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The Calcium and Magnesium Shell

by Dr. Lawrence Wilson

© July 2022, LD 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.





Key Words To Understand The Pattern

When And In Whom The Pattern Appears


A Mechanism To Explain The Development Of A Calcium Shell

Biounavailable Calcium And Usually Magnesium As Well

Cell Permeability Reduce With A Calcium Shell

Possible Components Of A Calcium Shell




Why Do Emotional Symptoms Occur?

A Protective Psychological Wall

Unable To Handle Stress

Spiritual Aspects


Quantifying A Shell

A Calcium Level Greater Than 1000 mg

Combinations Of Mineral Patterns Involving A Shell

The Ca/Mg Ratio And A Shell


A Magnesium Shell






            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.  The person may also have a hard core, described in a separate article.

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.



Simple key words that can help one understand the meaning of the calcium shell pattern include psychological withdrawal, running interference, 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.



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.


1. A higher calcium level indicates a more severe calcium shell.

2. When the calcium level is above about 340 mg%, it is called “petrified” pattern.  This is a reference to calcification, as in petrified wood.  However, it also refers to the feeling of being terrified.

3. Any calcium shell pattern, and particularly if it is a double shell pattern or greater, is a trauma indicator.  For more on this important topic, please read Trauma Release and Trauma Retracing on this site.




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.



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.


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.


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:

1. The normal hair metabolism.  This would account for about 40mg% of calcium.

2. Oxides and carbonates.  Calcium can form an oxide and carbonates, which are both biounavailable forms of calcium.

3. Other hard deposits or compounds.  These are also possible.


            These usually fall into three groups:

1. Calcium excess symptoms.  Among the important symptoms of metastatic calcification (meaning abnormal calcification) are bone spurs, arthritis, and aches and pains.  There can also be arteriosclerosis – a buildup of calcium in the arteries.  In addition, there can be a buildup of calcium in other organs such as the kidneys.  This can cause high blood pressure, for example.

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.  Calcium excess symptoms are discussed in more depth in the article on this site entitled Calcium.

2. Biouanvailable calcium symptoms.  These may be muscle tightness, perhaps some muscle cramps or tension, anxiety and irritability in some cases.  Another is difficulty sleeping or resting.  Later in life, one can develop osteoporosis and other problems as well.  All these can be reversed when the calcium shell comes down using an individualized development program.

3. Copper excess symptoms. Other physical symptoms may be due to copper accumulation.  These include many that are discussed in the article entitled Copper Toxicity Syndrome such as skin rashes, headaches, PMS, hot flashes, menstrual imbalances, mind racing, spaciness, panic attacks, other female organ problems, phobias, fears, and others.

            4. Others.  Other symptoms may be due to slow oxidation, low thyroid or adrenal glandular activity, or, at times, sympathetic dominance.



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.  I found it best to record my consultations with these individuals, as they would often call me later and would not recall what we had discussed.  Some who are out of touch are also ‘happier’ and unaware of their problems and physical symptoms, in my experience.  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.


            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.  In our experience, 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 on a development program.

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.  This is explained in more detail in the Copper Toxicity Syndrome article.


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 as a result of a development program, 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.  Development 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.


            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 patient comes for help, the calcium shell causing other problems, both physical and emotional, so that the patient wants to change the pattern even if it is still adaptive to some degree.


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.  Development 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.  Read about this by clicking on Sympathetic Dominance.

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.


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.  These people can be helped easily and quickly in many instances with a development program.

A yin response pattern.  In Chinese medical terminology, a calcium shell reflects a yin pattern of responding to the world.  One is escaping, withdrawing, running away or perhaps hiding from the world, using body chemistry to help.  This is a yin type of reaction.

Also, the pattern almost always occurs in slow oxidizers, who are more yin types than fast oxidizers.  Also, the symptoms of a calcium shell tend to be yin symptoms such as fatigue, exhaustion, cancer, depression and others.

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 more advanced concept in hair analysis interpretation is to quantify patterns according to their severity.  It is sometimes helpful to quantify a calcium shell for a more exact assessment:

For women:

Calcium of 165-209 mg% is a single shell pattern.

Calcium of 210-259 is a 2x or double shell pattern.

Calcium of 260-339 is a 3x or triple shell pattern.

Calcium of 340-369 is a 4x or quadruple shell pattern.  This level of calcium and beyond is also called a Petrified Pattern.

Calcium of 370-459 is a 5x or quintuple shell pattern.

Calcium of 460-539 is a 6x or sextuple shell pattern.

Calcium of 540-619 is a 7x or septuple shell pattern.

Calcium of 620+ is an 8x shell pattern.  

(these are current values based on current research.)

            For men:

Calcium of 155-199 mg% is a 1x or single shell pattern.

Calcium of 200-249 mg% is a 2x or double shell pattern.

Calcium of 250-309 mg% is a 3x or triple shell pattern.

Calcium of 310-339 mg% is a 4x or quadruple shell pattern.

I have not quantified the magnesium shell (2016).


