One of the most important hair analysis patterns discovered by Dr. Paul Eck is a calcium shell. He did not speak much of a magnesium shell, although it is often present whenever a calcium shell is present.
Dr. Eck defined a calcium shell as a hair tissue calcium level above 200 mg%. We have refined the definition as a calcium level of 165 mg% or more in women, and 155 mg% or more in men.
This pattern is unusual because it depends upon just one hair mineral level. The levels, ratios and patterns of all other minerals do not change this.
On an initial hair test, a calcium shell usually indicates psychological withdrawal, the presence of trauma, and perhaps overwhelming stress, inability to handle stress well, or a very sensitive body. Often it is accompanied by a very slow oxidation rate.
On a retest mineral analysis, a sharp rise in the calcium level to or above 165 mg% in a woman or to or above 155 mg% in a man generally indicates a need for protection. We call this pattern hiding. It might occur due to a trauma, such as a death in the family.
Visualization. The pattern looks like a “wall of calcium”, often accompanied by elevated magnesium, on the left side of the chart.
KEY WORDS TO HELP UNDERSTAND THE CALCIUM SHELL PATTERN
Simple key words that can help one understand the meaning of the calcium shell pattern include psychological withdrawal, hiding, lowered awareness, numb, calcified, traumatized, depressed, and “living in the bomb shelter or behind a wall”. The next sections explain why these words are helpful for understanding this very important pattern seen on many hair mineral tests.
WHEN THE PATTERNS APPEAR
Calcium and magnesium shell patterns almost never appear in children, and never in babies. They are also fairly rare in the elderly, above age seventy, or so, on earth.
However, they are common in the later teen years, and they occur in adults. They are much more common in women than in men.
A shell pattern is much less common in men, and if it is present in men, it is likely to be lower than in women, in general.
A MECHANISM TO EXPLAIN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SHELL
Sodium and potassium are the body’s solvent minerals. They help keep calcium and magnesium in solution in the blood. If the level of these minerals becomes too low in the tissues (not the blood, in most cases), then calcium and magnesium will begin to precipitate out of the blood and form hard deposits all over the body. This may be reflected on a hair mineral analysis as a calcium shell and/or magnesium shell.
Sodium and potassium decrease in the tissues when the adrenal glands are nutritionally depleted. This is very common today. Aldosterone, an adrenal hormone, maintains the sodium level in the body, and potassium often rises and falls with sodium. For this reason, correction of a calcium shell involves restoring adrenal gland activity. This increases the tissue sodium and potassium levels, and when this occurs the calcium shell or abnormal calcification can be reabsorbed by the body. This will correct any and all of the symptoms discussed in this article.
BIOUNAVAILABLE CALCIUM AND USUALLY MAGNESIUM AS WELL
In all cases of a calcium shell, some of the body’s calcium, and usually magnesium as well, is biounavailable. This means it is not able to be utilized properly. Instead, it is depositing pathologically in the soft tissues such as the hair, arteries, brain, kidneys and elsewhere. This is not a healthful situation.
The cause is usually that the tissue or even the blood levels of sodium and potassium are so low that the body cannot maintain enough calcium in an ionized or soluble form in the blood. Sodium and potassium are solvent minerals that keep calcium and magnesium in solution. As the levels of the solvents decreases, calcium and magnesium, in most cases, begin to precipitate into the soft tissues.
This creates a calcium deficiency in the blood, even if one eats enough bioavailable calcium, which is rare today. Eventually, it can lead to osteoporosis in most older people as the body robs the bones of some calcium to replenish the blood or serum calcium.
CELL PERMEABILITY REDUCED WITH A CALCIUM SHELL
Dr. Eck also noted that excess tissue calcium tends to harden the cell membranes and can decrease the cell permeability. This is important to know in order to evaluate other conditions such as hypothyroidism, in which thyroid hormones may not cross into the cells properly.
Decreased cell permeability due to a calcium shell may also affect other hormone imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, and detoxification of cellular waste products.
POSSIBLE COMPONENTS OF A CALCIUM SHELL
An important concept in hair analysis interpretation is that when one reads a mineral level, one is reading a composite or sum of various types or compounds of the mineral. In the case of a calcium shell, the chemical components of the shell often include:
SYMPTOMS OF A CALCIUM SHELL
These usually fall into three groups:
Calcification elsewhere can cause impaired movement of the spine, for example, or impaired circulation.
These symptoms are more prevalent if the pattern has been in place for years, which is difficult or impossible to figure out from a single hair mineral analysis.
MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL ASPECTS
MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL SYMPTOMS
These may include defensiveness, rigidity, psychological withdrawal, emotional numbness, suppression or repression, loss of sexual desire, fatigue and exhaustion, apathy and usually some depression.
Another tendency is to be out of touch with reality to some degree. Like living behind a wall of calcium, the individual is so inhibited by the calcium that he or she often does not listen or perceive as accurately, and may also be in denial or out of touch to some degree as a result.
Since one is out of touch, one may become defensive over silly matters, or not listen carefully, or not to hear well when something is explained. It is often best to record consultations with these individuals, as they would often recall what had been discussed. Some who are out of touch are also ‘happier’ and unaware of their problems and physical symptoms. As the shell comes down, they become more aware and often feel superficially worse for a while, as a result.
These are tendencies, not absolutes, and one should not “diagnose” emotional conditions based solely on a mineral analysis. However, they are useful observations that can help a person understand his condition by becoming aware of the biochemical factors that contribute to it.
WHY DO EMOTIONAL SYMPTOMS OCCUR?
Calcium Imbalance. Symptoms are partially due to the depressing or inhibiting effect of calcium upon the central nervous system. Calcium raises the voltage at which nerve cells fire. This has a deadening, numbing or depressive effect on the central nervous system. Thus it is not surprising that lethargy, depression and psychological withdrawal would occur.
Copper Imbalance. Symptoms are also due, in part, to a copper imbalance. Usually, a hair tissue calcium level greater than about 70 mg% (or 700 parts per million) is always accompanied by a copper imbalance. The elevated copper may or may not be revealed on early hair analyses. Eventually, however, Dr. Eck found that copper would start to be eliminated, often in large quantity, as the person’s health returns.
Hidden copper indicators. A calcium level greater than about 60 – 70 mg% is one of the hidden copper indicators. Often with a calcium shell, other hidden copper indicators are present such as a low potassium level, a low sodium/potassium ratio, a low or very high zinc, a low phosphorus, or perhaps an elevated mercury level. However, toxic metals may not be revealed on the first test or so, if the person’s energy level and oxidation rate are very sluggish.
Too much copper is present in the soft tissues and usually copper is not able to be transported and utilized correctly. This is called a biounavailable copper pattern. Oddly, although there is excess tissue copper, the amount of biologically available copper may be so low that a person may need to take some copper for a while. This is only the case if the sodium/potassium ratio is less than about 2.5:1. Copper should be given in this case, even though the patient may have signs or symptoms of copper excess.
A compensation for high copper. A calcium shell may perhaps develop to reduce some of the worst symptoms of copper toxicity. In these cases, the underlying problem is copper toxicity, which must be dealt with first in order for the shell to disappear.
In this case, copper imbalance causes moodiness, anxiety, fears, paranoia and more. The calcium shell reduces the intensity of some of these disturbing symptoms of copper imbalance. It acts as a psychological buffer. The high calcium numbs the entire nervous system, thus reducing the mood swings and feelings of anxiety. A problem occurs, at times, that as one’s calcium shell comes down, some patients experience their emotions more forcefully.
In a few cases, emotional maturing is necessary to enable a person to handle his or her emotions better. Only then can the calcium shell be lowered fully. Healing programs can help break down the calcium shell, but will only be fully effective if one is willing to face the world without the shell as a protective mechanism.
A PROTECTIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL WALL
Another cause for the calcium shell in some individuals appears to be as a means of protection. The shell reduces stress by reducing the intensity of the impact of the environment upon a person’s nervous system. This is the numbing effect mentioned earlier.
Some individuals apparently need the shell to protect them from real or imagined stressors. The shell may be a remnant of a difficult childhood, for example, when one was not in control of the environment and had to use any defense possible to maintain one’s integrity or even one’s sanity. In other words, the calcium shell can be seen as a kind of personality posturing that was adaptive at some stage of life and may still be adaptive, especially if the body is weak and not able to cope well with stress.
Usually, however, when a individual comes for help, the calcium shell causing other problems, both physical and emotional, so that the person wants to change the pattern even if it is still adaptive to some degree.
UNABLE TO HANDLE STRESS
Some people are unable to handle stress very well. These individuals may develop a calcium shell to protect them from stressors. In these individuals, the calcium shell is a kind of support or crutch that is needed at this time.
A tired body. In some of these cases, the real problem is a tired body. These people often have very low levels of sodium and potassium on their hair tissue analyses. Once their body chemistry improves and their energy increases, the calcium shell usually disappears quickly.
