Why Test For Minerals?

Minerals play an integral role in the body’s many intra and extra cellular functions.¬†Their presence is essential for all enzyme, hormone, protein and other biochemical activities.

Other roles of minerals are as catalysts, facilitators or inhibitors of thousands of critical enzymes that control most body functions. Minerals also form the basis for the osmotic balance in the body and for acid-base regulation.

The status of the minerals can quickly provide information about the endocrine, digestive, cardiovascular and other body systems. Mineral deficiencies are known to be associated with dysfunctions of critical body systems.

Mineral deficiencies are among the most common and serious nutritional deficiencies in our population. Depleted soils yield food that is low in minerals. Refining and processing of many foods further reduces their mineral content. Physical and emotional stress, aging, pregnancy and the use of prescription drugs increase the body’s needs for certain minerals. These factors together add up to major mineral deficiencies in much of the population.

Minerals are relatively easy and inexpensive to measure accurately and reliably. In contrast, measuring vitamins, hormones and other factors in the body are often more costly and less accurate.

Toxic metals are known to affect many body systems and organ function. Tissue mineral analysis would be very valuable if it were only used to detect heavy metal poisoning. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, in a report of 400 studies completed in August 1979, heavy metal toxicity is the second most prevalent environ­mental problem in America.

However, hair testing can do much more than detect heavy metals. It can often reveal causes for their accumulation and provide a guide for designing a metabolic program to remove the toxic metals.




Sources Of Aluminum

  • beverages from aluminum cans
    (soda pop and beer)
  • food cooked in aluminum cookware
  • use of aluminum-containing antacids
  • use of anti-perspirants.
  • drinking water
    (aluminum is frequently added to municipal water)
  • baking powders
  • drying agents in salt and other products
  • processed cheese
  • bleached flour
  • fluoridated water increases leaching of aluminum from aluminum pots and pans.

Today children are often born with elevated aluminum that is passed from mother to fetus through the placenta.

Detection Of Aluminum

There is debate whether blood testing for aluminum has much value. Blood levels definitely do not indicate total body load of aluminum.

Hair aluminum levels appear to correlate well with bone levels of aluminum. Several hair tests may be needed before aluminum is revealed on the test. This is because the aluminum may be tightly bound within body tissues, and several months on a nutrition program may be required to mobilize the aluminum.

How Aluminum Affects Health

Nervous System – in animal studies, aluminum blocks the action potential or electrical discharge of nerve cells, reducing nervous system activity. Aluminum also inhibits important enzymes in the brain (Na-K-ATPase and hexokinase). Aluminum may also inhibit uptake of important chemicals by nerve cells (dopamine, norepinephrine, and 5-hydroxytryptamine).
Behavioral Effects – dementia resulting from kidney dialysis related to aluminum toxicity causes memory loss, loss of coordination, confusion and disorientation.
Digestive System – aluminum reduces intestinal activity, and by doing so can cause colic.
 Back to Mineral List
This material is for educational purposes only
The preceding statements have not been evaluated by the
Food and Drug Administration
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.



Sources of Arsenic

  • Organic arsenic (arsenate) is found in a variety of foods
  • Inorganic arsenate or arsenite: brown rice, pesticides, beer, table salt, water, paint, cosmetics, pigments, rat poison, glass and mirror manufacture, fungicides, wood preservatives, commercial chicken feed

Roles In The Body

Several laboratories believe that arsenic is an essential element in small quantities. Its functions are not clear, but may have to do with growth, and blood formation.


iodine, selenium

Hair Analysis Notes

Arsenite accumulates in the hair tissue, and hair analysis is considered a valuable means of detecting arsenic toxicity.


Sources Of Boron

Leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, wine, cider and beer

Functions In The Body

  • Increases production of estrogen and testosterone
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis and post-menopausal symptoms
  • May be necessary for growth (animal experiments)

Hair Analysis Notes

Significance in the hair is unknown


Sources Of Cadmium

  • food grown on cadmium contaminated soil – sewage sludge, fertilizers, and irrigation water can contaminate the soil
  • large ocean fish – tuna, cod, haddock
  • refined and processed foods
  • processed meats, cola drinks and instant coffee
  • cigarette smoke
  • contaminated drinking water
  • occupational exposure – battery manufacture, semiconductors, dental materials
  • solder used in food cans
  • motor oil and exhaust fumes from cars
  • artists paints
  • air pollution – incineration of rubber tires, plastic and paints

Children today are commonly born with cadmium toxicity passed from mother to child via the placenta.

