This article provides tonnes of information to help with understanding your hair mineral analysis for acne free skin. If you’ve recently got the results from your hair mineral analysis but are totally confused by all the graphs and ratios then this blog post should help you with understanding the imbalances that could be contributing to your acne.
If you’re interested in learning why a hair mineral analysis is a great way to learn about your bodies imbalances, check out this post here. Alternatively, if you want to find somewhere near you that offers a reliable hair mineral analysis testing (there are only 2 labs that you should trust with your hair sample) then visit this article here.
Hair mineral analysis: the ‘4 lows’ and ‘4 highs’
It’s not always easy to work out what’s going on in your body from just looking at your individual mineral levels but there are some big red flags that can be indicated from a quick glance at your test results. The pattern that you should be on the lookout for is called four low electrolytes or four lows. The four lows pattern is present on a hair mineral test when the hair levels show low in Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium and Potassium and can indicate severe stress and often exhaustion.
If your test result shows four lows then I recommend checking out this detailed article from Dr Lawrence Wilson on the topic. However, occasionally you can get a ‘2 high – 2 low’ mineral reading which Dr Wilson explains below:
Normally, on a hair mineral analysis, one may see elevated sodium and potassium levels with low calcium and magnesium levels. This tends to correspond to an alarm stage of stress, also called a fast oxidation rate.
One also may see the reverse – elevated calcium and magnesium levels with low sodium and potassium levels. This is generally an exhaustion stage of stress, also called slow oxidation.
But what if my test results show high levels of minerals?
A 4 highs pattern is when the first four electrolyte minerals are elevated higher than the “ideal” range. A 4 highs pattern can reflect abnormally high deposit of minerals into the hair, which could be a sign of “bio-unavailability” or poor absorption of these minerals (Metabolic Healing). If your results show a high reading of any of the first four electrolytes then it’s important that you don’t read it as a sign to reduce your intake of those particular minerals as a high reading could indicate that your body is unable to utilise the mineral – not that you have too much. The best way to address abnormally high mineral is by enhancing adrenal, thyroid and digestive function, which will then help your body utilise and absorb minerals properly instead of dumping them in the soft tissues.
According to this article from Analytical Research Labs, other abnormally high readings can indicate the following imbalances in the body:
High sodium and potassium in those with fast metabolism (fast oxidisers) usually represent a retention of these minerals in the hair tissue due to the action of the adrenal hormone, aldosterone. However, toxic metals or congestion in the kidneys could play a role in high sodium levels as well.
High levels of calcium and magnesium in those with a slow metabolism (slow oxidisers) is usually related to low levels of aldosterone, with consequent lack of sodium retention. Low thyroid activity is also associated with calcium and magnesium elevation.
Understanding your hair mineral analysis for acne free skin
While analysing individual mineral levels may provide you with some information about your health, it’s not always totally accurate. This is because a ‘high’ mineral level might not mean you have too much, it could just mean that you’re not utilising and absorbing that mineral properly – that’s why analysing your mineral ratios reveals much more about your imbalances than single mineral levels alone.
I’ve compiled the most reliable information on mineral ratios from Dr Lawrence Wilson, Trace Elements, Analytical Research Labs and Metabolic Healing to provide you with some extra information to help with understanding your hair mineral analysis results.
Calcium/Phosphorus (Ca/P) Ratio – Metabolism
Normal ratio is 2.5:1
The Calcium to Phosphorus ratio reflects “oxidation” or “metabolism”, which can be slow, normal, or fast. A normal ratio is about 2.5:1 however if this ratio is lower then that, it will signal a fast metabolism and if your ratio is higher than 2.5:1, it implies your metabolism is slow. (Sidon) The Calcium to Phosphorus ratio is also referred to as the “stomach acid” ratio, as it can be quite reflective of the production of stomach acid and thus the ability to digest food and protein efficiently. (Dr Garrett Smith) The Calcium to Phosphorus ratio is also closely related to the activity of the adrenal and thyroid glands, for example, a high Calcium/Phosphorus ratio (slow metabolism) can be linked to an under-active thyroid function. (Analytical Research Labs)
Sodium/Potassium (Na/K) Ratio – Vitality
Ideal Sodium/Potassium Ratio is 2.5:1
Sodium is controlled by the adrenal hormone cortisol and Potassium is controlled by the adrenal hormone aldosterone. Cortisol is anti-inflammatory and aldosterone is pro-inflammatory so it’s important to maintain the fine balance of these two stress hormones otherwise is can spell total chaos for your adrenal health. When the Na/K ratio is high (higher than 4.5:1), it can indicate emotional stress, inflammation, water retention and high blood pressure. When the Na/K ratio is low (lower than 2.49:1), there is likely adrenal exhaustion, fatigue, sugar/carb intolerance, allergies and regular infections. Lower that 1:1 indicates severe adrenal exhaustion.
In young adult women, a high sodium/potassium ratio can also be associated with high-oestrogen related symptoms such as PMS, inflammation, anger, acne, bloating and breast swelling and tenderness.
Calcium/Potassium (Ca/K) Ratio – Thyroid Function
Ideal Calcium/Potassium Ratio is 4:1
The calcium/potassium ratio is indicative of thyroid function. High Calcium over Potassium (higher than 5:1) indicates a sluggish thyroid but higher than 16:1 would indicate significantly under-active thyroid function (hypothyroidism) at cellular level. A low Ca/K ratio (lower than 3:1) indicates an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroid) at cellular level.
