When medical Science comes to under-stand the implications of a copper imbalance, it may be referred to as the scourge of the late 20th century. It is one of the most com-monly encountered imbalances that we find on tissue mineral tests today. Many of the most prevalent metabolic dysfunctions of our time are related in some way to a copper im-balance.
Copper toxicity is a much overlooked con-tributor to many health problems; including anorexia, fatigue, premenstrual syndrome, depression, anxiety, migraine headaches, al-lergies, childhood hyperactivity and learning disorders.
The involvement of copper toxicity and biounavailability in such a wide range of health conditions may seem unusual. It is our intent in this paper to show how copper is regulated in the body and why it is such a key mineral in so many metabolic dysfunctions.
Sources Of Copper
Copper imbalance can result from:
environmental copper exposure.
adrenal gland insufficiency or exhaustion.
congenital copper toxicity.
the copper personality.
Copper Water Pipes
Copper plumbing was hailed as a great advance in the 1940's and today the majority of homes in the United States have copper plumbing. Especially in areas with acidic wa-ter, copper can be leached from pipes, leav-ing in severe cases, a greenish ring on bath-room fixtures. Water coolers and ice-makers in refrigerators also use copper tubing. Water that sits in these units can contain danger-ously high levels of copper.
Copper tea kettles and other copper cookware can be a source of copper toxicity if used frequently over a period of time.
Drinking Water Contaminated With Cop-per
Some areas of the United States have high amounts of naturally occurring copper in their water supply. Also, copper sulfate is added to some municipal drinking water sup-plies to kill yeast and fungi.
Birth Control Pills and Copper Intrauterine Devices
One of the side effects of the pill is that it tends to raise copper levels in the body. This is due to the close association between the hormone estrogen and copper levels.
Several hundred milligrams of copper a year can easily be absorbed from a copper IUD. Many women still use the Copper-7 in-trauterine birth control device, although it has been taken off the market. The only intra-uterine birth control device sold today, how-ever, is a copper-T. These devices can be very harmful for women prone to high copper levels.
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
Copper is frequently added to vitamin supplements, particularly prenatal vitamins. Although this is a benefit for some people, it can be harmful for many other women.
Fungicides for Swimming Pools and Foods
Copper sulfate is added to swimming pools and may be sprayed on fruits and vegetables to retard growth of algae and fun-gus.
Vegetarianism and Other High-Copper Di-ets
Many diets today are high in copper. In particular, vegetarian proteins such as soy-beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, avocados and grains are high in copper content. Fast food hamburgers and other popular foods are soy-based. Soybean protein is coming into wider usage, due to its low cholesterol level and lower cost.
Other high-copper foods are organ meats, shellfish, wheat germ and bran, yeast, corn oil, margarine and mushrooms.
Plumbers, welders, machinists and others who work with copper are at risk for copper toxicity.
Copper is used in dental alloys in fillings, crowns and other appliances.
Adrenal Gland Exhaustion and Copper Toxicity
Diminished adrenal activity is perhaps the single most important physiological reason for copper problems today. The reason is that adrenal activity is required to stimulate pro-duction of ceruloplasmin, the primary copper-binding protein.
When adrenal activity is insufficient, ceru-loplasmin synthesis in the liver declines. Copper that is not bound cannot be used and unbound copper begins to accumulate in various tissues and organs.
According to hair analysis research, 7080 percent of people tested show weak adre-nal glands!
Zinc Deficiency and Copper Toxicity
A widespread zinc deficiency in our popu-lation is another critical cause of a copper imbalance. Zinc and copper normally exist in a delicate balance. Zinc is a primary copper antagonist. When zinc is deficient, copper tends to accumulate in various storage or-gans.
Zinc deficiency is extremely common to-day. Dr. Carl Pfeiffer has stated that the en-tire American population is borderline defi-cient in zinc. A zinc deficiency may be due to:
stress of any kind causing an increased excretion of zinc.
a high Sugar and carbohydrate diet which lowers tissue zinc levels.
vegetarian diets which are lower in zinc inasmuch as a main source of zinc in the diet is derived from meat protein, particu-larly red meat.
low levels of zinc in the soil resulting in lowered zinc levels in foods.
refining of food which removes zinc.
the fact that many children today are born deficient in zinc because their mothers are deficient.
Congenital Copper Imbalance
Mothers deficient in zinc, or high in cop-per, transmit these imbalances to their chil-dren through the placenta. Untold numbers of children today are born with a copper imbal-ance. Often they suffer from learning prob-lems, developmental disability, chronic infec-tions and other problems.
Mothers also pass on to their offspring other nutrient deficiencies and toxic metals, which impair the child's adrenal glands. Weak adrenal glands, in turn, results in a worsening of the copper imbalance in the child by the mechanism explained above.
The Copper Personality
The copper personality refers to the ob-servation that certain individuals tend to ac-cumulate copper, perhaps as a physical or psychological mechanism that is adaptive for these individuals. Copper accumulation re-sults in various degrees of detachment from reality which some have labeled spaciness.
The detachment enables these individuals to better cope with stress. People with a cop-per personality tend to be intelligent, creative, childlike and artistic.
Detection Of Copper Imbalance Blood Tests
Copper and ceruloplasmin levels can be measured in serum to detect copper poison-ing. There will be some daily fluctuations as with all blood tests, but this is a useful meas-
ure. Unfortunately, few physicians run these tests routinely.
Hair analysis is a rapid, simple screening test that can reveal both direct and hidden copper imbalance. A copper level exceeding 2.50 mg% is considered elevated. However, there are several readings that indicate hid-den copper toxicity. In other words, copper may not show up high on the hair test, but may be stored in various organs and will show up later as it is mobilized.
