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  • Why Do We Need To Test Mineral In Kids | with Michele Grosvenor

    April 09, 2024 3 min read

    Ideally children should be getting all the minerals they need from a balanced diet. Unfortunately, this is rarely possible in today’s world and let’s face it kids can be hard to feed nutritiously. From fussy eaters to those with food sensitivities, assessing your child’s nutrition can be a guessing game without some form of reliable testing.

    Minerals are essential to your child’s health. They give structure to their bones and teeth and are involved in helping regulate their nervous system, energy production, blood sugar levels, immune health, and detoxification. When minerals are not in optimal levels or out of balance with one another, they can contribute to poor health and your child will display symptoms.

    Heavy metals on the other hand have no biological use in your child’s body and can have toxic effects at very low concentrations. The WHO in June 2020 declared Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead and Mercury to be some of the heavy metals of public concern, and when these are not routinely tested in children it can be alarming.

    But what about blood testing?

    Blood testing offers some insight, but it is invasive and can be hard to undertake in children willingly. It is more transient in nature and subject to the body’s regulating mechanisms to maintain nutrient levels within narrow ranges. Blood testing also tends to be a momentary snapshot reflecting the transportation of minerals rather than their storage patterns.

    What is HTMA?

    An easier alternative is to do a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA), whereby the composition of your child’s hair can reflect key areas of their metabolic activity and storage patterns over a 3–6-month period. It tests 37 different minerals and 8 toxic/heavy metals, as well as acting as a screening tool for treatment efficacy.

    Hair contains living matrix cells, and as these cells grow and divide, minerals (and some heavy metals) are keratinized onto the hair shaft creating a permanent record of your child’s nutritional activity. It is safe, can be done at home and is a cost-effective way to determine your child’s individual tissue mineral levels and their toxic burden.

    What can HTMA help with?

    Hair mineral analysis can also provide insights into:

  • Learning difficulties and developmental delays
  • ADHD, concentration issues and hyperactivity
  • Long standing anaemia that hasn’t improved with iron supplementation
  • Behavioural issues like anger outbursts, oppositional behaviour, mood swings and anxiety
  • Poor immunity and allergies
  • Failure to thrive
  • Skin issues like eczema
  • Fatigue and
  • Sleep issues to name just a few
  •  

    Below is a snapshot of a HTMA report whereby there is a high toxic burden with lead, arsenic and cadmium in higher-than-expected levels. They also have traces of mercury and uranium. You can also see low mineral levels across the board and a copper excess. All of this can be seen in the one test and may have been missed with other forms of testing.

    With these insights into this child’s health, we can now see the reasons for their symptoms and formulate a targeted treatment approach to resolving them. This will involve specific dietary modifications, nutrient and herbal supplementation as well as lifestyle changes. Over time once their body is supported correctly this will change and their body will safely deal with the heavy metals without affecting their nutrient levels.

    If your child is experiencing symptoms you can’t get to the bottom of or you would like an insight into their nutritional profile - I’d love to help.

    If you are looking for some one-on-one support for you or your child, book a consult with Michele here.
    Michele is a naturopathic clinician and certified GAPS practitioner with a special interest in digestive and children's health. 

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