What is a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) Test? (& the Benefits!)

What is a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) Test? (& the Benefits!)

As someone who is interested in holistic health, I’m always curious about what’s going on in my body on a deeper level. It’s so fascinating to learn more about your own health and see tangible data from lab tests instead of just guessing or assuming everything is a-okay if you’re not experiencing major symptoms.

My friend Samantha Wolk is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) and I have learned SO much from her about nutrition, wellness, gut health, and supporting my hormones. I was super intrigued about the HTMA health assessments that she offers so I decided to work with her and do one myself. The test is really insightful so I thought I’d share more about the whole process and what it entails, in case this is something you’re curious about doing yourself!

(In full disclosure, she gave me a sweet deal on my own test in exchange for sharing the process here with you. She also provided a discount for my readers if you’re interested in working with her–keep reading for more info!)

What is an HTMA? What health information can it tell you?

HTMA is Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis. According to Sam:

It’s a functional lab test that uses a small amount of hair to evaluate the hair’s mineral and heavy metal content. This information is so valuable because it gives us roughly 3-4 months’ worth of cumulative data about what the body is being exposed to and eliminating. We test the hair because it is one of many places in which the body eliminates minerals and heavy metals!

The HTMA results will show various nutritional elements and mineral levels in your body such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, copper, iron, zinc, selenium, and more. It even tests for heavy metal content such as aluminum, uranium, arsenic, mercury, and lead.

Sample HTMA test results
A little sample of what HTMA results look like! This is my test 🫢

Since I have been extremely proactive about what I put in and on my body over the years and lessening my exposure to harmful toxins, I was especially eager to get a snapshot of specific levels within my body.

Unfortunately, we live in an environment that is constantly bombarding our bodies with things like endocrine-disrupting ingredients in our makeup/personal care products, artificial additives and pesticides in food, polluted tap water, etc.

It’s also just a fact that our modern-day soil is depleted of key nutrients and not what it used to be. So even if you eat the most pure diet and live a clean lifestyle, many of us still deal with deficiencies or imbalances that can offset our normal bodily functions.

Hair tissue mineral analysis can tell us:

I know the chart above can look a bit confusing and overwhelming. That’s the nice thing about working with a practitioner like Sam—she can interpret it and put all the puzzle pieces together for you!

Essentially, minerals are the body’s “spark plugs” and are needed for millions of enzyme reactions throughout the body. They can tell us so much about what’s going on in the body. Results can give us insight into our:

  • Digestion
  • Blood sugar balance
  • Levels of toxic heavy metals
  • Inflammation
  • Thyroid function
  • Stress response
  • And much more!

I was glad to see that most of my minerals are in a normal range, but I definitely found areas where I could improve and bring my body into balance.

The test also gives you a metabolic type based on your results, which is almost a “metabolic blueprint” of how the body is responding to stress. It takes into account the ratios of minerals that work synergistically in the body, too. For example, my specific metabolic type was Slow 1, which means my body tends toward parasympathetic dominance (rest and digest).

Basically, my body has a harder time producing energy throughout the day because the two main energy glands, the adrenals and the thyroid, are not working optimally. How fun!! 🥲

What the HTMA Process Looks Like

The whole process was straightforward and simple! Here’s a quick overview of what happens after you book your HTMA with Sam:

  1. Get a pre-stamped HTMA testing kit from Sam. This is when you’ll snip some hair and then mail the sample (it can take a few weeks to get results from the lab)
  2. Fill out a Nutritional Assessment Questionnaire (NAQ) which takes roughly 45 minutes and another Initial Interview Questionnaire. These provide details to Sam about your family health history, stressors, sleep quality, symptoms, etc.
  3. When the results come back, you’ll have a 75-minute virtual call with Sam where she’ll go over your HTMA results and bio-individual recommendations!

Btw, if you’re worried about snipping hair, it’s not bad at all! The test kit has a little scale so you know exactly how much to cut. You need the first ½ inch of hair removed from as close to the scalp as possible, which you can do from an inconspicuous spot such as the back of your head. Sam will also send you tips and notes for collection! I personally would MUCH rather snip a little piece of hair than take blood samples.

HTMA hair weight scale
The hair weight scale will tip when you’ve collected enough hair!
Specific recommendations based on your test!

I won’t go into too much detail about my own personal test, but it was honestly WAY more detailed than I imagined it would be.

Based on my individual results, Sam gave me TONS of lifestyle, diet, and supplement recommendations. I received a protocol targeted to my particular needs such as ways to support my metabolism, blood sugar, and adrenals.

I appreciate that it wasn’t so much about removing or restricting what I currently do, but more about what I can add to my current lifestyle! It all feels very manageable and doable.

Truly, I feel like I have a better grasp on my health and a good understanding of what my body actually needs at this point in time. I’ve very excited to implement Sam’s suggestions and retest in a few months to see what improves!

I think anybody can benefit from one of these tests. But particularly if you’ve just come off of birth control, are planning to get pregnant/just had a baby, or are experiencing a lot of health issues. If you’ve been wanting to do an HTMA yourself, here’s your sign that it’s totally worth it! 👍

You can use code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount on an HTMA with Sam 🏷️

Book Your HTMA with Sam Here!

Related posts on the blog written by Sam Wolk, NTP:

Overall, I am SO happy that I did this test. It’s definitely been helpful to understand more about my body and how to give it what it needs. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments 💚

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Written by: Becca

Becca is a blogger, wife, and dog mom living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Having seen firsthand the benefits of switching to a natural lifestyle herself, she's passionate about helping women make the switch to clean beauty products, organic skincare, and a holistic way of life (without the stress of being perfect about it!).

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