Hair Test Terms Glossary
© 2016 Moses Nutrition
The following statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any diseases or conditions, and are for informational purposes only. Nothing in this document is intended to discourage anyone from seeking or following the advice of a medical doctor. Hair Mineral Analysis is a screening test only and is not diagnostic in nature.
There are three toxins that tend to store together and detoxify together. They often move up and down on the graph at the same time but not always so. These are Aluminum and the toxic forms of Iron and Manganese. These are stimulant/irritant metals that can be used by the body to “prop up” the energy systems, much like caffeine does. You can see this in the sodium and potassium readings, which relate to energy production. Most people today are using the 3 Amigos to prop up their sodium and potassium readings, so on a first hair test these levels often look better than they really are. Unfortunately, these metals irritate and damage the body. The body is using these for energy, because it doesn’t have a healthy way to make enough energy. We work to correct that on the program. As the adrenals, thyroid and other energy systems improve on the program, the body will release these 3 toxins since it no longer needs them. When these 3 release out of the tissues in order to be released from the body, a person can experience symptoms of irritation such as: heart palpitations or racing pulse; joint pain especially in the knees, hands and hips; intestinal bloating or cramping; and urinary tract symptoms such as kidney pain, bladder pain/burning, urethra pain/burning, frequent urination, waking at night to urinate, and excessive thirst. Drinking extra water is usually the best solution. Sometimes these toxins releasing can make a person temporarily very tired, since the body is giving up a toxic source of energy. (Please see the article Why Fatigue Occurs on this Program for more information.)
This is a variation of “4 Highs” (see below) and has the same significance. 3 Highs is where any three of the first four nutrient minerals (Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium and Potassium) are above the ideal line.
This is where any three of the first four nutrient minerals (Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium and Potassium) are below the ideal line. We call this pattern “Overwhelming Stress” (see Stress below). The body simply has too much to deal with for how few resources it has and may be on its way to 4-Lows (see “4 Lows” below). This pattern can take a while to resolve because there are usually many layers of stress to unwind.
This is when all of the first four nutrient minerals (Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium and Potassium) are above the ideal line on the graph. A normal hair test pattern has either the Calcium and Magnesium high while Sodium and Potassium are low (Slow Oxidation), or the opposite with Sodium and Potassium high with Calcium and Magnesium low (Fast Oxidation). 4 Highs is a stress pattern that we sometimes refer to as a “Slow Oxidizer under stress” or “a whipped, tired horse.” The high Calcium and Magnesium represent underlying fatigue (Slow Oxidation), and the high Sodium and Potassium are a stress response (see “Stress” below), usually due to either life stress or internal stress from toxic metals. This stress can result in a person having a little more energy, just like a tired horse goes faster when whipped, but it isn’t true energy. Normally, as the body heals and the stress is released, Sodium and Potassium will settle to below the ideal levels. For more information, read our article about 4-Highs.
4 Lows on a first test
This is when all of the first four nutrient minerals (Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium and Potassium) are below the ideal line on the graph. On a first test, it indicates long-term overwhelming stress (see “Stress” below), and deep fatigue. This is the stage where the brain is telling the adrenals to “rev up” to deal with stress, but the adrenals can’t because they are too burned out. The adrenals continue to attempt to rise to the demands of the brain, but can’t. This causes the adrenals to get even more tired. We sometimes use the analogy of a car stuck on ice, and the driver is stepping on the gas. The wheels are spinning, but the car isn’t going anywhere, so the driver just keeps pushing on the gas. The solution is to get the driver to stop stepping on the gas, get out of the car and nudge it back on to the road. 4 Lows is a unique pattern that requires calming nutrients and lots of rest and sleep. We have to “put the adrenals to bed” so that they can be restored and the person can then come out of 4 Lows. We do this by providing large amounts of Calcium, Magnesium and Taurine which are all calming nutrients. It is important in 4 Lows to avoid stimulating supplements such as B-Complex vitamins, high-dose Vitamin C, stimulating herbs, etc. This pattern can take a while to resolve, because there are usually many layers of stress to unwind. For more information, read our article on 4-Lows.
