There is always a high level of interest among my readers in the health effects of heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, and arsenic, so I I thought I’d share my experience with Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA). HTMA is a laboratory hair test that measures the mineral content in your hair and assesses both your mineral deficiencies and potential heavy metal toxicities. Unlike blood testing which only gives you information about recent exposure, hair testing can give you an indication of long-term toxic metal accumulation.
I worked with Karen Stein, of Go Healthy with Karen®, a certified health coach who is also trained in Hair Mineral Analysis. Full disclosure, Karen is my sister.
Honestly, I was not expecting to see any dramatic results given my healthy lifestyle and avoidance of toxins. Needless to say, I was startled to find that I have high levels of mercury as well as some mineral imbalances that signify stress, environmental toxins, or heavy metals. According to WebMD (link), if your hair has toxins like mercury and arsenic, you could be more likely to get certain health problems.
Karen warned me that results from your first hair test often show no or low levels of heavy metals because they can hide in our tissues, organs, brain and even bones. Once you begin to detox, the metals can show up in future tests, before diminishing as you complete your detoxification program.
My Detox Program
Karen developed a personalized supplement protocol based on my testing results. I have taken many supplements over the years and am impressed with the clean ingredients and affordable price. After 4- 6 months I will do another hair test to see if my mercury levels have gone down and my minerals are in balance. There is a chance that as my body is detoxing, I will see the presence of other heavy metals. If that is the case, we will adjust the supplements until my test is clean. I will continue to post updates on my progress.
Things to Consider When Testing for Heavy Metals
I believe that it is important to test before taking any products that claims to remove heavy metals. Different binders (products that bind to and help remove heavy metals from the body) can have a greater affinity for different types of metals. It is important to know what accumulations you have in your body to know what type of binder is appropriate for each individual person. If someone has significant mineral deficiencies showing on their HTMA analysis, they should undergo a slower pre-detox phase while they build up their mineral levels. Blindly taking detox supplements can cause serious symptoms, once these metals are freed and circulating in the body without properly binding and removing them.
It’s also important to consider the laboratory that will run your test. There are only 2 laboratories in the country that do not wash the hair sample before analyzing it. This will distort the results. Make sure the laboratory that is being used for your hair test does not wash the samples.
Finally, look for a practitioner that has delivered results for their clients and who is specially trained in analyzing the HTMA data. The typical HTMA comes from the lab with a report that many practitioners will just pass along to their clients. It offers some basic supplement and/or nutritional recommendations. Karen is among a small group of practitioners who have been extensively and specially trained to further analyze the data contained in the HTMA far beyond what the report shows. This analysis can uncover trends in mineral ratios and patterns that can point to possible underlying issues with metabolism, thyroid function, brain fog, immune function as well as heavy metal toxicities.
If would like to learn more about HTMA read more here. If you would like to work with Karen you can contact her at Go Healthy with Karen ®- www.gohealthywithkaren.com or call her at 770-508-8980. Mention code Lisa10, or write it in the contact form, for 10% off any package on Karen’s website. Expires 5/31/20.