Indicators For Hidden Copper on a Hair Analysis
For these indicators to be valid, the hair sample must not be washed at the lab:
These criteria were derived by reviewing over 100,000 tests and noting that people with the above readings sooner or later be-gan eliminating excess copper from their body tissues as they gained enough energy to correct their abnormal copper metabolism
Metabolism Of Copper
Thirty to sixty percent of ingested copper is absorbed through the intestinal tract. Cer-tain minerals and heavy toxic metals compete for absorption with copper, including calcium, iron, zinc, cadmium and mercury. Vitamin C inhibits copper absorption. Sulfur and molyb-denum are intestinal sequestrants of copper that also apparently inhibit absorption of cop-per.
Absorption of copper is increased by the presence of amino acids. Diminished protein intake or impaired protein digestion (HCL and enzyme deficiency) inhibits copper absorp-tion. Absorption is also hindered by an alka-line intestinal pH.
Normally copper is bound in the blood to ceruloplasmin (95 percent) and albumin. Or-gans with a high copper content include the liver, brain, heart and kidneys. However, ex-cess copper can accumulate in almost every organ of the body.
Copper is excreted mainly through the bile. Vitamin C binds or chelates copper and facilitates its removal. Zinc and manganese displace copper from the liver. Molybdenum and sulfur bind to copper and greatly facilitate its excretion.
Metabolic Effects Of Copper
Copper directly or indirectly affects virtu-ally every body system. Many symptoms as-sociated with copper toxicity are due to a copper-induced deficiency, or deficiency of vitamin C, folic acid, or other nutrients in-duced by copper toxicity. Copper also inter-feres with adrenal and thyroid gland activity, creating another set of symptoms relating to hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency.
Particular functions which are copper-dependent include:
formation of melanin and keratin.
$ synthesis of connective tissue and my-oglobin.
hemoglobin synthesis (incorporation of iron into hemoglobin).
energy production (the electron transport system).
synthesis of neurotransmitters (the cate-cholamines).
immune system (control of anaerobic or-ganisms) and formation of reticuloendo-thelial cells.
formation of the myelin sheath of nerves.
fertility and maintenance of pregnancy.
Metabolic Dysfunctions Associ-ated With Copper Imbalance
Acne is frequently associated with ele-vated copper levels, or a low imbalanced zinc/copper ratio.
A low zinc/copper ratio is frequently re-lated with adrenal-cortical hyperactivity.
The adrenal glands markedly increase in weight when the tissue levels of copper are high this indicates excessive stress.
Copper accumulates in the liver of adrenalectomized rats; thus severe adrenal insufficiency may be accompanied by in-creased tissue copper levels.
The release of copper from the liver is controlled by the adrenal glands through its influence on the synthesis of ceruloplasmin; the protein needed for its removal.
A copper deficiency results in an in-creased ascorbic acid content of the adrenal gland.
A morbid dread of open spaces (agora-phobia) is often associated with copper toxic-ity. Phobias of various types are commonly associated with copper toxicity (see phobias).
Allergies are commonly associated with a copper toxicity problem inasmuch as copper biounavailability (deficiency) results in a re-duced output of both adrenal mineral corti-coid and glucocorticoid hormones. These hormones normally help control allergy reac-tions.
Alopecia (hair loss)
Copper toxicity causes an excessive breakdown of all protein structures, including hair and nails. This is due in part, to a de-structive effect on the disulfide bonds of pro-teins. Copper imbalance also inhibits an en-zyme required for collagen synthesis lysal oxidase.
A low copper level, particularly an ele-vated zinc/copper ratio, suggests increased androgen secretion.
A high copper/molybdenum ratio may contribute to iron deficiency anemias and possibly cause iron-storage disease.
Several anemias which do not respond to iron therapy have been found to be associ-ated with biounavailable copper. Copper is required to convert iron from the ferric to fer-rous form so it can be utilized. Copper is also required to incorporate iron into the hemoglo-bin molecule.
High tissue copper levels can cause a relative manganese deficiency. Manganese is necessary to stimulate hemoglobin formation; thus anemia can result from a copper-induced deficiency of manganese.
Anxiety states are frequently associated with elevated hair copper levels. This may be due to an excessive production of stimulatory neurotransmitters (catecholamines), which include epinephrine, norepinephrine, sero-tonin and dopamine.
Zinc deficiency due to copper toxicity can also result in anxiety states.
Copper levels in the synovial fluid of pa-tients with rheumatoid arthritis are three or more times as high as normal.
A high tissue copper level is frequently associated with osteoarthritis. Copper tends to enhance calcium retention in body tissues. Excessive copper also has a destructive ef-fect upon protein structures such as joint car-tilages.
"Normally, the liver produces the normal copper protein, ceruloplasmin, which stores copper in the blood serum and prevents ex-
cess absorption. Ferritin, the iron-containing protein is made similarly.
Any abnormality which results in inade-quate ceruloplasmin, or ferritin, could allow excess copper or iron to be absorbed, which would affect the brain. Both of these metals (copper and iron) are stimulants to the brain and might produce hyperactivity and/or au-tism." (Pfeiffer)
Calcium Level, Elevated
A hair calcium level above 120.00 mg% indicates a biounavailability of calcium. High calcium levels are frequently associated with elevated copper levels.
An elevated calcium level is frequently the result of a manganese deficiency caused by elevated copper levels.
Cancer and High Tissue Copper
In adult life, chronic tissue zinc and vita-min B6 deficiencies due to copper toxicity may predispose cells to cancerous change.