4 Lows on a retest
This is when all of the first four nutrient minerals (Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium and Potassium) drop to below the ideal line on the graph. On a retest, if a person has been following the program well, this is usually a sign of deep healing taking place. More rest is important while in this pattern. While a person is in the pattern, the body will tend to over-use the adrenals, so we have to “put the adrenals to bed” so that they can be restored and the person can then come out of 4 Lows. We do this by providing large amounts of Calcium, Magnesium and Taurine which are all calming nutrients. It is important in 4 Lows to avoid stimulating supplements such as B-Complex vitamins, high-dose Vitamin C, stimulating herbs, etc. For more information, read our article on 4-Lows.
If your Adrenal ratio is lower than 4.17, see “Reduced Adrenal Effect” below.
This is when the body is using a mineral internally for some kind of repair, which results in less of the mineral being pushed out into the hair. Most of the nutrient minerals at some point during the healing process will be retained for a while before coming back up towards ideal.
It is important to know that a high level of Calcium in the hair does not mean the person is taking too much Calcium. It is actually a loss of Calcium into the hair and is typically part of a fatigue pattern. Basically, Calcium is leaving the places it should be in the body and going places it shouldn’t be. Calcium is often being lost from the bones, for example, which results in osteoporosis if left unhandled, and Calcium is building up in places like the joints (arthritis) and the arteries (arteriosclerosis), etc. We call these Calcium deposits Metastatic Calcium (see “Metastatic Calcium” below). This is actually a known part of aging (our bodies get all stiff with Calcium while our bones get weak), but unfortunately, people are aging way too early now. The good news is this process is entirely reversible on a hair mineral balancing program.
A Calcium Shell is a strong form of Calcium Loss (see “Calcium Loss” above). It is usually the result of extreme stress whether from life or from some toxin in the body. The body is using calcium, which is calming and numbing, to protect the person from stress, much like a little, unborn chick is protected in its shell. Toxic copper is usually always part of this pattern. Toxic copper is very irritating to the nervous system, and the body tries to buffer against that irritation by flushing a bunch of Calcium and Magnesium around the body. The problem is that Calcium and Magnesium don’t just stay floating around; they fall out of circulation into the hair and other places they shouldn’t be, causing high levels in these areas. The body then replaces that lost Calcium and Magnesium by taking more from places like the bones. So over time, a Calcium Shell can lead to bone loss (osteoporosis) and calcium deposition problems such as arthritis and hardening of the arteries. But as a short-term response, a Calcium Shell can be helpful to protect one from stress. It is important to know that as a person heals on the program, the body usually comes out of the Shell. If this happens quickly, a person may suddenly feel things more, including physical and emotional symptoms. This can be alarming to some but usually only lasts for a few weeks until the body rebalances. For more information, read our article on the Calcium Shell.
This is when two or more of the first four readings (Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium and Potassium) come up at the same time and none go down. This is a positive pattern indicating a resurgence of energy in the body. It usually means some healing has occurred that has given the body a resurgence in energy and well-being.
Crutches are toxic metals that are propping the body up in some way. They often are used to make energy in the body and can raise the sodium and potassium levels while in the body. Once they come out of the body, the sodium and potassium levels can drop, showing us the underlying fatigue that these metals were helping to correct. We call these metals crutches, because they are similar to the crutches you walk on when you have a broken leg. The idea is that you use the crutches until the leg heals. The body is similarly using these metals until it can heal. Sometimes during a release of crutches, if the kidneys get irritated by what is releasing out (see “Releasing” below), the sodium and potassium readings can temporarily jump up (“see Kidney Stress” below). The 3 Amigos are crutches (see “3 Amigos” above) and so can be cadmium and other toxins such as the toxic forms of chromium and selenium.
This means the person got rid of toxic metals that were propping them up. This usually results in a lowering of sodium and potassium, revealing underlying fatigue patterns not visible on the previous test. It is a nice sign of healing and means the body is rebuilding the energy systems. See “Crutch” above.
Excessive Adrenal Effect (high Na/Mg ratio)
This means the body’s energy-making response is excessive when it interacts with adrenal hormones. It would be similar to a car engine revving very fast when you only slightly step on the gas. It is part of an alarm reaction in the body and can correlate with a sped-up metabolism. This is one part of Fast Oxidation, the other part being an excessive thyroid effect. For more info, read our article about Fast Oxidation or see brief description below.
