In this post I’m sharing my hair mineral analysis results and also my predictions based on my ongoing symptoms and supplements I’ve been taking over the past 2 years.
So I’m writing this first section of this blog post before my hair mineral analysis results have come through. I wanted to write down all my various predictions as I thought it would be interesting to see if what I think is the problem, is actually the problem – or whether it’s an entirely different issue altogether!
hair mineral analysis results: my predictions
The main single mineral levels that I’m most interested in is my Magnesium, Zinc, Copper for the main reasons that I had been supplementing with Zinc (prescribed by my Kinesiologist) for 2 years up until November 2016 when my Kinesiologist said that I no longer needed it anymore so I’m keen to see what my results show. I’m hoping that my lengthy supplementation of this mineral means that my hair sample will show in the normal range and not too high, or too low.
Another mineral that I’m interested in is Copper – an imbalance of this mineral is often closely linked with high/low zinc levels and as I switched from the contraceptive pill to the copper IUD 2 1/2 yeas ago, so it’s a mineral that I feel I should be keeping a close eye on.
The final mineral that I hope is in the normal range, but feel there’s a chance that it may be imbalanced is Magnesium. Magnesium Citrate is something that I’ve been supplementing with pretty consistently for the past 2 years, I also take Epsom/Magnesium salt baths at least once a week so I sometimes wonder if I’m getting too much.
hair mineral analysis results: predicting my mineral ratios
Two years ago, just after I came off the contraceptive pill I was suffering from SOO many health problems. Just some of the issues that I suffered with whilst on the pill and coming off it were:
- Constant moderate acne on my cheeks (while on the pill)
- Chronic constipation (since pre-teens)
- No/low libido
- Hard stools
- Chronic cystic acne on my cheeks and along my jaw (post-pill)
- Bumpy texture/whiteheads on my forehead (post-pill)
- Always feeling cold
- Slow wound healing
- Low basal body temperature – consistently below 36.5C (post-pill)
- Irregular periods (post-pill)
- Ovulation pain (post-pill)
- Awful PMD/PMS (post-pill)
- Heavy periods (post-pill)
- Breast tenderness (post-pill)
- Food intolerances (since age 14)
- Muscle weakness
- UTIs (since age 15)
After two years of looking after myself and getting my health back on track I’ve managed to eliminate most of my symptoms through a healthy, balanced whole food diet, supplementation and lifestyle changes such a exercise and stress management. However, while I manage to make loads of great improvements, there were still some symptoms that no matter how hard I tried, and no matter what supplements I took, I just couldn’t shift them! These persistent symptoms include:
- Breast tenderness
- Low libido
- Always feeling cold
- Mild acne
- Low basal body temperature – always below 36.4C
It wasn’t until I read Lara Briden’s Period Repair Manual, that I felt like I might have finally found the missing link. During the time that I was reading Lara’s book, I was struggling with a really bad case of sore, PMS boobs and her book describes how iodine is the very best treatment for breast tenderness along with vitamin E and Agnus Castus (Vitex). I’d already tried vitamin E and Agnus Castus and while vitamin E helped with improving quite a few of my menstrual issues, neither helped with the breast pain. I then started researching further into the connection between breast pain and iodine which lead me onto the topic of hypothyroidism, which is where things started making sense for me!
Hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) is where you’re unable to produce enough thyroid hormone. It’s a complex issue that is commonly misdiagnosed as PCOS, as it can also mess with your insulin sensitivity and can also stop your ovaries from ovulating. Through my research, I also discovered that other common symptoms of hypothyroidism can also include low basal body temperature, constipation, acne, low libido and cold feet/hands! Could it be an under-active thyroid that’s causing my problems?
With this in mind, I’m actually hoping that my hair mineral analysis does show a high Calcium over Potassium ratio which would confirm my gut feeling of a sluggish thyroid. At least then I would have a clearer understanding about what’s going on in my body and can start working to balance things out! If it doesn’t show that, then I guess I’m back to the drawing board… but at least with these hair mineral analysis results, I should be able to get an idea of where the problem might lie.
For now, I’m going to leave the predictions there and wait until my results come through to finish this blog post off…
hair mineral analysis: my results
So…my hair mineral analysis results are back and there’s so much to take in! I received my results back late on Friday night via email and to be honest…I was a bit gutted with the results! As I predicted, my thyroid is sluggish and under performing – but not as much as I thought it would be… the big problem is STILL my insulin resistance – which devastated me, as improving how my body responds to sugar is something that I’ve been actively trying to combat via diet, lifestyle and supplements for the past two years!