Changes in serum copper concentrations with reticuloendothelial cancers are predictive of remissions and relapses. The copper lev-els rise during active phases of the malignan-cies and drop back to normal limits during remissions.
Cancer and Low Tissue Copper
A possible role for dietary copper in the metabolism of foreign compounds was first suggested by Sharpless in 1946. He ob-served that the addition of a copper supple-ment to the diet of rats had a marked protec-tive effect against the hepatocarcinogenic ac-tion of the dye butter yellow (i.e., 4 dimethyl aminoazo benzene). Yamane et al. have demonstrated that this protective effect of copper is associated with the stimulation of the hepatic metabolism of this aminoazo dye to noncarcinogenic metabolites.
Candida Albicans (Yeast) Infections
Copper is a stimulant to oxidative or aero-bic metabolism. A copper biounavailability, deficiency, or imbalance, often results in a tendency towards yeast infections.
Copper compounds are used commer-cially to inhibit growth of yeast and fungi.
Ceruloplasmin Levels, Elevated
High copper tissue levels are associated with or indicative of increased ceruloplasmin levels. Conditions that are associated with elevated ceruloplasmin levels include myo-cardial infarctions, lymphomas and rheuma-toid arthritis.
When copper levels in the blood rise, fat levels decrease. Any contaminant that de-presses copper and zinc, such as cadmium in the case of zinc, may cause elevated levels of lipids.
"The clinical syndromes (other than Wil-son's disease) wherein elevated serum or tis-sue copper may be an important factor are paranoid and hallucinatory schizophrenia, hypertension, preeclampsia, stuttering, au-tism, childhood hyperactivity, premenstrual tensions, psychiatric depression, insomnia, senility and possibly functional hypoglyce-mia." (Pfeiffer)
Unusually large amounts of copper have been found in the fingernails of infants with cystic fibrosis.
Mental depression is frequently associ-ated with elevated tissue copper levels. An elevated copper level reduces tissue manga-nese levels which may result in depression.
Adequate copper is necessary for activa-tion of biogenic amines. A deficiency of bio-genic amines is frequently associated with mental depression.
Diabetes is frequently associated with elevated tissue copper levels. Excess copper frequently reduces zinc and manganese lev-els, thereby interfering with glucose metabo-lism.
Dysinsulinism is frequently associated with elevated copper levels. An excess of tis-
sue copper reduces zinc and manganese values, thereby interfering with glucose me-tabolism.
Estrogen Levels, Elevated
Elevated copper levels often accompany elevated estrogens levels. A low tissue cop-per level frequently indicates a low estrogen level. This is particularly so when the zinc/copper ratio exceeds 12.00/l.
Administration of estrogens markedly in-creases both serum copper and ceruloplas-min concentrations.
'Failure To Thrive' Syndrome
Zinc deficiency and copper toxicity are in-timately associated with developmental dis-ability and failure the thrive syndromes.
Adequate levels of zinc are essential for protein synthesis, growth and development.
Excessive tissue copper levels are com-monly associated with a wide variety of fears. Often, as copper is eliminated from tissue storage, one becomes increasingly aware of these fears and as a result, they are re-leased.
Bone fractures are frequently associated with an elevated copper level.
Elevated copper levels are frequently as-sociated with migraine headaches.
A high tissue copper level, by causing a zinc deficiency, predisposes one to hyperten-sion, heart attacks and strokes.
Copper deficiency results in sudden death from heart failure in livestock. The cattle suf-fer from anemia first.
Heavy Metal Toxicity
Heavy metal poisoning frequently accom-panies copper toxicity. A copper imbalance can contribute to heavy metal poisoning by slowing the rate of metabolism, thereby re-ducing the body's ability to detoxify heavy metals.
Conversely, such metals as lead and mercury may interfere with the synthesis of ceruloplasmin or ferritin, contributing to cop-per toxicity problems.
Hemorrhaging on the surface of the heart is commonly associated with a copper defi-ciency.
Copper scores have proved to be a par-ticularly sensitive index in Hodgkin's disease.
Both copper and iron are stimulants to the brain. For this reason, both of these elements might play a role in the causation of hyperac-tivity and/or autism.
A high tissue copper level, by causing a zinc deficiency, predisposes one to hyperten-sion, heart attacks and strokes.
Excessive aldosterone, a mineralocorti-coid hormone which is produced by the adre-nal cortex, is frequently responsible for ele-vated blood pressure, by raising sodium lev-els. Copper frequently raises sodium levels, indicating that copper has a stimulating effect on aldosterone levels.
Functional hypoglycemia is frequently as-sociated with elevated tissue copper levels. An excess of tissue copper reduces manga-nese and zinc, thereby interfering with normal glucose metabolism.
An elevated copper tissue level is fre-quently associated with hypothyroidism, par-ticularly when the zinc/copper ratio is greater than 10.00/1. The ideal zinc/copper ratio is 8.00/1.
A tissue zinc/copper ratio of less than 4.00/1 is frequently associated with an in-creased susceptibility to bacterial and viral
infections. Copper toxicity may predispose to infections by displacing zinc.
Normally, to combat infections, copper is mobilized from the liver. If copper is bioun-available and cannot be mobilized, suscepti-bility to infections increases.
Inflammation is commonly associated with an elevated tissue copper level, particularly when the sodium/potassium ratio is greater than 6.00/l.
Copper frequently acts as an analgesic and may rise in response to an inflammatory process. Copper combined with aspirin, for example, increases the pain-alleviating quali-ties of aspirin. However, copper's destructive effect upon protein structures can also cause inflammation in certain cases.