Excessive Thyroid Effect (low Ca/K ratio)
This is when Calcium (Ca) is lower than Potassium (K) on the hair test graph. Dr. Eck found that a low Calcium level speeds the thyroid and that a high Potassium level makes the cells of the body more sensitive to thyroid hormones. This means that the effect of the thyroid on the body is excessive or high. (It does not indicate Hyperthyroidism. That can only be diagnosed through your doctor with blood tests.) It would be similar to a car engine revving very fast when you only slightly step on the gas. It is part of an alarm reaction in the body. Thyroid hormones float around and interact with the cells of the body and act as signalers for the cells to make more energy. If the cellular response to thyroid hormones is increased, energy is being made too rapidly in the cells. A mild or temporary increase won’t usually cause symptoms, but a moderate to extreme prolonged increase creates imbalance in the body and can cause symptoms. This is part of Fast Oxidation, the other part being an Excessive Adrenal Effect. Please see “Fast Oxidation” below for more information or read our article about Fast Oxidation.
In general use, oxidation is when oxygen interacts with another substance. In the body, oxidation is the process that occurs inside every cell when oxygen is combined with food and water to create energy (this is sometimes referred to as one’s metabolism). This process is controlled by the adrenal and thyroid hormones acting on the cells of the body to tell them how much energy to make. A Fast Oxidizer does this process at a faster than average rate. Mild Fast Oxidation is not a problem, but if the oxidation rate is too fast, it stresses the body, wears out the cells and leads to nutrient deficiencies and other problems. It is like an engine that runs way too fast all of the time, even when idling. Fats such as butter, oil, etc. convert to energy more slowly than carbohydrate foods like bread, pasta, sugar, etc. A Fast Oxidizer is converting food into energy too quickly, so a high-fat diet will cause a Fast Oxidizer to slow down a bit to a healthier rate. Carbohydrates and sugar convert more quickly so will cause a Fast Oxidizer to go even faster and increase the stress on the body (see “Stress” below). For more information, read our article on Fast Oxidation
Got rid of and Got rid of toxic form
By this we simply mean the person released a toxin from the body, usually via the urine, bowel or skin. When a toxin is floating around in the blood, it usually shows up as a high level on the hair test graph. When your body filters those toxins out (through the kidneys, liver, etc), the level lowers on your graph, because there is less now floating around in the blood. For example, it sometimes happens that a person’s first hair test shows a high level of some toxin. In that case, that toxin is currently floating around (circulating) a lot in the body. It usually means the person is being exposed to it and also not eliminating toxins very well, so the toxins just float around and around, each time sending a little more into the hair. When the person retests, that level usually goes down. That is because the person’s liver, kidneys, etc. actually pulled that toxin out of circulation and sent it out of the body, so there is less floating around in the body. The same can happen on retests when a person is detoxifying. The level of the toxin will rise on a retest graph as the person is releasing stores of that toxin into the blood. We call this “releasing” (see “Releasing”). Then, the liver and kidneys will filter it out and release it from the body, which causes the level to go down again on the next hair test.
Got rid of toxic form:
All of the above also applies to nutrient minerals that are in a toxic form in the body, such as an oxide form where oxygen is attached to it. This is very common with the minerals iron, copper, manganese, chromium and selenium.
When you are first exposed to a toxin, your body has two options: 1) send it to the detox organs (liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, eyes) to be filtered out and expelled from the body, or 2) store it in various parts of the body. Your body stores toxins if the detox organs are not working well or are too busy, or if you just don’t have enough energy and nutrients, or if that toxin can be used as a substitute for a nutrient you are lacking. For instance, Cadmium can be used as a substitute for Zinc if one is very Zinc deficient. We call these stored toxins. Stored toxins don’t show up on a hair test. Toxins only show up on a hair test when they are in circulation, which typically only occurs when you are first exposed to that toxin, or when you are emptying or “releasing” (see “Releasing” above) your stored toxins. When a toxin doesn’t show up a hair test, but we know it is there in the body, we call it a “Hidden Toxin.” There are certain toxins that we know everyone has because they are everywhere in our environment: in our food, air and water. Some of these are naturally occurring, and some are put into our environment through chemical farming techniques, manufacturing, etc. We have ranges that we like to see these toxins within on a graph to know that your body is actively handling your everyday exposure. If the toxic metal level is too low on a graph (below our ideal range), we know that the person’s body is just storing it and it is a “Hidden Toxin.” This means the person is accumulating toxins over time. We, of course, will be working to correct that and get the body removing these stored toxins, at which point the toxin level will actually rise on the test graph as the toxin is released from the body (see “Releasing”). See the article What Are Hidden Toxic Metals for more information.