Ok, so let’s start at the beginning and slowly work our way through each red flag. These hair mineral test results really do contain SO much information!
My individual mineral levels are all within the normal range though some are a bit on the low side so some general boosting of mineral absorption needs to be addressed. I was so pleased to see that my copper wasn’t crazy high due to my copper IUD and my zinc levels were right bang in the middle of the preference range!
Considering I’ve been taking Magnesium Citrate for the past two years and having regular Epsom Salt baths, I was surprised and disappointed to see my Magnesium levels on the low side, especially in comparison to Calcium (more on that later). I know that Magnesium Citrate works brilliantly on my gut – it’s ‘osmotic’ which means it pulls water into the intestines to increase the volume of stools, make then softer and easier to pass – but perhaps it’s effects don’t go much further than my digestive system? I’m clearly not absorbing magnesium deep into the cells where it’s needed for the entire body to function properly so a re-think in Magnesium supplementation is definitely on the cards!
My Germanium levels showed up low in my hair mineral test but there’s not any evidence to document health concerns or benefits relating to Germanium levels so my results don’t offer any advice on how to improve Germanium levels. I did some research myself discovered that Germanium is believed to be a strong detoxifier but too much (generally in the form of synthetic supplements) can cause health problems. Through my research I also learnt that Ginseng is one of the richest natural sources of Germanium! Interestingly, I’ve literally just started taking Ginseng tincture and also ILHWA Ginseng Extract as a tea to help balance stress levels. If I can naturally boost my Germanium levels this way it’ll be a great bonus, even though I think the most effective way of bringing all my mineral levels back into balance will be by treating my blood sugar and thyroid issues holistically and improving my health as a whole.
Bismuth is an element that can be found in cosmetics and some medication, so the fact that my levels showed up higher than they should be really shocked me. I mean, I don’t take medication and I’ve been using natural and organic skin care and mineral make-up since I was 18… surely my beauty routine wasn’t to blame…? When I first read my results I thought that maybe my high levels were due to my poor detoxification but upon investigating my make-up bag I discovered that the mineral blusher that I’ve been using for at least a year contains Bismuth Oxychloride… I spoke to a colleague who is a cosmetic scientist to see whether it was possible that daily use of one single product could be enough to give a high reading on my hair mineral analysis. He confirmed that the actual molecular mass of Bismuth Oxychloride is very small therefore, if this ingredient is in a mineral make-up product then it could definitely absorb through the skin. Even though the area exposed to this product is pretty small, because I’ve been using this product pretty regularly over the past year there is a much greater chance of absorption.
While Bismuth isn’t really toxic and won’t cause too much harm to my health, it is a bit unusual that my readings were so much higher than the preference range… Whether the blusher is to blame or not, I’m buying a new Bismuth-free blusher from Dusty Girls or Honeypie Minerals pronto!
High Calcium/Phosphorus (Ca/P) Ratio:
The Calcium/Phosphorus ratio reflects the body’s “oxidation” or “metabolism”, which can be slow, normal, or fast. For more information about the Calcium/Phosphorus ratio, check out this post here. My current mineral pattern indicates a slow metabolism with an increased tendency towards increased adrenal activity and/or decreased thyroid function. I wasn’t really surprised at being classified with a slow metabolism. Ever since I was a teen I’d always carried a small amount of excess weight round my hips and belly and no amount of regular exercise and healthy eating will shift it!
Slightly Low Sodium/Potassium (Na/K) Ratio:
While my Sodium/Potassium (Na/K) ratio was in the acceptable band, it was still a little on the low side. According to Analytical Research Labs, anything less than 2.49:1 indicates the beginnings of adrenal exhaustion and anything less that 1:1 is considered a severe inversion. As well as adrenal burnout, some of the other symptoms that can occur from a low Na/K reading include; low stomach acid thus digestion problems, poor liver function and allergies. As my reading falls at 1.89 it’s a little bit on the low side indicating the beginnings of adrenal burnout but I’m sure it’ll improve as I work on the imbalances that are more of a top priority. If I’m truly honest, I need to start taking a bit more care of my adrenals as I’m terrible at looking after myself and always exhaust myself as I’m such a people pleaser…this could be the push I need to start taking more time out and enjoying a bit of ‘me-time’ a few times a week!
