One of my favourite tests for children with behaviour issues, autism or ADHD is a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA). It is non-invasive, as it just requires a sample of hair, no needles. Of course even the thought of a hair-cut is a challenge for some children, but only one lock of hair is needed.
Substances that are in the blood stream will leave the body in the hair.
Minerals and metals can accumulate, and they are fixed in the hair.
Once the hair has grown, and left the body, the levels of metals and minerals don’t change significantly.
The analysis will show the concentrations of minerals and metals that have accumulated in the hair over the last 1-3 months.
HTMA looks at 2 key things in your child’s hair
The bad stuff such as heavy metals (arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury)
Unfortunately, there are lots of sources of heavy metals in modern life, and these can cause developmental and neurological damage.
Another great thing it tests for is lithium, which is a type of metal, but one that you do need some of in your body. Studies have shown that most children with ADHD have levels of lithium which are too low. This is especially likely if there is a history of depression or bipolar in the family.
Why would my child have mineral imbalances?
A child under stress will be depleted of magnesium and zinc
A child with some toxic metals or chemicals in their body (perhaps because they don’t detoxify them very well or because they have had exposure) will have imbalances. Toxic metals can replace minerals in the body and interfere with mineral absorption.
Children with an underlying bacterial or viral infection will be under enough stress to deplete minerals
The soil in Australia is depleted of many minerals, so even if your child is eating lots of fruit and vegetables, they may not be getting enough minerals.
Common issues which come up in a HTMA for children
Copper and Zinc are opposite sides of a see-saw. When zinc is high copper is low and vice versa. Low zinc and high copper is related to depression, anxiety, ADHD and learning disorders.
Mercury is found in big fish, so if your child eats lots of tuna, shark and swordfish, they could have an accumulation of mercury in their body. Mercury toxicity is linked to depression, memory loss, mood swings and insomnia.
This is found in many medications and personal care products. It can also be found in some foods, especially soy baby formula, colours, emulsifiers, preservatives and anti-caking agents. High aluminium is linked to dementia in adults, and in children things like memory loss, confusion, autism, hyperactivity and fatigue.
High lead levels are all too common in Australian children. Mining areas are particularly affected, but even in cities there is enough lead in the water that authorities recommend you run your tap for 30 seconds before drinking your tap water. High lead is associated with hyperactivity, inattention and learning difficulties
Your child could be high in cadmium if they have been around people who smoke cigarettes, or pollution. It is also found in some food. Neurodevelopmental issues are a sign of cadmium toxicity.
If you would like to make an appointment with me and get a HTMA for your child, please book here.