High levels of either Sodium or Potassium, or both Sodium and Potassium, can indicate Kidney stress. Kidney stress can be caused by many things: dehydration, detoxification, infection, etc. One can sometimes even experience discomfort in the lower back or kidneys. If one is following the protocol well (including following the diet and drinking sufficient water) and the graph is still indicating kidney stress, it is typically because toxins are being flushed out of the body through the kidneys and irritating the kidneys on their way out. It’s nothing to worry about, and is actually a sign of healing and detoxification, but drinking plenty of water is important, and we may even suggest increasing water intake temporarily above the normal daily recommended amount. Once the toxin finishes releasing, the Sodium and Potassium levels settle back down again.
This is a loss of magnesium into the hair. It results in a high Magnesium reading in the hair. It means the body isn’t holding onto magnesium well. It can occur in fatigue states and also due to various imbalances and toxic metals. It does not mean the person is taking too much Magnesium.
This is Calcium that was depositing in places in the body where it shouldn’t be, such as in the joints, arteries, kidneys, etc. This deposition usually occurs due to adrenal insufficiency, copper toxicity and other imbalances in body chemistry. These deposits are harmful to the body. As the body repairs, these Calcium deposits are broken down and flushed out of the body. You can see this release of Metastatic (bio-unavailable) Calcium as a temporary rise in the hair Calcium level on the hair test graph. It is a wonderful part of the healing process and indicates improvement in overall body chemistry. See “Calcium Loss” above for more information.
We look at two ratios to determine the Oxidation rate (the rate of energy production in the cells of the body): the adrenal ratio (Na/Mg) and the thyroid ratio (Ca/K). These ratios can show either a reduced effect (slow) or an excessive effect (fast). In Mixed Oxidation, these ratios are not coordinated: one ratio is fast and the other is slow, so a person will typically have symptoms of both Fast Oxidation and Slow Oxidation. Mixed Oxidizers usually resolve to either full Slow Oxidation or full Fast Oxidation within a couple of hair tests. For children over 6 years old and for adults, a mild Slow Oxidation is normal and healthy (although some adults can be healthy mild Fast Oxidizers, too). Health small children are often mild Fast Oxidizers. The idea, basically, is to be either mildly Slow or mildly Fast. Please see Slow Oxidation and Fast Oxidation for more details.
Phosphorus (Low/Good /High)
Phosphorus is necessary to make proteins. It’s a fiery mineral that gives the body energy and strength. It’s used to build your bones and teeth. It’s also used to make DNA. Phosphorus is primarily found in high-protein foods like dairy, eggs and meat. So we often discuss a low phosphorus level in terms of protein. A low Phosphorus level can indicate either that a person is not eating enough protein or they are not fully digesting the proteins they are eating.
A high Phosphorus reading can occur during certain repair processes in the body and is generally not very significant.
Reduced Adrenal Effect (low Na/Mg ratio)
This is when Sodium (Na) is lower on the graph than Magnesium (Mg). This means that the effect of the adrenals on the body is reduced or low. Adrenal hormones float around and interact with the cells of the body and act as signalers for the cells to make more energy. If the cellular response is reduced, not enough energy is made. This is part of Slow Oxidation, the other part being a Reduced Thyroid Effect. It results in low energy, a slow metabolism and many other symptoms depending on how far from ideal this ratio is. (A mild Reduced Adrenal Effect is normal in adults and is not a concern.) Please see “Slow Oxidation” below for more information.
