Step Up & Step Down Patterns


Step up pattern on a hair tissue mineral biopsy is an EXTREMELY important indicator and a critical medical breakthrough.  We will make a bold statement that every adult needs hair testing just to identify step up pattern.

Our intent is not to self-promote.  The reason for identifying step up pattern is it is the only way we know of to prevent many fatal heart attacks and strokes that are the leading cause of death in most nations today.

With due respect for the medical, holistic and natural health care professions and acknowledging their many good qualities, they do a horrendous job of preventing most heart attacks and strokes.

In summary, step up and step down patterns on hair mineral biopsies are among the most interesting metabolic and also psychological patterns.


This pattern is not seen too often, mainly because the people with this pattern do not usually live long enough for us to correct it.  Another name for the pattern is stepping out of life.


The step up pattern on a hair mineral test is a combination of:

  1. A fast oxidation rate
  2. A double low ratio pattern (Ca/Mg ratio less than about 4, and the Na/K ratio less than 2.5)
  3. A visual pattern in which the first four macrominerals must appear like steps moving upward to the right.  Hence the name step up pattern.
  4. Four lows is not present. (If it is, the pattern has a different meaning that is explained below under the heading Step Up With Four Lows Pattern).
  5. MOST IMPORTANT: The hair MUST not been washed at the laboratory and testing needs to be accurate, as with any biological test.  Most hair testing laboratories wash the hair before testing and most of their testing is therefore inaccurate.  This includes some labs that claim they do not wash the hair.


Components of the pattern.

– A fast oxidation pattern is associated with acute stress, inflammation and irritability.

– A low sodium/potassium ratio is associated with frustration, resentment, hostility, cardiac stress, blood sugar stress, malignancy, kidney stress and liver stress.

– A low calcium/magnesium ratio reinforces the low sodium/potassium ratio tendencies.

Usually a fast death pattern.  We call step up pattern a fast death pattern. It is associated with a tendency for a heart attack, in particular, or perhaps a vascular accident such as a stroke.

It is also associated with arteriosclerosis, angina, cardiac arrythmias, and perhaps malignancy and diabetes.

It is an acute and chronic stress pattern and an inflammatory pattern.  Psychologically, it is a running away pattern.

It is fast and reckless, the opposite of step down pattern, which is slow but sure.

Fortunately, a properly performed healing program, especially if applied quickly, can easily turn the pattern around in most cases.

Step up pattern with four lows pattern.  Step up with four lows pattern is different and actually a good pattern. It seems to indicate that a person is trying very hard to stay in this life.  The person may be “running away from the tunnel of death, as best he or she can”.

Psychological meaning of step up pattern.  A person with this pattern is moving in a dangerous direction and unable or usually unwilling to change direction and to make important life changes.  He is determined, in other words, to proceed as he is going.  He is also putting himself under tremendous stress, and burning out (low Na/K ratio doubled or reinforced by a low Ca/Mg ratio), and so he is in trouble.

It can indicate a futile attempt to stay in an egotistical pattern of pushing oneself hard or striving hard and “pushing through life” (a fast oxidation rate), when this attitude or response to life, or to a particular situation, just is not working.

It is an intense striving pattern that is not producing results because it is not the appropriate response for the person at this time.  Metaphorically, one might say it is a ‘hardening of the heart’ that is very dangerous.  There is a need for love, perhaps more self-love, and surrender.

The pattern may be due mainly to biochemical imbalances, especially a need for copper.  In other cases, psychological factors play a greater role.  (Copper softens a person and is a more feminine mineral.)

It may also be called a stuck in fast oxidation pattern.  Visually, the pattern appears like a person running headlong into a wall, represented by the elevated potassium level on the right of the four macrominerals on the graph.

A type of deep conflict pattern.  A conflict pattern means that a clash is occurring between two powerful, but opposing forces.  In this case, one of the forces at work on the person is a fast oxidation rate.  This is a more aggressive, pushing forward, hard-driving, and more ‘male’ approach to life.

However, this tendency is in conflict with or opposed by a double low ratio pattern.  The latter is a severe weakness, depleted-of-energy, reversed pattern.

The person is pushing ahead on one hand, but the gearshift is in reverse, in a way, so it is not working at all!  Perhaps it is more like having one foot on the gas pedal of the car, and the other on the brake pedal.  This is very wearing on the engine.

