What is Hair Mineral Analysis?

A hair mineral analysis reveals your mineral deficiencies and heavy metal toxicity. It’s an incredibly powerful tool that is used to design a comprehensive Mineral Power program to recover and improve your health. The hair is tested because it is one of many places the body dumps excess minerals and heavy metals for storage away from vital organs. The amounts of minerals deposited in the hair reveal all kinds of things about your body chemistry. Your test results reveal and explain the causes of many health symptoms and disease, whose underlying causes are almost always related to nutritional deficiencies, mineral imbalances and heavy metal toxicity.

Why test the hair?

  • Sampling is simple and non-invasive.
  • Since hair is a stable material that requires no special handling, samples may be sent via standard mail, therefore allowing hair analysis to be performed entirely from the comfort of one’s own home.
  • It’s cost-effective!

What Is Tested on a Hair Mineral Analysis?

A hair tissue mineral analysis tests for 37 nutritive minerals and toxic metals. It is a screening test that measures the mineral content of your hair. Mineral content of your hair reflects the mineral content of the body’s tissues. If a mineral deficiency or excess exists in the hair, it usually indicates a mineral imbalance within the body, or bio-unavailability of that mineral.

The hair is tested because it is one of many places the body dumps excess minerals and heavy metals for storage away from vital organs. The amounts of minerals deposited in the hair reveal all kinds of things about your body chemistry. A hair mineral analysis is the basis upon which a customized Mineral Power program is designed.

Your hair sample is simply cut at the scalp by your practitioner or a friend. You need about 1.1 grams of hair to do the test. One inch (2.2cm) of hair will show what is being dumped into the hair over a three month period.

Will my first test show all my Heavy Metal toxicities?

Your toxicity level will not completely show or show at all on your first test. If you’ve done a test with Analytical Research Labs (ARL), Trace Elements (TEI) or another company or your doctor, please be aware that a glowing first test means nothing – heavy metals stored in your tissues like the bones, brains and organs will not all show on the test.

Acute metal poisoning is rare. More common, however, is a chronic, low-level exposure to toxic metals that can result in significant retention in the body that can be associated with a vast array of adverse health effects and chronic disease.

Many people are very ill by the time they do a hair test and their bodies do not have the energy or are too sick to detox any longer. Most metals are what we call “hidden,” which means that the toxic metals don’t show up in the hair even though they are in other parts of the body. These toxins build up in the fat cells, liver, kidneys and other areas of the body. In many people, their bodies are too tired and malnourished to get rid of these toxins, so they stay “hidden” in these tissues.

When the body gets stronger, it will start pushing them out and removing them. When it does this, some of them will be put into the hair and we will see them on future hair tests. You may ask, “How do you know everyone has toxic metals?” This knowledge comes from years of experience with these hair tests. Also, everyone gets exposed to various toxic metals. If the body has enough energy to get rid of it on a continual basis, the level is higher on the hair test. A very low level means that one can’t get rid of it, and it is accumulating inside one’s body.

Heavy metals must actively be purged for years and will only reveal themselves on subsequent hair tests as they are removed from the tissues and flushed out of the body. This requires a comprehensive program provided by Mineral Power that combines the right diet, supplements, lifestyle and detox protocols that allow detoxification of these heavy metals on the deepest level.

Not all Hair Mineral Analysis Companies are the Same

There are many companies that do hair mineral analysis, but Trace Elements (TEI), where I send my hair mineral analyses for testing (your choice), are quite unique. Once a hair test is performed, you are given a comprehensive Mineral Power program to correct the issues found in the hair mineral analysis. Not all hair mineral testing companies provide a comprehensive program to correct the imbalances on the hair test.

The research behind Mineral Power using hair mineral analyses is very extensive and involved hundreds of thousands of hair analyses. It is very different from other forms of hair analysis. This program entails a series of tests to continually monitor your heavy metal toxicity and mineral levels. Many tests over a period of one or more years are necessary because it takes time for your body to release its stores of heavy metals and toxic forms of minerals.

What Can a Hair Mineral Analysis reveal?

