PART I. INTRODUCTION
What Is Copper?
Copper?s Role In The body
Three Types of Copper Imbalances
PART II. IMPORTANT SYMPTOMS OF COPPER IMBALANCE
Parasitic And Yeast Infections
Reproductive System (mostly female reproductive system)
PART III. OTHER COPPER-RELATED SYMPTOMS
PART IV. SOURCES OF COPPER
PART V. DETECTING COPPER IMBALANCE
PART VI. NORMALIZING COPPER IMBALANCE and References
PART I. INTRODUCTION
Do you know anyone who suffers from brain fog, fatigue, constipation, spaciness, racing thoughts, PMS, headaches, trouble sleeping, depression, anxiety, rashes, white spots on the fingernails, slow wound healing or learning disorders???These are usually symptoms of a copper imbalance – an extremely common condition today.
I was full of copper 35 years ago.??I was depressed, my thoughts raced day and night, and I was achy, spacy, and foggy.??I went to at least a dozen doctors.
No one figured it out until someone did a hair analysis.??Even then, the copper level was normal.??However, I had signs of?hidden copper?? a high calcium level and a low potassium level.??Other hidden copper indicators are a low hair zinc, mercury toxicity, or a low sodium/potassium ratio.
WHAT IS COPPER?
Copper is a soft, reddish-gold metal, element number 29, to be exact.??It has been known for at least 10,000 years.??It is a great conductor of electricity and heat, so its main use is in electrical wires, and the windings of motors.??It is also used to make coins, and it is mixed with other metals to make bronze and brass.
It is also vital for health.??However, its importance for health is still largely unappreciated, mostly because medical schools and even naturopathic schools don?t teach much about it.??Remember this next time you visit a doctor.??For this article, I am totally indebted to my teacher,??Paul C. Eck, who loved to study and read about copper.
COPPER’S ROLE IN THE BODY
Copper has a number of important roles in the human body.??Some of these are:
In fact, copper imbalance is associated with every female organ-related difficulty such as premenstrual syndrome, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroid tumors, infertility, miscarriages, other menstrual problems, no sex drive, too much sex drive, and estrogen imbalances.
Copper also gets into men?s testicles when there is too much.??It make the testis too small, painful to the touch, and they don?t work well.
Getting technical, too much copper stimulates production of the neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine.??It is also required for monoamine oxidase, an enzyme related to serotonin production.
As a result, copper is deeply involved with all disorders of the central nervous system.??These include memory loss, especially in young people, depression, anxiety, attention deficit, hyperactivity, autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and others discussed later in this article.
The right copper compounds are the body?s natural yeast fighters!??With a copper imbalance, it is hard not to get yeast and fungus infections anywhere in the body.??Common ones are sinus problems, ear problems, vaginal yeast and intestinal yeast that causes gas, bloating, stomach pain and other digestive problems.
Some antibiotics work by mobilizing copper.??The trouble is they are very toxic, so avoid them, please.??Use natural antibiotics such as vitamin A, colloidal silver, and bee propolis.??They often work well if you stop eating garbage and eat plenty of cooked vegetables.
The worst food for infections and yeast are sugar, syrup, rice milk, even regular milk.??Also, avoid everything sweet, including all fruit.
Fruit is highly overrated and causes yeast, tooth decay and other problems whenever you eat it.??Antibiotics should be reserved as a last resort only.
These go away fairly easily on a properly designed nutritional balancing program.??Taking thyroid hormones is not required, even though most doctors, even natural ones, will want to give you replacement thyroid hormones for these conditions.
Copper is also associated with some cases of Grave?s disease or hyperthyroidism.??This also goes away with a properly designed nutritional balancing program.??Drugs may be needed temporarily to control the symptoms.??Surgery or radioactive iodine treatment (RAI) are drastic, barbaric, and rarely, if ever needed, in my experience.
Copper imbalance contributes to tooth problems, bone spurs, weak bones, and almost all conditions of the skin, hair and nails.??Others symptoms related to connective tissue include most cardiovascular problems, tendon and ligament conditions, scoliosis (curved or weak back), and other skeletal and structural imbalances as well.
THREE COPPER IMBALANCES
It is possible for a person to become copper-toxic, copper-deficient or to have a condition called biounavailable copper.??The first two of these are fairly easy to understand.??Copper is found in certain foods in greater quantity such as meats, eggs, poultry, nuts, seeds and grains.??Other foods are quite low in copper such as fruits, in particular.??Others that tend to be low are vegetables and some nuts and grains.
Refined food diets are low in copper in many cases.??Also, some, especially children, need much more copper than others.??This has to do mainly with their metabolic type or body chemistry.??Fast oxidizers need more copper while slow oxidizers often have too much.??Those who we find are fast oxidizers require a lot more copper.??This is a technical area, but it is an observation that holds true in most all cases.
Slow oxidizers often have excessive copper in their bodies.??Thus they are far more prone to copper imbalance of this nature.
What is biounavailable copper???In this very common situation, copper is present in excess in the body, but it cannot be utilized well.??The reason it occurs is that minerals such as copper must be bound and transported within the body.
