Trace elements and Neuropsychological problems as reflected in Tissue Mineral Analysis (TMA) Patterns

Excerpts from the conference of “Research Strategies for Assessing the Behavioral Effects of Food and Nutrients” appeared in Science in 1982. The paper stated, “The effects are subtle, but a number of scientists are finding that people do react to the food they eat.” In 1983 Wurtman stated in Lancet, “most drugs that modify normal and abnormal behaviors do so by changing the amounts of particular neurotransmitters present within the brain synapses or by influencing the interactions between transmitter molecules and their post synaptic receptors. If a food constituent can be shown to cause similar changes in the release or actions of one of these neurotransmitters, there is every reason to expect that the nutrient will also be able to influence behaviour.”1 To further quote Dr Wurtman. “there is no longer any real controversy over whether nutrients can affect behavior.”

Dr Wutman began studying the effects of food on brain biochemistry over ten years ago. His work focused mainly on amino acids as the precursors to neurotransmitters. However; vitamins and especially minerals are also known to affect brain function. Approximately twenty years prior to Dr Wurtman’s reports, Dr Hoffer, Dr Osmond and co workers were pioneering the biochemical basis of mental illness. Their work has led to an effective nutritional treatment of serious mental disorders – a treatment that is continually expanding in its application.

Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury are found ubiquitously in our environment: therefore, exposure is not uncommon. Excessive body burdens of heavy metals are known to contribute to emotional changes and neurological impairment. Studies have shown that emotional status of an individual can affect the absorption and excretion of minerals .2 Trace minerals have been shown to influence hormones at several levels of action, similarly, hormones have been shown to affect trace mineral metabolism, including excretion and transport.

Since it is well known that psychic factors can trigger an increase in mineral excretion and/or absorption, it is reasonable to assume that chronic emotional stress may be reflected in TMA patterns. Thus far TMA research has found significant findings on mineral and heavy metal relationships. 34

1 Wurtman RJ,Behaviouraleffects of nutrients – Lancet May 1983

2 Hathaway ML: Magnesium in human nutrition USDA Washington 1962

3 Rimland B: Hair mineral analysis and behavior; analysis of 51 studies. J.Learn.Dis May 1983

4 Lester ML: Refined carbohydrate intake, hair cadmium levels and cognitive function in children. Nutr. and Behavior 1:3 1982

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