The person is trying to push ahead at full speed, but the direction is blocked, like having the brake on or the car is pushing against a solid wall or rock.  As a result, the body is becoming very weak and depleted.

Often a fatal stalled transition pattern.  A person with step up pattern needs to slow down and transition from fast to slow oxidation, and in this sense to follow a different path.  If this does not occur quickly, often one will die.

What blocks this transition is often a need for a lot of copper, although emotional factors could also be in play.

Who has the pattern?  The step up pattern is most often seen in:

  1. More often in men, so far, though certainly not always.
  2. Perhaps a less emotionally mature person, but we are not sure about this.
  3. A person who needs to be more “spiritual” in some fashion and may not know how to do it, so he is just doing things as best he can, but not well enough.
  4. One who is ready to die, in a way, rather than change.  We sometimes call this tendency the “I’d rather die” pattern.  One is so stuck in the ego in some way that the body is sacrificed, usually with a heart attack, stroke, cardiomyopathy or other cardiovascular accident or catastrophe.
  5. A person who is under some type of stress that he cannot cope with properly.
  6. The person may be angry.  This is associated with iron toxicity and step up is usually an iron personality type to some degree, at least.  The person is usually very smart, somewhat bitter and cynical, and rather rigid underneath, even if this is not apparent.
  7. The pattern can occur in a child, usually but not always a male child.  Here it is less of a death pattern.  The child is usually able to change the pattern into slow oxidation, which is a new direction in life, and a new way of coping with life.  This, by the way, is the solution to this pattern.

Outcomes of step up patterns.  Only two outcomes occur with this pattern.  One is a usually fatal catastrophic event such as a heart attack or stroke.

The other outcome may be called a change of heart.  When this occurs, a person gives up their dreams, or perhaps their ego stubbornness, and changes direction.  Often, in these cases, the person moves into a four lows pattern, which is a special type of hiding or giving up pattern.

We know this because when one retraces and heals with a properly designed healing program some with a four lows pattern temporarily move into a step up pattern when they leave four lows.  The step up pattern usually is mild and does not last long, and the person continues to retrace and move into other patterns.


Needless to say, a step up pattern is one of the most important patterns to correct as quickly as possible.  Copper supplementation is critical.

Dr. Paul Eck found that copper supplementation is needed for just a few situations on a hair mineral analysis.  These include 1) fast oxidation, 2) a low sodium/potassium ratio and, 3) even more so if the low sodium/potassium ratio is accompanied by a low calcium/magnesium ratio.  A step up pattern includes all of these situations!

I would say that step-up pattern is associated with biounavailable copper in the body.  (A low Na/K ratio is an indicator for biounavailable copper).  it may also be associated with “amigo copper”.  This is an oxide form of copper that is very irritating to the tissues, and can do oxidant damage.

Whatever is the truth about the copper situation, we find that giving bioavailable copper to the person is the key to turning around this hair analysis pattern.  An adult with this pattern may need up to 10 or 12 mg of copper daily to alter the pattern.

Copper is what is called a female mineral, meaning that it often gives a quality of softness and gentleness to a person, and it is needed more for women, in some ways.  It appears that the step up pattern is a certain type of rigidity and “male” approach that is hard-driving, stubborn and does not give up easily.  When the pattern is present, this approach to life is causing extreme and dangerous stress on the body.

Giving a lot of copper, along with the other nutrients required for this pattern, seems to help “soften” the pattern and eventually reverse it.  This is an interesting corrective concept that works beautifully, in my experience.  The copper may actually “soften” or feminize the person so that he, usually, is less stubborn and stuck in the pattern.

Iron.  A step up pattern has a quality of stubbornness and strength about it that is strongly associated with excessive and biounavailable iron in the body.  People with step up pattern may be called “ironheads”.  This is not a complimentary term and refers to a quality of hardness, stubbornness, and perhaps a Type A personality.  They can be “hard-ass” or “tight-ass” people.  They are moving forward, but at another level are reversed and “losing altitude” fast.

Iron is an older ‘male’ mineral that is rather hard, strong but inflexible, and iron is a rather brittle metal.  Iron accumulates in the amygdala and is associated with feelings of anger and rage.  This is exactly the quality a person displays when in a step up pattern.