Iron Storage Diseases
The trace metal pattern of iron-storage disease suggests a relationship of iron, mo-lybdenum, lead and possibly copper as a cause of these diseases.
Kidney dysfunction is frequently associ-ated with a zinc/copper ratio of less than 5.00/l.
The kidney problems are primarily due to displacement of zinc by copper.
A low tissue copper level is frequently as-sociated with an elevated lead level. It has been established that lead blocks copper en-zymatic reactions. The blocking of enzymatic reactions has serious ramifications on many of life's most vital processes such as;
normal functioning of the Krebs Cycle,
production of biogenic amines such as dopamine, adrenalin, nor-adrenalin and serotonin,
formation of thyroxin and
production of the amino acid lysine, etc.
A high tissue copper level, or a low zinc/copper ratio is frequently associated with a decreased libido.
Liver Detoxification And Dysfunctions
A high level of tissue copper, or a low zinc/copper ratio (below 4.00/1) impairs the liver's ability to detoxify.
Excessive copper, by lowering manga-nese, permits iron deposition in the liver re-sulting in liver dysfunction.
A copper deficiency, as indicated by a low tissue copper level, also interferes with the ability of the liver to detoxify.
Alterations in dietary copper intake might modify the toxicity of various foreign chemi-cals which are activated or detoxified by he-patic microsomal enzyme systems.
Metabolic diseases associated with ele-vated copper levels are:
Although many factors are involved as causative factors of multiple sclerosis, a common contributing factor may well be a low tissue copper level or a low copper level rela-tive to some other metal such as zinc. Demy-elination of nerves is known to result from a copper deficiency.
Cases of multiple sclerosis, all of which had in common a dietary exposure to lead, have been reported. Lead adversely alters copper metabolism as one aspect of its toxic-ity.
Myocardial Infarction: High Serum Copper Levels And Use of the Birth Control Pill
The copper level of the heart is higher than normal in those dying from heart at-tacks. Elevated serum copper due to use of the birth control pill may explain the higher heart attack rate of users of the pill.
Excessive biogenic amine levels are fre-quently associated with elevated tissue cop-per levels. An excess of biogenic amines is frequently responsible for nervousness, hy-pertension, etc.
High Copper and Osteoporosis
An excessive level of copper can result in a manganese deficiency. A manganese defi-ciency is one of the principal causes of loss of calcium from the bone. The end result is osteoporosis.
Low Copper and Osteoporosis
Adequate levels of estrogen appear to counteract osteoporosis. Low tissue copper levels are commonly associated with low es-trogen levels.
A zinc/copper ratio of less than 4.00/l is frequently associated with ovarian dysfunc-tion.
Pancreatic dysfunction is frequently asso-ciated with elevated copper levels. Normal pancreatic function is highly dependent upon zinc and manganese, both of which are dis-placed by excessive levels of copper.
Panic attacks are highly associated with copper toxicity. Zinc deficiency due to copper excess may contribute to this problem.
Pantothenic Acid Deficiency
Excessive copper levels have been asso-ciated with low levels of pantothenic acid.
Fears and phobias are commonly associ-ated with copper toxicity. Fear may reduce adrenal gland activity, which causes a rise in copper levels.
Conversely, copper can affect thyroid and adrenal gland activity and induce anxiety feel-ings. Zinc deficiency due to copper toxicity may also play a role.
A zinc/copper ratio less than 4.1 may be associated with anterior pituitary hyperactiv-ity.
Premenstrual tension is frequently the re-sult of a high tissue concentration of copper, especially when the zinc level in the tissues is depressed.
Pfeiffer and others have postulated that excessive copper and iron and/or zinc and manganese deficiency states are primary fac-tors in one type of schizophrenia, namely his-tapenia.
Histaminase is a copper containing en-zyme and both histaminase and ceruloplas-min can destroy histamines. Therefore, pa-tients with high serum copper and ceru-loplasmin levels have low levels of blood his-tamine. The histapenic individual responds to treatment which rids the body of excess cop-per and builds-up blood and tissue histamine.
"A possible factor in some of the schizo-phrenias is a combined deficiency of zinc and manganese, with a relative increase in iron and copper or both. The urinary copper ex-cretion in schizophrenics is consistently less than in normal patients; zinc plus manganese in dietary doses is effective in increasing copper elimination and reducing copper to normal levels." (Pfeiffer)
Schizophrenia is not uncommon when the zinc/copper ratio is less than 3.00/l.
Sexual inadequacy is frequently the result of excess copper in the tissues, resulting in a zinc deficiency.
A high tissue copper level, by causing a relative zinc deficiency, predisposes one to hypertension, heart attacks and strokes.
High levels of lead, copper, zinc and chromium in the body tissues may tend to in-crease the tooth's susceptibility to decay.
Urinary Tract Infection
Elevated copper levels are frequently as-sociated with urinary tract infections.
The following vitamin deficiencies in the body may be caused by a copper deficiency: vitamin C, inositol, folic acid, vitamin B6 and rutin.
Effects Of Copper On Other Miner-als
Copper, in excess, tends to lower manga-nese, zinc and potassium levels. Copper tox-icity can also result in deficiency of vitamin C and B6, inositol, folic acid and rutin.
Copper tends to increase tissue levels of calcium and sodium.
Copper can displace iron from the liver.
Effects Of Other Minerals And Vi-tamins On Copper
Mercury, cadmium and zinc compete for absorption.
Molybdenum and sulfur bind copper in the intestine.
Iron and manganese remove copper from the liver.
Zinc lowers copper levels in the blood.
Vitamin C chelates copper in the blood.
Vitamin B6, folic acid and niacin are also copper antagonists.
Cobalt is synergetic with copper.