Biounavailability often occurs due to a deficiency of the copper-binding proteins, ceruloplasmin or metallothionein.??Without sufficient binding proteins, unbound copper may circulate freely in the body, where it may accumulate primarily in the liver, brain and female organs.
When copper is biounavailable, one may have symptoms of both copper toxicity and copper deficiency.??Copper toxicity and biounavailability are seen most often.??These occur almost always in people who are in the state called slow oxidation.??As stated earlier, copper deficiency occurs most often in people who are in the state called fast oxidation.??This article uses the words copper imbalance when more than one of the three types of copper problems are possible.
PART II. IMPORTANT SYMPTOMS OF COPPER IMBALANCE
Each mineral has ?target organs? where it tends to build up.???The places where copper accumulates are the liver first, then the brain and the reproductive organs.??Copper may affect any organ or system of the body.??However, it usually affects about four or five major systems of the body.??These are the nervous system, the female and male reproductive system, connective tissues such as hair, skin and nails and organs like the liver.??Let us discuss each of these in detail.
COPPER AND THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
Dr. Paul Eck called copper the ?emotional mineral?.??The reason for this is that copper and imbalances related to it have such a profound impact on the central nervous system.??The psychiatric implications of copper imbalance are tremendous, even if copper did not affect other body systems.??We regularly work with every known psychological and psychiatric condition and most of these individuals improve when copper is balanced in the body.
The overall effect of copper appears to be to enhance all emotional states in a human being.??Dr. Eck felt that copper stimulates the diencephalons or old brain.??Zinc is needed for the new brain or cortex.??This brain is associated with the ?higher emotions? such as reasoning, compassion and love.
When an imbalance between these exists, the person tends to revert to the use of the old brain, also called the animal brain or emotional brain.??This can lead to a tendency for every possible emotional condition affecting human beings.
Nervous system dysfunctions.??We have seen improvement in 20 or 30 different mental and emotional conditions ranging from moderate to suicidal depression and anxiety to violence, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, phobias, Tourette?s syndrome and schizophrenia.??Others that respond amazingly well to balancing copper include epilepsy, ADD, ADHD, autism, delayed mental or emotional development and many others.
Panic attacks, migraines, spaciness, brain fog, mind racing, insomnia, nervousness, irritability and others also often involve copper.??On this website are numerous articles that explore these conditions and often the relation to copper in greater detail.
Copper and world violence.??Copper tends to enhance all the emotions, so violence can occur far more in those with copper excess ? a common problem today in many parts of the world.
America is actually better in this regard because we can afford more beef and other meats.??These foods are among the highest foods in zinc that balances copper in the body.??Nations that cannot afford much meat may have worse copper imbalance, though this is not necessarily the case.
Here is a letter we received from Africa:
Since 2014, my wife had been on Risperidone.??Anytime she stopped the drug her symptoms resume, within one month: mind racing, incoherent talks, hallucination, brain fog, panic attack, etc.
I am writing this in tears because after I stumbled on your blessed website, I mentioned the possibility of the copper IUD inside my wife as the trouble-maker.??Our doctors simply smiled and ?lectured? us that there is no connection whatsoever between copper IUD and my wife?s symptoms. Their advice: since the symptoms only come back whenever she stops the antipsychotic drug, then she should continue the drug until God knows when!
Our hospital, The University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, is the biggest, most-equipped and acclaimed best in Nigeria, if not in West Africa.
On my insistence, a maternity doctor helped to remove the IUD. Immediately, my wife started gaining back her weight and, somehow, coming back to reality.??She now talks to me freely about how she feels, which she wouldn?t do before.
I was alarmed the day she told me the water tank and the pipes in her mother?s house were all copper. She lived in that house with her mother, until the latter?s death, and drank from the tank, her entire teenage years!
Sirs, if even in the Western world, information and attention can be so scanty on this scourge called Copper Toxicity, then what is the hope of our women and families the world over, especially undeveloped countries like Nigeria and others, in this era of family planning and population checks?
These are my fears, my tears and my heartache. Women are right there inside the psychiatric wards of UCH and other hospitals, with copper IUDs strapped to their uterus. Some mothers ?run mad? after child-birth.??Some are battling with cancerous growths in the liver, kidney, uterus, etc.
I am not dropping the cause of every ailment at the doorstep of copper toxicity.??I am simply appreciating the efforts of you people at researching into this very important phenomenon largely ignored and providing help to those affected , at least till the whole world is ready to listen.
-??Mr O. A., Ibadan, Nigeria (received 9/24/2019).
Update, July 2020:?A recent medical journal article details how copper deficiency affects the circadian rhythms of the body:?https://www.nature.com/articles/s41589-018-0062-z.
COPPER AND THE BLOOD
????????????One of the most common symptoms of biounavailabe copper or a frank copper deficiency is an anemia that appears identical to iron deficiency anemia.??Those most affected are young adult women, and sometimes children.??Vegetarians also tend to have too much and biounavailable copper and may be affected.
Signs.?It is usually a mild, microcytic, microchromic anemia on blood exams.
Mechanism.?Copper is required to change the form of iron from ferric to ferrous and back again, and is required to incorporate iron into hemoglobin.??When copper is not available in sufficient amounts, usually due to adrenal insufficiency, iron is not incorporated into the hemoglobin well enough, resulting in a mild anemia.
