Mineral Status And Psychological Wellbeing

How minerals can change your health and your life

No matter how much IFS you do, you can't fix EVERYTHING with it. (I wish!) While IFS has transformed my health in immeasurable ways, as I continue on my own healing journey, I have found I also need to address physical health directly as well.

One of the tools I use for this is Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA). This is simply a report of the minerals and metals in a small piece of hair that is sent to a lab and analyzed. It is a non-invasive, inexpensive, and accessible way to get a broad view of how the body is functioning.

I started tracking my mineral status in 2017. As I replenish depleted minerals, I find that I have more energy and better sleep. I have less aches and pains. Emotionally, I am more positive, calm and focused.

Although HTMA is a simple test, interpreting it is not. Sometimes minerals or metals are HIGH in the hair because they are not bio-available in the body: they are being excreted, or building up, instead of being metabolized correctly.

On the other hand, heavy metals may show up low in a hair test, which LOOKS like a good thing, but may actually be bad -- this may indicate the body is NOT excreting them well, and therefore the hair burden is low but the body burden is high. People often see low levels of toxic metals in the hair on a first test. That was the case with me.

As I started addressing my mineral deficits, my metabolism improved. As my metabolism improved, my body was able to start moving heavy metals out.  Arsenic went from .004 to .011 to .018.  I knew I had arsenic because I ate brown rice for over a decade. (Rice and chicken have high levels of arsenic contamination). I'm glad I'm finally beginning to get it out of me.

I began drinking water with silica, which is the top chelator of aluminum according to Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt and Dr. Christopher Exley. As I persist in drinking silica-rich water, my level of aluminum in each successive HTMA has almost doubled -- from .32, to .60, to 1.03 on my latest test. So although my numbers are coming UP, this is good news, because it probably means my body burden of aluminum is coming DOWN.

Mercury has been a roller coaster -- my first test it was .041, second: .027, third: .042. I'm hoping it's being chelated in waves!

I am pursuing continuing education in how to read hair tissue mineral analysis, so that I can help people use this non-invasive tool to track both their major minerals, as well as their toxic metals. In the future, I am hoping to offer hair tissue mineral analysis to clients, because heavy metals and mineral deficiencies can impact emotional health. I want to do everything I can to support people's highest functioning on all levels!

Link below for more reading:


12/7/17 ARL HTMA (Analytical Research Labs) Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

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I'm proud of my progress in six months! (Note the last test results are in the boxes below each result, under "previous"). 

I resolved my "calcium shell," and budged my sodium up to 4 from 3. (I salt everything!) 

My main concern right now is the low, low potassium. Looking forward to finding ways to bring all my low numbers up while making sure my calcium doesn't go sky-high again. 

Natto Update

I have updated how I eat the natto. I cut out the ginger and other stuff, and settled on something super simple: just sweet potato, tahini, and Redmonds Real Salt. It's pretty bland sans salt but could still work without it. 

Tahini masks the taste of natto fabulously! It not only masks the taste, it's sticky so it masks the spider-web texture of the natto too. Win-win! 

Melissa's Tahini-Natto-Sweet Potato recipe:

15 g Natto
20 g tahini
40 g sweet potato

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Mix together (easier said than done with natto, but once the spider webs calm down, it's good to go). Add sea salt or Real salt if desired. Enjoy! 


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Note that the Chronometer application (above) uses incomplete nutrition databases, so it is not showing the Vitamin K2 for the natto—I assume it is showing K1.

Natto gives you K2, and this database does not appear to distinguish K2 from K1. "Natto is the highest dietary source of vitamin K2 with a whopping 775 mcg per 100 gram serving." According to this source, 15 g of natto provides 116.25 mcg of Vitamin K2. That's around the recommendable level of K2 per day. (source: https://www.mamanatural.com/why-vitamin-k2-is-important-and-how-to-get-it) 

Nowadays I like to eat the natto with homemade broccoli sprouts. The heavy quality of the natto-tahini-sweet potato is balanced by the light quality of the broccoli sprouts. I usually eat about 50 grams of sprouts. The sprouts add a lot of great nutrition. Note that they do not provide ANY vitamin K2 — the Vitamin K here is Vitamin K1: 

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Personal experience

HTMA Calcium Success: After I started eating natto, I reduced the level of calcium in my hair tissue mineral analysis from Analytical Research Labs (ARL):

5/31/17: calcium level 120 (way over ideal, which is 40. My body was depositing calcium in my hair, and probably arteries and joints, because it was not bio-available). 
12/7/17: calcium level 38 --within ideal range!! 