Detoxification And Correction Of Copper Imbalance
Correction of a copper imbalance is ac-complished by the following:
Exposure to Copper
Remove sources of exposure, including birth control pills, copper IUD's, contaminated water supplies and copper-rich diets.
Strict vegetarian diets are to be avoided, when possible, because of the high copper content of nuts, seeds, beans and grains. However, the copper-toxic individual may re-quire a vegetarian-type diet for a period of time until he is able to adequately digest and assimilate animal protein.
Junk-food diets contribute to copper im-balance because they are low in zinc, man-ganese and other essential elements which are required for optimal adrenal gland activ-ity. Deficiency of these nutrients therefore contributes to a detrimental buildup of excess copper.
Restore Adrenal Activity
Restore normal adrenal gland activity through nutrition and positive lifestyle changes.
Lifestyle. A reduction in stressful activity is advisable. Adequate rest, sleep and avoiding excessive exercise is beneficial.
Enhancing adrenal gland activity is aided by a tissue mineral analysis. This test pro-vides an indication of adrenal activity; trace mineral deficiencies and toxic metals which serve to interfere with normal adrenal activity.
Nutritional supplement programs to en-hance adrenal activity should include vitamin C and E, manganese, pantothenic acid and adrenal glandular substance. Specific dos-ages depend on individual cases.
A major goal of the nutritional supplement program is to balance the oxidation rate, which increases the body's adaptive energy thus allowing healing to take place. That is; internal stress on the body is removed by nu-tritional balancing, allowing the adrenal glands to return to more normal functioning.
Increase Energy Levels by Balancing Body Chemistry
Optimizing energy levels is essential to enable the body to eliminate toxic metals; in-cluding copper. This is best accomplished by balancing the oxidation rate as indicated on a hair analysis, using precise supplementation as indicated on the test.
Antagonists and Chelating Agents
Copper-lowering agents may be given, including mineral and vitamin antagonists, chelating agents and sequestrants. Specific nutrient antagonists and chelators are helpful depending on the individual's mineral bal-ance.
These include vitamin C, molybdenum,
sulfur, vitamin B6, manganese, zinc and oth-ers. These nutrients need to be given in a manner that contributes to balancing the overall body chemistry.
Note: There are times when it is not advisable to lower copper levels be-yond a certain point. In these cases, a high copper level is serving as an adaptive mechanism.
Excessive lowering of even a very high copper level can result in anxiety or other symptoms. This is another reason why we recommend that copper-lowering nutrients be used in conjunction with a complete nutri-tional program based on mineral testing.
Special Considerations Regarding Copper Detoxification
Diet For The Copper-Toxic Individual
Copper-toxic individuals frequently have an aversion to eating protein, particularly red meat. It is important for such individuals to eat some protein at least twice a day, even if the quantity is small, otherwise progress is delayed. Strict vegetarian diets are not advis-able, but may be necessary for a period of time in severe cases.
Many copper-toxic individuals have an in-satiable craving for sweets, fruit and fruit juices. Such items should be limited as much as possible for optimal results. In many cases, a high carbohydrate diet is necessary until adrenal activity is increased.
The Time Factor
Six months to several years may be re-quired to correct a copper imbalance, de-pending on the severity of the copper toxicity problem.
Copper Reactions (Copper Eliminations)
During the correction of a copper imbal-ance, copper elimination frequently causes transient symptoms including headache, skin rash, free-floating anxiety, insomnia, fatigue and a flare-up of chronic conditions related to a copper imbalance.
These reactions generally last a day or two and then subside. The supplement pro-gram may be temporarily reduced if a symp-tom becomes particularly annoying. These symptoms are indications of a healing proc-ess and should be welcomed!
Copper Eliminations and Increased Awareness
Elimination of excess copper often is ac-companied by an increase in awareness. Not only may a person become aware of physical aches and pains, but also emotional conflicts may come into consciousness.
These reactions occur because many copper-toxic individuals are living in a low-ered state of awareness. An increase in awareness is a necessary part of the healing process. Although there may be some tempo-rary anxiety or pain, usually one feels much better after the process has been completed.>>>>
>>>Watch the supplementation without the tools to kill the critters.
The magnesium deficiency caused by Lyme holds down Bartonella, Rickettsia and those fevers, the zinc deficiency caused by EBV and Herpes keeps that under control. Increasing zinc without the proper ratio of copper is painful...
I don't know what my copper level is (Newport, did it show up on the SCIO for you, or how do you know?), but I'm especially interested in experimenting with the supplements Cutler is talking about to see if it makes a difference with my chronic liver function. I take IP6 already too. It makes sense that with my liver not functioning very well for some time, that oxidized copper would be an issue. (?)
Cloves have manganese, but what dosage of cloves, and is that enough for what Cutler is talking about here? And should a fresh supply of copper be taken then daily through a supplement of some sort for a fresh source while working on eliminating the oxidized?
Cutler says (pg 99)
"Many people have impaired excretion of copper. This may be genetic or acquired. Normally, 80% of copper excretion is via the bile, 16% via intestinal secretions, and 4% via urine. Biliary and intestinal secretions are ultimately excreted in the feces.
A normal person's copper half life is about 35 days. For a person who is not excreting any copper in their bile, the half life increases to about 175 days and body concentrations of copper increase about 5 fold. This can bring copper levels into the toxic range. The symptoms are usually psychiatric.
In addition to genetic problems, anything that interferes with bile secretion, such as Gallstones or other liver disease, will cause elevation of body copper.
