Mineral testing can be accomplished in several ways, depending on which minerals are in question.
- Hair analysis is useful as a screening tool for heavy metals. For nutrient minerals it is not as reliable as it is often made out to be. It correctly reports levels of some minerals, but not others.
- Blood serum testing accurately measures the body stores of some minerals but not others. Serum magnesium is an example of a serum blood test that yields less than useful information. Serum magnesium levels only begin to drop after body stores have been substantially reduced.
- Red blood cell (RBC) mineral levels are often offered as a package where many minerals, both toxic and nutritional, are tested for at one time. The importance of using a RBC membrane test is that essential minerals perform their physiologic action inside the cell and on the surface of the cell membrane. Routine laboratory testing measures only the amount of mineral present in the plasma or serum. That type of testing is thought to be generally inaccurate, if not inadequate. The RBC mineral test is considered to be much more accurate and represents a good assessment of cumulative nutritional adequacy.
Testing laboratories are suggested on our links page