Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis
Balancing programs are given according to a special type of hair
tissue mineral analysis test. Most hair tests are toxicity tests and
the hair is subjected to washing and solvents at the lab. This helps
to reveal more toxic metal in the test. At Analytical Research Labs,
the lab founded by Dr. Paul Eck, the hair is not washed at the lab as
the focus of the test is the nutrient minerals, not heavy metals.
Some heavy metals do show up, but it is primarily a metabolic test,
not a toxicity test.
four major electrolyte minerals have the most testing significance
and they can definitely be changed by washing. Once we have the
results of a properly done hair tissue mineral analysis, we have a
great deal of information about the metabolism, including endocrine function,
glucose handling, protein utilization, current stress, chronic
stress, and stress damage. We will see the effects of these metabolic states on nutrient levels, ratios
and requirements. We may see some heavy metals, but in many cases
they do not show up at all on the first test as the body sequesters
the metals for protection from the toxic effects.
Mineral Balancing and Chronic Stress
think we should bring out something you and I have discussed many
times in the past. It is that a person in burnout not only suffers
from specific nutrient deficiencies, but they also have excesses of
various nutrients in their tissues.
science only talks about replacing missing or depleted nutrients.
They almost totally ignore the elimination of excess nutrients –
which is even more important.
Perhaps a person
is accumulating iron and they are taking it. Or perhaps they are
accumulating calcium and they are taking it. They cannot assume that
they are merely replacing what they have lost. Instead of being low
on something, they may actually have an excess of it.
Dr. Paul Eck:
That's right. There is always a corresponding action and reaction to
everything in life. So if one mineral becomes deficient, another
mineral will accumulate. That is, it will become excessive. It is
Nature's system of checks and balances.
When sodium and
potassium levels go down, calcium and magnesium levels will rise. If
copper drops, iron increases. If zinc accumulates in tissues, copper
levels will decrease. If zinc levels decrease, copper levels will
increase. If iron levels rise, chromium levels diminish, and so
Each of these
checks and balances is part of Nature's defense system to maintain
homeostasis and to combat stress. For example, an excessive
accumulation of copper is not necessarily bad. In certain cases, it
is actually beneficial – a purpose is being served. Do you realize
that copper raises sodium levels? Sodium is involved in the
production of the mineralcorticoids – the mineral-regulating
hormones produced by the adrenal glands.
The body will
raise copper levels in an attempt to shore up the plummeting sodium
levels. It is a defense mechanism. Also, copper is involved in the
final step in energy production in the Krebs cycle, one of the main
energy producing cycles of your body. So although an accumulation of
copper may in the long run cause neurological damage and other
dysfunctions, it also serves a purpose.
In addition, the
body loses zinc under stress, which by itself may be a defense
reaction. As zinc levels drop, sodium levels increase and you are
better able to respond to stress. Also, a reduced level of zinc in
the tissues – up to a point – automatically increases the
availability of copper in the tissues – resulting in increased
oxidative respiration in the cells.
You can see that
it get pretty complicated. There are different stages of stress.
Each stage represents another of the body's stress holding patterns.
The body collapses in stages.
each stage, the body tries to draw the line, regroup its defenses –
just like an army. And just like an army, it goes into a holding
pattern that it tries to maintain as long as possible.
Dr. Paul Eck:
That's right. Each of the minerals that accumulates represents an
action taken as part of the body's defense system. So although the
stored copper, zinc or whatever, all cause severe problems in the long
run – in the short run they are the best the body can do under the
When the body's
energy producing ability is reduced, it is forced to make
compensations – even if these compensations are highly destructive
in the long run. For example, earlier I mentioned that increasing
serum cholesterol is part of the body's defense system. Now
obviously, a high cholesterol has its harmful consequences. But,
under the circumstances, this is the best compensation the body can
The same analogy
holds true of the increase of calcium that occurs during burnout. In
the long run, calcification of the tissues occurs. But in the short
run, the increase of calcium suppresses adrenal function in order to
prevent further exhaustion.
body may actually create a magnesium deficiency so as to enhance your
energy levels. In the long run, this magnesium deficiency (or low
magnesium compared to calcium) can result in serious blood sugar
in the short run, this shortage of available magnesium actually
prevents the adrenal glands from going into complete collapse –
burnout! Unless the doctor understands these checks and balances, it
is almost impossible to nutritionally guide a person out of burnout.