Reduced Thyroid Effect (high Ca/K ratio)
This is when Calcium (Ca) is higher than Potassium (K) on the hair test graph. Dr. Eck found that a high Calcium level slows the thyroid and that a low Potassium level makes the cells of the body less sensitive to thyroid hormones. This means that the overall effect of the thyroid on the body is low. Thyroid hormones float around and interact with the cells of the body and act as signalers for the cells to make more energy. If there aren’t enough thyroid hormones or if the cellular response to thyroid hormones is reduced, not enough energy is made. This is part of Slow Oxidation, the other part being a Reduced Adrenal Effect. A mild Reduced Thyroid Effect is normal in adults and won’t cause symptoms. A moderate to extreme Reduced Thyroid Effect results in low energy, a slow metabolism and many other symptoms depending on how far from ideal this ratio is. (A Reduced Thyroid Effect does not necessarily indicate Hypothyroidism. That can only be diagnosed through your doctor with blood tests. Many people with a Reduced Thyroid Effect pattern have normal blood levels of thyroid hormones, but still have all of the symptoms of low thyroid. That is because their hormones are not having the proper effect on their cells, which is why we call it a Reduced Thyroid Effect. Working to correct this ratio improves their symptoms.) Please see “Slow Oxidation” below for more information.
Releasing and Releasing Toxic Form
Sometimes also called “Dumping” or “Dumping Toxic Form”
When you are first exposed to a toxin, your body has two options: 1) send it to the detox organs (liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, eyes) to be filtered out and expelled from the body, or 2) store it in various parts of the body. Your body stores toxins if the detox organs are not working well or are too busy, or if you just don’t have enough energy and nutrients, or if that toxin can be used as a substitute for a nutrient you are lacking. For instance, Cadmium can be used as a substitute for Zinc if one is very Zinc deficient. When we support the detox organs and give the body the nutrients it is lacking, it can then properly handle these toxins, and it will “release” these toxins out of cells into the blood for transport to the detox organs. This will often show up as a rise of that toxin on the hair test graph, because the body is pushing the toxin out into the hair, as well as through the detox organs, during the toxin releasing process. So let’s say your body stored some Aluminum in the thyroid many years ago. When your body goes to clear that toxin out, it first has to take it from the thyroid and “release” it into the blood. As the Aluminum circulates on its way out of the body, some of it winds up in the hair. This shows as a higher level on the graph.
Releasing Toxic Form:
Some of the nutrient minerals in the body can be in a form that is toxic for the body, for example, an oxide form where oxygen is attached to it. This is very common with the minerals iron, copper, manganese, chromium and selenium. Just like other toxic metals, these will release out, too, and the level of that mineral may rise in the hair during the detox.
Retracing means one is going back through old stress patterns that existed before in the body. Over a person’s life, if full energy and nutrient resources are not available, the body will tend to compensate for imbalances as a temporary solution to keep things going. On this program, the body will want to go back and heal these things, and it often has to go back into that earlier non-optimum pattern and remove the compensation to then rebuild the body in the correct way. This process is occurring almost continually while on the program and is an important part of healing. Another way to look at is like going back to the scene of a crime committed against you, but this time you are going back there with the police to show them what happened, so you are safe this time and are actually getting some resolution.
This is when two or more of the first four readings (Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium and Potassium) go down at the same time and none of the readings go up. This is a healing pattern that relates to the body calming down. Often a person feels more relaxed and grounded, and the body is typically less stressed.
In general use, oxidation is when oxygen interacts with another substance. In the body, oxidation is the process that occurs inside every cell when oxygen is combined with food and water to create energy (this is sometimes referred to as one’s metabolism). This process is controlled by the adrenal and thyroid hormones acting on the cells of the body to tell them how much energy to make. A Slow Oxidizer does this process at a slower than optimum rate. Mild Slow Oxidation is not a problem and in fact is normal in a healthy adult, but if the oxidation rate is too slow, it stresses the body, causes low energy production and fatigue which then leads to many other symptoms, because the body no longer has the energy to do its daily functions and repair itself. It is like an engine that runs way too slow all of the time, even when stepping on the gas. Fats like butter, oil, etc. convert to energy more slowly than carbohydrates. A Slow Oxidizer is already converting food into energy too slowly, so high-fat diets will cause a Slow Oxidizer to have even less energy. On the other hand, healthy carbohydrates convert more quickly into energy so are often needed by Slow Oxidizers. Proteins, of course, are also very important. For more information, see our article on Slow Oxidation.
