboratory to ensure precise mineral assay results. Therefore, we use Trace Elements Inc. (TEI), exclusively. TEI specializes in hair mineral analysis only and is a licensed and certified clinical laboratory that undergoes regular inspections with the Clinical Laboratory Division of the Department of Health and Human Services, HCFA.

TEI uses ICP-Mass Spectrometry, the most modern and expensive analytical technique to be applied to routine elemental analysis and performs all testing in a trace element laboratory clean room environment, utilizes the latest microwave temperature-controlled digestion technique and has a highly skilled and professional analytical/support staff.

Each result from TEI is based upon an hourly National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) traceable standard curve, a rigorous quality control validation (CCCS and CCB) for every 12 specimens and is compared to a representative reference range derived from the like analysis of an international collection of normal and “healthy” subjects. TEI participates in an on-going Quality Assurance/Quality Control program and adheres to CLIA guidelines for precision, reliability and overall good laboratory practices.

TEI conducts daily, weekly and monthly QA/QC studies to confirm and validate all aspects of test methodology, including precision, accuracy and verifiable detection limits. Further, the laboratory is continuously evaluating the different aspects of daily laboratory performance, such as: reagents, QC reference materials, split specimen analysis, double-blind samples, spiked samples, calibration verification studies and routine daily monitoring of data trends, before during and after each daily analytical run. This attention to detail assures our clients are receiving data obtained by the highest standards.

Quality Assurance

Since 1984 Trace Elements has been a leading provider of HTMA laboratory services and nutritional metabolic products for health professionals of all specialties worldwide.

Through exclusive distribution agreements and direct-client associations, Trace Elements serves health professionals in over 46 countries.

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Why test for minerals?

Minerals are involved and are necessary for cellular metabolism, structural support, formation of hormones, nerve conduction, muscular activity, immune functions, anti-oxidant and endocrine activity, enzyme functions, water and acid/alkaline balance and even DNA function. According to the late Dr. Henry Schroeder, trace elements (minerals) are "...more important factors in human nutrition than vitamins. The body can manufacture many vitamins, but it cannot produce necessary trace minerals or get rid of many possible excesses."

Dr. Emmanuel Cheraskin, in his book, Diet and Disease, states that "Minerals have interrelationships with every other nutrient. Without optimum mineral levels within the body, the other nutrients are not effectively utilized."

Trace minerals are essential in countless metabolic functions in all phases of the life process.

Zinc is involved in the production, storage and secretion of insulin and is necessary for growth hormones.

is required for normal muscular function, especially the heart. A deficiency has been associated with an increased incidence of heart attacks, anxiety and nervousness.

is critical for normal nutrient transport into the cell. A deficiency can result in muscular weakness, depression and lethargy.

Excess sodium is associated with hypertension, but adequate amounts are required for normal health.

In the words of the late author and noted researcher, Dr. Henry Schroeder, trace elements (minerals) are "...more important factors in human nutrition than vitamins. The body can manufacture many vitamins, but it cannot produce necessary trace minerals or get rid of many possible excesses."

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What can cause mineral imbalances?

There are many factors to take into consideration, such as:

Diet - Improper diet through high intake of refined and processed foods, alcohol and fad diets can all lead to a chemical imbalance. Even the nutrient content of a "healthy" diet can be inadequate, depending upon the soil in which the food was grown or the method in which it was prepared.

Stress - Physical or emotional stress can deplete the body of many nutrients while also reducing the capability to absorb and utilize many nutrients.

Medications - Both prescription and over-the-counter medications can deplete the body stores of nutrient minerals and/or increase the levels of toxic metals. These medications include diuretics, antacids, aspirin and oral contraceptives.

Pollution - From adolescence through adulthood the average person is continually exposed to a variety of toxic metal sources such as cigarette smoke (cadmium), hair dyes (lead), hydrogenated oils (nickel), anti-perspirants (aluminum), dental amalgams (mercury and cadmium), copper and aluminum cookware and lead-based cosmetics. These are just a few of the hundreds of sources which can contribute to nutrient imbalances and adverse metabolic effects.

Nutritional Supplements - Taking incorrect supplements or improper amounts of supplements can produce many vitamin and mineral excesses and/or deficiencies, contributing to an overall biochemical imbalance.

Inherited Patterns - A predisposition toward certain mineral imbalances, deficiencies and excesses can be inherited from parents.

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Can vitamin requirements be determined from a mineral test?

Minerals interact not only with each other but also with vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Minerals influence each of these factors, and they, in turn, influence mineral status. Minerals act as enzyme activators, and vitamins are synergistic to minerals as coenzymes. It is extremely rare that a mineral disturbance develops without a corresponding disturbance in the synergistic vitamin(s). It is also rare for a disturbance in the utilization or activity of a vitamin to occur without affecting a synergistic mineral(s).

