How Does An HTMA Work?
An HTMA is an incredibly simple test.
It looks at your biochemistry at cellular level and can pick up on deficiencies, imbalances and toxicity. It tests 20 key minerals and toxic metals and can also highlight your metabolism, how your hormones are working, blood sugar, digestion and much more.
Because hair is a soft tissue, it can act as a window into what’s going on. Minerals show up in higher amounts in the hair compared to the blood.
Only a small amount of minerals are located in the blood and these are normalised as much as possible by the body so they’re not a useful barometer of mineral levels.
It’s not a diagnostic test but it can tell us so much about what’s going on in the body and crucially, what’s been happening for the last few months.
Blood and urine only give a “snapshot” of a certain moment in time. The results could be very different if you did another blood test or urine sample at a different time of day.
What HTMA Can Look At
An HTMA can’t diagnose conditions but it can highlight imbalances and suggest that certain conditions may be present.
It’s not an individual mineral status that matters the most. What we’re really concerned about is the ratios or the balance between different minerals, which can’t easily be picked up on.
We want to see the bigger picture and how this may be affecting your health and in turn, your fertility.
Toxic metal status
If heavy metals have been able to build up in your body, they can affect fertility and may contribute to recurrent miscarriages. You may have no obvious symptoms and we’ll only make the link through an HTMA.
Whether your thyroid is struggling
A sluggish thyroid can make it much harder to conceive and to carry a baby to full-term if you do become pregnant. Low levels of thyroid hormone can interfere with ovulation and increase the chances of miscarriage and implantation failure.
It’s definitely possible to have problems with your thyroid with absolutely no symptoms at all so you may have no idea that your thyroid is struggling until we do an HTMA. For many women, thyroid issues are one of the missing pieces of the puzzle for fertility.
To get a clinical diagnosis of a thyroid problem, you need to have blood results that indicate disease. But many people have a thyroid that is sluggish and prompting symptoms but isn’t clinically underactive.
Your blood results will always come back as “normal”, yet your thyroid isn’t functioning as well as it should and needs support.
Some of the indications that can come up in HTMA:
Calcium/Potassium ratio – Both of these minerals help regulate thyroid activity and an imbalance between them can indicate that thyroid hormone isn’t getting into your cells as efficiently as it could do.
Potassium is absolutely crucial for this but if you have an excess of calcium, it will hinder this. As well as nutrition, this ratio can be affected by stress and metal toxicity.
Sodium/Potassium ratio – Both of these minerals help to move thyroid hormones into and out of cells so that they can be absorbed and do their job. An imbalance between these two minerals often indicates that you’re under a lot of stress.
If an HTMA indicates thyroid problems, it’s definitely worth getting Thyroid Antibody Tests done to see if autoimmunity is contributing.
How your adrenals are functioning
If your adrenals are struggling, the effects can be wide-ranging.
Your thyroid also depends on your adrenals. If your adrenals are struggling, your thyroid will often try to compensate and will become even more sluggish. Working on adrenal health can have positive effects on your thyroid too.
Your adrenals can also have an impact on your sex hormones too, especially progesterone. The adrenals can begin to work even harder, which creates a vicious cycle.
Sodium/Magnesium ratio – Both of these minerals are directly linked to adrenal function and imbalances can suggest that your adrenals are under pressure. This can at least partly help to explain symptoms such as anxiety and cravings for sweet or salty foods.
An HTMA can pick up on things like:
How your sex hormones are working
If your body is under chronic stress, progesterone can be “stolen” and hormones become unbalanced.
Cortisol is prioritised over progesterone to deal with the “danger” from the “threats” you’re facing. Progesterone steal can also go hand-in-hand with estrogen dominance.
Zinc-copper ratio – Zinc is heavily linked to your sex hormones – both progesterone for women and testosterone for men), while copper plays a role with oestrogen.
How your digestion is coping
If your digestion is less than optimal, your body can prioritise that over “non-essential” functions such as reproduction.
Making sure that your digestive system is working efficiently is a crucial part of boosting your fertility.
This involves a good balance of bacteria in the gut, efficient elimination, adequate levels of stomach acid, no leaky gut, no nutrient deficiencies and being in a “rest and digest” state when eating.
Your digestion can also affect hormone balance. Studies have shown that imbalances in the gut have the potential to increase oestrogen levels. This can be a factor in endometriosis, a condition in which endometrial cells can develop elsewhere in the body and react in much the same way as endometrial cells in the womb.
Once we have a much better idea about what’s happening at the cellular level, I can create a personalised nutrition and lifestyle plan to help you get back into balance and boost your fertility.
Client Case Study
One of the best ways to explain this to you is by showing you a case study of a recent client.
My client was a female with unexplained infertility who had already been unsuccessful with several IVF cycles.
Her thyroid blood results came back as “normal” but when I looked at her HTMA, it was clear that it was far from optimal. As you can see below, her results were underneath the lower optional range for thyroid hormones. And her mineral ratios were telling too. The ideal thyroid ratio (calcium/potassium) is around 4 and hers was 114!
So as you can see, an HTMA can go a lot further than standard testing in highlighting imbalances and giving us a much better idea of why you’re struggling to conceive. In many cases, we can tweak your nutrition and lifestyle to get on top of these imbalances and give you the best chance of rewriting your fertility story.
If you’d like to dig deeper into what may be affecting your fertility, let’s chat!