A hair mineral analysis provides a practitioner with a picture of the state of body chemistry and stage of stress. Hair analysis reveals information about your heavy metal toxicities, mineral deficiencies, oxidation type (metabolic rate), energy levels, carbohydrate tolerance, stage of stress, nervous system balance, kidney and liver stress, adrenal and thyroid function, immune system, trends for physical, mental, and emotional conditions, and more.

Please note that your toxicity level will not completely show or show at all on your first test. You must do a full Mineral Power program before your body will release heavy metals. Once the body releases heavy metals, they will be dumped into the hair and then show on subsequent hair tests.

What does a Hair Mineral Analysis diagnose?

Hair mineral analyses are not medical tests. They are screening tests only and do not diagnose disease. However, a properly performed and interpreted hair analysis can reveal various mineral imbalances that indicate a tendency for various conditions. All of the mineral levels as a whole give a trained and experienced practitioner an idea of the condition of the various organs and the body as a whole.

Conditions which may result or be aggravated by a mineral imbalance are:

Depression, Hypoglycemia, Hyperactivity, Headaches, Hypertension, Arthritis, Hair Loss, Anemia, Thyroid Disturbance, Prostate Disorders, Digestive Disturbance, Diabetes, Musculo-Skeletal Disorders, Cardiovascular Disease, Skin Rashes, Emotional Problems, Allergies, and More.

Is Hair Mineral Analysis accurate?

Like any test, no test is 100% accurate. Hair mineral analysis is not always 100% accurate. Of course, if the client does not follow hair sampling instructions correctly, the results can be skewed, for instance if they use a dandruff shampoo with zinc. But the test is accurate enough for the purposes of telling something what supplements they should be taking and what heavy metals they are dumping into the hair.

The accuracy of the test also depends upon which lab it is sent to. Just like medical tests, there are great testing companies like Metametrix and companies that do a really poor job. I send all my hair tests to Trace Elements (TEI) and Analytical Research Labs (ARL), who I think are the best hair mineral testing companies in the US. The key issue and debate surrounding hair testing and whether it’s accurate really is simply about whether the hair is washed or not. The detractors are not really making this distinction. There have been a couple studies as to the efficacy of hair testing, but they were all washing the hair so of course the testing was not accurate. These studies were simply designed poorly. The test is not going to be accurate if you wash the hair with harsh solvents, which is what most companies do. This washes away the water-soluble minerals like sodium and potassium that are critical in determining thyroid and adrenal function.

There are only two companies in the US that don’t wash the hair – ARL and TEI. They don’t wash the hair so we get an accurate result. It’s one of those issues where all companies that do hair mineral analyses cannot be compared. You cannot say all hair mineral analyses are a waste of time or money. This statement is accurate for most companies that perform this test. There are distinctions that many physicians and other health practitioners are not making when advising clients to avoid them. I ran into this myself when I was asking around about whether I should do it prior to my first hair test. Everyone, including my ND, told me it wasn’t accurate and to not bother. But I tried it anyways because I was curious. I’m glad I did!

Additionally, most companies will do a hair mineral analysis, but then do not offer a program to then correct the imbalances on the test or heal the body. So, what do you do with this information? Hair tests from TEI AND ARL are unique in that you are given a comprehensive plan with Mineral Power to heal your health.

Who Needs a Hair Analysis?

Everyone should be tested to see what issues are going on in the body to which they may be unaware. Hair analysis can be used as a preventative tool by revealing mineral imbalances even before any health ailments become manifest. Hair analysis opens up a whole new vista for solving health ailments by recognizing your biochemical individuality.

Many who have finally found Mineral Power have tried many different therapies and treatments but have had little or no improvement in their condition. More commonly, the treatment simply mitigated their symptoms, not addressing the root cause of the illness or symptoms. Mineral Power addresses the root causes of illness, which is almost always related to nutritional deficiencies and heavy metal and chemical toxicity.

More importantly, anyone who has an illness for which there is not treatment or no explanation can be found is a perfect candidate to do a hair mineral analysis. A Mineral Power program, upon which a hair mineral analysis is based, will go a long way towards healing the body even if no explanation can be found medically.

