THE OXIDATION TYPES – FAST, SLOW, MIXED AND FOUR LOWS
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© July 2023, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Table Of Contents
Definitions Of Fast, Slow And Mixed Oxidation
History of the Oxidation Types
Yang And Yin And The Oxidation Types
A General, Whole Systems Behavior
Correlation Of The Stages Of Stress With The Oxidation Types
WARNING: Some physicians determine the oxidation rate using blood tests, questionnaires and perhaps other means. They may also suggest different foods and nutrients for the oxidation types. This can be confusing, incorrect and even dangerous.
Everything in this article and others on this website regarding the oxidation rate and oxidation types pertains to Dr. Paul Eck’s method of assessing the oxidation types using hair mineral analysis - when the hair has not been washed at the laboratory.
This is the only system of metabolic typing that we trust and use, as it has proven reliable and consistent.
One cannot use another method of determining the oxidation rate and expect that the information here will apply. Indeed, several of our clients were tested by other methods of oxidation assessment and were found to have very different oxidation types using these methods.
The oxidation types are one of the most important concepts in nutritional balancing science. They are metabolic types that are the basis for the nutritional balancing diets. Some of the supplementation used in all nutritional balancing programs is also based on the oxidation type.
Definition of fast oxidation. This is defined on a properly performed hair mineral analysis as a calcium/potassium ratio less than 4 AND a sodium/magnesium ratio greater than 4.17.
The lower the calcium/potassium ratio or the higher the sodium/magnesium ratio, the faster the oxidation rate.
Definition of slow oxidation. This is defined on a properly performed hair mineral test as a calcium/potassium ratio greater than 4 and a sodium/magnesium ratio less than 4.17.
The higher the calcium/potassium ratio or the lower the sodium/magnesium ratio, the slower the oxidation rate.
Definition of mixed oxidation. This is defined on a properly performed hair mineral analysis as EITHER:
1. A calcium/potassium ratio greater than 4 AND a sodium/magnesium ratio greater than 4.17.
2. A calcium/potassium ratio less than 4 AND a sodium/magnesium ratio less than 4.17.
Hair washing. The hair must not be washed at the laboratory in order to make an accurate determination of the oxidation type or stage of stress. This is a vital point, since most hair mineral laboratories in the United States and most around the world wash the hair in powerful detergents, alcohol, water or solvents.
Only two laboratories do not wash the hair, Analytical Research Laboratories that Dr. Eck founded, and Trace Elements, Inc., (TEI) founded by a student of Dr. Eck’s. I do not recommend using TEI at this time, as their graphs are hard to read, the programs are not nearly as good, and in fact are horribly incorrect. For more on this subject, read Hair Analysis Interpretation Methods And Laboratories on this website.
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE OXIDATION TYPES
Dr. George Watson. The term ‘oxidation types’ was coined by George Watson, PhD, a researcher at UCLA. He wrote about his work in two fascinating small books entitled Nutrition and Your Mind (1972), and Personality Strength and Psychochemical Energy (1979). These are out of print, but may be available through used book outlets including Amazon.com. They are extremely readable and excellent for anyone interested in the oxidation types.
Dr. Watson discovered two major metabolic types, first by using odor tests and later by using blood tests. He found that the blood pH of fast oxidizers was slightly more acidic than that of slow oxidizers. He also found other differences in standard blood tests, such as the CO2 levels.
He also found that certain foods and nutrients benefited each metabolic type. He was able to correct the oxidation rate using diet and supplementary nutrients. This simple treatment often caused dramatic improvements in both his client’s physical and emotional symptoms. This is as far as Dr. Watson went in his research, to the best of my knowledge. At least, he did not write other books.
Dr. Paul C. Eck. Dr. Eck was a physician, a brilliant researcher and clinician who lived in Phoenix, Arizona most of his life. He was also a teacher of mine, and a colleague. Dr. Eck did not write books, and was primarily a clinician and founder of Analytical Research Laboratories in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
I wrote about his work in Nutritional Balancing And Hair Mineral Analysis (1991, 1992, 1998, 2005, 2010, 2014, and 2016). In addition, several sections of the articles on this website pertain to his work very directly, as his work provided a lot of the inspiration for this website.
Dr. Eck could always be found reading medical books, almost endlessly. He also decided to research the technique of hair mineral analysis as his major clinical research tool. The reasons for this are described in many other articles on this website such as Introduction To Hair Mineral Analysis.
Dr. Eck developed the science of hair mineral analysis interpretation far beyond anyone else of whom we am aware. This website is dedicated to his work, and to its expansion since his passing in 1996.
Dr. Eck was thrilled to discover Dr. Watson’s oxidation concepts. It helped him make sense of hair mineral tests and opened the way for a scientific method of interpretation of this test and much more.
Dr. Eck extended Dr. Watson’s work by making a startling correlation between the oxidation types and the stages of stress, as elucidated by Dr. Hans Selye, MD. This is discussed later in this article. Dr. Eck went on to discover how to use a hair mineral test to assess the oxidation rate using two hair mineral ratios. NOTE: For accurate assessment, the hair must not washed at all at the laboratory.
We are told that another method of assessing the oxidation rate is to use certain indicators in a person’s energy field. However, most people cannot see the energy field, so this method is not practical today.
The basal metabolic rate. The oxidation rate is completely different from the basal or resting metabolic rate, as measured by some physicians and by some fitness and weight loss professionals. The metabolic rate is dependent upon one’s height, weight and age and is the number of calories required to carry out all body functions in a resting state.
The oxidation types are an example of metabolic typing. This is an ancient healing concept, and a very central one in nutritional balancing science. Metabolic typing is unfamiliar to most people because modern conventional medicine, as well as most holistic doctors, do not use it.