Detection Of Cadmium

“…Cadmium data from blood have little diagnostic value” (Cranston & Passwater, 1983). This is because cadmium is rapidly removed from the blood soon after it is ingested.

Blood challenge tests can detect cadmium in the blood and arteries.

Cadmium levels in hair show good correlation with cadmium levels in the kidneys. Often, however, several months of nutritional therapy and several hair tests are required before cadmium is revealed in the hair.

How Cadmium Affects Health

Energy – cadmium causes strong inhibition of essential
enzymes in the Krebs energy cycle.
Nervous System – cadmium inhibits release of acetylcholine and
activates cholinesterase. This results in a tendency for
hyperactivity of the nervous system. Cadmium also directly
damages nerve cells.
Bones and Joints – cadmium alters calcium and phosphorus
metabolism, thus contributing to arthritis, osteoporosis and
neuromuscular diseases.
Cardiovascular System – cadmium replaces zinc in the arteries,
contributing to brittle, inflexible arteries.
Digestive System – cadmium interferes with production of digestive
enzymes that require zinc.
Male Reproductive System – prostate problems and impotence can result
from cadmium-induced zinc deficiency.
Endocrine System – zinc is required for growth and insulin
release. Cadmium can contribute to failure to thrive, delayed
growth development and diabetes.
Excretory System – cadmium accumulates in the kidneys, resulting
in high blood pressure and kidney disease.
Dental – alterations in calcium and vitamin D
activity, caused by cadmium toxicity, can result in cavities and
tooth deformities.
Psychological – cadmium toxicity is associated with learning
disorders and hyperactivity. This may be due to zinc deficiency,
or to inhibition of acetylcholine release in the brain.

Sources Of Calcium

Seafood – sardines, caviar, smelt
Animal products – egg yolks
Nuts/seeds – almonds, sesame seeds, filberts
Vegetables – kale, collards, mustard greens, turnip greens
Dairy – cheeses, milk
Miscellaneous – molasses, kelp, brewer’s yeast, torula yeast

Roles In The Body

About 99% of our calcium is found in bone structures. However, calcium is essential for four other critical roles:

Cell Membrane Regulation – affecting cell permeability, muscle contraction and nerve impulse conduction.
Body Fluid Regulation – affecting blood clotting, acidity and alkalinity.
Regulation of cell division
Regulation of hormone secretion – insulin

Functions Of Calcium

Circulatory – excites the heart, constricts small blood vessels
Excretory – inhibits water loss
Digestive – in excess, is constipating
Nervous – slows nerve impulse transmission
Reproductive – required for normal cell division
Endocrine – inhibits release of thyroid-releasing and other pituitary hormones
Blood – stimulates blood formation and is required for blood clotting
Muscular – reduces muscular irritability and contractibility
Skeletal – main component of bone
Metabolic – required for phosphorus metabolism and energy production in the Krebs cycle
Detoxification – inhibits uptake of lead, antagonizes cadmium
Cellular – decreases permeability of cells to sodium and potassium ions

Nutrients That Are Synergistic With Calcium

Absorption –¬†vitamin A and D, stomach acidity, protein in diet
Utilization –¬†magnesium, copper, vitamin C

Antagonistic Nutrients

Absorption –¬†fluoride, low stomach acidity, low protein in diet, phosphorus in excess
Utilization –¬†lead, cadmium, sodium, potassium, high protein diet increases calcium loss in urine

Hair Analysis Notes

High Hair Calcium:

  • usually indicates that calcium is leaving the bones and accumulating in the soft tissues of the body
  • high calcium is associated with a slow oxidation rate
  • good indicator of hidden copper toxicity
  • high calcium on a retest often means the body is eliminating excess calcium

Low Hair Calcium:

  • a low calcium level usually means calcium is being lost in the urine
  • associated with fast oxidation rate – alarm stage of stress
  • often associated with copper deficiency

Reasons For Calcium Supplementation

  • to slow the oxidation rate
  • to help detoxify lead and cadmium
  • to balance key mineral ratios

Sources Of Chromium

Seafood – oysters
Meats – calves’ liver, egg yolk
Nuts/seeds – peanuts
Fruit – grape juice
Dairy – American cheese
Grains – wheat and wheat germ
Miscellaneous – brewer’s yeast, black pepper, molasses

Roles In The Body

  • Glucose tolerance factor – chromium is involved in maintaining blood sugar levels and energy levels.
  • Cholesterol regulation
  • Other possible roles involved in the synthesis of DNA