Copper and magnesium seem to act as iron antagonists with this pattern to help balance the person physically, mentally and emotionally.  These minerals are critical to turn the pattern around.

Vitamins can kill with this pattern.  Holistic doctors and naturopaths can and often do kill patients with step up pattern.  They do this by giving them incorrect nutrients.  In this case, these include B-complex vitamins, vitamins C and E, zinc and potassium.  Giving thyroid or adrenal support can also worsen the situation.

All of the above supplements tend to increase the oxidation rate and lower copper, the opposite of what is needed in this situation.


This is much more common that a step-up pattern on an initial hair test.  One reason for this is that it is not a serious or even an important pattern.  It just means that a person is retracing the pattern, to some degree.  It is usually temporary and not of great importance.  The healing program must be adjusted to resolve it, but that is all that is needed.


In some interesting ways, this is the opposite of the step up pattern, and appears this way visually.  Instead of steps ascending to the right, it appears as steps descending from the left to the right on the hair chart.  Other names for the pattern are coming back to life or stepping into life.

The pattern is defined as:

  1. A slow oxidation rate.
  2. A double high ratio pattern.  This means the sodium/potassium ratio is above about 5 and the calcium/magnesium ratio is greater than about 9.5.
  3. Visually, the chart must look like steps going down to the right.
  4. Four lows must not be present. (If it is present, the pattern has a different meaning explained below.)

Step down pattern with a four lows pattern, but only on an initial hair test.  In this case only, the pattern seems to indicate a person who is moving ahead with determination to leave this life.  Why this is so different than when the four lows pattern is not present I do not know, but it changes the meaning of the step down pattern very much.

It is the same in that the person is directed, determined and “moving ahead firmly” with something, but it is a four lows context and that is the difference.


We find step down pattern is more common in women. The person is often very determined to move ahead in his or her life, in spite of some fatigue or exhaustion.  The person is often moving ahead slowly, with this pattern, and doing well, even though the energy level is low.  It is thus a pattern of overcoming odds against oneself, and slowly pushing forward in one’s life.  One can call it “digging in one’s heels” and moving ahead in spite of obstacles.

Developing the will.  One may say that the step down pattern is associated with developing the quality of focused and concentrated will in one’s life.  This is in contrast to a step up pattern, which is associated with a need to develop the quality of love and surrender, and to move past the lower will of the ego.  I know this may sound vague, but it indicates how the hair tissue mineral patterns can relate to developmental states of a human being.


Copper.  Those with step down pattern tend to be high in copper, even if the hair copper level is normal or low.  Often indicators of hidden copper toxicity are present with this pattern.  These might include an elevated calcium level, or a very low potassium level.

As with the step-up pattern, some of the copper is usually biounavailable.  However, it is probably not “amigo” copper, which is a copper oxide.

Iron.  Most people with step down pattern also have too much biounavailable iron.  This raises the sodium level and can give rise to a high sodium/potassium ratio.  They also have too much of the other “amigos” in almost all cases, such as aluminum, manganese, and biounavaillable chromium, selenium, nickel, molybdenum, cobalt, boron and others (but not copper).

Other toxic metals.  Those with step down pattern are usually quite toxic.  This has to do with their slow oxidation rate, which is always associated with the accumulation of many toxic metals, even if they are not revealed on any type of blood, urine, saliva or hair test.  These toxic metals include lead, cadmium, arsenic, aluminum and mercury.

A strong need for zinc.  Dr. Eck discovered that when the sodium/potassium ratio is high, one needs a lot of supplementary zinc.  Zinc tends to lower this ratio.

Zinc supplementation is even more necessary when the double high ratio pattern is present, which occurs with step down pattern.

Selenium.  Another male mineral, selenium, may also be helpful or even essential for step down pattern.  Selenium is an even more advanced or spiritual “male” mineral that helps to balance this pattern.

Avoid giving copper.  Although a copper supplement is vital for the step up pattern, it can be damaging for those with step down pattern.  Do not give copper supplements, or high copper foods for step down pattern, even if the hair copper level is very low.


Conflict issues. Step down is definitely a pattern related to some internal conflict.  The person is determined to move ahead, but is somewhat slowed down by low energy, low adrenal and thyroid activity, and usually by sympathetic dominance, which involves some fear, anxiety, anger and depression.