Definition of metabolic typing. This is a system of classifying bodies by groups of traits that they display. There are about at least a dozen such systems in use around the world.
Homeostatic states. Metabolic types can be viewed as homeostatic states of the whole human system. These are modern words for an ancient idea. Homeostatic states means relatively stable states of the body chemistry. They are often ways the human body and animal bodies cope with their environment as best they can.
The value of metabolic typing. By identifying a person’s metabolic type, one can immediately know a lot about a person. Astute physicians have observed this for centuries. I discuss other systems of metabolic typing later in this article.
YANG AND YIN
The modern idea of oxidation types is essentially the same as the ancient Taoist and Chinese ideas of yang and yin. The latter are an ancient way of expressing basic physics qualities such as hot and cold, fast-moving and slower-moving, more masculine and more feminine, and centripetal and centrifugal.
Controversy over words. Some people equate yang and yin with mystical Oriental religions. However, fast and slow oxidation have nothing to do with religion. They are merely states of body chemistry.
Differences. Today, we determine the metabolic types mathematically. In contrast, the ancient Taoists used and still use pulse and tongue diagnosis, or other means, to assess the metabolic type.
Determining the metabolic type mathematically offers a great advantage in precision. As a result, one can easily determine not only the oxidation type, but also the oxidation rate with precision. Older systems that do not use modern biochemical analysis methods cannot be as precise, and can often be vague.
A GENERAL, WHOLE SYSTEM BEHAVIOR
Simplicity, Not Perfection. The metabolic typing system referred to in this article appears quite simple. That is its virtue. It is also fairly accurate in most cases, but certainly not perfect. All metabolic typing systems suffer from this problem, however, because the body is basically not a ”type”, but rather each person is an individual.
A whole system behavior. Metabolic typing, however, still has great value because it is a whole system behavior of the body. Whole system behaviors provide a tremendous amount of information at once, thus simplifying our assessment procedure and greatly assisting the recommending of diets, nutritional supplements and other procedures at times.
Balancing the oxidation rate increases vitality. Balancing the oxidation rate, in our experience, appears to greatly enhance the healing of hundreds of symptoms at once, both physical and emotional ones. This most likely occurs because balancing the oxidation rate increases energy production or energy efficiency of the body. It is like pedaling a bicycle at the right speed, which greatly enhances one’s power and endurance.
In the body, an optimum oxidation rate may provide an optimum physical and chemical environment in which millions of enzymes function best. If we can provide this, the body simply functions better with less stress. As a result, many symptoms improve easily without the need for remedies of any kind.
This is really quite amazing to see, and is one reason we do not need remedies in most cases to correct even the most difficult health conditions. This is the exact opposite of allopathic medicine in many cases, which depends upon remedies, in most cases.
In fact, it is very different from even holistic medicine, naturopathy and homeopathy, all of which depend upon the use of hundreds or more remedies for healing.
In contrast, the nutritional balancing method is to correct the whole system behaviors, of which the metabolic type is a main one. (Others are the key mineral ratios on a hair mineral analysis, and lifestyle factors such as the diet, drinking water, rest level and more.). Then the ‘details’ of the body, or most symptoms, go away on their own without our needing to do anything at all.
CORRELATING STAGES OF STRESS WITH OXIDATION TYPES
Dr. Hans Selye, MD(1907-1982). A Hungarian-Canadian physician, Dr. Selye discovered the stress theory of disease, an amazing understanding of health and disease. Dr. Selye wrote 40 books including The Stress of Life as well as technical books such as Calciphylaxis. He also authored about 1700 medical articles,
Dr. Selye also coined words we use commonly today such as homeostasis and elaborated what he called the General Adaptation Syndrome. This is ground-breaking work about how organisms always respond to stress. It involves the sympathetic nervous system, the role of the adrenal and thyroid glands in the stress response, and much more.
His work on stress is monumental, but largely ignored. In part this is because it is difficult to apply clinically using blood tests. Dr. Eck, however, found that the stage of stress, can be assessed easily and rapidly with a hair tissue mineral analysis.
He wrote that all living organisms pass through three stages of stress before they die. He called these the alarm, resistance and exhaustion stages of stress. Dr. Selye further elaborated some of the biochemistry of each stage of stress.
Dr. Eck was able to see the intimate connections between Dr. Selye’s stages of stress and Dr. Watson’s oxidation types. He was able to figure out why Dr. Watson was able to help people with simple dietary suggestions and supplementary nutrients because he was addressing deep stress patterns in the organism.
Dr. Watson was addressing the individual needs of his patients in terms of their stage of stress and the condition specifically of the adrenal and thyroid glands and the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, also called the HPA axis.
Essentially, fast and slow oxidation are homeostatic states and ways that the body responds to stress. The stress may be from within, such as nutrient deficiencies or fatigue. Stress may also arise from a multitude of external sources.
While there is some debate, we believe that:
- Fast oxidation corresponds to an alarm stage of stress. In the ancient Chinese and macrobiotic typing systems, fast oxidation also corresponds to a more yang condition.
- Slow oxidation probably correlates with a resistance stage of stress. Slow oxidation is a more yin condition of the body.
- Four lows pattern (calcium less than 40 mg%, magnesium less than 6 mg%, sodium less than 25 mg% and potassium less than 10 mg%) corresponds to the exhaustion stage of stress. Dr. Watson called this sub-oxidation. This is a collapsed or “spinning the wheels” state of body chemistry that may be fast or slow oxidation, but has its own qualities as well. It is discussed in detail in another article on this website, Four Lows Pattern.
- Mixed oxidation on a hair test is a combination of fast and slow (one ratio indicates fast oxidation and one ratio indicates slow oxidation). It is usually a temporary pattern.
