Basic Mineral Ratios and Their Meaning

Mineral ratios are often more important in determining nutritional deficiencies and excesses than mineral levels alone, although both should be considered.

The Importance of Ratios

  • Ratios represent homeostatic balances.
  • Ratios are indicative of disease trends.
  • Ratios are frequently predictive of future metabolic dysfunctions or hidden metabolic dysfunctions. 


These 5 ratios are the most important for evaluation purposes: 

Calcium/Magnesium (Ca/Mg)
Sodium/Potassium (Na/K)
Calcium/Potassium (Ca/K)
Sodium/Magnesium (Na/Mg)
Zinc/Copper (Zn/Cu)

Ca/Mg Ratio

  • Referred to as the blood-sugar ratio.
  • Calcium is required for the release of insulin from the pancreas.
  • Magnesium inhibits insulin secretion. Magnesium is necessary to keep calcium in solution.
  • A very high (greater than 16) or very low ratio (less than 2) is sometimes associated with mental or emotional disturbances. 

Ca/Mg ratios and associated trends
12+: sugar and simple carbohydrate intolerance
10-12: hypoglycemia 
6.67-10: good 
6.67: ideal 
3.3-6.67: good 
3-3.3: hypoglycemia 
1-3.3: sugar and simple carbohydrate intolerance


Factors that might affect the ratio:

  • Calcium or magnesium loss can raise the levels temporarily.
  • Cortisone therapy can lower calcium levels.
  • Cortisone therapy can raise both sodium and potassium levels.
  • Lead and cadmium toxicity can displace calcium.

Na/K Ratio

  • This is the most important ratio, and is related to overall vitality.
  • Related to the sodium pump mechanism, and the electrical potential of cells which is regulated by sodium and potassium levels.
  • Sodium is normally extracellular, while potassium is normally intracellular. If the ratio of these minerals is unbalanced, it can indicate important physiological malfunctions within the cells.
  • The sodium/potassium ratio is intimately linked to adrenal gland function, and the balance between aldosterone (mineralocorticoid) and cortisone (glucocorticoid) secretion.
  • A high ratio is preferable to a low one.

Na/K ratios and associated trends

6+: severe elevation – inflammation and adrenal imbalance, possibly asthma, allergies, kidney and liver dysfunction
4-6: moderate elevation – tendency towards inflammation 
2.5-4: mild elevation – good adrenal function 
2.5: ideal 
2-2.5: mild inversion – beginning of adrenal exhaustion 
1-2: moderate inversion – tendency towards kidney and liver dysfunction, allergies, arthritis, adrenal exhaustion, digestive problems, deficiency of hydrochloric acid
below 1: severe inversion – tendency towards heart problems, arthritis, kidney and liver dysfunction


Factors that might affect the ratio:

  • Metal toxicity or an elimination of toxic metals.
  • Loss of sodium or potassium. 

Ca/K Ratio

  • Called the thyroid ratio because calcium and potassium play a vital role in regulating thyroid activity.
  • The thyroid gland is one of the major glands that regulate metabolic rate in the body.
  • When the thyroid (and adrenal) ratios are not ideal, the body’s energy efficiency decreases.
  • Often blood tests will be normal but hair analysis will indicate an impaired thyroid function because hair analysis assesses function at a cellular level.
  • Symptoms associated with a high ratio: tendency to gain weight, cold hands and feet – tendency to feel cold, lack of sweating, fatigue, dry skin and dry hair, tendency towards constipation.
  • Symptoms associated with a low ratio: excessive sweating, hyperactivity, irritability, nervousness, oily hair and skin, occasional tendency towards frequent bowel movements or diarrhea during times of stress.

Ca/K ratios and associated trends

32+: low thyroid activity 75%+ energy loss 
16-32: sluggish thyroid 50-75% energy loss 
8-16: moderate sluggish thyroid 25-50% energy loss 
4-8: mild sluggish thyroid activity 10-25% energy loss 
4: ideal – 100% energy 
2-4: mild fast thyroid activity 10-25% energy loss 
1-2: moderate fast thyroid activity 25-50% energy loss 
below 1: excessive thyroid activity 50% or more energy loss


Na/Mg Ratio

  • Referred to as the adrenal ratio because sodium levels are directly associated with adrenal gland function. Aldosterone, a mineral corticoid adrenal hormone, regulates retention of sodium in the body. In general, the higher the sodium level, the higher the aldosterone level.
  • The Na/Mg ratio is also a measure of energy output, because the adrenal glands are a major regulator (along with the thyroid gland) of the rate of metabolism.
  • The sodium/magnesium ratio is a tissue reading and will often not match blood tests for adrenal hormones. Usually the blood tests will be normal, but the tissue mineral test will show abnormal adrenal function. Symptoms, however, usually correlate well with the hair analysis.
  • Symptoms associated with a high ratio: tendency for inflammation, increased stamina and drive, aggressiveness, impulsiveness, hypertension, diabetes, type a personality
  • Symptoms associated with a low ratio: fatigue, depression, hypoglycemia, weight fluctuations, allergies, diminished ability to digest fats and meat protein. 

Na/Mg ratios and associated trends

16+: Extremely overactive adrenals 50% or more energy loss 
8-16: Moderate excessive adrenals 25-50% energy loss 
4.17-8: Mild excessive adrenal activity 10-25% energy loss 
4.17: IDEAL 100% energy 
2-4.17: Mild sluggish adrenal activity 10-25% energy loss 
1-2: Moderate sluggish adrenals 25-50% energy loss 
Below 1: Adrenal Insufficiency 50% or more energy loss


Factors that might affect the ratio:

  • Sodium levels can be elevated by cadmium, mercury, copper, iron and nickel.
  • An excess of these minerals will raise the sodium level temporarily, although adrenal function may actually be low.

Zn/Cu Ratio

  • A high ratio indicates zinc dominance.
  • Symptoms associated with a high ratio: atherosclerosis, hormonal imbalances, hypercholesterolemia, skin problems.
  • A low ratio indicates copper imbalance.
  • Symptoms associated with a low ratio: allergies, asthma, headaches, immune deficiency, hormonal imbalances, infections, insomnia, liver problems, skin problems (acne, eczema, hives, psoriasis, skin rashes), behavior problems, emotional instability, impotence, slow healing, loss of taste, smell, appetite, hair loss. 

Zn/Cu ratios and associated trends

16+: copper deficiency or bio-unavailability of copper 
8-16: copper deficiency or unavailability 
4-8: mild to moderate copper imbalance  
2-4: moderate to extreme copper imbalance


Factors that might affect the ratio:

  • A zinc loss can artificially raise the zinc level.
  • A copper level less than 1 often indicates a hidden copper imbalance.
  • Cadmium toxicity can elevate the zinc reading.

Take your first step toward a Personalized Active Care Plan! Book a free consultation with me at