Examples :

  • Vitamin C affects iron absorption and reduces copper retention.

  • Boron and iron influence the status of vitamin B2.

  • Vitamin B2 affects the relationship between calcium and magnesium.

  • Vitamin B1 enhances sodium retention.

  • Vitamin B12 enhances iron and cobalt absorption

  • Vitamin A enhances the utilization of zinc, while antagonizing vitamins D and E.

  • Protein intake will affect zinc status, etc.

Therefore, evaluating mineral status provides good clues of vitamin status and requirements.

Continuing research at Trace Elements involves the recognition of many synergistic and antagonistic interrelationships between minerals and vitamins.

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s Hair Analysis supported by research?

Hair tissue mineral analysis is supported by an impressive body of literature in a variety of respected national and international scientific publications. Over the past fifteen years, hair mineral testing has been extensive. Each year in the United States alone, federally licensed clinical laboratories perform over 150,000 hair mineral assays for health care professionals interested in an additional screening aid for a comprehensive Client evaluation. In the past twenty years, there are well over a thousand references in peer-reviewed journals that document and support the reliability of hair mineral analysis. This does not take into consideration the thousands of subjects used in numerous continuing research studies conducted by private and government research agencies.

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How can hair analysis help me achieve better health?

If we consider that diet is what we consume and nutrition is what we retain, then we can see that discovering what your body needs when it needs it is a valuable tool in creating health. After 30 years of research, hair analysis has emerged as the most practical method of testing for mineral balance in your body. This valuable tool indicates which supplements you need and which ones you should avoid. And it's no secret doctors of almost every specialty as well as nutritionists and dietitians routinely use hair analysis. Progressive health care providers are now well aware of the vast amount of research linking nutrition to disease. But what serves as good nutrition for one person may not be good for you. Your Hair analysis Report is designed to help you and your health practitioner determine the best nutritional program for you.

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One size fits all? TMA and Bio-individuality

There is no such thing as a one size fits all approach to nutritional supplementation. Each of us is unique metabolically and biochemically. And as Dr. Williams demonstrated, nutritional needs can vary significantly from one individual to another. Therefore, you don't know if you're getting optimal nutrition until you get tested.

You may feel great, or not so great, and wonder if it's really worth the time, effort and expense to get a lab test to determine your nutritional needs. How much of a difference is it really going to make? After all, vitamins can't hurt you, can they? If you take too much, your body just eliminates them, right?

Here are a few things you need to know about vitamin and mineral supplementation:


  • Taking too many vitamins, or the wrong combination of vitamins, is just as bad as not taking enough.

  • Vitamins and minerals work together synergistically and antagonistically. In other words, minerals may interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients and enhance or increase the absorption of other nutrients.
    "The majority of multiple vitamin mineral supplements currently available today contain many antagonistic relationships that ultimately will reduce the clinical effectiveness of the product."

  • If you take too much calcium, it can lead to a phosphorus and magnesium deficiency. These symptoms are nearly identical to the symptoms of a calcium deficiency. If you continue to take more calcium, you'll continue to lose more magnesium. This may cause an increased retention of sodium, and ultimately, a vitamin A deficiency.

  • Taking zinc over a long period of time can cause a copper and/or iron deficiency and a sodium/potassium imbalance. Too much zinc can cause the same symptoms associated with too little zinc - lowered resistance, fatigue, hair loss, prostatitis and vitamin D deficiency.

  • If you take iron by itself over a long period of time, it can cause anemia because iron needs copper to be properly utilized. When copper is not present in the proper amount, the iron accumulates in the tissues instead of in the hemoglobin molecule.

  • Too much copper and iron can cause a vitamin C deficiency. Too much vitamin C when tissue levels of copper are marginal can cause symptoms of a vitamin C deficiency.

  • Vitamin B1 is antagonistic to vitamin B2. Too much vitamin B1 can cause a deficiency of vitamin B2 and too much vitamin B2 can cause a deficiency of vitamin B1.

It makes you wonder...

  • How are you supposed to know what to take to get everything in the proper balance and keep it in the proper balance?

  • How can some companies say that EVERYONE needs to take THEIR product?

  • Are you doing yourself a little harm by guessing what supplements you should be taking or listening to a vitamin store clerk tell you what she thinks you need or deciding on what to take based upon a book you read?

So how are you really supposed to figure out what supplements to take and how much? Tissue Mineral Analysis can be a great way to start!

Contact Energy Medicine Center for more information.
Ph. 781 849-0300 or office cell: 781 690-9667






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