Functions Of Chromium

Circulatory – serum cholesterol regulation
Digestive – sugar and carbohydrate utilization (via insulin)
Nervous – maintenance of nervous system by regulation of blood sugar
Eyes – corneal clarity
Muscular – supplies energy for muscular contraction
Skeletal – essential component of bones and hair
Protective – immune system (via insulin)
Metabolic – fat, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism regulation

Synergetic Nutrients

insulin, glucose, magnesium, vitamin B6, zinc, manganese oxalates, salicylates

Antagonistic Nutrients

Absorption – iron, manganese, zinc, vanadium, phytates
Metabolic – glucagon

Hair Analysis Notes

High Hair Chromium:

  • a high chromium level is often indicative of a loss of chromium through the hair, and is frequently caused by an iron toxicity or another mineral imbalance problem.

Low Hair Chromium:

  • supplementing chromium when chromium reading is low, is frequently helpful in correcting symptoms of fatigue, or sugar and carbohydrate intolerance.
  • excessive iron intake is a frequent cause of both high and low chromium levels.1

Sources Of Cobalt

Meats (as vitamin B12)

Roles In The Body

Needed for the formation of vitamin B12 – blood formation, nervous system

Sources Of Copper

Seafood – oysters, crabs, bluefish, perch, lobster
Meats – veal, duck, lamb, pork, beef liver and kidneys
Nuts/seeds – almonds, pecans, walnuts, filberts, brazil nuts, sesame, sunflower, pistachio
Vegetables – soybeans
Grains – wheat germ and bran
Miscellaneous – yeast, gelatin, bone meal, corn oil, margarine, mushrooms, chocolate
Other sources – copper water pipes, copper sulfate added to drinking water, copper compounds used in swimming pools, mineral supplements (especially prenatal vitamins), copper cookware and tea kettles, birth control pills, copper intrauterine devices, vegetarian diets, stress, exhaustion of the adrenal glands

Many children are born today with excessive copper levels passed to them from their mothers in utero.

Roles In The Body

  • Energy production
  • Female reproductive system
  • Blood formation

Functions Of Copper

Circulatory – structure of blood vessels, aorta and heart muscle
Blood – formation of hemoglobin
Nervous – maintenance of the myelin sheath on nerves
Reproductive – essential for fertility, menstrual cycle
Endocrine – synthesis of stimulatory neurotransmitters
Muscular/skeletal – bone and connective tissue structure
Immune system – necessary for the immune system
Integumentary – needed for skin, hair, nails and pigments
Energy – energy production (the electron transport system)

Synergetic Nutrients

Absorption –¬†proteins

Antagonistic Nutrients

Absorption –¬†zinc, manganese, iron, calcium, molybdenum, sulfur, mercury, cadmium, vitamin C
Utilization –¬†zinc, vitamin C, vitamin B6, sulfur, molybdenum, manganese, iron

Hair Analysis Notes

  • Bio-unavailable copper: Often copper status can be tricky to assess. Copper may be present, but unavailable for use in the body. This occurs any time adrenal gland activity is low.
  • Copper and Oxidation Type: Fast oxidizers generally are deficient in copper, while slow oxidizers usually have either high copper or bio-unavailable copper.
  • Hidden Copper Toxicity: Copper is often normal on hair tests, but may actually be locked in body tissues. Test indicators of a hidden copper imbalance are:
    • Calcium level greater than 75 mg%
    • Potassium level less than 3 mg%
    • Sodium/potassium ratio less than 2.2:1
    • Mercury toxicity often indicates a hidden copper toxicity
    • Copper level less than 1.0 mg%
    • Zinc/copper ratio less than 6:1

Reasons For Supplementation With Copper

  • to raise a low sodium/potassium ratio
  • to enhance retention of calcium in tissues

Sources Of Iron

Seafood – clams, oysters
Meats – liver and kidneys, beef, reindeer meat
Nuts/seeds – pistachio, pinon nuts, black walnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
Vegetables – Irish moss, chives, parsley, soybeans
Grains – wheat germ and bran, rice bran
Miscellaneous – red wine, black strap molasses, sorghum syrup, bone meal, yeast

Roles In The Body

Oxygen Transport – iron is part of the hemoglobin molecule that carries oxygen in the blood
Cellular Energy Production – iron is required in the final steps of the production of energy from food
Removal of Harmful Free Radicals – catalase enzyme requires iron

Synergetic Nutrients

Absorption – acid foods, animal foods, vitamin C, alcohol, glucose and other sugars
Utilization – copper, vitamin B12

Antagonistic Nutrients

Absorption – phytates, phosphate, egg protein, manganese, zinc, nickel, chromium, copper, calcium, magnesium, cadmium, vegetarian diets

