How acidity of the body is reflected in Hair Mineral Analysis
by Dr. George M. Tamari, Ph.D.
Just recently I came across an
interesting article: "Elemental anomalies
in hair as indicators of endocrinologic
pathologies and deficiencies in calcium
and bone metabolism" published by N.
Miekeley et al (1). The large number of
patients and the excellent facilities
available for this study rendered hope
and promise for achieving some
beneficial, far-reaching information for
the correction of the underlying causes of
such pathological conditions as
hyperactivity of the parathyroid and
[An abstract of the article published by Miekeley et al(1) appears in the "Related Abstracts" section of this web site.]
Elevated hair calcium, magnesium and phosphorus were present in both cases of diagnosed hyperactivity of the parathyroid gland (PTG) and the thyroid gland (TG). The treatment used to control the hyperactivity of the PTG was surgical removal of the PTG itself. The follow-up analysis indicated "normalization" of calcium levels in hair.
The impression I was left with is that using surgical intervention for solving a metabolic problem seems to be over simplistic. The function of the PTG is not limited only to the regulation of calcium and phosphorus levels in serum. It also regulates the urinary excretion of phosphate and calcium; it controls the removal of calcium from bone, particularly if the dietary intake of calcium is inadequate; it regulates the serum alkaline phosphatase in case changes in bone have been produced. Additionally, the PTG is responsible for the activation of vitamin D in renal tissue by increasing the conversion’s rate of 25- hydroxy-cholecalciferol to 1,25- dihydroxychole-calciferol (2).
It seems to be important to examine the metabolic factors that trigger and activate the PTG into action, or into hyperactivity. There are certain, quite simple imbalances in metabolic homeostasis, when the glucose’s breakdown end product will be lactic acid. This may occur in the presence of : (a) stresses, that the body cannot handle (be it physical, chemical, emotional stress), (b) deficiencies in minerals and vitamins - essential in maintaining a smoothly functioning metabolism, or (c) presence of toxic body burden. Lactic acid is produced by fermentation, and produces only about 25% of energy than when the food is broken down by oxidative phosphorylation - the ‘normal’ way.
As increased acidic state at the cell level is not compatible with homeostasis, the body will attempt to correct (neutralize) the situation by drawing calcium, and later magnesium from the blood circulation. The level of calcium in blood is very well controlled. The normal level is 9-11mg%. In case it sinks under that level, the parathyroid gland (PTG) is activated to produce its hormone (PTH) which is transferring calcium from bones and teeth to restore the low level of calcium to its normal concentration.
A very similar scenario can occur through nutrition, when the diet contains high intake of protein (rich in phosphorus), of soft drinks (rich in phosphoric acid) and of canned food preserved by phosphate buffer. This diet is going to produce intra-cellularly acid ash end-product. The hormonal response will be similar to the above discussed lactic acid induced metabolic acidosis, or more correctly, nutritionally induced metabolic acidosis.
In the above cases, the activity of the PTG will depend on how much ‘neutralization’ is requested by the soft tissues (cells).
As a result of the PTG activity, the blood circulation transfers calcium and magnesium to the soft and hair tissue. Therefore, hair tissue minerals will reflect the lactic acid-caused metabolic acidosis by elevated levels of hair calcium and magnesium. The pattern characterizing the nutritionally induced metabolic acidosis is: expressed in elevated levels in hair of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus (3).
The detrimental effect of increased activity of the PTG by transferring calcium and other alkali minerals, induced by the presence of metabolic acidosis is well described by Wachman et al. (4), stating that "the increased incidence of osteoporosis with age may present in part the result of a life long utilization of the buffering capacity of the basic salts of bone for the constant assault against pH homeostasis. The loss of as little as 2 meq of calcium per day would, over a decade, assuming a total body content of 2 kg, account for a 15% loss of inorganic bone mass in an average individual".
In the presence of metabolic acidosis, therefore, it seems to be reasonable to suggest, that the sufficient supply of alkali minerals will slow down the increased demand on the PTG to transfer Ca and other alkali minerals from the bones and teeth. Including magnesium to calcium supplementation will trigger the production of the hormone, calcitonin, produced mainly by the thyroid gland. Calcitonin accelerates the rate of calcium deposition to bone, it slows down the transfer of skeletal calcium and inhibits PTG activity. (4). In this case the hyperactive parathyroid gland should return to normal and this process should lead to the normalization of the tissue levels of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. This kind of normalization has already been reported (5).
It has been encouraging to learn that respectable scientist and prestigious institutions are using hair mineral analysis in their research projects. Hopefully in the future they will explore the nutritional options before resorting to surgery.
