Abstract

A method of determining oxidation types by means of hair tissue mineral ratios was evaluated by reviewing 55 patient files.  Correlations were assessed between tissue calcium/potassium, sodium/magnesium, and sodium/potassium ratios, and nine signs and symptoms of oxidation type. Hair mineral ratios were found to be good predictors of signs and symptoms of oxidation type.

Introduction

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In 1972, George Watson proposed that different individuals metabolize their food at different rates, and that deviations in the rate of oxidation can produce physical and mental illness.  He typed people, using various tests, into ‘fast’, ‘slow’, and ‘sub’ oxidizers (1,2). Watson further claimed that fast and slow oxidizers require different kinds of foods and supplementary nutrients, in order to balance their chemistry. By assessing the chemistry, and then giving the appropriate foods and nutrients for each ‘type’, positive changes were observed in behavior and general health (1,2).

Watson used determinations of serum dissolved CO2 and serum pH, odor tests, or a food preference questionnaire to determine fast and slow metabolic types.  Research has been underway for the past decade to find simple, reliable methods to confirm Watson’s work, and to improve upon his tests to precisely assess oxidation rate.  This study is an evaluation of a method developed by Dr. Paul C. Eck of Phoenix, Arizona, to determine oxidation types utilizing mineral ratios in a sample of hair analyzed by atomic absorption spectroscopy.

METHOD

  1. A) Criteria for inclusion in the study.

To be included in the study, each case had to meet 3 sets of criteria: 1) proper hair sampling, 2) proper laboratory technique, and 3) adequate information about the signs and symptoms of oxidation types. The criteria were the following:

1) HAIR SAMPLING:

  1. a) normal shampooing was allowed on the day of sampling.
  2. b) patients had to wash their hair four times after receiving a chemical permanent, before submitting a sample for analysis.
  3. c) hair creams, setting lotions, sprays, conditioners, etc. were allowed to be on the hair.
  4. d) hair was clipped from at least three sites from the back of the head and nape of the neck.  The sample was cut as close as possible to the scalp, and any hair over 1 and one-half inches long was cut off the sample and discarded.
  5. e) clippings were combined until a half-gram sample was obtained.

2) LABORATORY TECHNIQUE:

  1. a) all tests were performed at a laboratory which did NOT wash the hair prior to analysis.
  2. b) preparation of hair for analysis was by digestion of a 300 mg sample in 2.0 ml of a 3:1 solution of nitric/perchloric acid, heated to 300 C. overnight, and rehydrated with 6.0 ml of 0.9% HCl solution. 0.8 ml of this solution is then diluted to 4.0 ml with a 0.2% cesium chloride solution.
  3. c) analysis was performed on an atomic absorption instrument.
  4. d) calibration of the instrument was by Fisher A. A. Standards.
  5. e) quality control consisted of testing each batch of samples against:

– a check sample from the Fisher A.A. Standards
– an in-house control hair sample
– a National Bureau of Standards Control
– a blank solution of the acids used in digestion

3) ADEQUATE PATIENT INFORMATION:

At least four signs or symptoms of fast or slow oxidation had to be listed in the patient file, obtained at the time the sample was taken.

  1. B) Method of determination of oxidation type from tissue mineral analysis.

Two ratios are involved in Paul Eck’s determination of oxidation type (3): calcium/potassium and sodium/magnesium. Fast oxidation is defined by Dr. Eck as a calcium/potassium ratio less than 4:1 and a sodium/magnesium ratio greater than 4.17:1. For this study, two varieties of fast oxidizers were determined and analyzed – fast with a normal or elevated sodium/potassium ratio, and fast with a low sodium/potassium ratio.  Dr. Eck found that the fast oxidizer with a low sodium/potassium ratio (Na/K < 2.5:1) behaves more like a slow oxidizer than a fast. It was decided to test this concept as part of the study.

Slow oxidation is defined as a calcium/potassium ratio greater than or equal to 4:1 and a sodium/magnesium ratio less than or equal to 4.17:1.  Mixed oxidation is a transition or unstable state which is defined as either a calcium/potassium ratio greater than 4:1 and a sodium/magnesium ratio greater than or equal to 4.17:1, OR a calcium/potassium ratio less than or equal to 4:1 and a sodium/magnesium ratio less than 4.17:1. These definitions are summarized in table 1.


TABLE 1. MINERAL RATIOS FOR FAST, SLOW AND MIXED OXIDATION

FAST OXIDATION WITH NORMAL OR ELEVATED NA/K RATIO:

calcium/potassium ratio LESS THAN 4:1,
sodium/magnesium ratio GREATER THAN 4.17:1,
sodium/potassium ratio GREATER THAN OR EQUAL TO 2.5:1.

FAST OXIDATION WITH LOW NA/K RATIO:

Calcium/potassium ratio LESS THAN 4:1,
sodium/magnesium ratio GREATER THAN 4.17:1,
sodium/potassium ratio LESS THAN 2.5:1.

SLOW OXIDATION:

Calcium/potassium ratio GREATER THAN OR EQUAL TO 4:1, and
sodium/magnesium ratio LESS THAN OR EQUAL TO 4.17:1.