Why Test for Minerals?

Minerals are the “sparkplugs” of life. They are involved in almost all enzyme reactions in the body. Without enzyme activity, life does not exist.

The hair analysis graph shows the following nutrient minerals: calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, chromium, selenium, and phosphorus. These minerals are necessary for proper functions of the organs and tissues of the body, but can also metastasize (store in organs where they’re not supposed to be) and prevent proper function in an unhealthy body. The hair analysis also shows toxic minerals like lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and aluminum, as well as other minerals like nickel, cobalt, molybdenum, lithium and boron.

Common Causes of Mineral Imbalances

  • Exposure to toxic metals from the air, food, water, environment, job or hobby.
  • Improper diet such as excessive intake of refined carbohydrates and sugars, strict vegetarian and vegan diets or other nutrient deficient diets.
  • Inheritance of mineral patterns from parents. Mothers pass their mineral deficiencies and excesses to their children.
  • Taking vitamins and minerals that are not compatible with your current body chemistry.
  • Medications
  • Birth Control Pills
  • Stress depletes minerals

Is heavy metal toxicity a cause of my health ailments?

Hair mineral analysis screens for toxic metals including lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, aluminum and nickel. Presently, humanity is exposed to the highest levels of toxic metals in recorded history, up to several thousand times higher than even several hundred years ago due to industrialization.

Many health conditions are simply heavy metal toxicity and can contribute to any imaginable health ailment or condition including cases of diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and others.

The danger of toxic metals in our environment is greatly aggravated due to low mineral content of our food supply and contamination of our food supply. If one does not consume preferred minerals in the diet, the body will pick up whatever toxic metals from the food, air, and water as substitutes. A key principle to remember is an abundance of essential minerals in the diet protects the body against toxic metals.

What are common toxicities found on hair tests?

Copper toxicity is one of the most commonly encountered imbalances that we find on hair tests and is a contributor to many health problems including anorexia, fatigue, premenstrual syndrome, depression, anxiety, migraine headaches, allergies, childhood hyperactivity and learning disorders.

Mercury is found in almost everyone from consuming fish, although it’s also in the air due to coal burning. Mercury toxicity is associated with countless health issues including adrenal gland dysfunction, thyroid dysfunction, alopecia, bipolar disorder, birth defects, blushing, depression, dermatitis, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, hearing loss, hyperactivity, immune system dysfunction, insomnia, kidney damage, memory loss, mood swings, nervousness, numbness and tingling, pain in limbs, schizophrenia, tremors, peripheral vision loss and muscle weakness.

Aluminum is the most common element of the earth’s crust and is a very common toxicity. Aluminum has been found to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease, anemia and other blood disorders, colic, fatigue, dental caries, dementia dialactica, hypoparathyroidism, kidney and liver dysfunctions, neuromuscular disorders, osteomalacia and Parkinson’s disease.

Iron toxicity is typically due to overconsumption of grain and protein powder products that are “fortified”, but with a toxic form of iron. Iron toxicity is associated with inflammation, diabetes, hypoglycemia, prostate disorders, cancers, feelings of anger and rage, and infections.

Hair Mineral Analysis vs. Urine Testing

In a urine metals analysis one compares the levels of metals in urine before and after the administration of a pharmaceutical metal detoxification agent such as EDTA, DMSA or DMPS. Urine metals push tests using EDTA, DMSA or DMPS are perfectly good tests to show heavy metals in the body. Like any metals test, they will not show all your heavy metals. Most of our heavy metals are buried deep in our bones, brains and tissues and will only be revealed on any test after being on a detox program for an extended period of time.

These push tests are great adjuncts to HTMA because they show metals that are not on an HTMA and they use chelators to reveal metals that typically don’t show on an HTMA like lead.

Hair Mineral Analysis vs. Blood Testing

I don’t find blood to be an accurate indicator of metal status in the body. This is why so many people get tests and show low or no levels of metals. This tests gives many physicians a false sense of toxicity and they then miss vital information underlying a patients health issues.