Scattered, yet focused.  Step down is also a combination of a tendency to be somewhat spacy or scattered (high copper) and a determination to move forward in a focused way.

Often intelligent, spiritually-minded individuals.  While step down pattern is common, it often occurs in people who are of above average intelligence and often those who are interested in spiritual matters.


This is a wonderful event.  It usually means a person is feeling better, and has made some important decisions to enter into a new life path or a new project, at least.  It is a decision to move ahead with life in some way.  It might be to pursue a new job or career, or to begin or deepen an interpersonal relationship, or to move one’s residence, or simply to take a new interest in living.

This is in stark contrast to step-up pattern on a retest, which is not very important.

All step-down patterns are what might be called “karmic beginnings”, or starting a new movement in one’s life.  This is also the case when it occurs on a retest during a properly performed healing program.


While the degree varies, all step-down patterns tend to have sympathetic dominance pattern as part of their quality.  Sympathetic dominance is associated with a tendency to push oneself and to overuse the sympathetic nervous system.


Step down pattern may be found in conjunction with a number of other common patterns.  These include:

  1. Four highs or three highs.  This is a weaker version of the step down pattern, we believe, but basically similar.
  1. Four lows.  As explained above, this changes the meaning of the pattern completely, and may indicate a person who is moving in a direction to leave this life, and somewhat enthusiastic about it.  Fortunately, it can be turned around with a properly designed healing program if the person will follow the program carefully.
  1. A calcium shell (calcium greater than 165 mg% for a woman and about 155 mg% for a man).  This does not seem to alter the pattern much, especially if the calcium level is less than about 300 mg%.
  1. Sympathetic dominance pattern (potassium of 4 mg% or less).  This is seen very commonly with step down pattern.  This has been discussed above.
  1. Spiritual defensive pattern (Ca/Mg ratio greater than 13.5).  This is often present.  It indicates a need to let go of something in the lifestyle.  Usually, it is considered a negative pattern.  However, it does not seem to interfere with the positive nature of a step down pattern.
  1. Poor eliminator patterns (very low toxic metal levels).  This is very common with step down pattern.  The likely reason is that when a person is in slow oxidation, and in sympathetic dominance, which is often the case with step down pattern, less nerve energy goes to the eliminative organs, impairing normal elimination of toxic metals and of toxic forms of vital minerals as well.

We will begin this article with qualities they share, or have in common in some way.  This will give you more insight into these two important patterns.


The following can help one understand the specifics of step up and step down patterns.

  1. Double patterns/efforting patterns.  Both are what are called double ratio patterns, involving the calcium/magnesium ratio and sodium/potassium ratio.  With step up pattern, both these ratios are low.  With step down pattern, both ratios are elevated.

Double patterns in this case indicates determination or efforting, and this is the case with these two patterns.  Both have to do with willpower and strong directed effort.  Both have to do with stubbornness or “digging in one’s heels”.

  1. Both are visual patterns.  This means that these patterns, more than many others, can often, but not always, be visualized on the calibrated hair analysis charts from Analytical Research Laboratories.  They are not visible on the graphs from other laboratories that I am aware of.  The hair testing lab must not wash the hair for accurate mineral readings.  I am not sure why the visual aspect is so important in this case, but it is.
  1. Straight line patterns.  While not always exactly true, this means that if one connects the top of the bars or hash marks on a calibrated ARL graph, the shape of the pattern is more or less a straight line.  Step up pattern looks like a line tilting upward to the right.  Step down pattern looks like a line tilting downward to the right.

These straight lines may have to do with directed will because both patterns are characterized by this feature.  The straight lines also may have to do with a certain type of alignment, coordination or integration of love and will that occurs with both these patterns.  Said differently, both patterns are highly directed.  Their energy is not random or scattered, as are some other hair analysis patterns.

  1. The steeper the tilt of the lines in both cases, the more extreme the pattern.  A steeper slope of the steps means a more determined person and therefore a more extreme pattern.
  1. “Wall” patterns.  This just means that in both cases, it appears visually as if the person is “up against a wall”.  This has psychological importance in the pattern.  With the step up pattern, the wall is in front of the person.  The meaning is “beating one’s head against a wall and getting nowhere fast, or wearing out fast”.

With step down pattern, the wall is seen behind the person, and he or she is moving away from it steadily.  The idea is “back to the wall with nowhere to go but forward”.