Lipoic acid increases coppper in urine and somewhat in intestinal secretions but eliminates copper secretion in the bile. Thus for a copper toxic person lipoic acid may be helpful or harmful, and the correct measurement is fecal copper rather than urinary copper. If fecal copper increases with lipoic acid, it is helpful in clearing the body of copper, but if it decreases the LA is a hindrance and will further increase body levels.
The normal intake of copper is 2-5 mg per day of which 40-60% or 1-3 mg is absorbed. Someone who is not secreting copper in their bile needs to limit absorption to 0.2 to 0.6 mg daily to keep tissue copper within normal limits.
***Vitamin C in large amounts, zinc, and molybdenum hinder copper absorption from the intestine. Taking 10-20 mg of zinc, 250-1,000 mcg of molybdenum, 250-500 mg of calcium and 2 G of vitamin C every time you eat will greatly reduce copper absorption. Taking zinc and manganese in a ration of 20:1 will increase the urinary excretion of copper.***
Low levels of thyroid hormone increase body copper, and increased thyroid hormone as well as cortisol lower it. Ensuring that you have adequate levels of thyroid hormone and cortisol for your body's needs is important in making sure you excrete copper adequately.
Copper helps make hemoglobin, red blood cells and bone. Low copper reduces these and also leads to a reduced sense of taste.
Vitamins A, B3, B5, B6, and C antagonize the effects of copper, as does iron. Appropriate supplementation with these may reduce the toxic effects of elevated copper levels.
I meant to ask them seperately so they were more clear, sorry--
The multi-vitamin I had been taking was through the ND, they can't be bought except through the practitioners..and he's out of them. It had 2 mg of copper glycinate chelate in it.
I've been looking up the molybdenum on iherbs, after reading the Cutler link you gave, and after reading from his book...and I don't know if I should also get a "fresh copper supply" supplement to go with the supplements he says to take for eliminating the oxidized copper.
Too much mercury but also too much copper. Since both mercury and
copper are primarily excreted in bile, this also indicates too little
bile may be flowing, as can happen for many reasons including
Taking lecithin (or phosphatidylcholine which is concentrated
lecithin), glycine, taurine and milk thistle extract makes the bile
have more ability to dissolve up Gallstones so it can flow better.
Taking 50 mg zinc + 1000-2000 mcg Molybdenum 4 times a day reduces
copper absorption and increases copper excretion. Since mercury and
copper are synergistic, this should make you feel better. Some
improvement should be noted in a month or so, you may need to do this
for 3-6 months to get it under control.
One again, Mag Malate to keep bile flowing is the #1 supplement. To increase bile production you can add Taurine as well.
In another post you had the combo of Zinc + Moly (20:1) increasing urine output by 12%, so I started taking them together and at almost that ratio and it does seem to work. 12.5mg Zinc Chelate and 500mcg of Moly-B.
It is difficult to comment on how much of this is underlying and how much of it is due to the ALA I am taking...
I just reread it, it's from Cutler's book. I'm just getting ready to order some moly, but I think it's the zinc/manganese ration you meant, rather than zinc/moly.
The zinc I just got is too high of a dosage (50 mg) The multi I had been taking, had moly in it, but not a high enough dosage for what I would want here, I'm getting it by itself.
>>>Vitamin C in large amounts, zinc, and molybdenum hinder copper absorption from the intestine. Taking 10-20 mg of zinc, 250-1,000 mcg of molybdenum, 250-500 mg of calcium and 2 G of vitamin C every time you eat will greatly reduce copper absorption. Taking zinc and manganese in a ration of 20:1 will increase the urinary excretion of copper.***
There's some stuff I don't fully agree with in the Townsend letter about the Lyme toxins- (protein), but I found this to be interesting about Molybdenum too:
The mineral molybdenum, available in capsule form, can dramatically aid in the detoxification of the toxins caused by the dysfunction of multiple tissues in chronic illness. Molybdenum is very useful for detoxifying the toxin aldehyde from the die-off of Candida-type yeast. This is important to Lyme sufferers because aldehydes are considered neurotoxins, or nerve poisons. Aldehydes are also the toxins responsible for the hangover experienced by drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. I know of many Lyme patients who complain of this hung-over feeling without having drunk any alcohol. (However, it is our experience that molybdenum will not detoxify the specific Bb toxin.) Even though Lyme sufferers should use molybdenum to get rid of the aldehyde toxins, they also need to drink plenty of purified water to keep the everyday metabolic toxins flushed out of the tissues. Taking molybdenum will help slow the degeneration of tissues and related symptoms from the toxic overload.
Normal zinc serum levels are 66110 μg/dL -- that's *A LOT* compared to possibly mercury values even if they were elevated.
Most zinc is bound to albumin, which is the by far most abundant protein in blood. Which means if there's more zinc it too will be bound to albumin for the most part (80-90%), meaning additional zinc won't be any easier to bind to for Hg than what is already there.
Given the MUCH higher amount of zinc already present in blood at any given time I don't see how taking zinc could possibly make any difference.
>>>Molybdenum is required by the body to manufacture several important enzymes, (aldehyde-dehydrogenase and aldehyde-oxidase) which allow the liver to neutralize a powerful and otherwise relatively inert neurotoxin, acetaldehyde as well as the enzymes required to break down sulfite and xanthine. Acetaldehyde is a toxin produced as a metabolic waste material of yeast and fungal organisms that accumulates in unhealthy intestinal environments, circulating blood, liver and other tissues and organs of individuals with candida albicans overgrowth.
- Conversely, such metals as lead and mercury may interfere with the synthesis of ceruloplasmin or ferritin,
contributing to copper toxicity problems.
- The trace metal pattern of iron-storage disease suggests a relationship of iron, molybdenum, lead and
possibly copper as a cause of these diseases.
