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  • Writer's picturejuliakimd

Ways to reduce your toxic load

Updated: Jan 25

If you have struggled with on-going dis-ease, had tests done and not finding anything, been taking supplements and herbs, doing all the right things (like good diet and exercise) but still not improving, it might be time to do a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis ('HTMA').

A HTMA is a non-invasive test that analyses a small amount of your hair. This tells us your mineral levels, minerals include zinc, magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, molybdenum, to name a few. A HTMA also tell us if your tissues are harbouring any heavy metal toxins, such as lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, uranium, and many more.

Taking vitamin or mineral supplements when you don't know your mineral levels may contribute to disease, or exacerbate an existing mineral imbalance, which then causes ill health. An example is, if your zinc level is already high and you are taking more of it, you are contributing to the imbalance of the other nutrients and minerals, which all need to be in a delicate balance in order to keep your body functioning optimally.

How accurate is the test?

The analytical method of measuring the levels of minerals and heavy metals in hair tissue is a highly sophisticated technique. When interpreted correctly, it can be used to ascertain mineral deficiencies, mineral excesses, and/or mineral imbalances, and of course to check for heavy metals toxins.

Hair tissue is excellent to use for minerals and heavy metal testing because of its nature. Hair is born out of groups of specialised cells that form the hair follicle within the scalp. Each strand of hair that comes out of these cells is exposed to the internal environment (blood, lymph) whilst the hair constantly grows.

When it reaches the scalp (skin surface), the outer layers harden which 'seals in' the metabolic products that have accumulated during that process of formation. This provides a record of mineral status, nutritional metabolic activity and heavy metals during the time that the hair growth occurred. For this reason, the hair that is used for the test must be taken as close to the scalp as possible for the most recently stored information about your minerals and potential toxins.

A hair tissue test can highlight mineral imbalances and help you work out the source of toxins and so that you can re-nourish your body and eliminate toxins. A HTMA provides indication of the long term effects of your diet, stress, toxic metal exposure and their effects on your mineral balance and nutritional metabolism - this is very difficult to obtain through other clinical tests. Blood tests show up what is currently being used in the blood stream - HTMAs indicate what minerals and toxic metals are being stored.

Why is important to determine your mineral status?

Multiple nutritional deficiencies or imbalances contribute to an increased incidence of adverse health conditions. It is rare to have just one single nutrient deficiency - mild and sub-clinical nutritional imbalances are estimated to be up to ten times more common than just one nutritional deficiency alone.

Minerals are absolutely critical for life - they are involved in:

  • cellular metabolism: each and every cell in the body relies on the right minerals in the right balance for various processes to take place within each cell

  • structural support: bones, muscles, cartilage, cell membranes, various tissues - all need specific minerals for their formation

  • nerve conduction: so that we can move and for automatic nervous control to happen such as heart contracting, digestive system to work, the lungs to expand, hormones and enzymes to be released

  • muscular activity: for movement - both voluntary or involuntary movements of the body

  • immune functions: we need specific vitamins and minerals for proper immune response when we are sick

  • anti-oxidant activity: we need to be able to mop up free radicals that can cause inflammation and disease if they accumulate

  • endocrine activity: our glands need the right minerals in order to function, and hormones also need specific minerals in order to carry out their jobs within the body

  • enzyme functions: enzymes need certain minerals and vitamins in order to cause effects within the body - if enzymes do not work, there are important things that do not happen, just like with hormones

  • water and acid/alkaline balance: there are many bodily parts and functions that need a specific pH to be able to work properly - an imbalance causes these things to work poorly, if at all

  • DNA function: DNA needs specific minerals in order to work properly so that the body can repair, rebuild and make proteins for this work

What affects mineral levels?

Many factors can affect your mineral levels:

  • food preparation: certain cookware (stainless steel, Teflon, plastics) release toxins into food

  • diet: eating too much of one kind of food (and only getting the same set of minerals), or not getting enough nutrients from food (poor diet, nutrient deprived soil from farming practices)

  • disease: body uses minerals to fight off disease

  • medications: cause mineral imbalances

  • stress: causes us to lose B vitamins and magnesium via urine, which causes imbalances with other minerals

  • environmental factors: air we breathe, water we drink, food we eat (doused with pesticides - think arsenic from glyphosate), new furniture (also releases arsenic), anything that has that "new smell" is off-gassing toxic fumes - another reason to buy second hand wherever possible.

