Dr. Katelynn Nardulli DC, FDNP
Everyday we focus on fueling our bodies with healthy nutrients, but what do you really know about those “nutrients” and do we really understand the critical roles they play within our bodies? Let’s talk about these important spark plugs of the body that keep us running like a well-oiled machine, specifically minerals. You are likely familiar with macronutrients such as carbs, fats and proteins. But our nutrition is made up of both these larger macronutrients and smaller micronutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Minerals are essential for millions of chemical reactions within the body and directly impact every single system of the body, including bone support, heart contractions, muscle movement, hormone production, energy and proper digestion, just to name a few.
One of the best ways to test the body’s mineral content is through Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA). HTMA has been in use since the 1970’s and mineral analysis by spectroscopy is a very standard laboratory procedure, with an existing and ever-growing body of research to support its accuracy and reliability. The best part about a hair sample and HTMA test is that it shows mineral system activity in the body over an average of 3-4 months; most other functional lab tests are just a snapshot in time. This means that with this test, we get a bigger picture of the body’s health journey!
The most important minerals that are considered on a HTMA test are the primary minerals - calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. These minerals must be balanced and within normal limits for all other minerals to be balanced. Often, by restoring normal levels of these four critical minerals, other minerals in the body will also normalize.
In addition to these primary minerals, HTMA also measures and considers secondary minerals, tertiary minerals and even toxic minerals, often referred to as heavy metals. Heavy metals include antimony, uranium, mercury, arsenic, aluminum, lead, cadmium and beryllium. Although these minerals are naturally occurring, they have no known physiological or biological function within the human body and should not be there. Even small amounts can have harmful side effects and lead to a long list of health complaints.
The mineral ratios and the relationship between different minerals is also closely considered. Our vitamins and minerals work synergistically within the body and every system is interconnected. This is why the ratios offer us so much insight into overall health - they provide us with information on all of the different systems with the body, truly making HTMA a full-body test.
Here’s a summary of the important mineral ratios and what systems they directly correlate with:
Calcium/Phosphorus Ratio - metabolic rate or nervous system health
Sodium/Potassium Ratio - kidney, liver and adrenal health (This ratio is directly related to your overall vitality making this the most important mineral ratio)
Calcium/Potassium Ratio - thyroid health
Zinc/Copper Ratio - hormone health (estrogen, testosterone, progesterone)
Sodium/Magnesium Ratio - adrenal gland health and how your body is coping with stress
Calcium Magnesium - blood sugar or cardiovascular health
Iron/Copper - underlying infections or gut health
Now you can see that minerals are responsible for every single aspect of your health! So the next time you're focusing on eating healthy or remember to take your multivitamin/multimineral supplement, just think back to all of the vital roles that those little micronutrients are fulfilling with the body.
I am very excited to announce that Flourish Wellness Practice has launched its first group program called Foundational Minerals. Each participant will complete a HTMA test and receive a detailed interpretation of their results along with a customized program tailored for you, based on your unique results. Additionally, participants will get a series of education videos to watch at their own pace and access to an interactive group of other participants and myself, where we can connect further and support each other throughout the program. If you’re interested in restoring proper mineral balance within your body or learning more, please contact me for more details and to reserve your spot; spaces will be limited to provide an intimate and educational experience.