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Before Taking A Sample:

What is Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA)?

Hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) is an analytical test which measures the mineral content 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 through a series of chemical and high temperature digestive procedures. Testing is then performed using highly sophisticated detection equipment and methods to achieve the most accurate and precise results.

Why use hair? Why not blood samples?

Hair is the ideal tissue for sampling and testing. First, it can be cut easily and painlessly and can be sent to the lab without special handling requirements. Second, 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.

Comprehensive Mineral Profile
– Broader Spectrum: HTMA can detect a broad range of minerals and toxic elements simultaneously.
– Inter-relationships: It provides insights into the inter-relationships and imbalances of various minerals in the body.

Long-term Exposure
– Extended Timeline: Hair provides a record of mineral and toxin exposure over several months, whereas blood reflects more recent changes.
– Chronic Exposure: It can show chronic exposure to toxins and long-term nutrient status rather than just a snapshot.

Less Influence from Short-term Factors
– Dietary Fluctuations: Less affected by short-term dietary changes, stress, or illness compared to blood tests.
– Circadian Rhythms: Not influenced by daily fluctuations or circadian rhythms.

Detection of Non-blood-bound Substances
– Non-circulating Elements: Some toxins and minerals are deposited in hair but may not be circulating in the bloodstream.
– Hidden Deficiencies: Can reveal deficiencies that are not apparent in blood tests due to homeostatic mechanisms that maintain blood mineral levels.

An 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.


  • 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.
  • 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 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

What will I receive when I order a complete Hair Analysis Profile?

After hundreds of thousands of hair analysis, Trace Elements has created a unique system of interpreting hair mineral analysis results. Each test report will provide the clinician with the most complete and comprehensive evaluation and discussion of significant mineral levels, ratios and toxic metals as tested in the hair. Included is a listing of individual foods and food groups that the doctor can recommend to eat or avoid in accordance with food allergy indicators and individualized metabolic requirements.

How is the hair sample taken?

The hair should be clean, well rinsed, untreated and uncoloured. Using clean, stainless steel scissors, cut small amounts of hair from the back of the head. Cut the hair as close to the scalp as possible. If the hair is less than 4cm in length, keep all of it for testing. If hair is longer, cut off and keep the 4cm that was closest to the scalp. Place hair in the hair sample envelope and don’t use plastic.

The laboratory requires approximately one loose tablespoon of hair for testing (0.25 gm).

If I can't use head hair, can I use pubic hair?

Our reference ranges are based on scalp hair. A scalp sample is preferable. However, we can accept pubic hair, beard hair or axillary hair. These samples can provide reliable data for toxic minerals, but results for the nutritional minerals may be misrepresented e.g. potassium and sodium, due to contamination by soap and cosmetic residue. Please ensure the hair is thoroughly rinsed with clean water and dried before taking the sample to avoid the presence of soap, deodorants and cosmetic products.

It is essential that you do not mix different types of hair e.g. do not mix head hair with pubic hair. If there is no body hair available, finger nail clippings may be sent. The same amount of sample is required, approximately 0.5gm. Please ensure nails are scrubbed and cleaned before submitting the sample to the laboratory for analysis.

Do you test the hair for allergies?

We test the hair to show the internal storage of nutritional and toxic minerals; we do not test the hair for allergies. However, due to our understanding of mineral balances, out report may indicate certain mineral patterns that are known to influence particular allergy types.

After Taking A Sample:

Do I have to use the sample envelope issued by the laboratory?

It is not essential, in addition, we have simplified the process by introducing a user-friendly self-printed sample envelope. Simply ensure you have a teaspoon full of hair samples, print the envelope on a new A4 or Letter-size paper, and seal before submission. This guarantees a clean and untainted environment for your sample, ensuring accurate results. Plus, by using the self-printed envelope, you eliminate the need for sample transfers, minimizing the risk of external contamination. Keep in mind that mediums such as plastic or foil are unsuitable and can contaminate the sample and lead to potentially inaccurate results. If you decide to use your own envelope, place the hair sample in a plain clean new paper envelope, making sure to write your name, gender, age, sample location (e.g., scalp), and lab number (for retests) on the envelope before placing the sample inside. Put the hair sample envelope into another envelope with the required submittal form and post it to our facility.

Download & Print Sample Envelope

How long is the hair sample good for, once I have cut it?

As long as the hair is stored in a paper envelope and in a clean dry area, the hair sample will maintain its integrity indefinitely. Please do not store the hair sample in plastic or foil as these are potential contaminants. The longer it is between cutting the sample and the sample being processed by our laboratory, the less relevant the results become to your current nutritional and toxic element status.

How long will it take to receive my results?

It will take approximately 3-4 weeks to receive your results. They will be sent to the address supplied on the request form. If your practitioner has requested the test, the results will be posted directly to the practitioner. The practitioner will receive two copies of the results. At your follow up appointment to discuss the HTMA results, they should give you one copy to take home.

Where do I send my hair sample? (What's the postal address)

Send your hair sample along with a printed copy of the mandatory submittal form to:

Trace Elements
Acct No. 6663
4501 Sunbelt Drive,
Addison, Texas 75001