Mineral Testing (HTMA)

Mineral Testing (HTMA)

What is a mineral test?

In a nutshell a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA), shows imbalances of minerals which may be causing ongoing health issues.

When we have mineral deficiencies, excesses or imbalanced minerals, the body cannot function correctly.

The test is very simple and only requires a small sample (approximately a heaped teaspoon) of hair from the nape of the neck.

HTMA provides information on….

  • At least 20 minerals (e.g. calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc, magnesium)
  • Mineral deficiencies, imbalances and toxicities
  • Digestive health
  • Blood sugar handling abilities
  • Lifestyle imbalances such as stress or anxiety
  • Gland health especially the adrenals and thyroid
  • Toxic heavy metal status (e.g lead, mercury and arsenic)
  • Metabolism



If the ratio of calcium to potassium is low, this suggests a potentially sluggish thyroid, which might result in symptoms such as inability to lose weight, feeling cold and fatigue.

If the ratio is skewed for potassium and sodium the adrenal glands are overworked, which might result in sleep issues and anxiety.

Differences between hair mineral tests & blood tests

Blood work is like taking a photograph, while HTMA is a movie!

Blood tests:

A common pattern I see with clients experiencing symptoms, such as ongoing headaches, fatigue, depression or IBS often have ‘normal’ blood test results. Whereas the HTMA will show where minerals are imbalanced.

Blood will always try to stay in near-perfect balance. This is why blood tests should never be the only method of testing for nutrients.

An imbalance in the blood is often not seen until illness is far more established. Whereas HTMA can pick up on imbalances in the body earlier.

Blood tests provide more of a ‘snapshot’ (i.e. the instant in time the blood was drawn). This minute-by-minute reading can be essential in an acute emergency where every little change must be monitored. Blood tests can vary depending upon the time of day, meals eaten, activity level at the time of the testing.

Hair mineral testing:

Hair mineral testing tells us how the whole body is working over the course of a few months (about 3 months).

Hair testing is not affected much by daily, or even weekly changes.

The body also ‘dumps’ heavy metals (e.g. mercury or aluminium) into the hair for safe keeping, so HTMA uses this valuable information.

Please note: Blood tests to assess iron are sometimes more reliable than a hair mineral test.

Commonly Asked Questions

Why do we use hair?

Hair is a tissue, just like the skin, muscles, nerves and internal organs such as the heart, liver and brain. Like other body tissues, hair contains minerals that are deposited as it grows. The HTMA test represents the mineral levels in the majority of soft tissues in the body. If we have mineral imbalances in the hair test, it usually indicates that there is mineral imbalance within the body.

Blood tests vs hair tests

Hair is a tissue and gives an insight into the metabolic processes happening inside our cells (intracellular). Which is where all the important things happen!! Whereas blood is a transport system, so is a good measure of what’s happening outside out cells (extracellular).

How long does it take to balance my minerals?

Fixing minerals doesn’t always happen overnight. I prefer the slow and steady route which can achieve longer-term benefits. If you keep going with the program over time, you will see benefits. The body can take time. Children can sometimes respond faster, as they have less to heal, compared to adults.

My thyroid tests are normal, but I still have thyroid related symptoms?

Some clients suspect they have a low thyroid issue. If their blood tests for thyroid function are within the “normal” range. It is commonly concluded that they don’t have a thyroid problem. Yet, they still experience hypothyroid related symptoms.

When we would look at the HTMA profiles of these individuals, quite often, the minerals that are considered to represent thyroid activity (Calcium and potassium) are imbalanced (i.e. a high level of calcium and low potassium). This suggests that the HTMA is a good tool to use to detect thyroid issues.

How often do I need a test?

Compared to other tests, the HTMA is not an expensive option, this makes retests a viable option to ensure we keep an eye on your progress. Any necessary adjustments to supplement needs/doses can be tweaked then if needed. It is recommended to recheck every 6-8 months.

I hope this helps with understanding how a HTMA may be of benefit to you. Do let me know if you have any more questions.