by Lawrence Wilson, MD

© June 2010, The Center For Development

Retesting the balance of the minerals in the hair tissue every 3 to 6 months or so is a critical part of all nutritional balancing programs.  The reasons for this are many.  The main one is that a properly designed nutritional balancing program will slowly uncover and expose deeper layers of biochemical imbalances, toxic metals, toxic chemicals, chronic infections and nutrient deficiencies to be resolved and eliminated.  Thus, when one follows this program, each retest brings up a new layer of imbalances that needs to be addressed with the healing program. 

Retesting is the only way to know at a deep level if a nutritional balancing program is still appropriate and correct for a person.  Also, only a retest will show what changes are needed in the diet, the lifestyle and the supplement program or other aspects of the program. 

 If a retest is postponed, progress may stagnate or worse, the nutritional program might further unbalance a person rather than move him toward better health.  Many people believe that foods and nutritional supplements are harmless.  This is not altogether true.  For example, for a fast oxidizer metabolic type, B-complex vitamins can make a person’s anxiety worse!  An improper diet or supplement program could also make a person even more depressed, in some cases.  If toxic metals are in the process of being eliminated, one may require different supplements to support the body, a different detoxification regimen, or lifestyle changes to support the process.  These are just a few examples of why retesting is so critical for the best results with nutritional balancing.


 1. Safety. Retests are needed to make sure the healing program is actually improving one’s health, rather than making it worse or having little positive effect.  Safety is always the most important consideration in nutritional balancing science, and should be in all medical care as well.

 2. Maintaining a high vitality level.  We find that when the nutrition program is set up to gently balance body chemistry, a person’s vitality increases dramatically.  This is necessary for deep healing and spiritual development.  Retesting regularly is the only way to assess whether the program is appropriate to maximize vitality and adaptive energy production. 

3. Addressing new stress factors in a person’s life.  Retests allow us to alter a nutritional balancing program to account for all types of changes in a person’s lifestyle, diet, or any type of new situation that may possibly be affecting body chemistry.  This is critical to assure the highest vitality level and a balanced body chemistry in the face of stressors of all kinds such as accidents, divorce, and even a new job or a move.

4. Insights about puzzling symptoms.  Many symptoms such as fatigue, pain, low blood sugar or others may be due to temporary changes in body chemistry that will be revealed on a retest.  If one knows what is occurring at the deepest cellular level, one can take steps to compensate or change the program, which often relieves these symptoms.  Symptoms may be physical, mental and emotional.

 5. Addressing latent and sub-clinical health conditions.  Most people have latent health conditions.  These may be chronic infections, tumors, tissue weaknesses or other conditions that are so small or mild they are not revealed on standard medical tests.  However, they are important if one is to prevent health problems later in life.

Nutritional balancing science can and does always address these hidden conditions.  Often the only evidence of their existence is a significant shift on a hair mineral retest after a person has been on a nutritional balancing program for several months.  Once again, through the retest it is possible to then adjust the nutritional balancing program to assist the body to heal these sub-clinical and latent conditions.

 6. Cost effectiveness.  It is often a waste of money and effort to remain on a nutritional program that is not appropriate for one’s body chemistry.  In fact, the wrong supplements, for example, can set one back instead of moving one forward on a healing path.

 7. Reassurance, guidance and feedback for practitioners.  Retests provide a lot of reassurance for practitioners and patients alike.  If no change occurs at all on a retest, for example, perhaps the patient is not following the diet, supplements and lifestyle correctly.  Perhaps there is so much psychological or other stress that it is negating the benefits of the program and must be addressed.  Rarely the cause is the program was not set up properly.


I suggest retesting every 4 to 6 months or so for as long as a person continues on a full nutritional balancing program.  I often talk to clients who proudly tell me they have reordered their supplements for a year or more without a retest.  I wonder how much time and money they probably wasted by not retesting.

If a person is on a small maintenance program or if the body chemistry is very stable, which is rare, then retests can be spread further apart, up to a year or even more between retests.

Most people need to stay on a nutritional balancing program for a number of years to really improve their health.  Symptoms may disappear rapidly, but retesting is helpful to dig into deeper layers of adaptations and compensations in order to restore health at the deepest levels.  This can take ten years or more for most adults.

In addition, if a person will remain on a nutritional balancing program for several years, the process I call spiritual development will begin to occur in all cases.  This is the development of the subtle human bodies, which are really energy fields that can develop if one continues to detoxify the body and improve one’s health and lifestyle.  This fascinating topic is discussed in several articles on this website such as Spiritual Development.