  1. Clear movement in relation to earth life.  Step down is a clear movement of “stepping into life”, unless four lows is also present, in which case it is the opposite.  Step up pattern is clearly “stepping out of life” unless four lows is present, in which case it is the opposite.
  1. Sympathetic nervous system patterns.  Step up pattern is the improper use of the sympathetic nervous system to keep moving in an improper direction, generally leading to death.  Step down pattern is also a strong use of the sympathetic nervous system to continue in life, or to enter the mainstream of life more.  The above is the opposite if four lows is also present.
  1. Stalled versus picking up speed.  This is a type of aircraft wing analogy.  The shape of step up pattern (like an aircraft wing tilted upward, viewed from the side) is that of an airplane wing that is stalled.  This is exactly the meaning of the pattern in psychological and movement terms.

The shape of the step down pattern (an aircraft wing tilting downward, when viewed from the side) is that of a dive or picking up speed.  This is the meaning of step down, in one sense.  Those familiar with aircraft know that neither of these tilts to the wings are that safe or stable, but a stalled wing is the worst possible situation for an aircraft, and it is also very dangerous for a human being or animal to be in a step up pattern.  In fact, it is among the most serious death pattern on a hair mineral analysis.

A step down pattern or a wing that in the dive position, is not bad provided one can stabilize it.  In fact, pilots may put their aircraft into a dive temporarily to gain airspeed.

In this regard, step up pattern may be said to be expressing loss of airspeed.  Step down pattern indicates increasing air speed.  Adequate airspeed is essential for flight, and it is essential for life.

  1. Double discharging versus double charging patterns.  Step up pattern with the double low ratio, is a double discharging pattern, electrically.  This is usually unsustainable and will cause death unless it changes.  Step down pattern is double charging (double high ratio), and this is a very good trend.  Charging and discharging of the cells electrically is an important concept in nutritional balancing.  A high sodium/potassium ratio is charging, generally, while a low sodium/potassium ratio is discharging.  Double patterns just reinforce this tendency.

10. About the heart.  Both step up and step down have to do with the heart, both the physical and the emotional heart or soul.  Step up pattern with fast oxidation often indicates enough adrenal strength, but often ends up with a heart attack or stroke.  Perhaps this is due to a copper deficiency and “not being in one’s heart”.  Copper is a feminine mineral associated with softness and gentleness.

Step down pattern is often found in people with heart, or those who are “following their heart”, at least to some degree. This may be why it is generally a positive pattern.  However, they need to work to strengthen the lower “follow-through” power organs such as the adrenals and the kidneys.

  1. About the kidneys.  Step up is more associated with stronger kidneys, whereas step down is associated with weaker kidneys.
  1. Some reversal in both patterns.  Step down pattern involves reversal because the oxidation rate is quite slow in most cases.  However, the Na/K ratio and the Ca/Mg ratio are both high, indicating a strong efforting tendency and underlying strength.

In contrast, step up pattern involves a fast oxidation rate, which is not reversed.  However, both the Na/K ratio and the Ca/Mg ratio are low, indicating reversal, with hostility, resentment, frustration and a deep-seated weakness pattern.  This may be why step up pattern is associated with a quick death.

  1. Both are blocked movement patterns to some degree, especially step up pattern.  Step up pattern is fast oxidation, normally associated with fast movement forward.  However, in this case it is accompanied by a double low ratio, which stops forward movement and can end in death.

With step down pattern, slow oxidation is associated with fatigue, burnout, exhaustion and introversion.  A double high ratio, however, is associated with aggressiveness, some anger, and moving forward.  In step down pattern, a person who is quite tired, in other words, is moving ahead, “making a move” or “moving on out”, slowly but surely.

  1. Good and bad anger.  Step up pattern involves a low Na/K ratio, which is always associated with resentment, or chronic anger and hostility. This is always unhealthy.  Step down is associated with a high Na/K ratio, associated with some acute anger and some acute stress, which in this case are being channeled positively.
  1. Father/mother imbalance patterns.  This is an area of research.  A low calcium/magnesium ratio, as seen in the step up pattern, tends to be associated with psychological imbalances related to mother.  A high calcium/magnesium ratio, associated with step down pattern, has more to do with issues related to one’s father.  In both cases, more awareness of these issues and perhaps more maturity may be needed to resolve the patterns easily.