Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) is a safe and noninvasive trichology test. It measures the levels and comparative ratios of nutrient and toxic minerals found in hair. Your hair reflects the mineral content of the body’s tissues. If a mineral is either deficient or present in excess, it indicates a mineral deficiency or excess within the body.
HTMA is regarded as one of the most valuable screening tools available in preventive health care. The hair sample, which is 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. The results are usually accurate and precise.

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 conducted 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 that found in the blood and other tissues.
  • Hair provides a record of past as well as present trace element levels, ie, 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.
  • Reliable data on more than 35 nutrient and toxic minerals, and over 25 important mineral ratios.
  • Personalized patient and trichologist interpretive test reports that assess your current mineral status, highlight areas of concern and recommend dietary changes and supplements for improved health and well-being.

Questions that can pop up are Why use the hair? Why not use blood? Hair is an ideal tissue for sampling and testing. First, it can be cut easily and painlessly and sent to the lab without special handling requirements. Second, clinical results have indicated that a properly obtained sample can give an indication of mineral status and toxic metal accumulation following long-term or even acute exposure.
An HTMA reveals a unique metabolic world: an intracellular activity, which cannot be seen through most other tests. This provides a blueprint of the biochemistry occurring during the period of hair growth and development. For example:

  • Thirty to 40 days following an acute exposure, elevated serum levels of lead may be undetectable.This is due to the body removing the lead from the serum as a protective measure and depositing the metal into such tissues as the liver, bones, teeth and hair. Therefore, you can get to know of such discordant notes from your hair.
  • Nutrient loss from the body can become so advanced that severe health conditions can develop without any appreciable changes noted in those same nutrient levels in a blood test.
  • Symptoms of elemental deficiency can be present long before low levels can be detected in the serum.

Hair is used as one of the tissues of choice by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in determining toxic metal exposure. A 1980-report from the EPA stated that human hair can be effectively used for biological monitoring of the highest priority toxic metals. This report confirmed the findings of other studies in the US and abroad, which concluded that human hair may be a more appropriate tissue than blood or urine for studying community exposure to some trace elements.
There have been a few powerful pharmaceutical groups who intend to undermine the natural process. These groups say that while hair analysis can detect some poisons like lead or arsenic, there are no testing standards. Labs may report different findings from the same hair sample. And everything from air pollution to shampoo can change your hair’s mineral make-up. The American Medical Association is against hair analysis to determine treatment.
Those in favour of the HTMA test say that the ICL HTMA is scientifically robust and highly accurate. It is conducted by an FDA-certified laboratory and managed by qualified HAVE A GREAT HAIR DAY 194 biochemists. The ICL HTMA will stand scrutiny in any court of law where it is a highly respected forensic test for determining levels of toxic contamination from sources such as industrial pollution.
Most of the Internet postings that claim this testing to be quackery are dated — some more than 10 years ago. The technology has advanced in leaps and bounds in recent years and continues to improve. Technology does not stand still.
There is pressure from some interest groups to discredit this test. Scientists may be “encouraged” by polluting industries to discredit this test because it is the most accurate method for determining if a person or persons have been poisoned by a pollutant like lead or mercury from a dirty factory or dump site, for example. The polluter much prefers a blood test because it will only show recent exposure and not exposure that could have happened many years ago. The HTMA can accurately detect past exposure.
Whatever the pros and cons, its my personal opinion that the HTMA test provides great insights to problems relating to hair.