A person may feel better, yet a hair mineral analysis retest might reveal worsened ratios or little significant change.  Conversely, a person may feel the same or worse, yet the retest shows improvement. Why does these confusing situations arise?

Compensations and adaptations.  A key to these phenomena is to understand adaptation.  A fundamental principle of nutritional balancing is that our bodies survive by compensating or adapting to stress. 

Adaptations are biochemical changes in the body that occur moment to moment and day to day as we react to our environment.  They reflected in altered mineral levels and ratios on a hair test. Taken together, the altered levels and ratios are called homeostatic states.

For example, very slow oxidation is a homeostatic state characterized by the tendency for low energy, depression and low blood sugar. It is, however, the best the body can do at the time. Very fast oxidation is another homeostatic state with different symptoms. High levels of toxic metals is a third state and so forth.

With this understanding of adaptations and compensations, one can better understand why retests and symptoms do not always or even most often correlate completely.

The test or the symptoms may lead.  In some cases, the symptoms may change before the retest.  In other cases, the body chemistry may shift before symptomatic changes are noticeable.  This is a common source of confusion with retests.

Uncovering deeper layers of imbalances.  This is another key concept to avoid confusion with retests.  Often a retest shows a different picture because one has discovered a deeper layer of imbalance, toxic metals or some other alterations of body chemistry.

Now let us discuss why certain unusual phenomena occur on retests.


1. Decompensation.  One reason this occurs is decompensation.  After several weeks or months on a nutrition program, nutrients are replenished and energy improves. The body then does not need to compensate as much and a change of equilibrium or homeostasis occurs. Occasionally, a temporary increased imbalance occurs.

 Zinc decreases. An example is a patient with a good zinc level, in spite of symptoms such as prostate enlargement, skin problems, decreased sense of taste and smell, poor digestion or other zinc deficiency symptoms. On a second or third test, the zinc level may drop precipitously, yet the patient reports feeling better. What happened?

The zinc reading was originally displaced upwards, to balance something else or by a toxic metal such as cadmium. Cadmium and other toxic metals can cause physiological mineral levels to appear higher in the hair.

 As energy increases, cadmium is eliminated from the body.  As cadmium is released, zinc replaces it in the tissues and for a while less zinc is excreted into the hair tissue. The retention of the zinc, along with cadmium elimination, causes improvement in symptoms.

 An oxidation rate worsens.  A second example is a chronically ill (compensated) patient with a fairly balanced oxidation rate on the first hair test. This occurs commonly. After one or several tests, the oxidation rate may become very slow or very fast, indicating severe energy loss. However, the patient reports feeling better.

In this case, the body had compensated for nutrient imbalances by accumulating toxic metals that temporarily balanced the oxidation rate.

Cadmium, for example, will raise sodium levels. Lead can replace calcium. In spite of a fairly balanced oxidation rate, the person did not feel well because of the presence of the toxic metals, often hidden deep within the tissues.

As body chemistry improved, the body began to eliminate the toxic metals, replacing them with physiological minerals. The person begins to feel better. Yet the oxidation rate may reveal the underlying imbalance and look worse for a while.

2. Symptom relief.  A second reason the test may look worse but the patient feels better is if the patient gains relief from an important symptom. This may produce psychological well-being in the patient, even though other imbalances exist.

3. Not reading the test carefully enough.  A third reason for an apparent worsening of the test in spite of symptomatic improvement is the practitioner may not understand how to interpret the new test.

4. Higher toxic metals.  For example, higher toxic metals usually means one is actively eliminating of metals, not a worsening of toxicity.  An unbalanced oxidation rate may grab one's attention, causing one to overlook an improved sodium/potassium ratio or improved phosphorus or zinc level.

5. Uncovering a deeper layer of imbalances.  This occurs often on hair mineral tests.  The main reason is that imbalances in body chemistry are unwound or uncovered layer by layer.  Often, a superficial layer does not appear that abnormal.  However, a deeper layer reveals hidden toxic metals and other imbalances that are more aberrant.

This is not a cause for alarm, but for gratitude that one is uncovering and correcting deeper imbalances.  Usually one feels better as these are uncovered, as it means one must no longer spend energy compensating and adapting to underlying imbalances.  Adaptive energy that was tied up in this way is now freed and one often feels better.

