Hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA), is an analytical test which measures the mineral content and potentially toxic elements 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 in Germany through a series of chemical and high temperature digestive procedures. We can also use pubic hair or nails of the patients for testing. Testing is then performed using highly sophisticated detection equipment and methods to achieve the most accurate and precise results.
Why use the hair? Why not use the blood?
Hair is ideal tissue for sampling and testing. Firstly, it can be cut easily and painlessly and can be sent to the lab without special handling requirements. Secondly, clinical results have shown that a properly obtained sample can give an indication of mineral status and toxic metal accumulation following long term or even acute exposure.
A HTMA reveals a unique metabolic world: 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.
Hair is used as one of the tissues of choice by the Environmental Protection Agency in determining toxic metal exposure. A 1980 report from the E.P.A. 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 U.S. 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.
A total of 55 types of minerals and trace elements were tested. This include :
Essential trace elements
- Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Selenium, Vanadium, Zinc.
- Calcium, Magnesium
Nonessential trace elements
- Boron, Germanium, Lithium, Strontium, Tungsten
Potentially toxic elements
- Aluminum, Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Beryllium, Bismuth, Cadmium, Cerium, Cesium, Dysprosium, Erbium, Europium, Gadolinium, Gallium, Iridium, Lanthanum, Lead, Lutetium, Mercury, Nickel, Palladium, Platinum, Praseodymium, Rhenium, Rhodium, Ruthenium, Samarium, Silver, Tantalum, Tellurium, Thallium, Thorium, Thulium, Tin, Titanium, Uranium, Ytterbium, Zirconium.