Why is my zinc so high on HTMA?
"Good Morning Gary,
I am still thinking about zinc.
If the zinc in our HTMA is so high, I don't understand why that means it's all in the hair, getting excreted, and not in our cells in a usable form.
If we supposedly get so much zinc from the plants we eat from our veggie garden (the only identifiable reason for our high levels), then surely that must be a good source?
How would that be different from taking a zinc supplement?
How would I know that a zinc supplement wouldn't increase our levels even more? just some thoughts.
Assessing mineral levels deep within the body, via Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA), can be difficult at the best of times. Zinc is no exception.
New Zealand soils are very low in minerals such as zinc, selenium and cobalt. Unless the food you are eating has grown in soil that has zinc added to it, you can assume there is insufficient zinc. I think we can say this about just about all food that is grown anywhere these days. Soil, worldwide, is depleted. Farmers and market gardeners put nutrients on the soil which grow plants and these may not include everything a human requires for good health. This also applies to organic farming: if zinc is not added to the soil, there will be little zinc in what is grown.
Selenium and zinc are used by the immune system to combat tissue inflammation and infections such as yeast, viral and fungal ones. By the way, zinc regulates taste, smell and appetite; hence the loss of taste and smell when one has an infection such as COVID. This has been known for decades and is hardly a mystery. An expert who says this a mystery is either lying to scare you or they need to go back to school.
If there is chronic inflammation or infection, usually subclinical, zinc will be high on HTMA, usually relative to Mo. If both Se and Zn are elevated above the general lie of the land, we can be quite confident there is a degree of inflammation, most likely driven by a yeast, viral or fungal infection. A diet that is high in pro-inflammatory foods may do the same, as might the presence of toxins such as lead and cadmium. In my opinion, most people are "inflamed" and this shows in HTMA.
For more about selenium and zinc:
High zinc may be a tip-off of hidden copper toxicity. Refer here, including health issues associated with hidden copper and copper toxicity:
When looking at the HTMA above, we see there are many Toxic Elements. These are cause for concern. When we look at the Additional Elements which are highest: barium, rubidium, vanadium and titanium, this is the pattern we see from people who are drinking rainwater off a rooftop. Zinc is also used as an anti-corrosive for roofing. This is a possible reason for the very high zinc. But, when we look at the patterns, especially the usual relationship of zinc to selenium, I assume some of the elevated zinc may be due to a loss of zinc from the body.
Zinc is a powerful antagonist of copper. The copper on the HTMA above is far too low, although it has increased since the earlier test in response to supplementing. If there is excess zinc, such as may be coming from drinking water, copper may be suppressed. Low copper is related to ligament laxity, scoliosis and low oestrogen. If we are to supplement with zinc, we must also supplement with sufficient copper to ensure copper does not drop further.
So, do we supplement with zinc or not?
First of all, we need to identify any possible sources of contamination, such as roof water and do our best to eliminate this so there is no further contamination.
We must relate the test to the person's signs and symptoms for zinc deficiency or excess, many of which can be subtle, such as a history of ligament laxity, stretch marks, white spots in fingernails, menstrual issues, eczema, UTI's, inflammation, or anxiety.
A mineral may be lost from the body due to an imbalance, excess, deficiency, or toxin. In this case, we can't ignore the presence of toxins such as uranium, arsenic, cadmium, lead and aluminium and these represent only what is coming out of the body. We must assume there is a lot more where that came from.
As you now know, a mineral may be high in the hair, representing a loss, while low in the body. If we are confident there is a loss happening the good news is this person has some to lose. If there were symptoms of a deficiency of a mineral and the mineral is low on HTMA, that is much worse than if the mineral was high on HTMA. It may mean there is no more of that mineral to do its job, let alone to be lost, and this can be catastrophic.
So, what do we do?
We will do our best to identify and cut off the sources of contaminants such as what may be in the water. This may require testing of the water. But water testing is problematic. I must write an article about this.
Identifying the source of any zinc contamination along with toxic elements such as lead and arsenic is akin to treating a burn; we must first take the hand off the hot plate.
We then set about carefully and slowly rebalancing minerals, first by diet, then by additional supplementation on top. A nutrient-dense diet is the foundation for optimum health, the supplements are the icing on the cake. Refer to the chart below from a lecture I presented for coaches in the USA and Europe a few weeks ago. It gives you the idea. The wider the foundation of a pyramid, the higher the peak.
We plug away steadily for about six months, then we repeat the test. If zinc goes down, despite supplementing; if the person is in better health with fewer signs and symptoms, we can be confident we are on the right track. Each repeated HTMA is our Nutritional Sextant. It helps us chart the course and tells us where and how to adjust it as we head in our quest for perfect health.
Once we are confident we are on a steady course to perfect health, we may retest every year or between seasons if the person is a serious athlete. If there is a significant change in health and performance, we may bring the test forward to get a better idea of what may be going on deep within the body.
For more information, there are a wealth of articles about HTMA here:
Enjoy the reading!