  • genetic: we can inherit our mineral imbalances or faulty mineral metabolism

  • metabolic disorders: certain diseases can cause mineral imbalance and poor mineral metabolism, and mineral imbalances can cause metabolic disorders

  • exposure to heavy metals: from various industries that we might live near to, from doing a job involving heavy metals, the air we breathe (car fumes, aeroplane fumes), dentistry (amalgams contain mercury), hip replacements

Ways to reduce your toxic load

You can do a detox and support your body's elimination pathways during the detox - here is a blog I wrote about doing a comprehensive detoxification. Ramp up your detox by doing the following:

1. Thoroughly wash all fresh produce

This is the biggest one to do. Make sure you wash all fruit and veggies really, really, really well. Not only to get rid of the bug residues, but both conventional and organic are doused with pesticides - conventional pesticides (glyphosate) contains arsenic, organic versions are very high in copper sulphate. Neither are any good for mineral balance or toxic load. You can also add some apple cider vinegar to the water you use to wash the fresh produce - maybe even soak them first if you have time.

2. Swap to ‘no nasties’ personal care products and cleaning products

Deodorant: The ingredient on the anti-perspirant to look for on your current roll-on is called aluminium chlorohydrate. There are actually quite a few brands that make it without it in now – just Google “no nasties no aluminium deodorant” and you’ll find a whole host of them. Parabens, SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulphate), EDTA, are carcinogenic and hormone disrupting, and are all to be avoided – they are in pretty much all personal care products, it’s shocking once you start looking! If you’re on Instagram, check out @irina_ireadlabelsforyou – she analyses loads of products, even cleaning products, which is another source of all things toxins.

Shampoo, Conditioner, Soap, Handwash and household cleaning products: some supermarkets and most health shops contain brands without the above-mentioned nasties in. There is also an app and website called Think Dirty that has clean products.

3. Food preparation and storage

Cookware: does it contain aluminium? If you have stainless steel pots, then this is ok - however, acidic sauces like those that have tomatoes in, will mean the nickel will leach out of the stainless steel. When cooking a sauce that has tomatoes in, use a ceramic or glass saucepan as this won’t leach anything in there. Second-hand glass saucepans are a cheaper option– they are expensive to buy new. Cast iron skillets are going to ensure you get some iron into the diet.

Teflon is also one to be avoided. Recent research has showed that just one tiny 'nick' in the coating causes 2-3 MILLION plastic particles to be released into your food, and then also down the drain to pollute our water table.

Limit use of cling film as much as possible, OR, make sure you don't let it touch the food itself. Some research indicates that the plastic molecules favour fat to leach out, so avoid wrapping foods using cling film if they are high in fat. Rather use a bowl and then use the cling film on top, or use a plate to cover the bowl and save the planet and yourself at the same time! Swap plastic containers for glass ones or stainless steel, unless of course there is anything acidic going into the stainless steel container.

4. Invest in a water filter

Water companies do not filter out heavy metals, toxins, pharmaceuticals, they only focus on bacteria and add in chlorine and fluorine instead, both of which can have big impacts on thyroid health by virtue of behaving like iodine (which IS needed for proper thyroid function). There are 2 companies I always recommend - Berkey water filters and SilverLine water treatment - I have no affiliation with either of these, but know that they remove a lot of the nasties as well as VOCs (volatile organic compounds) - some only remove chlorine and fluoride.

5. Environment

Write to your local MP to ask if they use glyphosate or Roundup or weed killer on the pathways or grass verges near your home - right in the parks and playgrounds where our children play, breathing in the neurotoxic fumes along with your dog when you go for a walk. There is a Pesticide-Free Town campaign, visit to find out how you can make your town or village go pesticide free.

To find out what your mineral levels are like and if you have any toxins lurking, contact me today to organise a HTMA.

lady's curly hair

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