We handle it by noting which ratio is more extreme. The one that is more extreme (fast or slow) determines if the person is in fast or slow oxidation. Mixed oxidation is discussed below.
NOTE: For accurate assessment, the hair must not been washed at all at the laboratory.
High hair sodium and potassium levels. Fast oxidation or an alarm stage of stress is characterized by excessive activity of the thyroid and adrenal glands. More adrenal activity and thus a higher level of aldosterone raises the hair or soft tissue sodium and potassium levels.
Lower hair calcium and magnesium levels. One result of this excessive adrenal and thyroid activity are lower hair tissue levels of calcium and magnesium. Essentially, increased solubility of calcium and magnesium occur when the sodium and potassium levels rise. Sodium and potassium are highly water-soluble and antagonistic to calcium and magnesium.
Blood serum mineral levels may, but usually do not correspond to the levels of these minerals in the hair. This is because the serum mineral levels are very sensitive to any variations, so the body often keeps them extremely stable.
Much greater variation is seen in the hair levels, however. Also, hair is a storage and excretory tissue. Minerals that the body is deficient in are retained, or not permitted into the hair. Minerals that are in excess in the blood are often pushed off or stored in non-essential soft tissues such as the hair.
Visual pattern. On a hair mineral analysis, the pattern of fast oxidation is one of lowered calcium and magnesium levels, along with elevated levels of sodium and potassium. This is very easy to read on a test from Analytical Research Laboratories, which has calibrated scales and simple vertical graphs. The pattern often looks like two low numbers followed by two high numbers.
Visual difficulties. In some cases, fast oxidation is not easy to recognize visually. The difficulty occurs when all four macrominerals are elevated. This is called a four highs pattern. In this case, one cannot tell visually if fast oxidation is present. One must calculate the ratios to assess the oxidation type, as explained in the beginning of this article under Definition Of Fast Oxidation.
Degrees of fast oxidation. A rough method to assess the degree of fast oxidation is to use the following criteria:
Ca/K >1.5 = Mild fast oxidizer
Ca/K 0.4-1.5 = Moderate fast oxidizer
Ca/K <0.4 = Extreme fast oxidizer
NOTE: This replaces the method of assessing the degree of fast oxidation found in the book, Nutritional Balancing And Hair Mineral Analysis, editions 2010, 2014 and 2016.
Those with a fast oxidation rate tends to be anxious, irritable, in a hurry, and aggressive if their oxidation rate is very fast. They are usually somewhat emotional, short-tempered and high-strung. They easily become anxious and wound up, and may need sedative drugs to slow down.
Their blood sugar and blood pressure tend to be on the high side of normal. They are often warm and sweat easily. Their brains often work well, with fast thinking.
They usually have oily skin, and some tendency for frequent or loose bowel movements. They may gain weight in the area of the abdomen due to high levels of cortisol and cortisone.
They are in a fight-or-flight mode too much of the time. This uses up certain nutrients and eventually can result in symptoms and illnesses associated with this metabolic type. These include high blood pressure, fatal heart attacks, anxiety, panic attacks, arthritis, and others.
TYPES OF FAST OXIDATION
It is helpful to distinguish true fast oxidation from temporary fast oxidation:
1. True fast oxidation is found mainly in babies and children under the age of about 3- 8 years of age. They have high levels of etheric energy in the body, and this tends to push their oxidation rate into the fast range.
2. Temporary fast oxidation (also called a slow oxidizer under stress). This is almost always the case in anyone over the age of about 8 to 10 years old.
It is also helpful to distinguish healthy fast oxidation from what is called tired fast oxidation.
A healthy fast oxidizer has a sodium/potassium ratio of 2.5 or higher.
A tired fast oxidizer has a sodium/potassium ratio less than 2.5. At times, he or she may also have a calcium or magnesium level that is above the ideal values of 40 mg% for calcium and 6 mg% for magnesium.
CAUSES FOR FAST OXIDATION
1. Early life. All babies are born in mild fast oxidation. Usually, before they leave the hospital, the oxidation rate speeds up tremendously. This can be due to stress or due to administering vaccines that stress the body.
Vaccination is a horrible practice that is ruining the children today! Please read the facts in the Vaccination article on this site, and do not be swayed by your doctor or the media.
Most children remain in this metabolic condition up to the age of between 3 and about 10. Then they slow down into slow oxidation, in almost all cases.
2. Stress fast oxidation. These are adults or some older children who are only in fast oxidation because they are under stress of a type that forces their bodies into faster oxidation. Dietary factors that can cause this are the use of caffeine, sugar, bread, cigarettes or alcohol. Some people also use irritant substances such as hot spices.
Other stimulants include some medical drugs such as amphetamines, and cocaine, crack, crystal meth, Ecstacy, and other recreational drugs.
Other toxic chemicals such as certain pesticides can also have the same effect. Excess toxic metals in the body can also act as a stressor that pushes a person into a fast oxidation rate. These are discussed below.
Other common stimulants are lack of rest, too much work, fears, anger, hatred, working in noisy environments, domestic arguments, or financial stress.
When the stress, which is often biochemical, is relieved, these individuals move into slow oxidation. If it happens quickly, it is called a crash landing, which is somewhat unpleasant, although it can be taken care of easily with the proper diet and nutritional supplements.
3. Dietary fast oxidation. These people remain in fast oxidation because they do not eat enough fats and oils – foods that slow the oxidation rate. Some are vegetarians, or semi-vegetarians who do not like to eat meat, eggs or cheese that all contain fats.
Some also eat fruit, sugars and other high-carbohydrate foods such as chips, pasta or bread that can keep them in fast oxidation.
