Copper Toxicity Syndrome

© Author James Davies.

Introduction

Many individuals wonder around in life trying to figure out why their mind races all the time, why they feel so “tired but wired”, why they are overly emotional and why they generally feel so terrible most of the day!

The answer for a lot of them is Copper Toxicity Syndrome.  This is when the amount of copper in the body rises to an amount high enough that instead of being good for health and wellbeing, it becomes detrimental.

Unfortunately, copper toxicity is still a largely overlooked cause for health problems in people of the modern age and therefore the problem is hard to identify.

The main reason’s for this are that most doctors do not get trained well enough in nutritional sciences and even when they are, they do not get trained in copper toxicity.  This is because it is not well known even among nutritionists and holistic doctors.

This causes many people, who would get well on a properly designed nutritional programme, to float from doctor to doctor, and from this therapist to that therapist, without any real improvements in their health.  In fact, often their health ends up worse rather than better.

Even when a therapist does know about this problem, most do not know how to correct the imbalance in a safe way.  This is simply a case of not being trained properly to do so.

The answer for these people is that at the root of many of their health problems is copper toxicity. If this sounds like you, this article is an attempt to make you aware of this potential problem with your health, and give you an answer on how to correct it with a nutritional programme called Nutritional Balancing.

Copper toxicity – A hidden cause of many health problems

Copper toxicity and hidden copper is one of the most common patterns seen on hair tissue mineral tests done in the 21st century, and in one way or the other is related to many of the metabolic conditions that are so prevalent in todays society.  I believe that many of todays health problems, including many mental health problems would be much improved or completely disappear if peoples copper imbalances were corrected.

Symptoms – There are a number of disturbing symptoms that occur as a direct relation, or that are in some part due to copper toxicity.  If you experience any of the following common symptoms, consider that they may be, in part, due to a copper imbalance:

  • Fatigue or adrenal insufficiency
  • Emotional volatility and a racing mind
  • Yeast/candida growth
  • A spacey personality, perhaps somewhat detached from reality and in extreme cases schizophrenia
  • Anxiety & panic attacks
  • Anemia
  • Depression
  • Cravings, especially for chocolate
  • Having “a head full of ideas but no follow though” or racing mind.
  • Sexual inadequacy
  • Infections due to a copper induced vitamin c deficiency

The benefits of a balanced copper level

Copper, of itself is certainly not a “bad” mineral.  In fact, when balanced and available it contributes to:

  • energy production as part of the electron transport system,
  • haemoglobin synthesis where it helps attach iron into the haemoglobin,
  • production of adrenaline, nor-adrenaline and dopamine,
  • is involved in serotonin synthesis
  • bone health where is helps sequester calcium into the bone matrix,
  • nerve health where it is needed to form the myelin sheath.

3 types of copper imbalance possible

The problem with copper occurs when it either becomes deficient in the body, the body has too much copper within it, or when a bio-unavailibility of the mineral occurs.

Deficiency – This occurs for a few reasons, mainly because of refined food diets where most minerals are not found in high enough amounts.  This can occur is people do not eat enough copper containing foods such as eggs, some nuts, seed and grains.  Other reasons are because some people need more copper in their diets, such as those that have a fast oxidation rate like many children.

Excess – This can be due to eating too many foods that contain high amounts of copper such as some nuts and avocados for instance, and can also be due to being exposed to some environmental source of copper like newly plumbed copper piping.  Copper excess problems are mainly a case of identifying the source and eliminating it and then going on a healing programme to eliminate the excess from the body.  This is a blessing in disguise for many because there are many other benefits of going on a healing programme other than copper elimination.

Bio-unavailable copper – This is a bit more confusing.  Bio-unavailable copper is when the body has copper within it, but for some reason or another cannot actually use it because it is not in the correct form.  Ironically, this actually can cause copper deficiency problems and copper excess symptoms all at the same time.

This occurs mainly because copper needs to be attached and transported to different areas in the body with copper binding proteins ceruloplasmin and metallothionein.  When the levels of these substances drop due to poor health, copper starts to float freely in the body where it accumulates in certain areas of the body which it has an affinity for (such as the brain, female reproductive organs and liver), causing excess symptoms.  Deficiency symptoms occur when copper is not transported to parts of the body where it is needed in small amounts to help carry out certain functions.