During the time I brought my hair calcium level down to the proper level, in addition to eating natto, I also brought my Vitamin D level up from 31 to 71 using Vitamin D mushrooms, a Sperti Sun lamp, and outdoor sun exposure.  I can't be sure it was the natto, but I'm impressed I resolved my "calcium shell" condition in 6 months so dramatically, and I think natto played an important part. 

Dental Feedback—Massive Plaque Reduction: Vitamin K2 moves calcium from places it should not be, like arteries and joints, to where it should be -- in the bones. People who take K2 note that it often clears up the plaque on their teeth (you can read that in Amazon reviews of Vitamin K2). 

My dentist was SO AMAZED at my lack of plaque, he commented on it three times at my last visit. "Look at this, Melissa! Look at this — no plaque! Plaque is not your problem, that's for sure!" I knew he would be impressed because I could feel the difference on my teeth, but it was fun to get the feedback. Thanks Dr. Simone! 


Natto increases K2 levels in blood https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10874601

My journey from cupcakes to Natto...and how I eat it now

My acupuncturist made long-term efforts to induce me to eat NATTO. So, I heard about this (to me) HORRIFYING food item for many, many years, as she casually brought it up (without pressuring me) from time to time. 

Note: Don't ever pressure anyone to eat NATTO! The interior fortitude required to face and eat the NATTO must be conjured from within. 

My diet had a fair amount of Sweet Mandy B's cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, and other tasty treats in it. With a sweet tooth like that, what were the chances my mouth was going to adjust itself to NATTO? Ummm...ZERO. I just wasn't ready. 

But in June of 2016 everything changed. My acupuncturist told me she had to close her practice to address serious health concerns. I was SHOCKED! She looked completely healthy! This re-wired my brain: if she could be harboring deep health imbalances despite looking healthy, SO COULD I. 

On that very day, I QUIT EATING SUGAR. I had been working on quitting for probably a decade. I had quit and started, quit and started, probably dozens of times. But — every time you quit, you come closer to quitting for good. And this was the case for me. This time, it was for good.

My palate gradually recovered its natural capacity to appreciate real food. Month by month, I was eating healthier food. Finally...I was ready. Ready to face the NATTO. 

I went online to Meguminatto and placed my first order in a fit of courage. 

When I received it, all my fears were CONFIRMED. It smelled like ammonia + coffee (winning combo!) and looked like spider web-wrapped beans. 

I was as horrified as I always thought I would be, but I persevered, because I was READY. I devised a method to hide the taste: 

Melissa's Natto taste-hiding Natto-Ginger-Sweet Potato recipe
6 g fresh ginger (bottled ginger doesn't mask the taste as well, I tried and cried)
40 to 50 g mashed sweet potato (baked, boiled or steamed, whatever works)
Natto — amount dependent on taste tolerance (I started with 10 g, and have worked up to an astounding 24 g!!)
* optional — if you eat dairy, add 1 tsp of ghee. It really helps cut the taste! Also adds a little extra K2 to your recipe

Sweet Potato Ginger Natto

This recipe alone does not hide the taste enough, so I also have two further taste-disguising methods: 

1. Eat it with broccoli sprouts
The sprouts are slightly spicy and this helps mask the taste. 
2. Eat it with guacamole / some kind of avocado dressing
I can't eat tomatoes so I make mine without, but avocado and garlic go a LONG way towards masking the natto taste. In fact you could probably make natto guacamole! 

Melissa's No-Nightshade, Simple Avocado Dressing
Flesh of 1 avocado, mashed
8-12 g of fresh squeezed lemon juice (I squeeze weekly & keep a bottle in the fridge)
20 g of sauerkraut juice (I eat Bubbies sauerkraut daily, you could use your own or just add some salt here) 
• optional — fresh pressed garlic to tolerance (I do 1 tsp) 

That's it! It's seriously simple, like all my cooking! 