????????????Correction. Few doctors are aware of this cause for anemia.??As a result, most physicians make the mistake of giving supplemental iron for this condition, which may work a little, but makes the patient much worse in terms of overall health.??Iron can boost the adrenals and make copper a little more available, reducing the anemia.??However, iron is irritating to the intestines and iron overload is very common today.
????????????The correct treatment is to balance copper metabolism, which requires a hair mineral analysis in most cases and a complete nutritional balancing program.??Then the anemia goes away by itself.
COPPER AND INFECTIONS
Infections, especially sinus and other fungal infections.??Copper imbalance is also very much related to all fungal infections, in particular.??These often include common sinus conditions that give few symptoms such as a stuffy nose or post-nasal drip in millions of people.??Copper is also involved in acute and chronic candida albicans in the intestines and elsewhere.
Copper is critical for aerobic metabolism.??A copper imbalance often allows fungal organisms to thrive in the body and must usually be corrected to reduce fungal infections.??This is why some people simply cannot get rid of candida albicans or chronic yeast, parasitic infections, sinus infections and others that may be fungal in nature.
Copper is also linked to many other types of infections because zinc is needed for the proper immune response.??Elevated or biounavailable copper often goes along with a low tissue zinc level, even though blood tests may be normal.??Even a hair analysis is often normal.
One must always look for hidden copper signs on the hair mineral analysis for this reason.??This is a great key to identifying copper imbalance today, as there are few other tests that may show evidence of it.
COPPER, PARASITES AND YEAST INFECTIONS
Parasites?are impeded and perhaps killed in the body, in part, by bioavailable copper.??Copper is used in agriculture and some medications to kill some parasites.??When copper is out of balance, as it is in most people, parasitic infection is much more common.??Until copper is brought into better balance using a nutritional balancing program, one may ?cure? parasites with drugs or herbs, but they often come back, or are not completely eliminated.
?Yeasts.??Our bodies use copper to help control the growth of yeast.??This may be because copper favors aerobic metabolism, the type of cellular metabolism that human beings should have.??More specifically, copper, along with iron, is required for the electron transport system, where most of our cellular energy is produced.
In contrast, yeasts and fungi are anaerobic.??This means they ferment sugars for their energy production.??Thus, when copper is not available to the body in sufficient quantity, aerobic or normal oxygen-using??metabolism is crippled to some degree, while anaerobic metabolism or the fermentation of sugars flourishes in such an environment.
For this reason, for example, copper sulfate is often sprayed on crops to kill yeast and fungus.??Copper is also used in some swimming pools and hot tubs to control yeast and bacterial growth.
COPPER AND THE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM
Women tend to have higher levels of copper than men.??Women also have more symptoms related to copper imbalance.
Premenstrual syndrome. ?The symptoms of PMS mimic the symptoms of copper imbalance.??This occurs because estrogen levels and copper levels correlate well and both increase before the menstrual period.??For this reason, taking extra zinc and vitamin B6 before the menstrual period can often lower copper enough to reduce the symptoms of premenstrual tension for this reason.??At times, however, the cause of PMS is more complex.
Other symptoms related to the sexual organs include amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, fibroid tumors, ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease, fibrocystic breast disease, endometriosis and possibly pelvic inflammatory disease.
Miscarriages and infertility.??Copper required to hold onto a pregnancy.??Studies indicate that women with low estrogen and often low copper have more miscarriages.??This is important for some women to know.??Correcting the copper imbalance can help immensely with normal pregnancy.??Infertility, on the other hand, is more common among women with elevated or biounavailable copper.??This may be due, in part, to weak adrenals that, in turn, give rise to copper imbalance.??Fertility problems, however, can be due to many factors.
Low libido in women and men.??This is also linked to copper imbalance.??Since copper raises the hair and tissue calcium level, women, in particular, with very high copper levels or hidden copper on their hair analyses, often lose interest in sex.??Their energy declines and the body can become a bit ?numb? because excessive tissue calcium tends to render the nervous system less sensitive.
Low sexual interest in men is also related to copper, which interferes with zinc metabolism in many instances.??Men?s sperm and fluids are very rich in zinc.??If they become depleted, male fertility and male sexual performance will always suffer.??Most of the time, these problems are easy to overcome by correcting the levels of zinc and copper in the body using nutritional balancing methods.
Estrogen dominance and copper.??Copper-toxic women are often estrogen dominant.??This means they have more estrogen in their bodies, proportionately, than they have progesterone.??A nutritional balancing program will correct this.??We do not need or use progesterone therapy.??In fact, even natural or bio-identical progesterone therapy may be poorly tolerated in copper-toxic women and even men.
Biounavailable copper, progesterone and body shape.??Other women, usually those with biounavailable copper are low in estrogen.??Their bodies are often more linear in shape and less ?curvy?.??Of course, copper is not the only factor affecting hormones.??Some pesticides, for example, mimic the effects of estrogen and can affect the hormone balance.