Hair Analysis Notes

Iron is referred to as the strength mineral

High Hair Iron:

  • often associated with feelings of anger and hostility
  • more often seen in fast oxidation
  • often associated with high aluminum levels
  • can be due to an iron loss due to destruction of body cells
  • iron toxicity can be due to iron cookware or excessive iron in drinking water

Low Hair Iron:

  • most often associated with a slow oxidation rate
  • common to see iron levels around 1.0 mg%
  • low hair iron does not necessarily indicate anemia
  • low iron often seen with symptoms of fatigue
  • taking iron tablets will not necessarily raise iron levels

Reasons For Iron Supplementation

  • to raise low sodium levels
  • to increase a low oxidation rate
  • to lower elevated manganese levels

Sources Of Lead

ceramic glazes lead water pipes
cigarette smoke leaded gasoline
colored ink manufacture of batteries
food cans soldered with lead mine smelting industries
Grecian Formula and Youth Hair pesticide residues
hair dyes water contaminated with lead from industrial
lead-based paint waste
  • Lead and other heavy metals are contaminating baby foods like puree, juice and teething cookies, i.e., Arrowroot cookies, according to Food and Drug Administration data and recent testing by Consumer Reports.
  • Root vegetables: Sweet potatoes and carrots
  • Children can also be born with elevated lead, passed through the placenta from their mothers.
  • Diets deficient in calcium, magnesium, or iron increase lead absorption.

Detection Of Lead

  • Blood lead testing is not accurate in detecting chronic lead toxicity. Within 30 days of exposure, most lead is removed from the blood and stored in body tissues.
  • Blood challenge tests can detect a certain amount of lead poisoning.
  • Hair testing has been shown by the Environmental Protection Agency to be a good method of testing for lead poisoning.
  • Several hair tests may be necessary before elevated lead levels are revealed.

How Lead Affects The Body

Blood – inhibits enzymes associated with hemoglobin synthesis, and increases the rate of destruction of red blood cells. End result is fatigue.
Bones – lead is incorporated into bone in preference to calcium.
Brain – can inhibit copper-dependent enzymes needed for neurotransmitters (dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine). End result is hyperactivity.
Energy – inhibits copper and iron-dependent enzymes in the Krebs cycle required for energy production. End result is fatigue.
Kidneys – lead can raise uric acid levels and impair kidney function. End result is gout.
Minerals – lead displaces and can cause deficiency or bio-unavailability of calcium, zinc, manganese, copper, and iron.
Thyroid Gland – lead interferes with iodine uptake by the thyroid, and can inactivate thyroxin, the thyroid hormone.

Sources Of Lithium

  • Small amounts are found in a wide variety of foods
  • Lubricating grease
  • Batteries
  • Ceramics and glass
  • Used in medication to treat bipolar disorder

Functions Of Lithium

  • Decreases manic symptoms in manic-depressive patients
  • May modulate the conversion of essential fatty acids into prostaglandins
  • May stabilize serotonin transmission
  • Anti-aggressive action

Roles In The Body

  • Research by Frazier found that those patients who were helped by lithium experienced increased uptake of sodium through their cell membranes.
  • According to Sheard, lithium can replace sodium in the cells, and its structure resembles calcium and magnesium. It appears to have the same stabilizing effect on nervous cells as calcium and magnesium.

Hair Analysis Notes

  • Lithium appears to lower sodium levels. This would correlate with the research by A. Frazier.
  • The meaning of hair lithium levels is a topic of research.

Indications For Supplementation

Aggressive behavior, manic-depression and some cases of depression.

Sources Of Magnesium

Nuts – almonds, brazil nuts, cashews
Vegetables – soybeans, parsnips
Grains – buckwheat, wheat bran, wheat germ, other grains
Miscellaneous – chocolate, cocoa, molasses, brewer’s yeast, kelp

Roles In The Body

Sixty percent of tissue magnesium is located in the skeleton. The rest is within the cells, where it performs very essential functions.

Regulation of Cell Membranes – permeability, muscular contraction, nerve impulse conduction and antagonism to calcium.
Enzyme Activation within the cells – magnesium is essential for energy production, and protein synthesis.

