by Dr. Lawrence Wilson

January 2018, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.


All information in this article is for educational purposes only.  It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.


When interpreting a hair mineral analysis, a very critical concept is to realize that the mineral values on the test are a combination or a sum of several factors.  Some of these factors elevate the mineral level, while others reduce or diminish the level of the mineral.

Among the most important of these factors are:




1. Mineral retention, deposition or loss into the hair. This is common and can occur for various reasons.  Some of these reasons are discussed below.  Basically, the hair is an excretory tissue, and at times the body chooses to deposit minerals there for safety, perhaps, or as a way to excrete them, since the hair will be lost to the body.

2. Kidney stress.  This raises the sodium and potassium readings on many retests.

3. Elimination of biounavailable calcium and magnesium.  This usually raises the calcium and magnesium levels on retests.

4. Active elimination of a mineral through the hair and skin.  This may be a toxic metal, but it can also be one of the amigos, which include iron, manganese, copper, boron, nickel, aluminum, selenium and chromium.

5. The effect of foods and drug medications.  For example, eating fruit seems to irritate the body and may raise the sodium and potassium readings.  Medical drugs lodged in the kidneys, liver and elsewhere can have extremely variable effects on mineral levels.

6. Mental and emotional factors, and lifestyle factors. These can raise the sodium, for example, if stress is acute.  Psychological withdrawal and depression are associated with a very high calcium level, called a calcium shell.

7. Mineral loss through the hair.  This is much less common.  However, at times, the body may not be able to hold on to a mineral adequately, and some is actually excreted or lost through the hair and skin, raising the level.

8. Mental and spiritual pre-development and development.  Pre-development can elevate the phosphorus reading temporarily on a retest or even on an initial hair mineral analysis.  Other phases of mental development can have variable effects.

9. Displacement. This is an interesting phenomenon in which a toxic metal, usually, causes a physiological mineral to appear higher than it really is on a hair mineral analysis.  For example, cadmium can displace zinc and cause a higher zinc reading.  Lead toxicity may cause a higher phosphorus reading.  Other toxic metals, such as mercury, may cause higher chromium and selenium readings.

10. Environmental contamination and occupational exposures.  Occasionally, this can cause an extremely elevated mineral reading.  For example, the use of a water softener will raise the sodium or potassium level, depending upon which mineral is used in the softener.  Metal workers and auto mechanics often show high levels of iron, manganese, nickel and other metals.

Other rare contaminations occur due to working in a contaminated environment, swimming in pools purified with copper, one or two hair dyes, and very rarely the use of other hair products such as Selsun Blue and Head N Shoulders shampoos.  These are so obvious they are easy to see and compensate for in most cases.

11. Yang rising. This is a type of inflammatory stress pattern known in acupuncture that causes the sodium and potassium to rise.  It is also called a secondary alarm reaction in stress theory terminology.

12. Slow on crutches pattern. In this common pattern, the sodium and potassium readings are higher than they would be otherwise due usually to the presence of hidden toxic metals such as aluminum, copper, iron and manganese.  However, other factors may also contribute to the pattern.

13. Copper toxicity.  This common occurrence tends to elevate the calcium level, and usually the magnesium level as well.  It may cause the zinc level to elevate as well.  The latter may be due to a transmutation in which some copper is actually converted to zinc in an effort to reduce the copper burden in the body.




1. Mineral retention, deposition or loss elsewhere in the body. At times, minerals are not permitted to be deposited into the hair for various reasons.  They may be needed elsewhere, or be depositing elsewhere, or being lost through the kidneys, for example.  In slow oxidizers, sodium and potassium are lost through the kidneys, in part, and this eventually results in lower hair levels of these minerals.

Vital mineral such as zinc, selenium or chromium may be retained in certain enzyme binding sites or organs, where they are in a process of replacing toxic metals that are being eliminated.  This will cause reduced hair levels of these minerals.

2. Zinc as a defender.  Zinc often becomes lower to defend or maintain the sodium/potassium ratio.

3. Release of certain toxic metals causes the sodium and potassium readings to diminish.  In particular, the elimination of cadmium, for example, causes sodium to dip for a while.  This is associated with fatigue and perhaps feelings of depression for a while until the body rebalances itself.

4. Double 0 pattern and poor eliminators. An inability to properly metabolize and eliminate toxic metals often causes extremely low readings on a hair mineral analysis, particularly on initial hair mineral tests.  This is sometimes called the Double O pattern or a poor eliminator.

5. Sympathetic dominance.  A very common autonomic imbalance in which a person overuses the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system often, though not always, results in a lowered potassium level.

6. High copper.  This almost always causes a lowered sodium and particularly a lower potassium level.

7. Biounavailable copper.  This often causes a low sodium/potassium ratio and at times, a very low hair copper level.

8. Four lows pattern. Extreme adrenal stress, burnout and certain psychological imbalances cause all four of the macrominerals (calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium) to become very low.  This is called the four lows pattern.

9. Yin and blood deficiency patterns. These are related to acupuncture, and tend to cause lowered sodium and magnesium levels, particularly in relation to calcium and potassium levels.




1. Stress.  Depending on the nature, severity, duration and type of stress, it can cause many types of changes in the mineral readings.  This is an aspect of the stress theory of disease.

For example, acute stress will tend to elevate the sodium level, while chronic stress and exhaustion will cause a lower sodium and often a low sodium/potassium ratio.

2. Drug use, supplement and herb usage, dietary and lifestyle factors.  These can be variable and are really stress factors that can influence hair mineral readings in many and varying ways depending on their chemical makeup, how they are used, and other factors.

3. The effects of subtle biochemical phenomena.  For example, biological transmutation of the elements and pleomorphism may have odd effects on the hair minerals in some cases.

4. Effects of illnesses, infections, traumas, and other imbalances in the body and mind.  These effects can be important, but are quite variable depending on the situation.



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