Men and copper imbalance.??Boys and men are far more affected when copper is out of balance than are women in many cases.??Men should be zinc dominance.??While most women have more copper in their bodies, men, by contrast, should be zinc-dominant.???Zinc, a ‘masculine’ element, balances copper in the body and is essential for male reproductive activity.
Among the boys, symptoms that are most prominent are growth and developmental delay, ADD, ADHD, autism and related brain disorders.??Among men, symptoms of copper toxicity, usually, include prostate enlargement, prostate infections and to some degree prostate cancer.??Others include ED or erectile dysfunction that used to be called impotence, depression, anxiety and even violence.??Others are testicular pain and testicular cancer in some cases.
Secondary sex characteristics and copper.?Secondary sex characteristics are aspects of sexuality that are more mental and emotional than they are physical or anatomical.??For example, while their sexual organs are similar, some men just love sex and women, while others are less sexual.??The differences have to do with hormone levels, and often with the copper imbalance.
Birth control pills and copper IUDs (intra-uterine devices for birth control) .??These two birth control methods definitely affect copper metabolism in the body.??While some women can handle them, others experience depression, anxiety, personality shifts and many horrible side effects from them, either acute or chronic.
This aspect of women?s ?sexual revolution? has probably caused more disasters in women?s health than any other.??Developing cancer, for example, can take years so women do not understand the dangers.??The truth is, even if a woman quits taking the pill, for example, her risk of cancer remains high her entire lifetime.
Excessive sexual desire or sexual dysfunctions in women.??Another curious effect of copper excess in women can be excessive sexual interest.??This has something to do with the estrogen levels and liver toxicity due to the copper imbalance.??Other sexual difficulties in both men and women such as pain on intercourse, vaginal dryness and others may have to do with copper imbalance as well.
COPPER AND CONNECTIVE TISSUE
Copper is required for collagen formation.? Copper deficiency is association with atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular conditions.??Excess copper or biounavailable copper often causes connective tissue problems, interfering with the disulfide bonds in connective tissue.
Copper and vitamin C.??Copper and vitamin C are direct antagonists.??This means that they oppose each other in the body.??This is one reason many people feel better taking a lot of vitamin C.??Copper tends to oxidize and destroy vitamin C in the body.??Meanwhile, vitamin C chelates or removes copper from the body.??This requires a dose of vitamin C of at least about 500 mg daily, far higher than the minimum daily requirement of about 60 mg.??Many readers know that vitamin C is critical for connective tissues.??One of the prominent symptoms of scurvy, or vitamin C deficiency, is bleeding, such as bleeding gums.??This is due to connective tissue weakness.
Thus, a copper excess can easily lead to a deficiency of vitamin C in the body and with it many symptoms of vitamin C deficiency.??Oddly, however, a copper deficiency also causes connective tissue problems, especially in the heart and cardiovascular system where it is associated with a tendency for aneurisms and atherosclerosis.
Symptoms.??Symptoms associated with connective tissue and joints include arthritis, osteoporosis, stretch marks and joint problems of other kinds.??Others include scoliosis, kyphosis (bad posture) and many of the conditions of the skin, hair and fingernails and toenails.??Others are some diseases of the muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Among the most common, for example, are hair loss, especially in women, tendonitis, back problems due to muscle weakness and others.
Often overlooked.??Copper problems are generally missed, or diagnosed as something else, by all types of doctors.??The reasons for this are:
PART III. OTHER COPPER-RELATED CONDITIONS
COPPER AND ADDICTION
Addiction may be related to copper and the adrenals.??The use of stimulant drugs, loud music, sex and even just exercise stimulates the adrenals.??This helps keep copper available and makes one feel better.??Without this stimulation, unbound copper builds up quickly in the body and one may feel fatigued, moody or depressed.??These are common copper imbalance symptoms.
This can easily result in a compulsive or addictive need for some kind of adrenal stimulant such as more exercise, more caffeine or even cocaine.??In other words, part of the appeal of cocaine, caffeine, amphetamines or other stimulants may be their ability to help lower copper temporarily by stimulating the adrenals.
Relation of cadmium to copper.??Dr. Paul C. Eck stated that cadmium found in marijuana and cigarettes drives copper back into storage.??Therefore, these drugs may also make a person feel better temporarily by affecting the copper balance.
THE HIGH COPPER PERSONALITY
There exists a high copper personality.??Positive traits include a warm, caring, sensitive, emotional nature, often with artistic orientation and a child-like quality.??Often high-copper people are young-looking.??Many traditionally feminine traits are associated with copper such as softness, gentleness and intuitiveness.??This may relate to the qualities of metallic copper, which include softness, malleability and an excellent conductor of electricity.
When the personality is not fully integrated or the copper becomes too high, negative traits show up.??These include spaciness, racing thoughts, living in a dream world and naivet?.??Other qualities include childishness, excessive emotions, sentimentality, a tendency to depression, fearfulness, hidden anger and resentments, phobias, psychosis and violence.??Artists, inventors and other high-copper types often “live on the edge”, in part due to their high copper level.
The copper personality tends to accumulate copper easily.??Copper can function as a psychological defense mechanism.??It causes one to detach slightly from reality.??This provides relief from stress for the sensitive individual.??It works well as long as the copper does not become too high.??Very high copper can cause a psychotic break from reality, a type of schizophrenia.