- A low tissue copper level is frequently associated with an elevated lead level. It has been established that
lead blocks copper en-zymatic reactions. The blocking of enzymatic reactions has serious ramifications on
many of life's most vital processes..
- Cases of multiple sclerosis, all of which had in common a dietary exposure to lead, have been reported.
Lead adversely alters copper metabolism as one aspect of its toxicity.
- High levels of lead, copper, zinc and chromium in the body tissues may tend to in-crease the tooth's
susceptibility to decay.
So what came first? Copper due to Hg toxicity or Lead?
Many who undertake nutritional balancing programs based on hair mineral analysis at some point begin to eliminate a lot of copper. This can cause symptoms such as headaches, skin rashes, anxiety, fatigue, testicular pain in men, changes in the menstrual cycle in women, irritability, weepiness or emotional sensitivity.
These symptoms are temporary, but can be annoying and cause some to discontinue the nutrition program when in fact it is working perfectly well. This bulletin explores what to do when one is eliminating copper.
WHY COPPER REACTIONS OCCUR
Most people have deficiencies of zinc, manganese and other minerals that contribute to excessive accumulation of copper in the body tissues. As one replenishes the zinc and other vital minerals, the body begins to eliminate excess copper.
Free or unbound copper, however, is quite toxic. Copper is a powerful oxidant, meaning it can inflame the tissues and cause oxidant damage. To avoid toxicity, it must be wrapped up or bound to protein molecule. Sulfur amino acids found in eggs and meats are helpful for this. Adequate adrenal glandular activity is also required for the liver to produce enough copper binding proteins.
To eliminate copper, it is first mobilized from tissue storage sites and moved into the blood. The blood transports it to the liver and kidneys through which it is eliminated. Symptoms occur because a lot of copper may be dumped into the blood at once, and it is not cleared from the blood rapidly enough by the liver and kidneys. Also, there is often a deficiency of the copper binding proteins, ceruloplasmin and metallothionine, due to sluggish liver production of these proteins. Remaining in the blood, especially in an unbound form, copper may cause headaches and other symptoms.
To stop the symptoms of copper elimination one may slow the mobilization of copper from tissue storage sites, assist the binding of copper and speed up the clearing of copper from the blood. The objective is to eliminate as much copper as possible as rapidly as possible without causing annoying symptoms.
To slow mobilization of copper from the tissues, the simplest way is to stop the nutritional supplement program for about three days. One may continue taking digestive enzymes such as Hcl-pepsin or GB-3, but discontinue the rest. After three days, resume the program taking only one dose of supplements per day. If one remains symptom-free after five days, increase to two doses of supplements per day. If one remains symptom-free after five more days, increase to three doses per day. This will take care of many copper elimination symptoms.
To help clear copper from the blood, eat some eggs or animal protein regularly and get plenty of rest. The protein is helpful and eggs in particular are rich in sulfur-containing amino acids. Avoid constipation, taking magnesium or extra GB-3 if needed. Drink at least six eight-ounce glasses of water each day. If symptoms persist, the following supplements may be helpful. These particular product names are from Endomet Laboratories. Other brands are also available.
Moly-Cu. This product contains 100 mcg of molybdenum that binds with copper to reduce its toxic effects. It also helps the liver eliminate copper. The product also contains Russian black radish, an herb high in sulfur. Sulfur also binds with copper, reducing its toxic effects. Sulfur is also important for liver detoxification. The product also contains parsley, an herb helpful for the kidneys. An adult dosage is three to six tablets daily as needed. Molybdenum is particularly helpful if ones hair sodium/potassium ratio is low. Hair must not be washed at the laboratory for accurate readings.
L-Taurine. Taurine is an essential amino acid deficient in many people's diets. High in sulfur, it can donate a sulfate molecule that helps bind copper to reduce its toxicity and facilitate its removal. An adult dosage is one gram three times a day with meals.
GB-3. This product contains ox bile and dehydrocholic acid that enhance bile flow and contains Russian black radish, a source of sulfur. By enhancing liver activity, it can increase the rate of copper elimination by the liver. An adult dosage is two to three tablets three times a day with meals.
ICMN. This product contains 200 mg of methionine, another sulfur containing amino acid that is a precursor for taurine and helpful for liver detoxification. It also contains 200 mg of choline and 200 mg of inositol which are also helpful for liver detoxification.
N-acetyl cysteine is another sulfur-containing compound that may help with severe copper elimination symptoms.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine or pyridoxal-5-phosphate). This is another copper antagonist that may be helpful during a copper elimination.
Products that are less recommended during a copper elimination are vitamin C and zinc. They are most helpful in some instances, but not in others. Vitamin C is an excellent copper chelator but by stimulating adrenal activity may cause more copper to be dumped into the blood stream. Zinc replaces copper in the liver and elsewhere. It too can force more copper into the blood stream, exacerbating copper elimination symptoms.
OTHER PROCEDURES FOR COPPER SYMPTOMS
Other procedures can also assist with copper elimination symptoms. Slow walking and deep breathing calm the nerves and promote activity of the parasympathetic nervous system. This system activates the liver, kidneys and intestines to help remove copper.
coffee enemas stimulate bile flow and enhance liver detoxification. They can be very effective to relieve a headache associated with copper elimination. One may take one or even two of these daily, adding two tablespoons of regular coffee to two cups of boiling water and letting it simmer for five minutes. When the water is body temperature, one places the water in an enema bag. One must retain the enema 15 minutes for maximum effectiveness.