            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:

1. Possible Addison’s disease.  In addition to the usual symptoms of a calcium shell, the person may have symptoms of Addison’s disease, a chronic shutdown of the adrenal glands.  This may only occur when the sodium level is also very low.  Symptoms might include a dark pigmentation of the skin, very low energy, severe depression and withdrawal.  It can cause a short lifespan if the situation is not corrected through development or even via drug medical care if no other alternatives are available to the patient.

2. Petrified.  This word may be helpful to describe the psychological state of a person with a calcium level greater than about 340 mg%.  Other related descriptions might be “turning to stone” or “buried in concrete”.

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.

3. Extreme sensitivity for some reason.  This is another possibility with a very high calcium level.  The person might not be petrified, but may simply need a lot more protection than others from the world.  This is rare, but certainly possible.

4. Extreme yin, yin loss and yin deficiency.  This means the person is very out of balance in terms of yin and yang.

5. Traumatized badly.  The reason a person may be protecting himself or herself with an extreme calcium shell is because there was a severe physical or emotional trauma.  The person may or may not be aware of this trauma.  Fortunately, development will gently and often easily bring up the trauma and help heal it.


A calcium shell pattern is often seen with other hair analysis patterns.  Among the most common are:

1. Four highs.  This combination is called the passive-aggressive pattern.

2. A low sodium/potassium ratio.

3. An extremely slow oxidation rate.

4. Sympathetic dominance pattern.  This combination is called Trying Too Hard.

5. A high Ca/Mg ratio.  This pattern is called Extreme Lifestyle Stress.

6. Others, less commonly, including fast oxidation,  wasting your time, double high ratio pattern, double low ratio pattern, or others.

Combinations of patterns.  Hair analysis patterns that would tend to make a calcium shell even more severe are the following:

·           A very low sodium/potassium ratio of 1 or less.

·           A very slow oxidation rate, meaning a low level of sodium and potassium in addition to the highly elevated calcium level.


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 separate article entitled Spiritual Defensiveness discusses this important lifestyle pattern.

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.


            The calcium shell pattern is definitely correctable using a properly designed development program.  Often it begins to respond quickly, within a few weeks to a few months.  Other nutrition and healing programs, in my experience, will not bring down the hair calcium level nearly as well.

The development program includes supplementing with calcium and magnesium in a bioavailable form to replace that which is being lost.

In addition to using calcium supplements, other ways to obtain high-quality calcium include eating sardines or other small fish with bones, eating raw dairy products, taking kelp capsules, and drinking 10-12 ounces of carrot juice daily or a little wheat grass juice.  We formerly suggested drinking bone broth, but it may have too much lead to be recommended at this time.

Other nutrients that are often, though not always needed when a calcium shell is present are B-complex vitamins, and often vitamin C and E, manganese, zinc, and adrenal and thyroid glandular substance.

A detoxification program using near infrared light saunas is also helpful.  (Other types of saunas are not as effective and I do not recommend far infrared saunas at all, due to their EMF emissions.)  The use of coffee enemas will usually speed up the healing process significantly, as well.  Plenty of pure water, either spring water or carbon-filtered tap water is also helpful.


Definition.  A magnesium shell is said to be present any time the hair tissue magnesium level is greater than about 20 mg%.  I have not worked out the quantification of a magnesium shell at this time (2015).

Meaning.  A magnesium shell usually indicates some degree of biounavailability of magnesium in the body.  This is definitely the case when the magnesium level rises very high, above about 100.

Usually with a calcium shell.  A magnesium shell often accompanies a calcium shell.  The reason for this is that on a hair mineral test, the calcium and the magnesium levels generally rise and fall together.  This means that the ratio of calcium to magnesium is usually maintained, even when the levels are very high or very low.

Slow oxidation.  Most cases of a magnesium shell occur in slow oxidizers.  That is, the calcium and magnesium levels are elevated, while the sodium and potassium levels are low.

Four highs pattern.  Uncommonly, a magnesium shell occurs when a person has a four highs mineral pattern.  In most cases, the oxidation rate is slow and a calcium shell is present, as well.

Getting help pattern.  It is rare to find a magnesium shell present by itself.  One situation in which the magnesium level can temporarily rise very high, with or without the calcium level rising as much, is the intervention we call “getting help”.  This is not a magnesium shell, however.  It is a magnesium elimination.

In this situation, the body usually reacquires a soul in its energy field.  Along with this, the hair magnesium rises because an inferior magnesium compound is eliminated from the body and is replaced with a higher quality magnesium compound in some enzyme binding sites.

The hill pattern – a joy pattern.  Another situation in which the magnesium level may temporarily rise very high, without the calcium rising high, is a hill pattern.  This also is not a magnesium shell.

Instead, the cause of the pattern is a feeling of joy, completion or celebration, for some reason.  By a mechanism that I am not familiar with, this feeling can cause a temporary rise in the magnesium and the sodium levels on a hair mineral chart.  To read more about this interesting pattern, please read The Hill Pattern on this website.

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