High Calcium/Potassium (Ca/K) Ratio:
As you’ve just previously read, I really beieved that an under active thyroid was the missing link in my healing puzzle and as the Calcium/Potassium ratio is indicative of thyroid function I was itching to see this particular result! To be honest, when I saw this result I had a mini “I knew it!” moment in my own head as from the graph I could see a clear spike! However, when I looked more closely, the results weren’t as definitive as I was expecting – my ratio showed as 7.78:1 which indicates a ‘moderate sluggish thyroid‘ but there was another reading on the graph that was a lot more extreme than my Calcium/Potassium ratio… I think a part of me hoped that my thyroid was the only thing that needed immediate attention as I felt like I’d tried every other avenue…however my body just loves making my healing journey as hard as possible for me!
For more information on the Calcium/Potassium ratio, visit this post here.
Very High Calcium/Magnesium (Ca/Mg) Ratio:
This was the reading that left me feeling totally defeated and miserable. The Calcium/Magnesium ratio is your blood sugar reading and a ratio higher than 12:1 indicates a SEVERE insulin resistance – and my reading was literally off the chart at over 21:1! I mean…WTF?! How can someone who has eaten a minimally processed, predominantly organic, totally gluten free diet that’s also very low in dairy and sugar for over two years still have such severe insulin resistance? Ok, I’ll be brutally honest, I’m not as strictly sugar-free as I was a year ago, but I’m still hyper-aware of my sugar intake and while I’m not obsessed about it anymore, I still do my best to keep sugar to an absolute minimum. This result left me thinking: what’s the point? I’ve worked so hard over the past 2 years, I’ve even been taking supplements such as Berberine, Cinnamon, Green Tea and Vitamin D which are all known to help improve sensitivity to insulin as insulin resistance is one of the major causes of acne! So why the shocking results? How come these supplements, along with my healthy diet have done absolutely NOTHING!?
After I got over myself and recovered from the initial shock I started applying a bit of logical thinking and started focusing on JUST the results. I forgot about my diet, I forgot about supplements and looked at just the results in front of me. What is it telling me? Basically, it’s telling me that my Magnesium levels are too low in comparison to my Calcium levels.
I’m suffering with a Magnesium deficiency.
This revelation initially left me feeling even worse, I mean – I’ve been supplementing with Magnesium Citrate for two years! I even thought that my hair mineral analysis results would show too much Magnesium as I take so much of the stuff! How is a Magnesium deficiency even possible? Magnesium deficiency is a huge factor when it comes to insulin resistance. My favourite hormone expert Lara Briden calls Magnesium the ‘natural metformin’. Metformin is the insulin-sensitising drug often prescribed for pre-diabetes and PCOS – two conditions that are closely linked with insulin resistance. According to this scientific study, Magnesium is also essential for the production of thyroid hormone so with my results showing clear insulin resistance and a sluggish thyroid I’m clearly not getting enough of the right form of Magnesium. I’ve always opted for Magnesium Citrate as it really helps keep everything moving digestion wise and right back at the start of my healing journey the most important thing for me was to heal my gut and to have regular bowel movements (I used to go once every 8-10 days…). However, now I know that insulin resistance is the major concern – I started researching the best types of Magnesium for insulin resistance and PCOS. I’m a huge fan of PCOS/health experts such as Flo Living, Lara Briden, PCOS Diva and Chris Kresser and pretty much all recommend Magnesium Bis/glycinate for maximum absorption and improvement of insulin resistance and other related issues such as PMS, hypothyroidism, insomnia, stress and anxiety. I was glad to see that my hair mineral analysis results recommended a Magnesium Glycinate supplement and not any other forms of Magnesium so I definitely think I’ll order them and take the recommended 3 doses a day.
so…what’s my plan?
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m totally overwhelmed by all these results! There’s so much to take in and my results contain pages of dietary and supplement recommendations to help get my insulin resistance and thyroid function back on track.