MIXED OXIDATION:

Calcium/potassium ratio GREATER THAN OR EQUAL TO 4:1, and sodium/magnesium ratio GREATER THAN 4.17:1.

OR

Calcium/potassium ratio LESS THAN 4:1, and
sodium/magnesium ratio LESS THAN OR EQUAL TO 4.17:1.

  1. C) Sign and Symptom Criteria for Determining Oxidation Type.

George Watson found that certain food preferences, signs and symptoms are associated with each oxidation type. Since the blood and odor tests Watson used were not performed on the patients in this study, it was decided to use food preferences, signs and symptoms as a basis of comparison with the results of the tissue mineral analyses. The 52-question oxidation test which Watson published (1) had not been given to these patients, but patients had been questioned about food habits, cravings, food preferences, and a variety of physical and emotional symptoms. Utilizing Watson’s and Eck’s research about oxidation types, nine indicators of oxidation type were chosen for this study:

– frequency of bowel movements
– oily or dry skin
– warmth of extremities
– food cravings
– blood pressure
– sweating
– typical moods
– energy level
– animal protein preference

Following is the rationale for each of the above indicators:

  1. Frequency of Bowel Movements. Increased metabolic activity is associated with increased peristaltic activity and hence more frequent bowel movements in the fast oxidizer.  More than one bowel movement per day was considered an indicator of fast oxidation.  One or fewer movements per day indicated slow oxidation.
  2. Dry or Oily Skin and Hair. Increased metabolic activity is associated with increased activity of the sebaceous glands of the skin and scalp, which in turn is associated with oily skin and hair in the fast oxidizer.  Patients were asked to subjectively rate themselves as having a tendency to oily or dry hair and skin.
  3. Blood circulation. Increased rate of metabolism in the fast oxidizer is associated with enhanced blood circulation, and correlates with a tendency to warmer hands and feet, even in cold weather.  Patients were asked if they experienced cold extremities.
  4. Food cravings. Food cravings can express the body’s desire to balance chemistry.  Fast oxidizers tend to crave fats, butter and red meat, foods which slow the metabolic rate.  The slow oxidizer often craves sweets to combat hypoglycemia, and salt to replace salt lost through underactive adrenal gland activity (low aldosterone).
  5. Blood Pressure. Fast oxidation is associated with increased vascular (sympathetic) tone, and sodium retention due to elevated aldosterone levels.  These frequently result in a blood pressure over 120/80.  Slow oxidizers tend to have blood pressures of 120/80 or lower. This is due to weaker vascular tone, and/or low sodium levels which causes a reduced blood volume and blood pressure.
  6. Sweating. Enhanced metabolic activity increases generation of heat in body tissues.  This is associated with increased sweating in the fast oxidizer.  Slow oxidizers generally sweat less.  Patients were asked to rate themselves subjectively as to whether they sweat heavily or lightly.
  7. Mood. In fast oxidation, all metabolic processes speed up, including mental functioning.  This can result in a tendency to anxiety, nervousness, or jitteriness.  Slower mental activity in the slow oxidizer, on the other hand, causes a tendency for sluggishness, lethargy, apathy, and depression.
  8. Energy level.  A fast metabolic rate, within certain limits, is associated with higher energy levels, than is a slow metabolic rate.  Fatigue and lethargy can be experienced by both types, but is more common in the slow oxidizer.  Patients were asked to subjectively rate their energy level as high or low.

    PROCEDURE

    Ninety-seven patient charts were reviewed.  A ‘signs and symptoms’ worksheet was filled out for each patient.  The totals for the slow and fast symptoms categories were added up and expressed as a ratio of fast characteristics to slow characteristics.  A ratio greater than 1/1 indicates fast metabolism. Less than 1/1 indicates slow metabolism. Forty-two charts were discarded from the study because fewer than 4 signs or symptoms of oxidation type were listed for the patient.

    Ratios of calcium/potassium, sodium/magnesium, and sodium/potassium were calculated for each hair analysis to determine fast, fast with low sodium/potassium ratio, slow, and mixed oxidation as defined in Table 1.  The results of the hair analyses and the ratios of fast and slow symptoms for the 55 cases are listed in Table 2. All files are available for inspection.

Correlation was then made to determine how much agreement existed between tissue mineral ratio indicators and sign and symptom indicators of fast and slow oxidation.  Results are summarized in Table 3.