Ultimately, I ended up creating a natto taste-disguising, high-nutrient meal which looks like this: 

Natto lunch:

Natto-Ginger-Sweet Potato recipe
2.5 ounces broccoli sprouts
Greens & Mushrooms Cooked Salad
o-Nightshade, Simple Avocado Dressing

Natto Lunch

Melissa's Greens & Mushrooms Cooked Salad
106 g kale • or around 78 g kale, 45 g dandelion greens. 
95 g mushrooms (any kind)
No-Nightshade, Simple Avocado Dressing

Wash greens in filtered water. Soak in apple cider vinegar for 10 minutes. Boil large pot of water on stove. Throw greens into boiling water, boil for 7-8 minutes. Strain off excess water. Use same water to boil mushrooms to taste — anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. 

Keep the lid OFF the pot when you cook the greens and mushrooms. If you want to create Mt. Vesuvius in your kitchen, put the lid on the pot with the mushrooms and watch it explode!! Fun times. I don't know why mushrooms do that, but, yeah, cook them with the LID OFF. 

Here is the nutrient breakdown of my Natto lunch:

Natto lunch nutrition

When the time is right, I have confidence you, too, can eat Natto!

This is my method of incorporating it into my body — both for my taste buds and my nutrition needs. I know you will come up with awesome ways to make it work for you! 


Vitamin D from Mushrooms

How are mushrooms like humans? We can both convert sunlight to vitamin D in our skin!

So if you eat mushrooms, you can get all the Vitamin D you need!

Method 1: Sun Exposure 

Key fact to know: Not all sunlight is the right wavelength to create Vitamin D. Sometimes the sun is out, but no Vitamin D synthesis can happen, either because it's too early/late in the day, or during the "Vitamin D winter" between around November - February (in the Chicago area).

So Method 1 only works when the sun is high in the sky in the full sun hours of the day (between around 10 am- 4 pm), between April and November (for folks as far north as Chicago). 

Mushrooms can convert sun to Vitamin D AFTER THEY ARE HARVESTED. So you can buy regular, packaged or unpackaged mushrooms in the store (any kind my friends!) and this will work. 

Simply spread them out on a tray and put them in full sun. I do it on my window ledge. Leave them for as long as you can/want-- 30 minutes, 2 hours, 6 hours, you name it. 

If they are cut, great--that increases surface area for Vitamin D conversion. If they are not cut, put them GILLS UP. 

The longer you leave them out, the higher the Vitamin D will rise. Even 30 minutes is worth it! 

Method 2: UVB Light

You can't make Vitamin D on days when it rains. Or at 10 pm. Or in December in Chicago. But you CAN make Vitamin D from mushrooms any time, day or night, if you have a UVB light! 

Lizards need UVB light exposure. You can take advantage of this to buy a UVB lizard light to use on your mushrooms. They come in all sizes and shapes. 

You could attach one to something in your kitchen and create a permanent "mushroom irradiation" station. I couldn't find a good spot in my kitchen, so I decided to buy the absolute smallest UVB light I could find, keep it in a drawer, and take it out three/four times a week to shine on my mushrooms. This is what I bought on Amazon: 

Reptile T5HO 12″ Standard Fixture & Reflector

Zoo Med 26396 Reptisun 15W 10.0 T5-Ho Uvb Fluorescent Lamp, 12″

Note: You can purchase cheaper fixtures and lights. I wanted something extremely small and compact, so I was willing to pay extra for it.

Note: If you have never attached a UVB light into a UVB fixture, you have to TURN the ends of the light to click in to the fixture. Don't break the light. This video showed me how. 

I shine it right over my mushrooms at a distance of about 4-5″ for five minutes. I prop it up on tissue boxes to position it over my mushrooms. Super easy!

Want more info? Google "Vitamin D mushrooms" for links like these:


Final note: some people say the Vitamin D you get from mushrooms, Vitamin D2, in inferior to Vitamin D3, which you get from your own skin. So perhaps try to get as much Vitamin D from the sun as you can, and when you can't...use mushrooms! 

Science / Proof? 

Yes! https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2529203/