Some do this unconsciously, while others know what they are doing, and prefer to stay in fast oxidation by eating certain foods and avoiding others that slow their oxidation rate.
4. Toxic fast oxidation. Certain toxic metals, as they build up in the body, cause a fast oxidation rate. These include cadmium, nickel, and an unusual group of mineral compounds called “the amigos”.
The amigos are toxic, oxide forms of aluminum, iron, or manganese. These are widely distributed in the environment and in our food. They also may include oxide forms of chromium, selenium, copper, cobalt, boron, molybdenum, lithium and cobalt. Rarely they include oxides of calcium and magnesium.
They are all powerful oxidants and irritants to the body and can cause a faster oxidation rate as a secondary effect of their irritating presence.
These often accumulate in the kidneys, in particular, but also at times elsewhere in the body such as in the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, nervous system, brain or elsewhere. Other minerals that can cause or contribute to a fast oxidation rate are other forms of copper and mercury.
Some people are born with too much of these toxic metals, or one can acquire them from food, occupations, or other places. Toxic fast oxidation can always be corrected with a nutritional balancing program, though it may take months or occasionally several years of following a properly designed nutritional balancing program. When the toxic metals are removed, the oxidation rate promptly slows down.
5. Running away. Some fast oxidizers are “running away”, biochemically speaking, in a way that causes a fast oxidation rate. The situation can be termed an avoidance of life pattern.
A few are in a Step Up Mineral Pattern, a dangerous mineral pattern that is associated with heart attacks, strokes and other health catastrophes. A properly performed hair mineral test will reveal this pattern.
These people are running away from life, or stepping out of life quickly. It is important to reverse this pattern before trouble occurs. This is not hard to do if one identifies the pattern.
6. Infection fast oxidation. This is a less common situation. A few individuals have an infection of a type that speeds up the oxidation rate. These are often bacterial infections that cause high fevers, for example.
7. Vampire fast oxidation. Some adult fast oxidizers, are energy vampires. This means they have mastered methods to steal some energy from others. A hair mineral analysis often reveals a fast oxidation rate with a normal or even elevated sodium/potassium ratio. A double pattern, or more pronounced pattern of this type, occurs if the sodium/potassium ratio is high and the calcium/magnesium ratio is elevated as well.
Interestingly, the person may report few symptoms. A separate article entitled Energy Vampirism discusses this topic.
8. “Beam me up Scottie” pattern. Consuming a lot of fruit causes a type of fast oxidation mineral pattern that I call Beam Me Up, Scottie pattern. It is fairly rare.
9. Excitement fast oxidation. These people are in fast oxidation because they are extremely excited. This happens, at times, during a nutritional balancing program as a person begins to get well, often after years of trying different programs and going to doctors with little or no success.
10. Farmer fast oxidation. Another more rare cause of fast oxidation is working as a farmer. The earth radiates certain energies that these people pick up. This type of fast oxidation may also be due, in part, to handling farm chemicals, especially superphosphate fertilizers and pesticides.
Many farmers are also exposed to toxic metals used in farm implements such as nickel-plated machinery, and cadmium or lead found in lubricants, gasoline and elsewhere.
11. Toxic potassium fast oxidation. This is a very temporary fast oxidation rate caused usually by the elimination from the body of large amounts of a toxic form of potassium. Usually, this only occurs during a nutritional balancing program. For more on this topic, please read Toxic Potassium on this website.
12. A fast oxidizer personality. This is a personality type that loves “speed” and thrills, is often somewhat emotionally immature, and is often in denial, to a degree, and likes it.
This personality type loves fast oxidation, and may unconsciously do things to help remain in this mineral pattern. For example, the person may seek out stressful situations, use stimulants, smoke cigarettes, or do other things in order to remain in fast oxidation.
13. Medical drug fast oxidation. Some people have a fast oxidation rate because they are taking medications, specifically thyroid hormones (Synthroid, Armour thyroid, Levothyroxine, Naturethroid or other brands), or adrenal hormones such as DHEA, cortisone, cortisol or others. Other stimulant drugs could also be involved.
14. Back or neck tension. This can cause a fast oxidation rate because tightness or tension in these areas can pinch off and stimulate the sympathetic nerves that come off the spine. This, in turn, stimulates the sympathetic nervous system including the adrenal and/or thyroid glands.
A person with a slow oxidation rate has decreased activity of the adrenal and thyroid glands. This may or may not be revealed on standard blood tests.
The glands themselves, and at times, the sympathetic nervous system, are both usually depleted of nutrients and do not function well. It is a resistance or exhaustion stage of stress.
A less healthy parasympathetic state. In part for this reason, slow oxidation is related to a more parasympathetic state of body chemistry with less fight-or-flight activity. In almost all cases, the sympathetic nervous system is exhausted and the person moves into an unhealthy parasympathetic state by default.
A lower energy state. About 80 to 85% of adults are in a slow oxidation state of body chemistry. It is a decidedly lower energy state with, and perhaps caused by more impairment of the electron transport system in the mitochondria, where most biochemical energy is produced.
Biochemistry. This impairment is caused primarily by replacement of the bioavailable forms of minerals such as copper, iron, manganese and others with some of the less bioavailable forms of these minerals such as oxides and other forms.
This disables the critical enzymes in the energy cycles to a substantial degree. Adaptive energy production decreases, and the person moves into slow oxidation.
This can occur even in babies, today, and generally always occurs by age 10 or so in most people. They usually spend the rest of their lives in slow oxidation, and often in poor health.
Without sufficient energy, the body is unable to repair and regenerate itself fast enough. This causes degeneration of the body until overt health problems begin to occur.