The blood is generally maintained at the expense of other tissues such as the hair. The blood is the life force of the body and must be kept at very precise mineral levels – homeostasis. Mineral levels are kept relatively constant in the blood even when pathology is present (often at the expense of other tissues) and therefore the blood does not always accurately reflect existing mineral deficiencies and excesses. By the time mineral levels are low in the blood, the person is usually very ill.

This means that if there are any mineral imbalances in the body, they will show up first in the tissues such as the hair often years before the blood. For instance, if you have a zinc deficiency, it will show up far sooner in the hair because the body will literally reroute zinc from the less important tissues such as the hair to maintain the level in the blood and other vital organs.

Therefore, analysis of the mineral content of an individual’s hair can provide us with a general ‘blueprint’ of the mineral content in the rest of the body’s tissues. Since these minerals are crucial to the functioning of enzymes, hormones and other biochemical systems that sustain life, it is possible to read this ‘blueprint’ and see where metabolic patterns are deviating from the norm.

Toxic metals are not found in high concentrations in the blood except 90 days or less after an acute exposure. The body quickly shunts toxic metals into the tissues such as the hair, where they do much less damage. Since the body shunts heavy metals out of blood and into storage quickly, blood serum is not a good place to locate toxic metals unless the exposure took place in the past 1-3 months.

Metals are far easier to detect and measure accurately in the hair. Blood tests can vary significantly from hour to hour depending upon one’s diet, activity level, the time of day and many other factors. One benefit of hair analysis is the readings are not affected by day-to-day ups and downs of dietary changes such as the last meal you ate, menstrual cycles, and other short-term factors. Hair tests show a three month average of what has been dumped into the hair.

Get a Hair Mineral Analysis

If you’re interested in getting a hair mineral analysis simply buy one from the Live to 110 Store. With this test you can begin your healing journey.

A hair mineral analysis shows your mineral levels and toxic heavy metal levels – or at least which are being currently dumped, or eliminated, into the hair. Additionally, it reveals your stress pattern – or how your adrenals and thyroid are functioning. It is a wonderful test for the purposes of designing an individualized Mineral Power Program based upon your individual biochemistry.


EVERYONE has heavy metal toxicity. The only point of testing is so that your health practitioner can give you a plan to remove your heavy metals and replace the minerals in which you’re found to be deficient. In the absence of an effective plan to remove your heavy metals, you are only receiving a test that provides obvious information – that you have heavy metal toxicities.

I implore you to start thinking about your health and working to improve your health before you get sick. A hair mineral analysis can give you a crystal ball and preview into your state of health because it shows health issues and body chemistry imbalances before you manifest symptoms.

One thing to be aware of is once you present with symptoms or illness like cancer, for instance, you’ve been sick for 5-10 years.  A hair mineral analysis will give you a place to begin and a plan to improve your health beyond what you thought imaginable. Regain your energy, clarity and vitality.

TEI Hair Mineral Analysis

in Alternative Medicine/Articles/Detox/Mineral Power/Mineral Power Articles

Wendy Myers, FDN, CHHC, is a functional diagnostic nutritionist, certified holistic health coach and founder of Live to 110. Her passions include getting you healthy, Modern Paleo, retoxing and detoxing. Discover her Mineral Power Program and enjoy freedom from fatigue and brain fog with metal detox.

  • Ashley

    How much does a hair analysis test cost? I would love to do one but I have heard they are pricey.

    • That’s a good question! I should have put that in the article! I charge $300,but I have a special running right now where when you buy one you get one free. So, it’s really $150 per test.

  • Candace


    How can you test for any food allergies? I have often wondered if there is a correlation with some symptoms I have with say eggs, because I eat a clean Paleo diet.


    • Definitely see my post on Food sensitivities. It explains the difference between food sensitivities and food allergies and how to address them. You can always to a skin scratch test, but they’re more of a starting point to do a food elimination diet to see if that food really is problematic. https://liveto110.com/food-sensitivities-make-you-fat-and-sick/

  • ms. alvara

    I wanted some information on how much hair is required for an accurate testing. I read somewhere, perhaps in this article, that 1″ is needed. Is that 1″ in length or thickness? Don’t want to give up too much hair, haha 🙂


    • I understand!! You need 1.1 grams of hair. So, this is roughly 1 inch in length of hair, perhaps half the thickness of a pen. You don’t miss it! And you can cut from the same area for each subsequent test.