Functions Of Magnesium

Excretory – prevention of kidney stones
Digestive – laxative
Nervous – maintains nerve conduction
Muscular – prevents tissue calcification, needed for muscle contraction
Skeletal – required for bone formation
Metabolic – required for energy production, for glucose and fat metabolism, and for protein synthesis
Detoxification – required for liver activity

Nutrients That Work With Magnesium

  • Vitamin D, lactic acid, lactose, high protein diet
  • Potassium is a magnesium synergist in many enzyme systems

Hair Analysis Notes

Absorption – phytates found in grains, fluoride, phosphorus, low-protein diet
Utilization – calcium. Drinking alcohol lowers magnesium levels. Junk food diets are often low in magnesium

Hair Analysis Notes

High Hair Magnesium:

  • often associated with a SLOW oxidation rate, fatigue and depression.
  • a high magnesium level often indicates that magnesium is being lost through the hair, resulting in deficiency symptoms such as anxiety and hyper-irritability.

Low Hair Magnesium:

  • often associated with a FAST oxidation rate, anxiety, irritability and high-strung personality.

Reasons For Magnesium Supplementation

  • to prevent calcium build-up in body tissues
  • to enhance energy production and raise low sodium levels

Sources Of Manganese

Meats – snails, egg yolk
Nuts/seeds – sunflower, coconuts, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, brazil nuts
Fruits – blueberries, olives, avocados
Vegetables – corn, corn germ, parsley, legumes
Grains – wheat, wheat germ and bran, rice, barley, oats, buckwheat, rye
Miscellaneous – kelp, cloves, tea

Roles In The Body

  • Energy Production, essential for
  • Glucose tolerance levels, necessary for maintaining
  • Tendons and ligaments, maintains integrity of
  • Bone development, essential for

Functions Of Manganese

Nervous system – synthesis of neurotransmitters
Reproductive system – fertility
Endocrine system – required for normal adrenal and thyroid gland activity
Skeletal – tendons, ligaments, connective tissue
Metabolic – energy production, glucose tolerance, utilization of fats and carbohydrates
Detoxification – involved in superoxide dismutase

Synergetic Nutrients

zinc, choline, vitamin K

Antagonistic Nutrients

Absorption – calcium, phosphorus, iron, soy protein
Metabolic – copper, magnesium, iron, vanadium

Hair Analysis Notes

Manganese is called the maternal mineral because manganese-deficient animals cease to care for their young.

High Hair Manganese:

  • may be due to manganese toxicity derived from drinking water containing excessively high levels of manganese.

Low Hair Manganese:

  • low hair manganese levels are extremely common. However, if the manganese level is below .03 mg% it is considered very low.
  • low manganese usually correlates with slow oxidation and low energy levels.

Reasons For Manganese Supplementation

  • to raise low sodium levels
  • to lower excessive iron, copper or other toxic metal levels
  • to correct a low sodium/potassium ratio

Sources Of Mercury

  • dental amalgam (silver fillings)
  • tuna fish and swordfish
  • contaminated drinking water
  • seeds and vegetables treated with mercurial fungicides
  • medications – diuretics, Mercurochrome, Merthiolate, Preparation H, contact lens solution
  • occupational exposure – felt, algicides, floor waxes, adhesives, fabric softeners, manufacture of paper, production of chlorine
  • children can be born with mercury toxicity that is passed through the placenta from their mothers. Mercury can also be passed to children in breast milk.

Detection Of Mercury

Tests recognized as valid for detecting chronic mercury toxicity include hair analysis and urine challenge tests. The latter is a urine test performed after giving a dose of a chelating agent. A simple urine or blood test without a chelator will usually not reveal mercury toxicity unless the poisoning is acute.

Copper toxicity and zinc deficiency are often associated with mercury toxicity.

How Mercury Affects Health

Energy – mercury compounds inhibit the enzyme ATPase, which impairs energy production in all body cells.
Nervous System – degeneration of nerve fibers occurs, particularly the peripheral sensory nerve fibers. In addition to sensory nerve damage, motor conduction speed was reduced in persons with high hair mercury levels.
The most common sensory effects are paresthesia, pain in limbs, and visual and auditory disturbances. Motor disturbances results in changes in gait, weakness, falling, slurred speech, and tremor. Other symptoms are headaches, rashes and emotional disturbances.
Endocrine System – mercury has been shown to concentrate in the thyroid and pituitary glands, interfering with their function. Impairment of adrenal gland activity also occurs.
Kidneys – mercury can accumulate in the kidneys, where it may cause kidney damage.

Sources Of Molybdenum

Animal Products -meats – pork, lamb, beef liver
Nuts/seeds – sunflower seeds
Vegetables – soybeans, lima beans, lentils, peas
Grains – buckwheat, oats, barley, wheat germ, sorghum
Occupational sources – working around metal fumes. Molybdenum is used to make stainless steel, photographic chemicals, lubricants, pigments and reagents


  • In the blood, molybdenum is most commonly found in a complex with copper.
  • Molybdenum concentrates in the liver, kidney, bone and significant amounts are found in the dental enamel and hair.
  • The main route of excretion is through the kidneys.