Mental aspects. Also, low energy gives rise to the common mental/emotional symptoms of slow oxidation such as apathy, fatigue, introversion, and depression. If the situation is severe enough, one experiences suicidal thoughts and despair as the body’s energy system fails to a greater degree.
Degrees of slow oxidation. A rough method of assessing mild, moderate and extreme slow oxidation is to use the following criteria:
Ca/K < 30 = Mild slow oxidizer
Ca/K 30-100 = Moderate slow oxidizer
Ca/K > 100 = Extreme slow oxidizer
NOTE: This replaces the method of assessing the degree of fast oxidation found in the book, Nutritional Balancing And Hair Mineral Analysis, editions 2010, 2014 and 2016.
Slow oxidizers often suffer from symptoms of low thyroid and low adrenal glandular activity. These may include fatigue, sweet cravings and low blood sugar. As their oxidation rate slows further, they often become apathetic and depressed.
Their blood pressure and blood sugar may be low, unless arteriosclerosis or diabetes have set in. These can raise the blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Their skin and hair are often dry, and their hair may become brittle or thin. Many also experience constipation, gas, bloating, leaky gut syndrome or other digestive problems.
Slow oxidation and society. Entire nations “burn out” as more and more of their citizens move into slow oxidation. A large portion of the population lose their drive to work and succeed, and their brains and bodies just do not function well.
This is the situation today in much of the developed world today, especially Europe. Refined food diets, widespread use of toxic medical drugs and vaccinations damage the body. Polluted air, food and water, and other insults to the body also help decimate the energy-producing system of the body.
Nutritional balancing restores the energy system. Nutritional balancing science, unlike medical or most holistic or naturopathic methods, specifically targets the body’s energy-producing system and will restore it, although it can take a few years to do so if it is very damaged. When this is done, the oxidation rate speeds up, dozens of health problems vanish by themselves, and health can be remarkably restored although no “remedies” have been used at all.
Sympathetic dominance. A common situation found in slow oxidizers is of great importance and called sympathetic dominance. It is an imbalance of the autonomic nervous system.
In this common situation, the person is still attempting to use the sympathetic nervous system all the time. However, the body is exhausted and can no longer respond strongly. As a result, the person stays tired and often ill, because excessive sympathetic stimulation blocks or inhibits the activity of the immune system, digestive system, elimination system and other vital organs and systems needed for recovery of health.
This is a very important pattern on a hair mineral test that I have added to Dr. Eck’s work. It is revealed on a properly performed hair tissue mineral test that has not been washed at the laboratory as a potassium level less than about 5 mg%, or a high sodium/potassium ratio. Sympathetic dominance is discussed in much more detail in the article entitled Sympathetic Dominance, and in one entitled Autonomic Balance.
Adrenal and Thyroid Insufficiency. Tissue sodium correlates well with the activity of aldosterone, an adrenal hormone. On a hair mineral analysis, slow oxidizers have low levels of sodium and potassium, relative to their levels of calcium and magnesium.
Basic physiology of slow oxidation. What occurs physiologically is that lower levels of sodium due to adrenal and thyroid weakness or generally lower energy production reduce the solubility of calcium and magnesium in the blood.
Sodium and potassium are solvents that maintain calcium and magnesium in an ionized form. As the solubility decreases, more calcium and magnesium precipitate out of the blood and begin to accumulate in the soft tissues of the body. This causes a rise in the hair tissue calcium and magnesium, relative to the sodium and potassium levels.
In other words, calcium and magnesium rise in the hair as the tissue sodium and potassium levels decrease. This is the familiar look of slow oxidation on a hair mineral analysis.
As mentioned above, Dr. Eck found that the best way to calculate the oxidation rate is to evaluate two ratios on a hair mineral chart. These are the sodium/magnesium ratio (Na/Mg or the adrenal ratio) and the calcium/potassium ratio (Ca/K or the thyroid ratio).
If one of these ratios indicates fast oxidation and the other indicates slow oxidation, the pattern is called mixed oxidation.
This pattern is fairly common, temporary, and usually a short-term condition of the body chemistry.
Definition of mixed oxidation. Mixed oxidation is said to be present on a hair mineral analysis, provided the hair is not washed at the laboratory, when:
Š The calcium/potassium ratio is greater than 4 AND the sodium/magnesium ratio is greater than 4.17, OR
Š The calcium/potassium ratio is less than 4 AND the sodium/magnesium ratio is less than 4.17.
For example, mixed oxidation is present if the Ca/K is 6 and the Na/Mg is 10. Another example of mixed oxidation is if the Ca/K is 2 and the Na/Mg is 0.5.
Symptoms of mixed oxidation. There is often a mixture of symptoms of both fast and slow oxidation. This may depend on the mineral ratios, since some cases of mixed oxidation are much closer to slow oxidation, while others are much closer to fast oxidation.
VARIETIES OF MIXED OXIDATION
1. Fast mixed and slow mixed oxidation. Mixed oxidation can be closer to fast oxidation, in which case it is called fast mixed oxidation. It can also be closer to slow oxidation, in which case it is called slow mixed oxidation. For the method to determine this, see the section below.
2. The Ca/K and Na/Mg ratios can be fairly balanced, or they may be extremely unbalanced. When they are very unbalanced, either too high or too low, we believe it is associated with conflict in a person.
3. Two mixed oxidation types based on which ratio is fast and which is slow. In mixed oxidation, the ratio that indicates fast oxidation can be either the adrenal ratio (Na/Mg) or the thyroid ratio (Ca/K).
If the adrenal ratio is fast (greater than 4.17), this is more associated with acute stress. This is true regardless of whether the oxidation rate is a fast mixed or slow mixed oxidation rate.