  • Kristy

    I have been looking into this program for my husband. However he has been shaving his head for 4 years because large patches of it are missing. Can you test hair from other parts of the body? He really doesn’t have much hair at all. But I want to help him get better so much. I loved listening to your interview on the thyroid sessions. You gave me a new ray of hope. Thanks so much.

    • Thank you so much! he can always opt to grow some hair out on this head – if he’s willing to grin and bear it! We can also use chest hair or even pubic hair, though the pubic hair is not as accurate.

  • Ary

    I’m in the middle of switching my thyroid to natural dessicated. Should I wait until I get my labs back to functional levels? Also I am already on supplements, will these affect the test results?

    • Supplements can affect thyroid tests, but it depends on which ones you’re on. Typcially, I don’t find that people get their thyroid panels ‘back to normal’ using thyroid medications. Desiccated products do not have hormones, typically, so they won’t by themselves get your thyroid back to normal either. You need to do a Mineral Power Program to truly heal your thyroid and get your thyroid tests back to normal!!

  • Catherine Van Niekerk

    Is just the initial test included in the $300, how much are the re-tests?

  • Madi

    I’m interested in having the hair analysis but as I looked into some of the products you recommend, I see multis.. I just had a dna test done at 23andme.com and have started methylation therapy. I must take all of my supplements in a single form AND avoid folic acid and methylated B12. Also, I noticed you include ascorbic acid and I just listened to your podcast with Morley Robbins and I thought he said no ascorbic acid..? I am very interested in balancing minerals.. I have been diagnosed with CFS, FM, adrenal fatigue, hypothyroid and bordering on meeting the counting rules for Andy Cutlers mercury toxicity hair elements test by Doctor’s Data Inc. I am in the process of removing all of my amalgam fillings (by a mercury safe dentist) and then plan to chelate using the Andy Cutler protocol. But as I mentioned, I listened to the podcast with Morley Robbins and I am very interested in learning if I suffer from copper dysregulation and correcting it. Would you be able and willing to do a hair mineral analysis and suggest supplementation for me in single form? Also would it be possible to utilize the results from a Doctors Data Inc. Hair Elements Test?

    • HI Madi!
      I absolutely can use a Doctor’s Data test, although I prefer it be less than 6 months old. I do not use ascorbic acid in my supplements for Mineral Power. I would be happy to help you balance your minerals and copper. Just purchase a mineral power program in the store. http://store.liveto110.com/mineral-power-program/

  • bj203

    An excellent rationale for using TEI & ARL as opposed to other Functional Pathology labs.
    I only use TEI, as the ARL report doesn’t test for enough elements and has far too few ratios to be of any practical use. Genova & DDs reports are fatally flawed, because of fundamentally incorrect laboratory methodology in the handling of their hair samples.
    Proper methodology and ratios are both vitally important! Interpret them correctly and then you get some excellent Clinical results. If you’ve got faulty data to start with, Nutritional Balancing becomes a guessing game.
    If you’d like a new set of 11 toxic ratios to cover Al, As, Sn & Tl, please email me bj203@iinet.net.au and l’ll send them through to you. You’ll soon discover why we need to ascertain toxic trivalent metal ratios as much as the nine divalent ones reported by TEI’s current reports.
    Dr Bruce Jones
    Peninsula Clinical Nutrition
    Melbourne, Australia

  • Hair color, dyes and tints do not affect the test because they contain chemicals, not minerals, but it’s best to wash the hair at least once after applying a tint, dye or color rinse before cutting a hair sample.

    Using clean scissors, cut hair as close to the scalp as possible. However, DO NOT use an electric razor to cut the hair sample, because pieces of metal from the blades become mixed with the hair sample.

    You may cut the samples from any part of the head but we recommend the back of the head, as it often grows fastest. If head hair is not available, the next best is beard hair, then arm/chest hair, but do not mix sample types (for example, do not mix beard hair and head hair).