This important biochemical concept about minerals may blow your mind. It is a big reason that I do not use Hair Trace Mineral Analysis (HTMA). Instead, I focus on the mitochondria.
Inside the cell we have lots of organelles that perform different functions floating around in the cytosol, which contains many ions, including lots of water. Now proteins are also floating in this cytosol (proteins are made up of amino acids that have electrical charges hanging off the sides of them that affect bonding, folding, and structure of the protein).
The ions are also electrical charges, which all compete for the charges on the side chains of the proteins. Since water is more abundant, for example there is 550 molecules of water for each molecule of potassium (K+) then waer and other ions complete for the charges on the sides of the protein. K+ is the most abundant ion in the cell.
Now follow me, sodium and potassium and water are along the surface of the protein in the cytosol of the cell. Na+ and K+ both have the same electrical charge (+1), so you would think that their bonding would be the same! However, Sodium (Na+) and K+ are not the same SIZE!
So what does this have to do with anything? WELL, PLENTY! Since sodium is smaller it means that its electrons are closer to the nucleus which makes any bond it makes stronger, and it takes more energy (ATP) to remove it from the bond. So this means that it’s harder to remove the bond that Na+ has to water in order to bond to a protein. This affects the concentration gradient that causes more K+ to bond to the surface of a protein than Na+ which affects the concentration gradient from intracellular ions to extracellular ions.
ATP pumps are used to pump K+ inside the cellular membrane (which most of our ATP would be used for this if it weren’t for the surface proteins concentration gradient that is created by K+ bonding).
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?
To put it simply – when the Na+/K+ balance is off it really is a representation of low ATP production from the mitochondria and/or poor diet. Our focus should be on the SOURCE OR ROOT CAUSE of this imbalance, NOT HTMA and just taking in more K+ or more Na+ or other minerals doesn’t fix the problem of having to use up more ATP to maintain the gradient!
IN A NUTSHELL
if your HTMA shows an imbalance of Na+:K+ it’s really a mitochondria issue! Work on the mitochondria, then energy will be restored to keep those ATP pumps at the cell membrane working properly and the ion balance will correct on its own.
An OAT or NutrEval or ONE test is what you need, not HTMA!
Our diet has swayed very far from our ancestors. The K+ intake from our great grandparents compared to Na+ intake was 16:1 due to a diet high in real foods (food that doesn’t contain a label). Now the average American K+:Na+ intake is 1:10 WHICH IS COMPLETELY REVERSED.
So how do you think this is affecting our energy balance? It’s my opinion that most of our ATP is being used up to maintain the ATP pumps to keep the concentration gradient at homeostasis inside the cells.
This translates into:
- chronic fatigue
- auto-immune disease
HOW TO FIX?
Change your diet to a plant based diet and work with a skilled practitioner who knows about the energy of the mitochondria to restore it!