If the calcium/potassium ratio indicates fast oxidation and the sodium/magnesium ratio indicates slow oxidation, this is more likely associated with adrenal exhaustion and more chronic stress, in most cases. This is true regardless of whether the pattern is fast or slow mixed oxidation.
CALCULATING FAST AND SLOW MIXED OXIDATION
This gets a little mathematical, but is not too involved. Often, assessing mixed oxidation can be done visually, which is much easier.
Dr. Eck defined fast mixed oxidation as follows: The ratio that indicates fast oxidation (whether it be the Ca/K or the Na/Mg) is more extreme or out of balance than the ratio indicating slow oxidation.
He defined slow mixed oxidation as follows: The ratio indicating slow oxidation is more extreme or more out of balance than that indicating fast oxidation.
For example, let us imagine that a hair analysis indicates a Ca/K ratio of 10 and a Na/Mg ratio of 6. First of all, this is a mixed oxidizer because the Ca/K is greater than 4 and the Na/Mg is greater than 4.17.
The next step is to figure out if it is a fast mixed oxidizer or a slow mixed oxidizer. To do this, one must follow a two-step process:
1. Check to see which of the two ratios is more extreme or most out of balance. In our example, since both ratios should be about 4:1, the one that is most out of balance is the Ca/K, since it is the furthest away from a ratio of 4. The number 10 is further away from the ideal of 4 than is the number 6. Therefore, for our determination, we will focus on the more imbalanced Ca/K ratio.
2. The next step is to ask whether the more extreme or out-of-balance ratio indicates fast or slow oxidation. Using our example, is the Ca/K ratio of 10 an indicator or fast oxidation or slow oxidation? The answer is slow oxidation, by the definition given at the beginning of this article.
Since the ratio that indicates slow oxidation is more extreme, the hair analysis is said to be showing a slow mixed oxidation pattern.
Correction of mixed oxidation. A standard development program will cause resolution of mixed oxidation. No special program is needed.
Most mixed oxidation resolves within a few months to either a fast or a slow oxidation rate. Rarely, resolving it takes six months or more.
A common and very important hair analysis pattern is four lows, sometimes also called four low macrominerals.
Definition. The definition of the pattern is that the first four minerals on the chart (macrominerals) must all be less than their ideal values. This means:
- A hair calcium level less than 40mg%
- A hair magnesium level less than 6 mg%
- A hair sodium level less than 25 mg% and
- A hair potassium level less than 10 mg%.
A SEPARATE METABOLIC TYPE?
I consider four lows pattern as another metabolic type because:
1. It causes rather specific symptoms.
2. It requires a special nutritional balancing program.
However, this can be confusing because within a four lows pattern one will also have a pattern of fast, slow or mixed oxidation based upon calculating the two ratios, as explained early in this article.
Sub-oxidation? A four lows pattern may be the same as what Dr. George Watson, PhD, called Sub-Oxidation. However, I am not sure about this and Dr. Watson is no longer alive to run experiments and confirm this idea. For much more information about this topic, read Four Lows Pattern on this site.
1. Frequency of Bowel Movements. Increased metabolic activity is associated with increased peristaltic activity and hence more frequent bowel movements in the fast oxidizer. Fast oxidizers may have more than one bowel movement per day. One or fewer movements per day is commonly associated with slow oxidation.
2. Dry or Oily Skin and Hair. Increased metabolic activity is associated with increased activity of the sebaceous and oil glands of the skin and scalp. This tends to cause more a greater tendency for oily skin and hair in the fast oxidizer. Slow oxidizers are more prone to dry skin and dry hair.
Also fast oxidizers tend to have a more watery appearance of their skin, and poorer muscle definition for this reason. Slow oxidizers may have better muscle definition and dryer appearance to their skin.
Also, fast oxidizers often have a more ruddy complexion. This may be due to higher blood pressure, use of alcohol or better circulation in the skin. This is true even though the sympathetic nervous system tends to move blood inward, away from the periphery of the body. However, many slow oxidizers are still in a sympathetic dominant condition described elsewhere, in which their sympathetic system is in fact even more active than in many fast oxidizers. This causes poor circulation to the extremities.
3. Blood Circulation. An 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. Slow oxidation is commonly associated with impaired circulation and a tendency for cold hands and feet.
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. They may also crave sweets or carbohydrates if they do not eat enough fats and oils. Slow oxidation is associated with chronic low blood sugar. There is a tendency for sweet cravings and at times salt cravings, as the body does not retain sodium and potassium as well in slow oxidation, due to impaired adrenal glandular 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 of 120/80 or greater. Fast oxidizers are also more prone to labile or changing high blood pressure. This is because greater sympathetic nervous system activity will cause momentary constriction of the arteries due to fatigue, emotional upset or other stressors. Healthy 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 cause a reduced blood volume and blood pressure. However, slow oxidizers are prone to hardening of the arteries, as are fast oxidizers. This can cause high blood pressure later in life, in particular.
6. Sweating. Enhanced metabolic activity increases the generation of heat in body tissues. This is associated with increased sweating in the fast oxidizer. Slow oxidizers generally sweat less, and many hardly sweat at all.
7. Mood. In fast oxidation, all metabolic processes speed up, including mental functioning. This can result in a tendency to anxiety, irritability, nervousness, or jitteriness. Slower mental activity in the slow oxidizer, on the other hand, causes a tendency for sluggishness, lethargy, apathy, and depression. Very slow oxidation is associated with despair, brain fog and confusion.
8. Energy level. A fast metabolic rate, within certain limits, is associated with higher energy levels than is a slow oxidation rate. Fatigue and lethargy can be experienced by both types, but is more common with slow oxidation.