Unable to respond to stress. In some cases of a calcium shell, a person does not know how or for some other reason is unable to respond to stress well. Healing programs can strengthen these people’s bodies so they can handle stress better. Also, improved cognition, memory and other mental processing capabilities due to removing toxic metals and balancing the nervous system can also help them handle stress. In addition, some may need to learn other stress management skills such as assertiveness training, relaxation exercises, or others.
Overwhelming stress. Others with a calcium shell are dealing with so much stress that they are unable to function without a protective wall to lessen the impact of their stress. In addition to a program to strengthen their body chemistry, these individuals may also need changes their lifestyle, relationships, job, or something else to reduce their stress level.
Slowing one down. Another reason for a calcium shell is to slow a person down. The lethargy caused by the high calcium has a slowing effect on individuals who have a tendency to drive themselves too hard. These are usually people with high copper levels and/or a pattern called sympathetic dominance.
Copper can stimulate brain activity and lead to a frenzied lifestyle. Sympathetic dominance is a separate situation, though related, in which a person spends too much time in a fight-or-flight attitude or approach to life.
In this sense, a calcium shell may be an adaptive or protective device of the body to reduce one’s stress level and perhaps to induce fatigue and even depression in order to prevent overworking, or overstressing the body in some ways.
SPIRITUAL ASPECTS OF A CALCIUM SHELL
Sensitive individuals. People who have a calcium shell are usually extremely sensitive individuals. This may be one of the reasons the person chooses, at some level, to develop this particular hair tissue mineral pattern, as opposed to the many other patterns the body uses to cope with reality. They adapt to the world by setting up their “wall of protection”, often early in life, before adulthood in many cases.
The shell stays with them usually for years, until the problems associated with the pattern become evident and they realize they need some kind of assistance but often do not know why or how to proceed.
Movement – “Advancing very slowly with the brakes on”. This is the ‘movement pattern’ that tends to go with a calcium shell. A movement pattern has to do with the way in which a person is handling life. When a calcium shell is present, a part of the person wants to move ahead, but another part does not want to move ahead. This is the meaning of moving ahead with the brakes on. This means that movement is very slow, often very measured, and conflicted or blocked to a great degree.
If the shell becomes too high, it means the brakes are on tightly and this is associated with the development of cancer and other serious diseases because a person will not move ahead at all. Normally, when movement stops, life also comes to an end soon after. This is one reason that helping a person move out of a calcium shell is very important.
Protection during a phase of mental or spiritual development. This is another understanding of a calcium shell in some people. It is seen in a few individuals, usually women, who are on a development program. However, their calcium shell persists for up to several years with very few adverse symptoms.
A CALCIUM LEVEL GREATER THAN ABOUT 1000 MG%
An extremely high hair calcium level is rare, fortunately. However, it does occur so it merits a separate discussion. In the few cases we have seen, it is a slightly different pattern, though all of the above applies. Here is more information about very high calcium and magnesium shells:
These phrases might also describe what may occur in the body if the situation is not corrected. Petrified is not the same as terrified. Terrified is momentary, whereas petrified refers to a more chronic situation. However, both indicate extreme fear, extreme withdrawal and often some type of trauma as a cause.
THE CALCIUM/MAGNESIUM RATIO WITH A CALCIUM SHELL PATTERN
Usually, a calcium shell is found with a very high hair magnesium level as well. Therefore the symptoms usually involve imbalances in both calcium and magnesium.
Amazingly, in many cases, the ratio between calcium and magnesium is maintained within the normal range of about 3.5 to 9.5, even when the calcium level is very high. However, another common pattern is an elevated calcium/magnesium ratio.
Exceeding one’s carbohydrate tolerance. When this ratio is between 9.5 and 13.5, the pattern is called exceeding one’s carbohydrate tolerance. It is associated with too many carbohydrate foods in the diet. It is not an absolute amount of carbohydrates, but instead refers to the concept that a person is exceeding his or her tolerance for carbohydrates. In other words, it is an individual matter, and the exact amount that constitutes overdoing will vary somewhat from person to person.
Spiritual defensiveness. When the Ca/Mg ratio is greater than 13.5, it is a pattern called spiritual defensiveness.
A low calcium/magnesium ratio. The meaning of a low Ca/Mg ratio is a little more involved, as it may be affected by the levels and ratios of sodium and potassium. However, when the Ca/Mg ratio is less than about three on an initial hair mineral test only, the pattern is called extreme burnout or another type of extreme withdrawal that tends to be more serious than just a simple calcium shell. In these cases, more magnesium loss is occurring. Since magnesium is a vital element, this is not a healthy pattern at all, whereas a simple calcium shell is quite common and not quite as pathological.