Case History of schizophrenia.??An 18-year old schizophrenic patient had a hair copper level of 41 mg% (normal is 2.5 mg%).??She hallucinated and attempted suicide twice while in the Scottsdale Camelback Mental Hospital in Arizona.??When her copper was brought back into the normal range with a nutritional balancing program, her symptoms disappeared and she has remained well ever since.
Copper and other food cravings.??Copper-toxic individuals may also be drawn to sweets or salty foods due to adrenal insufficiency.??Some sea salt is often beneficial.??Sweets, including fruit juices, provide a temporary lift but may worsen the condition.
Anorexia and copper.??Another common symptom is a lack of appetite or some degree of anorexia.??Excessive copper tends to shut off the appetite, whereas zinc is required for the appestat mechanism in the brain.??Zinc is also needed for an acute sense of taste and smell.??The anorexia situation ends to be the worst in teenagers.??For one thing, they are under more stress than younger children in many cases.??Also, their diets are often low in quality proteins such as meats that are rich in zinc.??Instead, they eat a lot of carbohydrates such as pizza that actually interfere with zinc uptake in the intestines.??This combination can be lethal for some teenage girls, in particular.
Anemia.??Copper is needed for iron metabolism.??Therefore, an important cause of anemia, especially in women, is a copper imbalance.??On a blood test, it looks exactly like an iron-deficient anemia but it will not respond very well to the administration of supplemental iron.??The copper imbalance must be corrected and then the anemia vanishes quickly.
COPPER AND CANCER
Copper imbalance impairs the immune system.??Research is underway investigating the role of excess copper in tumor angiogenesis.??Elevated copper on a hair mineral analysis, when the level is above about 12 mg% and persists at this level, is often related to a tendency for infections and even cancer.
Cancer is associated with all three copper imbalances ? deficiency, excess and biounavailable copper, which is a combination of the other two.??This is one reason for the cancer epidemic we experience today.??The important topic of cancer and natural approaches to it, is discussed in other articles on this website.??Here are just a few ways cancer is linked to copper imbalance:
COPPER AND CHILDREN
Copper has an incredible impact on children, particularly young ones.??Common conditions such as ear infections, skin rashes and dandruff usually involve an imbalance between copper and zinc in children.??Others in which we commonly find copper imbalance, along with other metal imbalances are learning and developmental disorders, colic, ADD and ADHD, sleep problems and childhood cancers.
This has to do with the extreme importance of copper in childhood development, especially of the developing nervous and immune systems.??Children are born with high copper levels.??Young children are very sensitive and intuitive.??They often lose some of their sensitivity as their copper levels diminish around age four.??Today, however, persistently elevated copper levels in children are commonly seen.??At times, the copper is hidden.
Why children have copper imbalances.??Copper imbalance problems for a child often begin when still in the womb.??High-copper mothers pass on excessive copper (and often low zinc) to the fetus through the placenta.??This is called congenital, rather than genetic high copper.??It can be prevented by correcting one’s copper metabolism before becoming pregnant.??It can also be corrected after a baby is born, though this takes much more effort in most cases.
Once a baby is born, copper imbalance can develop as well.??Inadequate zinc or high copper in the breast milk, in fact, is one reason children stop breastfeeding.??Children?s diets are usually not great and often atrocious.??Stress in the home or at school is another critical factor in sensitive children that can literally push them over the edge.??Stress of any kind can lower zinc and raise the copper level.
Vaccination and the use of prescription drugs can aggravate a child’s copper imbalance, usually by depleting the zinc level.??Copper imbalance in children is associated with delayed development, attention deficit disorder, anti-social and hyperactive behavior, autism, learning difficulties and infections such as ear infections.
Beware of fast oxidizing young children.??Do not restrict their copper.??Most of them absolutely require extra copper.??This is because they are fast oxidizers.??This body type must have extra copper or they will exhibit violence, sleep problems or anti-social behavior such as ADD or ADHD.??So beware, since avoiding copper will make these children decidedly worse.
COPPER AND THE CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM?????????????
Low or biounavailable copper is associated with atherosclerosis and a tendency for aneurisms as well.??The arteriosclerosis or atherosclerosis is secondary, usually, to weakened arterial walls.??The body tries to reinforce inflamed or weakened arteries by coating them on the inside with calcium or fatty plaques.??High or biounavailable copper is associated with mitral valve prolapse and other cardiovascular problems as well.??It is not directly associated with high blood pressure, but may be secondarily due to the reasons for arteriosclerosis explained above.
COPPER AND SOCIETY
Is it possible that our mineral balance affects our attitudes???Copper is called the ‘love’ mineral, the ‘intuitive’ mineral, and a ‘feminine’ mineral because it is so important for the female reproductive system.??Its level generally parallels that of estrogen.??While many factors influence our attitudes and values, the rise in tissue copper levels in both men and women in the past fifty years parallels renewed interest in women?s issues, in religious and intuitive knowledge, and other ?new age? and other movements.
Copper may promote or encourage these interests and activities by causing mild tissue catabolism that breaks down old tissues in the body, thus making way for the development of other types of tissues in the body.??This sounds very vague, but apparently copper has this type of effect.
