Many people incorrectly believe that hair tissue mineral analysis is only useful to assess toxic metals, nutrient deficiencies and for determining the oxidation rate. However, it is much more than this.
This newsletter begins to address important lifestyle considerations and hair mineral analysis. Counterproductive lifestyles often lead to why some people do not get well on healing programs.
As a rule, fast oxidizers need to slow down, calm down and relax more. Any therapies, dietary changes (such as less coffee or other stimulants) or lifestyle changes that will accomplish this are well worth the effort. These might include adding practices such as yoga, tai chi, meditation, relaxation exercises, deep breathing, gentle exercise only, or more sleep and rest.
Children. It is normal for young children to be fast oxidizers. However, even in these cases, recall that young children need plenty of rest and that they are easily overstimulated by being exposed to excessive television, music, computer games or any other source. Of course, children should also avoid stimulants such as caffeinated soft drinks, coffee, tea or others. This is critical to help control fast oxidation in a child.
Slow oxidizers are often still excessively active. However, their body chemistry has, in general, 'burned out' so they are not able to experience the excitement that the fast oxidizer feels much of the time. They also need to slow down in many cases, and it can be as difficult as it is for fast oxidizers. Slow oxidizers suffer from more complex autonomic nervous system imbalances than fast oxidizers. Their speed-up or fight-or-flight system, as is discussed below, is often 'stuck' in an active position. This can make slowing down even more difficult for slow oxidizers.
When the potassium level on a hair tissue mineral test is less than 6 mg%, and especially when less than 4 mg%, a person is said to be sympathetic dominant. This means, in simple terms, that he or she overuses the sympathetic nervous system, also known as the fight-or-flight system. This is getting to be more and more common on the tests we see.
Other sympathetic dominance indicators, though less critical, are an elevated sodium/potassium ratio and a high calcium/potassium ratio when seen with the first indicator above, the low potassium level.
These individuals, like the fast oxidizers, need to slow down tremendously. They are "burning themselves out" and will not get well if they do not change their lifestyle and often their thinking patterns to reflect a more peaceful and more gentle approach to their lives. They need to help their bodies get out of the fight-or-flight mentality.
Unlike the fast oxidizers, these individuals are quite burned out. They often need to slow down mentally as much as they need to slow down physically. They may need to engage in more spiritual or other pursuits that inspire, relax and reassure themselves, and one need not be in fight-or-flight as much of the time.
As with fast oxidation, this is a very important lifestyle change that is needed, or these patients will make very slow progress on any program. The simple reason is that the sympathetic nervous system inhibits their digestive, eliminative and immune systems. This really inhibits any healing program that they may undertake.
We suggest to these individuals that they meditate along with any supplement and dietary program, and do whatever is possible to reduce worry about anything. This is easier said than done, but quite necessary in many cases. In other words, sympathetic dominance is often a mental/emotional tendency to worry. The opposite pattern of thought, that of the optimist, is more characteristic of a person who is confident and relaxed, knowing that all is well in spite of appearances to the contrary. This change is important also for some people in sympathetic dominance.
Children. Sympathetic dominance in children is unfortunately quite common, especially in teenagers. These young adults are overstimulated with music, or soft drinks or even tea or coffee. They may also have much on their minds, between school pressures, home pressures, boyfriends and girlfriends, and so forth.
Teens and most adults, for that matter, need less stimulation, more (often much more) rest and sleep, and often a more relaxed home and school life.
Another interesting pattern on the hair mineral analysis intimately associated with lifestyle is an extremely elevated ratio of calcium to magnesium. When this ratio is at around 15:1 or above that level, it has been found to indicate that a person is defending something in their lives that is not in their best interest. This may be a job or career, a relationship or partnership, a way of being or thinking, or some other aspect of lifestyle.
This is a recent observation, made just during the past several years, and as a result little has been written regarding this pattern. However, it holds true many times, so we would like to bring it to everyone's attention.
When you see this pattern, which occurs commonly today, it is very wise to ask the patient if there is something in their life that may not be optimal and that could be interfering with their health. This is all too often the case.
By bringing this to the patient's attention, it can help the person to make new choices that are more conducive to optimal health. This is the value of this pattern to the clinician.
An elevated calcium to magnesium ratio is often associated with a calcium buildup and with feelings of defensiveness. This pattern is more about the excessive use of energy being spent on defending a maladaptive or non-ideal lifestyle than anything else. It is as though the person is expending a lot of energy, overloading the system as one would overeating on carbohydrates, (indicated by a high calcium/magnesium ratio as well) but doing so related to their lifestyle patterns.
Children. A difficult situation arises many times when this pattern shows up in young children. We interpret the pattern in these cases to mean that the child may be experiencing difficulty in school or with family or some other friend or relative. Of course, this is harder to correct in a child as the child cannot control as much of his or her environment. However, the finding can be mentioned to the parents when it is revealed on the child's hair tissue mineral analysis. It may help a parent realize the need for change in the child's lifestyle or school situation.