9. Animal Protein Preference. Fast oxidizers require more fat, and tend to prefer red meats to other meats, as they contain a higher percentage of fat. Fast oxidizers may also prefer the high-purine proteins such as sardines, anchovies and organ meats. Slow oxidizers tend to prefer chicken, fish, or vegetarian proteins because these low-fat sources of protein speed up and normalize the slow oxidizers' metabolic rate. They are also easier to digest as they contain less fat. They also contain somewhat less etheric energy and thus have a lower dynamic action than the red meats.
10. Body Shape. Classically, the fast oxidizer corresponds to a more ‘Cushinoid’ body shape, so named after an illness called Cushing’s disease. The person is not as tall, and is broad in the middle.
This is sometimes called the apple-shaped body. The legs and arms are thinner. There is often a bulge in the belly. This is due to high cortisol, which in turn causes high insulin, which deposits fat in the belly area.
The classic slow oxidizer has a pear-shaped body, especially later in life. This is due to sluggish thyroid gland activity, which is more associated with fat deposition on the hips and legs. The upper body is often thinner.
However, combinations of these two are very common, because people pass through various stages of stress at different times of their lives. Also, one can be a mixed type, which also gives rise to combinations of body shapes.
One final note regarding body shapes is in order. The sympathetic dominant person often has a very angular body. That is, there is little fat deposition. This is basically good, though if the sympathetic dominance persists, serious health problems including heart disease, cancer and others develop in these individuals as well.
This is seen in women, particularly, who are what is called progesterone dominant. Estrogen is responsible for fat deposition, especially in the hips and breast areas. Women with low estrogen tend to be more angular.
Women with higher estrogen levels tend to be more curvy, fleshy and at times one calls them more voluptuous shaped.
Caution: Beware of using body shape or other physical characteristics to assign a metabolic type to anyone or to recommend a nutrition program. Many times you are viewing a person as they were some years ago, in terms of their body chemistry. I tried this for several months and found the hair mineral analysis did not correlate with my guesswork based on symptoms and body characteristics.
I also found the hair test gave me more accurate information than just using the symptoms or signs described above. I learned through the experience to trust the hair tissue mineral analysis and began to get far better results with patients.
11. Cell membrane permeability. Fast oxidizers tend to have more permeable cell membranes than slow oxidizers. This may be because calcium that builds up in the tissues of slow oxidizers tends to stabilize cell membrane potentials. This fact is very important for hormone imbalances, in particular, and perhaps for blood sugar and other types of metabolic problems as well.
12. Acid or alkaline. Fast oxidizers tend to be more alkaline at the cellular level, while slow oxidizers tend to be more acidic at the cellular level. Blood, urine and saliva pH levels do not correlate well with the cellular level and are often useless for determining the true cellular acidity.
The reasons for the differences between fast and slow oxidizers is that fast oxidizers have less toxic metals, in general, which are very acidic. They also have far better alkaline mineral reserves, in general, than slow oxidizers. This is likely the major factor.
Slow oxidizers also have more biounavailable calcium that does not seem to neutralize acids as well in the body. In addition, slow oxidizers tend to have more infections, which tend to be more acidic.
13. Yang and yin. Fast oxidizers are usually much more yang, while slow oxidizers are more yin. This may sound esoteric, but it affects every area of human functioning. Yang is warmer, more contracted, more masculine, more ruddy or reddish with better circulation and in terms of psychology more aggressive and sexual.
Yin is colder, more ill, more expanded and tired, less aggressive, less sexual, and more pale or white with poorer circulation. This is a very brief description of yin and yang. For more information, read Yin and Yang Healing on this site.
The Fast oxidizer diet. All fast oxidizers today require plenty of cooked, not raw vegetables three times daily. This is most critical. In addition, Dr. Goerge Watson found that fast oxidizers require extra amounts of fats and oils in their diet in order to feel their best. They burn their food quickly and their caloric needs are greater. They also do best on a low carbohydrate diet, obtaining most of their calories from fats and oils.
Fats provide more calories and longer-lasting energy. In contrast, sugars burn too fast, provide fewer calories and often further enhance the oxidation rate.
For this reason, fast oxidizers should avoid all sugars, including ALL fruit and all juices. Even complex carbohydrates are recommended only in small amounts.
True fast oxidizers require heavier, fattier foods such as lamb and even beef in limited amounts if it is grass fed or naturally raised. They may handle sour cream, butter, eggs and other fatty foods well.
To lose weight, they may do well on an Atkins-style diet, although I feel it does not include enough cooked vegetables, at times. Also, the quality is not as good as our standards. However, one could try it for a limited period of time. We suggest, however, that one eat only the highest quality animal fats, along with flax oil, fish oil, cod liver oil, olive oil and a small amount of refined vegetable oils such as in blue corn chips are fine as well. Coconut oil and palm oil are not recommended, except perhaps occasionally, as they are too yin and slightly toxic, in our experience. For more information, see the Fast Oxidizer Diet on this website.
The Slow Oxidizer Diet. Slow oxidizers definitely require plenty of cooked vegetables three times daily, In addition, they require more protein and less fat in their diets than fast oxidizers. Some protein at least twice daily is most important to maintain their blood sugar level and support adequate adrenal and thyroid gland activity.
In fact, if there are blood sugar issues, as there often are, then five meals a day with some protein and possibly a little fat as well is an excellent regimen.
Animal protein of some kind is helpful for most slow oxidizers to eat at least once every day, as the bodies are depleted of many nutrients found in meats. These include zinc, alpha lipoic acid, sulfur-containing amino acids and L-carnitine. Meats also provide other less-known nutrients the slow oxidizer requires.