COPPER AND VEGETARIAN DIETS
Zinc compounds the body requires are found almost exclusively in meats.??Vegetarian diets tend to be much higher in copper and lower in zinc.??Those who follow vegetarian diets tend to accumulate too much copper in the body.??This tends to shorten their lives, even if they feel well.??The longest living people in a developed nation, the Japanese, are not vegetarians.
Obligatory vegetarians.???At times, people become vegetarian due to the buildup of excess copper in the body.??Excess copper interferes with zinc, a mineral needed to make digestive enzymes.??Too much copper also impairs thyroid activity and the functioning of the liver.
As these imbalances become worse, some people cannot digest meat very well, and they may dislike its taste and/or smell.??Switching to a vegetarian diet makes them feel better.??Dr. Eck called these people?obligatory vegetarians.
This means they are no longer able to digest meat very well.??The taste for meat often returns when copper is brought into better balance with a nutritional balancing program.
Other reasons for following a vegetarian diet.??These include not wanting to eating animals, dislike for how animals are slaughtered, or other reasons.??Some are born with a distaste for meat.??No matter what the outward reason, however, a hidden buildup of copper ? even at birth ? is, in fact, part or all of the reason a person takes an interest in a vegetarian diet.??Vegetarian diets are killers, in my clinical experience.
I followed this dietary system myself, and have watched the effects on many others.??One feels good for a while, but the body becomes too yin and deficiencies develop.
Symptoms.??Fatigue, spaciness and other symptoms of copper toxicity begin to appear.??Many people, including the author, felt they were becoming more ?spiritual? on a vegetarian diet, when in fact it was just copper poisoning!
Some people with high copper dislike all protein.??They crave high-carbohydrate diets.??Protein feels heavy or causes other symptoms.??Eating protein stimulates glandular activity.??This releases stored copper, which causes the symptoms.??However, these individuals usually need to eat protein, and their symptoms will eventually disappear as their health improves.
COPPER AND ADRENAL BURNOUT, INSUFFICIENCY OR HYPOFUNCTION
Adrenal burnout, characterized by chronic fatigue and other symptoms, is often related to copper imbalance.??Although correcting emotional and other factors are necessary, improving the copper imbalance, supporting the adrenals and releasing fearful thoughts go hand in hand to restore optimum health.
PART IV. SOURCES OF COPPER
When copper is out of balance, our bodies cannot control yeast overgrowth for these reasons.??This often lead to chronic candida albicans infections that are resistant to treatment.
Case history.??After Mrs. Robinson had her baby, her doctor told she could continue to take her pre-natal vitamin pill, which contained 4 mg of copper.??Within 6-months, both she and her breast-fed baby began to experience hair loss.??Loss of hair is a common symptom of copper toxicity, and many pre-natal vitamins have a lot of copper in them.??This is done because taking copper during pregnancy may help maintain a pregnancy in some cases.??As soon as??Mrs. Robinson stopped taking the pre-natal vitamin, the hair loss in both her and her baby stopped.
Most pre-natal vitamins are extremely inadequate, and are missing many vital nutrients needed by developing babies.??In addition, most contain too much copper.??Only with a nutritional balancing program, in my view, can a woman know what she needs during pregnancy and afterwards to raise a healthy child.
Blood, urine, feces and hair testing are used to detect copper imbalance.??Liver biopsy is also used on rare occasions.??Let us examine each method from my experience.??Blood serum or feces copper levels are not considered a reliable way to detect copper imbalance because copper may not accumulate in the blood or the feces.??Serum ceruloplasmin is not much more accurate, and still often misses copper imbalance.??Urine testing is also inaccurate because copper is stored deep in organs such as the brain and the liver.
Urine challenge testing.??With this procedure, one first gives a dose of penicillamine and then collects the urine for 24 hours.??However, this still will miss much copper that is stored deep within body organs and tissues.??Chelating agents primarily remove minerals from the blood and arterial walls.??A liver biopsy for copper can be very accurate.??However, it is costly, invasive and in my experience unnecessary.??However, it is used rarely to assess Wilson?s disease (a rare inherited copper storage disease).
Hair testing, in my experience, is far and away the best method to detect copper imbalances.??It can detect not only copper excess and copper deficiency, but copper biounavailability, too.??Hair is not a primary site of copper deposition.??However, if one knows how to interpret the hair analysis, one can often rapidly and non-invasively assess copper status.
COPPER ASSESSMENT VIA HAIR MINERAL ANALYSIS
An ideal range of copper in the hair is about 1.5-2.5 mg% or about 15-25 ppm.??Any number higher than this tends to indicate excessive copper in the hair tissue and, by extension, in other tissues of the body.??A hair copper level of less than about 1.5 mg% usually indicates hidden copper toxicity.
Swimming in pools.?Swimming in pools regularly or even regular use of a hot tub can increase the copper level in the hair.??This is due to the use of copper compounds added to the water as disinfectants.??These, of course, are best avoided if one has symptoms of elevated copper.
Note that the hair must not be washed at the laboratory for accurate results. ?Only two labs in the United States, Analytical Research Labs and Trace elements, Inc., do not wash the hair at the lab, as far as I know.