Roles In The Body

  • Molybdenum is an ultra-trace mineral.
  • Molybdenum is required for xanthine oxidase, an enzyme involved in the formation of uric acid.
  • In animals, another enzyme, aldehyde oxidase, also requires molybdenum. This enzyme is involved in detoxification.
  • Molybdenum has been shown in animals to be involved with fat, purine and sulfate metabolism.
  • It is also involved in detoxification and
    intimately involved in copper metabolism.

Synergetic Nutrients

  • Molybdenum is considered to be synergistic with iron and sulfur.
  • Molybdenum also raises sodium levels and is synergistic with vitamins B1 and B3 (xanthine oxidase).

Antagonistic Nutrients

  • Molybdenum is a powerful copper antagonist. Most copper antagonists such as zinc displace copper. A unique property of molybdenum is that it binds or complexes directly with copper and facilitates its removal. This enables copper to be removed from the body without the common side effects that often occur with copper removal.
  • Another reason for this action is that molybdenum raises sodium, offsetting the sodium-lowering effect that occurs when copper is eliminated.
  • Molybdenum absorption is antagonized by copper, sulfur, methionine and a high-protein diet.
  • Molybdenum metabolism is antagonized by manganese, zinc and at times sulfur.

Sources Of Nickel

  • cigarette smoking
  • commercial peanut butter
  • herring
  • hydrogenated vegetable oils
  • imitation whip creams
  • kelp
  • imitation whip creams
  • margarine
  • nickel plating
  • oysters
  • tea
  • unrefined grains and cereals
  • vegetable shortening
  • vegetarian products
manufacture of: steel, batteries, machine parts, wire, electrical parts

How Nickel Affects The Body

Kidneys – nickel has a tendency to accumulate in the kidneys.
Hormone, Lipid and
Membrane Metabolism –
It is believed that nickel has some physiological
role related to these functions.
  • Hair Analysis Notes

  • Normal nickel is about 0.1 mg% or lower.
  • More research is needed regarding the physiological roles and significance of hair levels of nickel.

Sources Of Phosphorus

Seafood – tuna, mackerel, pike, red snapper, salmon, sardines, whitefish, scallops, shad, smelt, anchovies, bass, bluefish, carp, caviar, eel, halibut, herring, trout
Meats – liver (beef, chicken, hog, lamb), rabbit, sweetbreads, turkey, beef brains, chicken, eggs, egg yolk, lamb heart, kidney
Nuts/seeds – pinon, pistachios, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, filberts, hickory, peanuts, pecans
Vegetables – chickpeas, garlic, lentils, popcorn, soybeans
Dairy – cheeses
Grains – wheat bran and germ, wild rice, buckwheat, millet, oats, oatmeal, brown rice, rice bran, rye, wheat
Miscellaneous – chocolate, kelp, yeast, bone meal

Roles In The Body

  • Bone structure – 80-85% of phosphorus in the body is located in the bones and teeth
  • Energy production – (ATP – adenosine triphosphate and ADP – adenosine diphosphate)
  • Cell membranes – (as phospholipids)
  • Genetic reactions – in DNA – deoxyribonucleic acid and RNA – ribonucleic acid
  • Buffering agent, to maintain osmotic pressure

Functions Of Phosphorus

Digestive – regulates absorption of calcium and a variety of trace elements. Phosphorus in excess has a laxative action
Nervous – source of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), component of the myelin sheath
Endocrine – interacts with vitamin D
Blood – red blood cell (RBC) metabolism
Muscular – adenosine triphosphate (ATP) needed for muscle contraction
Skeletal – component of bone and teeth
Immune – adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for leukocytes
Metabolic – energy production via phosphorylation reactions
Detoxification – in liver – via adenosine triphosphate (ATP)

Synergetic Nutrients

Absorption – sodium, potassium, low calcium diet, vitamin D, parathyroid hormone, high fat diet
Metabolic – calcium, magnesium, B-complex vitamins (in energy production)

Antagonistic Nutrients

Absorption – calcium, aluminum, iron, magnesium, vegetarian
diets,vitamin D deficiency

Hair Analysis Notes

High Hair Phosphorus:

  • An elevated phosphorus level is frequently indicative of excessive protein breakdown of body tissues. As proteins break down, phosphorus is released.
  • Phosphorus levels may increase temporarily as toxic metals are being eliminated in the course of a nutrition program.
  • Very high phosphorus (greater than 25 mg%) can indicate a serious metabolic disturbance.