Symptoms of under-active thyroid (hypothyroid) include:
- Tendency to gain weight
- Tendency to feel cold
- No/low sex drive
- Dry skin and dry hair
Symptoms of overactive thyroid (hyperthyroid) include:
- Excessive sweating
- Hyperactivity, irritability
- Oily hair/skin
- Diarrhoea during times of stress
Zinc/Copper (Zn/Cu) Ratio – Hormone Health
Ideal Zinc/Copper Ratio is 8:1
The minerals zinc and copper are influenced by several factors including hormones. Zinc is necessary for the production of progesterone and testosterone, while copper is influenced by oestrogen.
Using the zinc/copper ratio is a much more effective method of evaluating zinc and copper readings than considering either copper or zinc levels alone. When the Zn/Cu ratio is high (higher than 8:1), it can indicate copper deficiency or bio-unavailability and also could indicate progesterone and testosterone dominance in relation to oestrogen. When the Zn/Cu ratio is low (lower than 7:1), then symptoms such as hair loss, slow wound healing, PMS, acne, eczema, emotional instability as well as elevated oestrogen in relation to progesterone and testosterone can occur due to a Zinc deficiency.
For more information on low progesterone and oestrogen dominance, visit this post here.
Sodium/Magnesium (Na/Mg) Ratio – Adrenal Function
Ideal Sodium/Magnesium Ratio is 4.17:1
The ratio of sodium to magnesium is a primary indicator of adrenal status. A high sodium/magnesium ratio (higher than 6:1) indicates overactive adrenals and can show up as inflammation (hello acne!), diabetes and high blood pressure. A decreased sodium/magnesium ratio (less than 2.5:1) indicates a under-active adrenals and can show up as fatigue, depression and allergies.
Calcium/Magnesium (Ca/Mg) Ratio – Blood Sugar Function
Normal ratio is 6.67:1
The ratio of calcium to magnesium on a hair test reveals a lot of data regarding blood sugar regulation. Elevated Ca/Mg ratios (anything over 8:1) indicate insulin resistance and the overconsumption of carbohydrates in relation to fat and protein. Glycemic control is one of the most vitally important mechanisms for maintaining proper health so if your results show a high Calcium/Magnesium ratio then it’s important that you follow a low glycemic diet to ensure that you keep your blood sugar levels stable. Supplementing with 300-400mg of Magnesium Glycinate can also help bring the ratio of Calcium and Magnesium back into balance.
Learn more about acne and insulin here.
Iron/Copper (FE/CU) Ratio – Copper Toxicity
Normal Iron/Copper ratio is 0.9:1
According to Eidon, an imbalanced Iron/Copper ratio can be an indicator of inflammation. Anything over 1.6:1 would indicate possible iron toxicity while a lower ratio (below 0.2:1) indicates a possible copper toxicity. Analytical Research Labs state that copper toxicity could be an overlooked contributor to many health problems including fatigue, PMS, depression, anxiety, migraine headaches, allergies and skin problems. Lifestyle factors that can cause the body to retain copper and show a low FE/CU result include:
- Too much oestrogen
- Chronic stress
- Zinc deficiency
- Copper water pipes
- Birth control pill
- Copper IUD
For a detailed table of the ideal levels for each mineral and toxic metal, please refer to Dr Lawrence Wilson’s site for further information.
How do I correct mineral imbalances?
Often mineral imbalances can be corrected through diet and lifestyle adjustments alone. It’s important never to underestimate the healing powers of a healthy balanced diet and stress management. Stress is one of the worst offenders when it comes to blocking mineral absorption so working on reducing your stress levels along with a healthy, whole food diet is one of the easiest, and best ways to heal your body. Correcting mineral imbalances doesn’t happen overnight – your body needs time to heal and can take months, even years to fully correct mineral imbalances.
Common stressors that we face everyday can include:
- Skipping meals
- Yo-yo dieting
- Relationship problems
- Financial issues
- Unfulfilling career
- Chronic anxiety
- Too much coffee/energy drinks
- Too many carbs
- Sleeping less that 7 hours
- Over exercising
- Unresolved emotional issues
- STRESSING ABOUT OUR SKIN!
So many of my clients describe themselves as “occasionally or moderately” stressed, yet when asked about whether their acne causes them self esteem issues or social anxiety on a daily basis then the answer is always a resounding YES. Feeling anxious and rubbish about your skin is just as toxic to your wellbeing as being stressed out about a work deadline… yet we often fail to recognise this type of stress as a potential acne trigger. If you’ve read this article then you will know that the reason behind many of the mineral imbalances can be contributed to poor stress management. Whether we’re juggling a busy work/life balance or feeling miserable about your skin, it’s vital that you work on getting your stress levels in check.
Working on your stress levels is often the most difficult factor we have to over come when healing our acne but it’s ESSENTIAL. You can do everything else right, but if you’re chronically stress then you’ll never be able to clear your skin.
If you want to correct your mineral imbalances through supplementation then it’s important you get the help from a trained specialist such as a kinesiologist or naturopathic doctor who can prescribe the correct dose for your needs. As we’ve learnt from this post, high mineral readings could indicate a number of different things and restricting or increasing your intake of specific minerals could lead to further complications so it’s important you seek further advice from a qualified practitioner to determine what treatment is best for you.
Do you have a question about understanding your hair mineral test analysis for acne free skin? Let me know in the comments below!
Peace, Love & Clear Skin,