Indirect copper indicators.??The copper level on a hair mineral analysis is NOT the best way to assess copper status.??The reason is that copper does not often accumulate in the hair tissue and too many other factors can skew the reading.??In fact, copper assessment is quite complex.
Assessing the need for copper supplementation.??A need for copper supplementation does not mean the entire body is low in copper.??It just means that some is needed to balance the chemistry at a particular time.??This is confusing, but it works well.??Dr. Paul Eck researched this subject thoroughly, and I find that his methods work beautifully.??Following are hair tissue mineral analysis indicators for a need for copper supplementation:
1) A fast oxidation rate.??This is identified for you on mineral tests from Analytical Research Laboratories.??The criteria are a calcium/potassium ratio less than 4:1 and a sodium/magnesium ratio greater than 4.17:1.
2) A hair sodium/potassium ratio less than about 2.5:1.
3) A hair calcium/magnesium that is less than about 3:1 is a secondary indicator and it only applies if the hair sodium/potassium ratio is less than 2.5:1.
These indicators apply no matter what the hair copper level may be.??This is difficult to understand, but it works in practice and is very important to assist some patients.
Assessing Biounavailable Copper.??Most or perhaps all the time when copper is high in the hair or when hidden copper indicators are present, copper is at least somewhat biologically unavailable as well.
This may give rise to a combination of symptoms of toxicity and deficiency.??In addition to all the indicators below for hidden copper toxicity, other indicators of the biounavailability of copper are:
Hidden Copper Toxicity Indicators.?The hair copper level is a very unreliable indicator for copper toxicity.??So is serum copper, serum ceruloplasmin, and many other tests because the copper can hide deep in the brain and the liver.??A liver biopsy is a good indicator, but is a painful and somewhat invasive procedure.??Dr. Eck found that a hair mineral analysis, however, offers indirect indicators that are very accurate.??They include:
ؠ?Most slow oxidizers and all very slow oxidizers.
ؠ?A calcium level greater than about 70 mg%.
ؠ?Magnesium greater than about 10 mg%.
ؠ?A potassium level less than about 4 mg%.
ؠ?Zinc less than about 13 mg%.
ؠ?Zinc greater than about 20 mg% is often, but not always is a hidden copper indicator.
ؠ?A copper level less than 1.5 mg% is usually an excellent indicator.
ؠ?A mercury level greater than 0.03 mg%.??(In an older book I co-authored with Dr. Paul Eck, entitled?Toxic Metals in Human Health and Disease?(1989), we wrote that the mercury level needs to be 0.4 mg% for hidden copper to be present.??I believe this is an error and the level is closer to 0.03.)
ؠ?Slow oxidation with a copper level less than 1.0 mg%
ؠ?A calcium /potassium ratio greater than 10:1.
ؠ?A sodium/potassium ratio less than about 2.5:1.
ؠ?A phosphorus level less than about 13 mg%.
ؠ?Double low ratio?pattern.
ؠ?Wasting one?s time or biding one?s time?pattern.
ؠ?Stress from within and without?pattern.
ؠ?Extreme lifestyle stress?pattern.
PART VI. CORRECTING A COPPER IMBALANCE
After 40 years of experience with over 60,000 clients, I find that?the best way to reduce excess copper in the body, whether it is bioavailable or biounvailable, is a complete nutritional balancing program, and only those set up by one of the Approved Practitioners listed on this website.??This is a much better solution than using just chelators, antagonists, adrenal support, homeopathy, drainage remedies, physical therapies or any other method I have seen.
This is very important, as many people ask me for remedies to reduce copper.??Also, many naturopaths and holistic doctors use one or another of the remedy methods, but with very mixed success, in my experience.
COMPONENTS OF OUR NUTRITIONAL BALANCING PROGRAMS
The key is to use a number of methods simultaneously.??This does not mean taking piles of pills or strange diets, however.??It can be done easily and rather inexpensively and without a lot of fuss.??The methods used in nutritional balancing to balance copper include:
Equally important, the diet must be as low as possible in sweets, fruits and sugars as possible.??These foods, along with all stimulants, stress the adrenal glands and tend to make copper imbalance worse.??Stimulants include sugars, caffeine and food additives such as MSG, aspartame and other excitotoxins in the diet.??Many other food chemicals and additives, however, also stress the body and are not helpful for copper imbalance.??Vegetarian diets tend to aggravate copper imbalance badly.??Wheat and refined flour products are also not helpful at all.??These are some of the most important dietary considerations, especially for slow oxidizers.
Reducing fear and stress.??This is often very helpful and necessary to balance copper.??Methods range from a change in location or work to meditation, more rest, counseling and other changes.??See the section below on?Attitudes, Spirituality Help Balance Copper?for details about the only type of meditation I recommend.
Other methods of detoxification are less effective, in our experience.??These include cleansing diets, foot baths, clay packs and other methods which can make the copper problem worse.
