Osteoarthritis and Hair Mineral Analysis

Osteoarthritis is an extremely common condition characterized by joint pain and stiffness. The cause of many cases remains a medical mystery. However, hair mineral analysis can often shed much light on the causes and correction of osteoarthritis.

Nutritional Causes of Arthritis

People with arthritis generally have one or more of the following:

  • Deficiency of Vital Nutrients. Joint surfaces are covered with cartilage that must remain smooth, so the bones can move freely. Vitamin C, zinc, copper, manganese, sulfur and other nutrients are needed for maintenance of cartilage. Deficiency of any of these nutrients causes breakdown or slow repair of cartilage surfaces. A deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and flaxseed oils can impair joint motion as well.
  • Calcium Deposits. Calcium can precipitate or deposit in the joints. This causes pain and stiffness of the joints.
  • Toxic Metals. Copper, iron, aluminum and cadmium can deposit in joints, where they can contribute to joint pain and stiffness.
  • Low Levels of Anti-inflammatory Hormones. Cortisone and cortisol prevent joint inflammation. Underactivity of the adrenal glands, which produce cortisone, contributes to this type of arthritis. Stiffness and achiness are most noticeable in the morning and the condition improves as the day goes on. Many nutrients such as manganese, boron, vitamins C and E and others are needed by the adrenal glands.
  • Protein Breakdown or Catabolism. In this situation, the body consumes its own tissues to burn for energy. Commonly, joint surfaces are affected and the result is joint pain and inflammation.
  • An Excess of Pro-inflammatory Hormones, Due to Stress or Nutritional Imbalances. Pro-inflammatory hormones such as aldosterone tend to increase inflammation in the body that can result in joint pain. Excessive arachadonic acid and other fatty acid imbalances may also contribute to excessive inflammation.
  • Low Energy. Normal wear and tear on the joints requires constant repair and regeneration. Energy is required to permit repair of joint surfaces. Many people suffer from a low energy level which impairs their ability to properly maintain joint surfaces.
  • General Toxicity. High levels of toxins other than heavy metals can also contribute to joint pain and stiffness. These can be organic chemicals, chlorine, solvents and metabolic waste products.
  • Infections. Joints can become infected with a wide variety of bacteria, viruses and parasites.
  • Emotional Causes. Emotionally charged situations and attitudes of rigidity and anger can contribute to arthritic pain. The mechanism for causing pain and stiffness is usually impairment of the adrenal glands. This in turn causes excessive inflammation.
  • Structural and Other Causes. Structural causes include subluxations of bones causing excessive pressure or wear on joints. Other causes may be genetic malformations or other trauma.

Hair Analysis Indicators Of Arthritis

Very low trace element readings on a hair analysis are often associated with chronic nutrient deficiencies. Other general indicators of deficiencies are high toxic metal readings, a low phosphorus reading and often a low sodium/potassium ratio.

A hair calcium level above about 100 mg% is associated with biounavailable calcium . If this condition continues, calcium may deposit in the soft tissues including the joints.

Copper toxicity is associated with arthritis. Elevated calcium, low potassium, a low sodium/potassium ratio, mercury toxicity and a low zinc level are associated with copper toxicity. Other toxic metals may also contribute to arthritis, but may not be revealed on the first or even the next few tests if they are deeply buried in the tissues. Over time, if one follows a nutritional balancing program, they will often be revealed as they are eliminated through the hair and skin.

A low hair potassium level associated with a deficiency of anti-inflammatory hormones and weak adrenal glands.

A ratio of sodium to potassium greater than 4.50:1 is associated with inflammation. High levels of iron, manganese, cadmium, lead, aluminum or nickel are also associated with inflammation.

A ratio of sodium to potassium less than 2.50:1 or a phosphorus level less than 13 mg% are associated with protein catabolism. This can cause a breakdown of joint tissue leading to joint pain and stiffness.

A hair calcium/potassium ratio greater than 10:1, a hair sodium/magnesium ratio less than 2:1, a sodium/potassium ratio less than 2.50:1 or a cadmium level above 0.01 are associated with low energy that may contribute to joint pain.

Infections cannot be read directly from a hair mineral analysis. However, the following are associated with a tendency for infections:

  • a sodium/potassium ratio less than 2.5:1
  • iron and copper imbalances
  • low energy indicators (see above)
  • a sodium/potassium ratio greater than 8 (sympathetic dominance)

Emotional causes for arthritis may contribute to many of the imbalances above. Other indicators of emotional influences on a hair analysis may be a calcium/magnesium ratio greater than 15:1, a sodium/potassium ratio greater than 10, and the presence of toxic metals such as cadmium, lead or others.

It is always wise to rule out mechanical causes of arthritis by visiting a competent health care professional.

Correcting Joint Problems through Nutrition

Diet and Lifestyle. Eliminating refined starches, white sugar and other 'junk' food helps reduce chemicals in the diet and increases nutrient levels. Better quality foods can be substituted for poor quality foods. Eating many more vegetables is also helpful. Some arthritis is helped by eliminating allergic foods. The most common are wheat, spelt, cow's milk dairy products and soy. Some people need to eliminate other foods, at least temporarily. The change of diet alone can make a difference, as the stress of eating nutritionally deficient food is removed. The nightshade family of vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers, at times cause painful joints. Citrus causes joint pain in some people.

Also important is a healthful lifestyle with enough rest and sleep, emotional control and some mild daily exercise. Relaxing at mealtime, eating slowly and chewing thoroughly also help one receive more nourishment from food.

A Complete Nutritional Program. Some cases of arthritis respond within weeks to a nutritional balancing program based on hair mineral analysis. However, in other cases months or even up to several years are needed to restore joint integrity.

A wonderful adjunct to the nutrition therapy is the daily use of an infrared lamp sauna. The heat of the sauna enhances circulation, helps the body fight chronic infections and relaxes tendons and ligaments. Saunas also powerfully activate the organs of elimination which help carry away toxins rather than allow them to accumulate in body tissues such as the joints. Other detoxification procedures that often benefit joint pain include colonic irrigation and enemas.

Symptomatic Remedies. Other nutrients that may be helpful include garlic, EPA and DHA, glucosamine, chondroitin, vitamin C, silica and bioflavonoids. Some homeopathic remedies may also reduce inflammation and pain. Devil's claw and other herbs are sometimes helpful, as are oxygen therapies such as ozone, hyper baric oxygen and hydrogen peroxide.


Nutritional balancing based on a properly performed and interpreted hair mineral analysis can be beneficial in many cases of arthritis. Sometimes a simple natural remedy is effective. More often, however, a precise, individualized nutrition program is required to identify and correct the underlying causes of arthritis.

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