Dear Dr Tamari,
When I was invited to participate in one of Anamol’s workshop, I hesitated first to commit myself, but finally decided to attend. This decision I will never regret. I believed that as a practitioner I already understand the meaning of the results derived from your analyses. But after the first hour of “introductory overhead show”, I started to grasp the deeper meaning of the results we are getting for our patients. What could be the reason for high or low levels of Calcium, Magnesium or Phosphorus and what is the real reason and consequences of metabolic acidosis? One can sometime oversimplify the reasons for higher or lower concentrations for the different ions, but when the values are seen in the proper contexts, one has to think about the body’s complexity in the steady maintenance of biochemical homeostasis or correct certain imbalances caused by wrongly designed diets. It was also very interesting to see and discuss reports of some patients and discuss them in the companion of other practitioners. Thank you for inviting me for the free workshop, it was worth every minute of it.
Yours in Health
Ask Dr. Tamari
There is a new column, called Ask Dr. Tamari where you may ask any questions of general interest. These will be answered in every upcoming newsletter. With specific questions or cases please call Dr. T. for a short consultation. He always finds the time to listen and share his knowledge and experience.
A: Yes, but only if scalp hair is not available, or a hair treatment rendered it unsuitable for analysis. Pubic hair analysis is recommended only, when toxic element(s) is detected by hair analysis. In this case, the presence of the toxic element in the pubic hair proves that the toxicity is systemic and not caused by external contamination (pubic hair being much less exposed to the environmental influences, and possible contamination by different hair treatment agents. We accept single elements (up to three elements) if the presence of toxic element(s) was manifested in a previously performed full hair analysis.
A: The laboratory can handle urine collection of 4 or 6 hrs, but it is essential to mark exactly the number of hours, since it is an important factor when calculating the final concentration of the excreted element.
A: In most cases hair zinc appears on the low side in the North American population. When deficiency of zinc occur for a prolong period, the growth of hair slows down. As a result, the hair will be exposed, although to a low level of zinc, the longer time exposure will be expressed in increased absorption in hair tissue. After a supplementation of zinc, the hair zinc will get to normal range, and the clinical symptoms (white spots under the fingernails, eczema, poor appetite and painful or difficult menstruation) will be alleviated. (J. Bland)
A: The most time consuming part of the turn-around time between receiving the hair sample and returning the analytical report is controlled by the mail delivery. To solve this problem, we have introduced e.mail reporting. If you provide your e.mail address, we can send out the report(s) by e.mail.
A: The answer is definitely no! It should be clear from the name the analysis is called : Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis.
A: Iron is absorbed in its reduced form and becomes bioavailable only after being oxidized by copper-containing protein, ceruloplasmin. However, this oxidation will not take place in the case of copper deficiency and it will result in the accumulation of ferrous iron which cannot be utilized. After supplementation with zinc, the practitioner should take into consideration the antagonistic effect zinc has on copper. Therefore, zinc should always be supplemented together with copper in an empiric ratio of 14:1 zinc-to-copper in order to avoid nutritionally-induced copper deficiency anemia.
A Review of the Literature
Recent additions to the Related Abstracts Archive:
Selenium Supplementation Increases the
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Content of
Human Breast Milk
Dodge MI, Wander RC, Butler JA, Du SH, Thompson CD, Whanger H, J. Trace Elem Exp Med 1999;12:37-44
Antioxidants and fatty acids in the
amelioration of rheumatoid arthritis and
Darlington LG, Stone TW, Brit J Nutr 2001;85:251-269
EDTA Chelation Effects on Urinary Losses of
Cadmium, Calcium, Chromium, Cobalt,
Copper, Lead, Magnesium, and Zinc
Waters RS, Bryden NA, Patterson KY, Veillon C, Anderson RA, Biol Trace Elem Res 2001;83:207-219
Elemental anomalies in hair as indicators of
endocrinologic pathologies and deficiencies in
calcium and bone metabolism
Miekeley N, de Carvalho Fortes LM, Porto da Silveira CL, Lima MB, J Trace Elem Med Biol 2001;15:46-55
Long-term zinc and iron supplementation in
children of short stature: effect of growth/trace
element content in tissues.
Perrone L, Salerno M, Gialanella G, Feng SL, Moro R, Di Lascio R, Boccia E, J Trace Elem Med Biol 1999 ;13:51-56
Mercury and selenium concentrations in
maternal and neonatal scalp hair:
relationship to amalgam-based dental
treatment received during pregnancy
Razagui IB, Haswell SJ Biol Trace Elem Res, 2001;81:1-19
Calcium and Magnesium content in hair as a
predictor of disease in children
Lech T, Trace Elem & Electrolytes 2001:18:112-121
Anamol Laboratories Ltd.
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