Stress is anything that causes your body to have to work harder or causes damage to the cells. Examples of stress are: not getting sufficient sleep, being exposed to toxins, emotionally stressful relationships, over exercising, not drinking or eating enough (dehydration or starvation), injuries, eating sugar, drinking alcohol, smoking, etc.
Sugar Ratio (Ca/Mg ratio)
This ratio shows how well a person is tolerating the carbohydrates he or she is eating. We also call this “glucose tolerance”. Glucose is sugar and is used by the body to make energy. Most carbohydrates convert to sugar in the body. If this ratio is too low or too high, it represents a reduced glucose tolerance. The person is either eating too much sugar, or is very low in the nutrients required to process sugar (such as Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc and Chromium), or has imbalance in sugar handling organs such as the liver, adrenals and pancreas. Balanced sugar handling is important to the body, because proper use of glucose (sugar) allows for the optimum and stable production of energy. (See article on the Calcium/Magnesium Ratio.)
This is when the Potassium reading is below 5. It means the person has a tendency to use more energy than they have. It is a lifestyle issue. These people need to rest more and shed work and other activities so that the adrenals and energy systems can heal and repair. (See article on the Sympathetic Dominance.)
If your Thyroid ratio is higher than 4.00, see “Reduced Thyroid Effect” above.
Many nutrient minerals also occur in toxic forms. Examples are Iron, Copper, Manganese, Chromium, and Selenium. These can all exist in the body in a form that is not usable and can actually be toxic. Often it is the result of the mineral being attached to oxygen or otherwise being altered from its healthy form. Some of these toxins are ingested from outside sources like food and water, while others are made in the body through metabolic processes that alter the nutrient form. For a simple example, let’s look at Iron. You can eat a steak high in iron, or you can go chew on some rusty, metal farm equipment. Both contain iron, but the steak has a nutrient form that your body can use and the other contains rust which is a toxic form of iron that if consumed acts as a stimulant and irritant that damages your body. We, of course, want to get these toxic forms of these minerals out of your body. Some of them can act as temporary supports for the body – for more information on that see “Crutch” and “3 Amigos” above.
Vitality Ratio (Na/K ratio) – High and Low
This ratio is so important Dr. Eck called it the Life and Death ratio. A high ratio is better than a low ratio. A very high ratio indicates a tendency towards inflammation. Inflammation includes things like pain, redness, itching, swelling, allergic reactions, etc. The higher the ratio, the more Zinc is needed, which is reflected in the nutrient protocol given as part of one’s recommendations. Read our article on High Na/K Ratio for more information.
A low ratio indicates many other things such as: cardiovascular stress, immune system deficiency, kidney and liver stress, fatigue, tissue breakdown where the body is using up its own tissues for energy and nutrients, and blood sugar imbalances. If you have only a very slightly Low Na/K ratio — let’s say 2.0, it is very mild. If you have a very Low Na/K ratio — let’s say 0.65, it is more severe. When this ratio is very low, it is often one of the most important markers on a hair test graph. Plain Zinc will lower this ratio further and therefore is not provided in isolated form when the Vitality Ratio is low. We use Limcomin for a low ratio: it has a combination of Zinc, good Manganese and good Copper and helps to raise this ratio. Read our article on Low Na/K Ratio for more information.
Wrong 2 Highs
This is a variation of “4 Highs” (see above) and has the same significance. In this variation, only Calcium and Sodium, or Calcium and Potassium, or Magnesium and Sodium, or Magnesium and Potassium are above the ideal line.
This is a loss of Zinc from the body usually due to toxic metals. It means that Zinc isn’t staying where it is supposed to in the body, and deficiencies are being created. It appears on a hair test graph as a high Zinc level. Another cause for a high Zinc reading is dandruff shampoos such as Head & Shoulders, so be sure to let us know if you are using dandruff shampoo.