I’m not really sure about the dietary advice given for me in my hair mineral analysis results, it’s all pretty generic and nothing really gave me an ‘ah-ha’ moment. I feel that one recommendation was particularly old-fashioned. It wants me to reduce my fat intake so it doesn’t excess 20% of my total daily calories. I personally think this is really outdated advice and while avoiding trans-fats and refined oils is always a great idea for your health, studies have now shown that healthy fats are great for you! On top of that, healthy fats are essential for hormone production. There’s no way I’m going to be cutting out my avocado, coconut and ghee any time soon! All the other dietary advice is pretty much what I recommend to all my readers, regular meals throughout the day that contain a high source of organic protein, healthy fats, a small amount of unrefined carbs (sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, oats), plenty of fresh fruit and veg and little-zero added sugar. My results also go onto to offer advice on specific foods that may help to boost thyroid hormone and methionine for detoxification – check out page 5 on my results for the list of these foods.
Am I going to over-haul my diet?
I don’t think I really need to make any drastic changes to my diet in light of these results. I already have a diet that is pretty much in line with their recommendations – including eating 2-3 Brazil nuts a day to help my thyroid. I definitely won’t be cutting out healthy fats but I might try and cut down on my sugar intake, I’ve been more relaxed with sugar recently – adding honey to stir fries and eating a lot more raw chocolate over the past couple of months so I may try to reduce my intake for the next two months or so and see how it goes. There’s also a lot of fish recommendations for boosting thyroid hormone and I’m really not a fish person AT ALL – but I might see if I can start eating more ‘meaty’ fish such as Tuna or Swordfish…but I’m not promising anything! Aside from the diet recommendations in my results, I’m also going to completely cut out the caffeine (green tea and chocolate) for a short period of time to help balance blood sugar levels and support my adrenals.
The Trace Elements supplements that have been recommended for me are:
- Para-Pack (metabolism support)
- Adrenal Complex
- Min-Plex B (Magnesium Glycinate, Chromium + B6)
- HCL Plus (digestive support)
- Vitamin E Plus
What am I going to supplement?
I’m definitely going to take the Min-Plex B – not only does it contain highly absorbable Magnesium Bisglycinate, but it also contains Chromium – an element that is highly beneficial for improving insulin resistance. I’m also going to definitely take the HCL Plus, a digestive aid containing betain hydrochloride, that should help improve my digestion by increasing my stomach acid and optimising the absorption of minerals. HCL supplements are something I’ve often seen recommended alongside probiotics for optimum digestive health but I’ve not actually tried them yet and as my digestion still gives me grief, I’m willing to give anything a go! I don’t think I’m going to buy the Vitamin E Plus as I already take Life Extension’s Gamma E Tocopherol/Tocotrienols which I’m really happy with so far. I’m undecided on the Para-Pack and Adrenal Complex but I think I will end up taking them too, even if just for a month. They contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and even glandular concentrates – I get the impression that these two products are like next level multivitamins with targeted support to your adrenals…if that makes any sense?
Since I sent off for my hair mineral analysis, I’ve been supplementing with Inositol, Lugols 5% Iodine, Ginseng. I’ve still got tonnes left of all 3 supplements so I’ll carry on using them alongside the Trace Elements supplements.
I decided to start supplementing with iodine, as well as cut out as much fluoride as much as possible, after reading this blog post from The Nourished Life, which then lead me to discover this website and this revolutionary e-Book from author Melissa Gardener. Melissa’s book is basically about how acne could be linked to excess fluoride and not enough iodine – if you believe in any way that your persistent acne might be caused by excess fluoride then this book is a must-read! I’m lucky that I don’t live in a part of the world where the water is fluoridated, but for anyone living in USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia where the water supply is often fluoridated it’s definitely something worth investigating further – you can find out which countries fluoridate their water supply here. Anyway, I’m getting totally sidetracked, this topic will get it’s own blog post in the coming months but just so you know I’ve switched to a fluoride free toothpaste and I’m reducing any potential intake of fluoride via food sources too!
So that brings me to the end of this mammoth post, I hope you’ve found my hair mineral analysis results and interesting read! Am I glad I did a hair mineral analysis? Despite being really gutted when I first read through my results, I’m actually quite excited to see what the next few months bring! Rather than still feeling like I’m at a dead end and that I’d exhausted all my options, I now have hope that some of the changes I’ll be implementing over the next few weeks could make a serious difference to my health. Getting a hair mineral analysis done has also give me a much clearer idea of the underlying issues that are contributing to my persistent symptoms, which I may never have fully understood if I hadn’t got tested.
Have you recently received the results of your test? Or are you considering getting a hair mineral analysis to help you understand your body better? I’d love to hear your stories so let me know in the comments below!
Peace, Love & Clear Skin