TABLE 2. DATA FROM 55 PATIENTS

Hair analysis date expressed with the following abbreviations:
F = fast oxidizer                     FI = fast oxidizer with a low sodium/potassium ratio
M = mixed oxidizer                  S = slow oxidizer

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS DATA EXPRESSED AS A RATIO OF FAST/SLOW SYMPTOMS

F 2/2         S 0/4     S 1/3

S 2/3         S 0/4     S 1/3

M 2/4        FI 2/3    FI 3/2

F 2/2         S 0/5     M 3/1

FI 3/2        S 0/4     S 1/3

S 0/5         S 2/2     S 1/4

FI 1/5        M 2/4    FI 1/3

S 1/3         S 2/4     S 1/5

S 2/7         S 1/4     S 0/4

S 2/3         S 1/3      S 1/3

S 1/4         M 4/1     S 1/3

S 2/5         M 0/4     S 2/3

S 1/6         FI 0/5     S 1/5

S 1/4         S 1/3      S 1/3

S 0/4         S 1/4      S 1/5

S 2/4         M 0/5     S 2/2

S 1/5         S 1/3      FI 1/5

F 3/2         S 2/3     M 3/3

S 3/2

Totals:
                                    SIGNS & SYMPTOMS         ANALYSIS

FAST OXIDIZER                        6                                3
FAST WITH LOW NA/K RATIO      0                                7
SLOW OXIDIZER                       44                              38
MIXED OXIDIZER                        5                               7
——–                     ——–
TOTALS                                  55                             55

 

Analysis of the data by percentages:

1) OF THOSE WITH FAST OXIDIZER TISSUE ANALYSES:

* 1 out of 3, or 33.3% demonstrated FAST OXIDIZER symptoms.

* 2 out of 3, or 66.6% demonstrated AN EVEN MIXTURE OF SLOW AND FAST symptoms.

* NONE demonstrated SLOW OXIDIZER symptoms.

2) OF THOSE WITH FAST OXIDIZER ANALYSES WITH LOW NA/K RATIOS:

* 2 out of 7, or 28.6% demonstrated FAST OXIDIZER symptoms.

* NONE demonstrated AN EVEN MIXTURE OF SYMPTOMS.

* 5 out of 7, or 71.4% demonstrated SLOW OXIDIZER SYMPTOMS.

3) OF THOSE WITH SLOW OXIDIZER TISSUE ANALYSES:

* 1 out of 38, or 2.6% demonstrated FAST OXIDIZER symptoms.

* 2 out of 38, or 5.3% demonstrated AN EVEN MIXTURE OF FAST AND SLOW symptoms.

* 35 out of 38, or 92.1% demonstrated SLOW OXIDIZER symptoms.

4) OF THOSE WITH MIXED OXIDIZER TISSUE ANALYSES:

* 2 out of 7, or 28.6% demonstrated FAST OXIDIZER symptoms.

* 1 out of 7, or 14.3% demonstrated AN EVEN MIXTURE OF FAST AND SLOW OXIDIZER SYMPTOMS.

* 4 out of 7, or 57.1% demonstrated SLOW OXIDIZER symptoms.


TABLE 3. SUMMARY OF PERCENTAGE CORRELATIONS.

HAIR ANALYSIS       CORRELATION WITH SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
fast                mixed              slow          total

fast oxidizer                  33.3%             66.7%             0              100%
fast with low Na/K       28.6%               0                 71.4%        100%
slow oxidizer                2.6%               5.3%             92.1%        100%
mixed oxidizer              28.6%             14.3%           57.1%        100%


DISCUSSION

Slow oxidizer tissue mineral ratios were an excellent predictor of slow oxidizer signs and symptoms.  Fast oxidizer mineral ratios with low sodium-to-potassium ratios were also a good predictor of slow oxidizer signs and symptoms.

Fast oxidizer mineral ratios correlated best with fast or a mixture of fast and slow signs and symptoms.  Possibly, this mixed correlation is due to the presence in the study of individuals called ‘temporary fast oxidizers’ or ‘slow under stress’.  These people have fast oxidizer mineral ratios but don’t manifest signs and symptoms typical of fast metabolism.  The physiological basis for temporary fast oxidation has been elaborated (4). Patients in this category, on retesting their tissue mineral levels after several months of corrective therapy, change to mixed or slow oxidation.

Mixed oxidizer mineral ratios correlated best with slow oxidizer signs and symptoms.  Most mixed oxidizer hair analyses resolve within 3 months of corrective therapy to slow or fast oxidation.  The percentages of correlation between mixed oxidizer tests, and slow and fast oxidizer symptoms (57% and 28%), approximately matches the ratio of slow to fast oxidizers in the general population (3-4:1).  The correlation of the unstable mixed oxidizer tests with slow and fast oxidizer symptoms probably reflects the direction in which the mixed oxidizer tissue tests will resolve.
IntraCal™ contains both calcium orotate and magnesium orotate to help support healthy bones, teeth, the nervous system, and even cardiovascular health.

CONCLUSION

Results of this study support the concept that oxidation type may be determined by calculation of calcium/potassium, sodium/magnesium, and sodium/potassium ratios in an unwashed hair sample analyzed by atomic absorption spectroscopy. Future studies will evaluate the efficacy of nutritional therapy using hair mineral ratios as a basis for diet and supplement regimens.

by Dr. Lawrence Wilson

(first published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Vol. 1, #2, 1986)

 

References (4)
  1. Watson, G., Nutrition and Your Mind, Bantam Books, New York, 1972.
  2. Watson, G., Personality Strength and Psychochemical Energy, Harper and Row, NY, l979.
  3. Eck, Paul C., “Oxidation”, Healthscope Magazine, #2, pp. 2-5, April-May l982.
  4. “Introduction to Oxidation Types”, tape 2 of 6-tape series, produced by Dr. Lawrence D. Wilson, l984.

 

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