Lisa Pitel-Killah & Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Testing (HTMA)

We know one another from Kettlebell Sport, but tell members about yourself & your education, credentials & other aspects about you.

I am an FDN-P, a Practitioner of Functional Diagnostics, which bridges the gap between clinical nutrition and functional medicine, through the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Institute, USA.  I am also an HTMA Practitioner and part of a consortium of mineral experts, as well as the Co-Founder, of the HTMA Virtual Summit (https://htmavirtualsummit.com) that hosts an annual event bringing education on mineral balancing to practitioners, and the general public; around the world.  I am a long-standing member of the Association of Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Professionals, as well as faculty member of the Institute of Holistic Nutrition educating students and graduates on Mineral Balance and HTMA testing with my Continuing Education course.  I am the Founder and CEO of Vykon Supplements, which includes multiple divisions: Vykon Customs (based on HTMA science), Vykon Pets and Vykon Equine.  I am a health, wellness, and fitness advocate, and am an acting Director with the Canadian Kettlebell Alliance, as well as the Canadian Representative for the World Kettlebell Sport Federation North American Commission.  

That’s fantastic! How did you get interested in hair mineral analysis?

Years ago, when I was early in my clinical practice, I stumbled upon HTMA (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis), when a mentor mentioned it to me after I had been struggling with Estrogen dominance without cause for years.  I had run almost every diagnostic test available and to no avail kept coming up empty handed, so I figured I would give it shot…..and I never looked back.  After getting my results back and having an analysis done by one of the World’s Experts, he identified I had Copper Toxicity from years of birth control use.  This was the answer I had been searching for.  I started a protocol to support mineral balance and eventually assist in the detoxification of bio-unavailable copper, and this is when my life truly started to change.

I’m excited to get my analysis done with you, just signed up! What information does this analysis offer & how does it differ from a blood reading?

HTMA is a non-invasive diagnostic test that uses the biopsy of hair to get a deeper picture of functionality of the body. It will identify not only vital minerals levels, potential toxicities, but also the cellular function of the metabolism, thyroid, adrenals, hormones, blood sugar and more.  One of the most important ratios identified on test is the Vitality (aka. Stress) Ratio, which shows the stress patterns within an individual. This is one of the most valuable ratios for a practitioner to analyze in order to support optimal functioning and evaluate inflammation. The difference between HTMA and blood serum testing is that HTMA is a biopsy that shows us what is happening at a cellular level in the body over the course of a 3-4 month period. Blood is a snapshot, and one very important factor is that blood always wants to be in homeostasis, so ultimately, if there is a blood elevation of calcium, for example, it will do everything possible to push it into the tissues out of the blood in order to minimize the oxidative damage that ionized calcium may cause.  This will show up as “normal” calcium on blood work, but when viewed on an HTMA will show up as elevated tissue calcium, which can cause a whole host of negative symptoms including, weight gain, inability to lose weight, headaches, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, fatigue, joint stiffness, cramps, spasms, and more.

What can be done if the results of toxins are high?

Many times, we may see elevations of toxins on an HTMA, however, there are many times we will not. Let’s backtrack just a bit, there are two types of oxidation rates identified on HTMA, Fast Oxidation and Slow Oxidation. In very simple terms this means that Fast Oxidizers have an overactive thyroid and overactive adrenals, whereas a Slow Oxidizer potentially has an underactive thyroid and underactive adrenals.  When we evaluate toxic metals on a test for a Fast Oxidizer we may actually “see” elevated toxic metals on the test because of their strong function, however, in a Slow Oxidizer we may not “see” the elevations; but that does not mean there are no metals there, it just means the body is not strong enough to excrete them at this time. We also need to look at the true meaning of “mineral balancing”; because many believe that mineral balancing starts with detoxing toxicities, but this would be incorrect. The true nature of mineral balance STARTS with giving the body exactly what it needs for support for its vital nutrient minerals.  We must consider that if an individual has a deficiency in zinc, then it is very possible their body is sequestering a toxic metal such as cadmium or mercury (depending what is available in their environment). Why does this happen?  Well, because toxic metals that are chemically similar, to vital minerals can do a similar job on receptors within the body, however, because they are NOT vital minerals (which is actually what the body wants to use) then they will inevitably speed the aging process.  So, replacing the vital minerals so the body may STOP sequestering the toxic metals it has access to is the first step to supporting better functioning and once the body has what it needs it will let them go.

Very interesting. So what markers do you see showing up for women 40 or 50 and over?

When we start evaluating HTMAs for women in their 40s+ we may see elevated tissue calcium levels, which may contribute to weaker bones and potentially the build up of strontium or lead (which will replace calcium in the bones). The most important thing here is to ensure we are using synergists to get the calcium back into the bones and teeth where it belongs. Looking at a study from Trace Elements lab, in over 2,000 cases tested upwards of 80% were classified as Slow Oxidizers. What does this mean?  Well, a traditional Slow Oxidation pattern shows elevated tissue calcium, a loss of magnesium and subpar levels of sodium and potassium (ie: sluggish adrenals, sluggish thyroid).  With elevated tissue calcium, this is where those synergists come into play.

*The next part of this is looking at the underlying cause of the potential tissue calcium build-up, as there are many contributors, one being Copper Toxicity.  If a woman has a build-up of bio-unavailable copper, it can push potassium levels very low and thus this causes intense stress on the body, burning up magnesium and allowing calcium tissue levels to rise.  Hence the “root cause”.  

What’s the process of HTMA?

HTMA is a non-invasive diagnostic screening tool for health. It identifies exactly what the body needs for maximum support, including: minerals, vitamins and amino acids.  The testing itself requires a small amount of hair to be evaluated, it is that simple, but provides so much information.

Can we submit hair samples that have been colored?

You can submit a colored hair sample. The best-case scenario is to have at least 1 cm of regrowth prior to taking the sample, but if that is not possible, then ensuring newly colored hair is washed at least a dozen times prior to taking the sample is acceptable.  You can also use alternative samples for collection such as pubic hair, however, it is important to understand that levels in alternative hair samples may show elevations in certain minerals, due to the time it takes for the hair to grow. Scalp hair samples are always the best option.

Your health truly is in your hands and one of the biggest misconceptions for women as we age is the need for calcium supplementation to ensure strong bones and teeth.  As you can see with some of the issues pointed out above, the most important part of taking care of your cellular health is to know what exactly your body requires, so you can identify deficiencies, toxicities and dysfunction in order to course correct prior to it potentially becoming a problem.  HTMA is the screening tool that can bring this information to light, so you know that whatever supplementation you are putting your hard-earned money into, is actually what your body really needs.  

“Minerals are the spark plugs of life” ~~ Dr. Henry Schroeder, MD.

Lisa can be reached at www.lisapitelkillah.com

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