Pubic hair samples often show elevated phosphorus readings. This is a characteristic of pubic hair.

Low Hair Phosphorus:

  • A low phosphorus level is frequently associated with inadequate protein synthesis.
  • Although most diets are adequate in phosphorus, those on low-protein diets or vegetarians may have a low phosphorus intake.
  • Zinc is required for protein synthesis. Often a low phosphorus level is associated with a zinc deficiency, cadmium toxicity, or zinc loss. When these imbalances are corrected, the phosphorus level improves.
  • A low phosphorus level may be due to poor digestion or assimilation of protein. This may be due to digestive enzyme deficiency, low hydrochloric acid level, or other factors.

Sources Of Potassium

Seafood – halibut, herring, lingcod, sardines
Meats – goose
Nuts/seeds – pecans, sesame, sunflower, walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, filberts, peanuts
Fruits – avocados, dates, figs, prunes, raisins
Vegetables – watercress, garlic, horseradish, lentils, parsley, potatoes, spinach, artichokes, lima beans, beet greens, swiss chard, collards
Grains – buckwheat, rye, wheat bran
Miscellaneous – chocolate, molasses, mushrooms, kelp, yeast, salt substitutes

Roles In The Body

Potassium has many roles, especially intracellular fluid balance, and cell membrane effects such as muscle contraction, nerve impulse conduction, and cell permeability.

Functions Of Potassium

Circulatory – lowers heart rate, dilates arteries, can reduce blood pressure
Excretory – maintains acid-base balance
Digestive – increases digestive tract activity
Endocrine – helps raise aldosterone and other hormones
Metabolic – involved in carbohydrate metabolism

Synergistic Nutrients


Antagonistic Nutrients

calcium, processed food diets are low in potassium

Hair Analysis Notes

Potassium is known as the follow-through mineral. Hair must not be washed at the laboratory to obtain accurate potassium readings.

High Hair Potassium:

  • indicates high sugar and glucocorticoid levels.
  • very high potassium can be a potassium loss due to excessive breakdown of body cells.

Low Hair Potassium:

  • indicates adrenal gland exhaustion.
  • very low potassium is associated with allergies, fatigue, low blood sugar, sweet cravings, and low blood pressure.

Reasons For Potassium Supplementation

  • to lower a high sodium/potassium ratio
  • to enhance energy production

Sources Of Selenium

Seafood – oysters, tuna, mackerel, herring, lobsters, scallops, shrimp, pike, trout, carp, cod, flounder, salmon
Meats – liver, kidney, heart, beef, lamb, egg, pork
Nuts/seeds – brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, walnuts
Grains – wheat germ and bran, brown rice, barley
Miscellaneous – brewer’s yeast

Roles In The Body

  • At the molecular level selenium as a sulfhydryl agent, anti-oxidant (glutathione peroxidase), and as a synergist to vitamin E.
  • At the cellular level selenium is involved in the destruction of peroxides, protection of cell membranes, as an electron transfer agent, and in glutathione metabolism.
  • Selenium helps maintain the circulatory system, digestive organs, and reproductive system. It is also involved with heavy metal detoxification.

Functions Of Selenium

Circulatory – needed for the heart muscle
Excretory – protection from toxic metals
Respiratory – involved in oxygen transport
Digestive – intestinal homeostasis
Nervous – protection from mercury and cadmium
Reproductive – protection against birth defects
Endocrine – synergistic with the sex hormones
Blood – stabilizes the red blood cell membranes
Integumentary – helps maintain hair, skin and nails
Immune – enhances immune system in animals
Metabolic – lipid and sulfhydryl metabolism; may prevent liver necrosis
Detoxification – helps remove mercury, cadmium, silver, arsenic and peroxides

Nutrients That Are Synergistic With Selenium

Metabolic – vitamin C, vitamin E, glutathione
Absorption – amino acids, peptides, proteins

Antagonistic Nutrients

Metabolic – silver, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, titanium
Absorption – copper, mercury, silver, sulfate

Hair Analysis Notes

High Hair Selenium:

  • can be due to the use of shampoos containing selenium
  • may indicate a loss of selenium through the hair

Low Hair Selenium:

  • may be due to dietary deficiency, which is relatively common, especially among those who eat refined foods

Reasons For Selenium Supplementation

Selenium may be given to help prevent or correct cadmium, mercury, or arsenic toxicity. Selenium is an anti-oxidant and may be given to help protect against free radical damage. Note that excessive selenium supplementation may be toxic.