HEALING MECHANISMS INTEGRATED INTO ALL OUR NUTRITIONAL BALANCING PROGRAMS
Replacement adrenal hormones.??These are not ever needed, even in cases of Addison?s disease, in my experience, and they are horrible, in a word.??I never recommend any hormones such as DHEA, pregnenolone, testosterone, progesterone or cortisol.??These may give quick relief of some symptoms, but upset the delicate hormone balance and eventually?always worsen copper imbalance.
Synthetic copper chelators.?The most common synthetic chelator for copper is penicillamine, sold under the names Cupramine or Depen.??This toxic method has been around for years.??It can have severe side effects that can include kidney damage, blurred vision, B6 deficiency, ringing in the ears, ulcers, jaundice and other liver damage, abdominal pain, bloody urine and more.??Rarely, I have seen it work when all else fails, but this is only in about two cases out of 20-30,000 people in 30 years.??DMPS and other mercury chelators are also used by some doctors.??All of them have significant side effects in my experience.??They may lower copper, but the patient is made worse by their use.
Natural copper chelators.??Please avoid these as well.??Metal Free, NDF, OSR, chlorella, cilantro, spirulina and other natural products that chelate metals always remove some essential minerals as well as removing toxic metals.??They are also somewhat toxic, completely unnecessary and often costly.
Why else avoid chelation and antagonist therapies??These often do not work well because they do nothing to rebalance body chemistry.??In fact, they can make the overall balance of the electrolytes worse.??This is why a complete program of balancing body chemistry with nutritional balancing science is far preferable.??I will assist any practitioner who wishes to learn about the nutritional balancing method of copper removal.
For example, zinc is often used to correct a high copper.??However, it lowers the hair tissue sodium level, which is often dangerous if persisted in.??Molybdenum, another copper antagonist and chelator, raises sodium and is somewhat toxic and best avoided in most cases.??Vitamin C, when used in high doses, tends to cause other imbalances because it removes other metals besides copper and because it is extremely yin in Chinese medical terminology.??This is quite harmful for some people.
Each vitamin and mineral affects overall body chemistry.???For best results, I strongly recommend an integrated nutrition, lifestyle and detoxification program based on a properly performed and interpreted hair mineral analysis.??It is worth the extra time, cost and energy to get better results.??It can also avoid the purchase of unnecessary and costly supplements and other problems that come from their use.
ATTITUDES AND SPIRITUALITY HELP BALANCE COPPER
Life is not easy for many copper-toxic people.??Most are highly intelligent, very sensitive, angry and emotional, at times, and the copper may help detach them from the world.
One must be aware of this fact and live appropriately, letting go of the world in a gentle and loving way.
A method I highly recommend is a meditation-observation exercise that we offer on a compact disc.??This is a Judeo-Christian exercise that is tremendously grounding and centering.??It was a great help for me with copper imbalance and has helped thousands of other clients as well.??I cannot recommend it highly enough.??It is simple to do and will slowly reduce all causes of stress as it brings more truth and light into one?s life.
This particular Judeo-Christian exercise, which is a type of praying and bringing energy into the body, is extremely helpful to detach one emotionally, to reduce stress, to bring up hidden resentments, and for other reasons as well.
In addition, prayer, reading the bible and any other true spiritual activity will often assist copper-toxic individuals.??This is the case because it helps them to know they are all right, they are loved by their Creator, and God is present in their lives.??This can be vital for a copper-toxic person, though it is helpful for everyone who cares about spiritual matters.
COPPER DETOXIFICATION SYMPTOMS
One of the difficulties in reducing excess copper are symptoms that arise during the process of elimination.??As the body begins to mobilize excess copper from tissue storage sites, it enters the bloodstream on its way to the liver and kidneys for elimination.??While in the bloodstream, the copper can cause headaches, skin rashes, racing thoughts, strange odors, digestive upset, mood swings and energy fluctuations.??In men, testicular pain is not uncommon.??Women?s periods may be affected.
Certain methods of lowering copper cause these symptoms more than others. Zinc, vitamin C and manganese tend to cause more symptoms, perhaps because zinc and manganese replace copper in the liver.??Sulfur compounds such as Russian black radish tend not to produce copper elimination effects.
If one knows what is occurring, it is possible to take measures to minimize these temporary elimination symptoms.??Enemas, sweating, and drinking more water can help promote copper elimination.??Reducing the nutrition program for a few days may also help slow the reactions and reduce symptoms if they are severe.??Supplements of molybdenum, bile acids, laxative herbs and vitamin B6 may also mitigate elimination symptoms.??Much more on this topic is contained in an article entitled?Copper Elimination Symptoms.
THE BLESSING OF COPPER TOXICITY
I suffered from copper toxicity for at least 10 years before I even knew why I felt so bad.??I was always tired, depressed, achy and often anxious, too.??However, today, some 30 years later, I know clearly it was a blessing in disguise.
Copper toxicity led me into natural healing, into meditation and eventually into myself and my gifts.??Copper imbalance, indeed, is often a sign that one is not living one?s gifts and truths.??If it takes copper imbalance to move you in a different direction, then it is a wonderful thing, though the suffering may not seem worth it right now.
With enough compassion for yourself and a complete nutritional balancing program based on hair mineral analysis, almost all our clients become well and much happier, also.??Then the creative, intuitive and loving qualities of the high-copper individual can shine through to the world.