Protein digestion is weak in slow oxidizers. As a result, many tend toward vegetarian diets. However, this slows or prevents their complete healing. Instead, they require digestive enzymes to obtain all the nutrition from their food. For much more information about diet, see The Slow Oxidizer Diet on this website.
BASIC SUPPLEMENTS FOR FAST AND SLOW OXIDIZERS
Dr. Watson and Dr. Eck found that fast oxidizers need more of nutrients such as copper, zinc, choline, inositol, calcium and magnesium. They also do well on more of vitamins A and D. B-complex vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin E are less beneficial and tend make fast oxidation much, much worse in many cases.
Slow oxidizers need more of the B-complex and vitamins C and E. They usually do not need much copper. They do, however, need zinc, calcium and magnesium supplements.
Both types benefit from a digestive aid. We find that they both also need extra chromium, selenium, kelp, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D3.
When one combines the extensive research of Dr. Hans Selye, Dr. George Watson and Dr. Paul Eck, one begins to develop a very clear picture of the physiology and biochemistry of fast and slow oxidation.
By identifying these states quickly with a hair mineral analysis, one knows at a glance how a person is responding to stress biochemically. Then one can recommend the correct foods, nutrients, lifestyle changes and detoxification protocol to bring the body to balance and harmony. Balancing body chemistry in this manner results in a significant increase in cellular energy production. This allows healing to occur at a greatly increased rate.
We always seek to move a person from a lower energy and less optimum homeostatic state to a healthier state with higher energy. Slow oxidation, for example, is a lower energy state than fast oxidation. A balanced state, neither too fast nor too slow, is considered optimum. It is a condition in which the metabolism can speed up when needed, and yet at other times remain peacefully at rest.
The specific chemistry of the oxidation types is discussed in more detail on the Six-CD Series on Nutritional Balancing offered on this website and in articles by Dr. Paul Eck and myself. Another source of information is Nutritional Balancing And Hair Mineral Analysis, a book by this author.
In two situations, setting up the programs based on the oxidation type is not easy. In both these cases, we may take into account a person’s symptoms, and not simply the readings on a hair mineral analysis. These are:
1. If we know a person is in temporary fast oxidation due to a toxic metal elimination, and the person is headed back into slow oxidation.
2. In the case of mixed oxidation that is balanced, meaning even between fast and slow oxidation
3. In cases of fast or slow oxidation, if the mineral analysis indicates a very balanced pattern.
4. If we suspect that the person’s body chemistry has shifted since the most recent hair test was performed.
In all these cases, we may need to use symptoms as part of an overall evaluation to help assess whether to give a fast or a slow oxidizer program to the person.
For example, a patient with a mixed oxidation hair chart might present with fatigue, depression, constipation and copper toxicity and have a mixed oxidizer hair analysis. This patient most likely requires a slow oxidizer supplement and dietary program.
If, in contrast, the person complains of anxiety, nervousness, muscle tension and anger, one might assume that, although the hair test indicates mixed oxidation, this person requires a fast oxidizer diet and nutrient program.
FACTORS THAT CAN SKEW THE READINGS
Rarely, hair mineral readings are affected by various factors that skew the reading. Such ‘artifacts’ may include” bathing in softened water, extreme stress, recreational drug use, medical drug use rarely, or an elimination of toxic potassium. These will rarely skew the oxidation rate.
OTHER SYSTEMS OF METABOLIC TYPING
Here are some other well-known examples of metabolic typing:
Hippocrates four types:
1. Choleric, or irritable.
2. Sanguine, or content.
3. Phlegmatic, or sluggish.
4. Melancholic, or depressed.
The Taoist system of yin and yang:
1. Yang is warm or hot, more constricted or compact, more reddish in color, more masculine, more active, and, at time, high-strung or irritable.
2. Yin is colder, more expanded, more feminine and often depressed and sluggish.
In terms of modern biochemistry and nutritional balancing science, here are some of the correlations with yin and yang:
Š Fast oxidation (more yang) and slow oxidation (more yin).
Š Sodium (more yang) and potassium (more yin).
Š Zinc (more yang) and copper (more yin).
Š Calcium (more yang) and magnesium (more yin).
Š High Na/K (more yang) and low Na/K (more yin).
Š Sauna therapy and coffee enemas (more yang) and distilled water (more yin).
Š Warm, cooked meats and cooked vegetables (more yang) and raw food, fruit, sugar, alcohol and most drugs (more yin).
The Ayurvedic or ancient Indian qualities of bodies:
Š Vatta. This means air, ether or perhaps mind and emotions. This is the source of the other two imbalances. Western science is just beginning to appreciate the power of the mind and emotions on health.
Š Pitta. This means fiery energy, will and a more yang approach to life. This correlates perfectly with fast oxidation in nutritional balancing science. However, pitta and the others are qualities of bodies, not metabolic types.
Š Kapha. This means earth or watery energy. It corresponds more to slow oxidation in nutritional balancing. However, once again, kapha is a quality, not a metabolic type.
The three qualities of nature (called gunas in Sanskrit) discussed in the Bhagavad Gita:
Š Sattva or balance is associated with balanced and flexible oxidation.
Š Rajas or hot or burning is more yang and more associated with an alarm stage of stress and fast oxidation.
Š Tamas or passive is more yin and most associated with an exhaustion stage of stress and slow oxidation.
Other typing systems. Another well-known system of metabolic typing is the Chinese 5-element theory. This does not correlate as well with nutritional balancing science, at least not obviously so.
Other typing systems include using one’s blood type, one’s genetics, and Dr. Sheldon’s system based on body shape and other qualities. I have also seen metabolic typing done by glandular type, such as an adrenal type and a thyroid type. One can also classify people by which energy centers are most active.