In those following a nutritional balancing program, blood, urine and other tests may also be skewed temporarily as the unwinding of layers of adaptations proceeds.  One simply addresses the imbalances that are present without placing too much emphasis on the seemingly worsened appearance of the mineral or other test.


There are several reasons why there may be little change in the hair test, but the patient feels better. Possible reasons include:

1. It’s too soon to notice.  A diet, supplement or lifestyle change increases well-being, but has not yet impacted body chemistry enough to show up on the test.  Remember that a hair analysis is a picture of the past three months or so of a person’s body chemistry.  Recent changes may take an extra month or two to show up on a retest.

2. Faulty Interpretation.  The practitioner overlooks a subtle improved ratio or level.

3. Averaging.  The change may be too subtle to see on one test. For example, a copper level that is rising from 2.5 mg% to 8.5 mg% over the 3 month sampling period will be averaged resulting in a reading of 5.5 mg%.

Over the next 3 months, a decrease in the copper level from 9 mg% to 2 mg% will be averaged to also produce a reading of 5.5 mg%. The reading will be the same, but the meaning is very different!

The only way to detect such a subtle change would be to retest sooner. Eventually, of course, the trend in body chemistry will be revealed, but on a temporary basis it can seem as though nothing has changed.

4. Faulty hair sampling.  The hair was not sampled correctly.  This should not happen if instructions for sampling hair are followed to the letter.  However, if someone sends in a long hair sample, it may be old.  A sample cut away from the scalp will not show recent changes.


A patient with an improved test can feel worse for several reasons.

1. Retracing reactions.  The most common reason is a healing reaction or retracing reaction. This can give rise to many kinds of symptoms.

                  Most do not last long, but chronic conditions may require months for retracing.  One patient began to dissolve old kidney stones, which then began to pass, causing extreme discomfort until all had passed.

2. Ridding the body of a latent condition.  With a nutritional balancing program, unlike most other nutrition or healing regimens, the body corrects the most important imbalances first.   The most important imbalance may not be one’s main symptom, however.

Therefore, one may not feel better immediately, even though positive change is occurring.  Some understanding of the correction process is required in order to continue with the program in spite of little apparent symptom change.

For example, a latent condition might be a partially clogged artery or an early cancer.  These conditions usually have no obvious symptoms and one is unaware of the developing pathology.

Since there are no obvious symptoms of pathology, one is also often not aware of the correction of the latent pathology either.  Therefore, one might think that nothing has occurred after a few months on a program, when in fact an important healing has occurred.  The hair analysis may be the only indicator of the healing.

Meanwhile, one’s more ‘pressing’ symptoms may not change.  In reality, these may be much less important, however, than healing the latent heart attack.

3. A higher level of awareness of symptoms.  This is a common occurrence on our programs.  Many people are not are of their health or their energy level when beginning a nutritional balancing program.  As they progress, however, they become far more aware of their bodies.

                  With this comes awareness of problems, aches and pains and other symptoms.  This can make a person believe they are worse, when really they are simply more in touch with the body and the mind as well.

4. New stress factors.  As health improves, new challenges may occur in a person’s life, creating anxiety or other symptoms.

5. The patient may have forgotten some of his original complaints.  This is far more common, in our experience, than one might imagine.

For this reason, it is always wise for practitioners to keep a written record of all symptoms and conditions at the beginning of treatment.  Then, when a person says there is no improvement or they are feeling worse, you can refer to this sheet and ask about each symptom. Often half are gone and forgotten.

6. The patient increased their activity level. This is common with fatigued patients who are anxious to get back to their old routine. As they improve, they increase their activities, using up the extra energy they gained. As a result, they may not feel better. Careful questioning may reveal an increased activity level, needing fewer naps, or some other subtle improvement.


I have identified at least a dozen patterns that are revealed only on retest hair mineral analyses.  A few may be discussed in other articles on this website.  They will be discussed in a separate article, or I will update this article, hopefully soon.  They are not discussed in the Nutritional Balancing book.  These patterns have names such as:

1. Dog In The Doghouse, or Dog In The Corner, also called Back In the Tunnel Of Life

2. Settling Down Pattern

3. Kidney Stress pattern

4. Elimination Of Biounavailable Or Metastatic Calcium and Perhaps Magnesium

5. Getting Rid Of The Crutches

6. Decompensation

7. Out Of The Toilet, or Emerging From Four Lows

8. Flip Over Pattern