In addition, there is extensive research presently being conducted on the functions of selenium and iodine with regard to thyroid function and it is becoming clear that there is an interaction between the two that should be noted.

Sources Of Sodium

Seafood – tuna, clams, caviar, lobster, sardines, scallops, shrimp
Meats – brains, eggs, beef kidneys, beef liver
Vegetables – beet greens, celery, Swiss chard, olives, peas
Dairy – butter, buttermilk, cheeses
Miscellaneous – pickles, table salt, soy sauce, steak sauce, kelp, brewer’s yeast, drinking water from water softeners. Processed and fast foods are often high in salt content

Roles In The Body

Sodium is an extracellular element, involved in fluid balance, regulation of blood pressure and cell membrane permeability.

Functions Of Sodium

Circulatory – maintenance of blood pressure, increases heart rate
Excretory – helps maintain acid-base balance
Digestive – required to produce hydrochloric acid in the stomach
Endocrine – reduces aldosterone secretion
Detoxification – keeps toxic substances in solution

Synergistic Nutrients

Absorption – glucose
Metabolic – manganese, chromium, vitamin C, E and B complex

Antagonistic Nutrients

Absorption – calcium
Metabolic – zinc, choline, inositol

Hair Analysis Notes

Sodium is referred to as the volatility mineral

High Hair Sodium:

  • indicative of excessive adrenal gland activity
  • often indicates excitability and fast oxidation
  • sodium levels can be elevated by toxic metals, especially cadmium

Low Hair Sodium:

  • excellent indicator of impaired adrenal gland activity
  • very low sodium is indicative of exhaustion
  • hair must not be washed at the laboratory for accurate readings

Supplementing Sodium

Salt consumption can be harmful if excessive, or if blood pressure is elevated. Slow oxidizers with low sodium levels and low blood pressure often feel better when they use sea salt or soy sauce in cooking.

Sources Of Zinc

Seafood –¬†oysters, herring
Meats –¬†beef, lamb, beef and pork liver
Nuts/seeds –¬†sunflower, pumpkin
Dairy –¬†cheese
Grains –¬†wheat germ
Miscellaneous –¬†brewer’s yeast, maple syrup, bone meal, gluten, tea

Roles In The Body

  • Activator of many key enzymes.
  • Growth and development
  • Male reproductive system
  • Insulin production and secretion
  • Prevention of cadmium and copper toxicity

Functions Of Zinc

Circulatory –¬†maintenance of artery walls
Respiratory –¬†removal of carbon dioxide and maintenance of acid-base balance
Digestive –¬†production of digestive enzymes, and normal liver function
Nervous –¬†essential for brain development and neurotransmitters
Special senses –¬†appetite regulation, smell and taste
Reproductive –¬†testes, ovaries, prostate, male fertility
Endocrine –¬†insulin and pituitary gonadotropin secretion
Blood –¬†red blood cells and blood proteins
Skeletal –¬†bone integrity, prevention of osteoporosis
Skin –¬†required for normal integrity of hair, nails, and skin
Protective –¬†required for wound healing and integrity of the immune system
Metabolic –¬†normal carbohydrate and protein metabolism
Detoxification –¬†assists in removing toxic accumulation of cadmium and copper
Psychological –¬†powerful mood stabilizer and ‘sedative’ mineral

Synergetic Nutrients

magnesium, vitamin A, D, E, B6, high-protein diet

Antagonistic Nutrients

Absorption –¬†copper, cadmium, iron, chromium, manganese, selenium, phytic acid, vegetarian diets, soy, cereals, fiber in diet
Metabolic –¬†copper, iron, cadmium

Hair Analysis Notes

Zinc is considered a “masculine” mineral, because of its importance in the formation of male sexual hormones.

High Hair Zinc:

  • An elevated zinc level is commonly due to a loss of zinc from the body tissues. In these cases, zinc supplements will often be recommended.
  • Zinc levels may appear high to help compensate for copper toxicity. Thus high zinc can be a tipoff of a hidden copper toxicity.
  • Use of Head and Shoulders shampoo occasionally results in an elevated zinc reading.
  • Cadmium toxicity can cause a zinc reading to appear high.

Low Hair Zinc:

  • Zinc will often read low if the sodium/potassium ratio is less than 2.5:1. In this case, it is not always wise to give much zinc.
  • Zinc is commonly low in “fast” oxidizers.
  • Very low zinc levels are often associated with emotional instability and with problems of growth and development in children.