Sauna baths or massage therapy enhance circulation and help decongest the internal organs such as the liver and kidneys. The infrared light sauna will give the best results and may be used up to twice a day for 50 minutes at a time. The sauna inhibits the sympathetic nervous system, enhances eliminative organ activity and one can sweat out some copper through the skin.
Acupressure or acupuncture can balance the flow of qi or subtle energy through the liver and kidneys. In some cases, this too will be helpful. Chiropractic treatment can clear nerve blockages that may be interfering with the activity of the liver and kidneys.
Releasing fear is also a powerful way to assist copper elimination. Fear has a paralyzing effect on the body, affecting the activity of many organs. Also, copper toxicity is associated with negative emotions. Allowing oneself to give up these emotions frees up energy that assists all the organs that are involved with copper metabolism.
THE BENEFITS OF COPPER ELIMINATION
If tempted to quit a nutrition program due to copper elimination symptoms, recall the benefits of getting rid of excess copper from the body. Copper toxicity is associated with a weakened immune system and the serious diseases that follow.
Copper toxicity is associated with mental and emotional symptoms including anxiety, depression, mood swings, panic disorder, crying spells and even a type of schizophrenia. Copper imbalance is also associated with premenstrual tension, endometriosis, tumors, fatigue, many skin diseases, hair loss, graying of the hair, insomnia and liver disease such as hepatitis. Copper toxicity that is passed on to children is associated with attention deficit disorder, infections and impaired growth and development.
Copper elimination symptoms are temporary and disappear as the copper level decreases and the organs of elimination function better. Staying on the nutrition program is worth a little temporary discomfort in order to achieve and maintain excellent health.
I often recommend a product called GB-3 from Endomet Labs. This product is a combination of ox bile, pancreatin, dehydrocholic acid and Russian Black Radish. Here is why I love this product and any that would be very similar to it.
A CANCER PREVENTIVE
Based on national health statistics, about half of all Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in their lives. According to medical studies, on average one has had cancer three to five years before it is diagnosed. If the cancer can be stopped at an extremely early, pre-clinical stage, it is far easier and much better for the person.
Pancreatic enzymes can help destroy cancer cells. This was shown originally by Dr. John Beard, author of The Trophoblastic Theory of Cancer. The use of pancreatic enzymes is the cornerstone of the Kelley enzyme treatment for cancer. This program has been available for some years and can produce excellent results.
GB-3 provides an inexpensive but effective aid to preventing and even helping to get rid of sub-clinical cancer. I do not mean to imply that everyone has cancer. I also do not mean that GB-3 is a cancer cure by any means. However, it may be a helpful preventive and that is all. It is a simple step that never hurts and fits our paradigm of preventive health care through nutrition.
AN ANTIDOTE FOR COPPER TOXICITY
All slow oxidizers have excess copper in their tissues. While not always revealed on the mineral analysis, an elevated calcium level, a low sodium/potassium ratio, a low potassium level, mercury toxicity or a copper level less than 1.0 mg% in a slow oxidizer are indicators of hidden copper toxicity. If a person follows a nutritional balancing program, excess copper will eventually begin to be eliminated. The underlying cause of the copper imbalance is weak adrenal glands, which results in low ceruloplasmin production by the liver. Ceruloplasmin is the main copper binding protein. If copper is not bound, it is not able to be transported and utilized properly.
GB-3 is specifically designed to help eliminate excess copper. It contains Russian black radish, an excellent source of organic sulfur and an excellent copper antagonist. Ox bile, dehydrocholic acid and pancreatin assist liver activity to help mobilize copper from the liver.
Fast oxidizers also do well on GB-3, although they often require some copper for a while.
With the proliferation of toxic chemicals and toxic metals in the environment, most everyone has a toxic liver to some degree. Slow oxidizers, in particular, develop sluggish liver activity due to weak adrenal and thyroid glandular activity.
GB-3 is a liver support formula that helps the body eliminate many toxic metals and chemicals from the liver.
A SUPERIOR DIGESTIVE AID
GB-3 is a superior digestive aid compared to HCL-pepsin or vegetable enzymes for many cases. Its pancreatin and ox bile are needed by many people, especially those in the exhaustion stage of stress or what is called slow oxidation. One can read more about this on this website.
Most slow oxidizers have some degree of intestinal dysbiosis, including chronic candida albicans infection due to copper imbalance.
Many have other parasites as well. Pancreatin and ox bile in GB-3 help digest these organisms. In some cases, other anti-candida products may be needed as well. However, GB-3 is an excellent beginning to correct the intestinal flora and improve overall digestion.
Also, GB-3 is far more yang in Chinese medical terminology than either hydrochloric acid or vegetable enzymes. This is an advantage in almost all cases, as most bodies today are too yin in Chinese terminology.
A SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM INHIBITOR
An important part of nutritional balancing programs is to correct the autonomic balance. Most people have exhausted their sympathetic or fight-or-flight nervous systems. Most have fallen into a parasympathetic state of slow oxidation. However, many are yet what we call sympathetic dominant. This means they retain the mental patterns such as fear and worry that pushed them into an exhaustion state.
Pancreatin, dehydrocholic acid, ox bile and Russian black radish all inhibit the sympathetic nervous system, helping it rest and rebuild. Other parasympathetic products include calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, thymus, kidney, liver and pancreas glandulars, L-taurine and GABA.
REACTIONS AND CAUTIONS WITH GB-3
Upon starting GB-3, some people report diarrhea, intestinal cramps or stomach upset. This occurs because pancreatin and ox bile digest candida organisms, parasites, bacteria and debris in the intestines.
The solution is to reduce the dosage at first, as low as 1/2 tablet per day, and then slowly increase the dosage. The stomach discomfort usually passes within a few months.