CAUSES OF COPPER IMBALANCE

21st Century Adrenal fatigue – a big cause of copper problems

There are many reasons why copper can come out of balance within the body, these include low zinc levels, environmental exposure, high copper diets, vegetarian or vegan diets and the contraceptive pill.

However, out of all of the reasons that people experience copper toxicity, the most relevant one is adrenal insufficiency.

The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and are a major part of the bodies stress response mechanism.  Amongst many functions they are responsible for initiating the synthesis of a copper binding protein called ceruloplasmin.  This is one of the proteins responsible for transporting copper around the body and making sure it gets to the right place and is used properly.

When the adrenal glands become depleted due to high stress levels and little recovery time, the  levels of ceruloplasmin also become depleted.  When unbound to a protein, copper tends to accumulate in various organs, such as the liver and brain, where it causes many of the problems discussed in this article.

When you look at how stressed out and overworked people are today, you will understand why copper toxicity is such a problem in todays world.  This is especially true for those in highly stressful jobs with long hours.

In fact, according to Dr Paul Eck who used hair mineral analysis as a research tool,  70 – 80% of people who were analysed showed signs of adrenal weakness!

MENTAL EFFECTS OF COPPER

Copper – The emotional mineral

A lot could be written about copper’s effect on the brain and emotions.  In fact there has already been enough information shared on this topic to know that copper toxicity can have a very detrimental effect on mental health.

The balanced copper personality – Warm, loving & intelligent

When in a balanced state, copper dominant people tend to be lovely people to be around.  They are warm, empathetic, intelligent and emotionally insightful.  In terms of the etheric system of the body their heart chakra tends to be most developed which helps them extend their love to other people, and helps them develop often brilliant relational skills.

You would observe that these people “wear their heart on their sleeve” or “live from their hearts”.  They often thrive in jobs which are set up to serve and interact with many people day in day out.  For instance, you will find many copper dominant individuals in nursing roles or relationship therapists.

Many creative types are also copper dominant, and you will find a lot of these individuals in artistic type jobs such as painters, or creative designers of some sort.

In terms of gender, copper tends to be found more in women than men, who tend to be more zinc dominant.  You will therefore find more of these traits in women rather then men, though this is a generalisation of course.

The imbalanced copper personality – Anxious, angry & often martyr’s

With all the talk of mental health in the media at the moment, I really wish that more doctors and naturopaths would really look into the copper toxicity problem.  I believe results with their patients would improve 10 fold if they did.

As copper is very stimulating to the brain, when out of balance it usually have some quite disturbing but quite predictive effects on the personality.

Dr Wilson, who is at the forefront of nutritional balancing calls copper one of the “old minerals”.  This is a concept that states that some minerals are needed to support different types of functions in the human body and brain, some having to do with evolutionary mechanisms such as basic survival, and more modern ones such as development of the greater human potential.

Copper is considered a somewhat older type of mineral because it is related to the growth hormone oestrogen.  In terms of the brain it seems to stimulate the more primitive part of our brains called the diencephalon.  This part could also be called the emotional part of the brain.

It is more than likely that copper toxic individuals will have some type of emotional imbalance.  Common emotional problems found with copper toxic individuals include:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • A racing mind
  • The experience of being on an emotional roller-coaster and possibly bi-polar
  • Lot’s of creative ideas but no follow through with them.
  • Living in a dream world all or most of the time.
  • Anger or reactive personality.

The copper toxic personality

When a copper dominant person starts to become copper toxic, their balanced strengths tend to become their imbalanced weaknesses.

Usually these people are overly empathetic.  What this means is that they cannot seem to separate others peoples pain or suffering with their own.

Some are the type of people who “take on the suffering of the world”.  The emotionally reactive response to all the pain they take on from the world tends to be to try to “save the world”.

This is obviously a very hard task and a heavy burden to carry.  Almost always their attempts to make the world better are ill conceived because their fear based idea and solutions are often a repeat of the same mistakes of the people who they are trying to save.

Their health always suffers as a result because they cannot stay in a non-reactive state when witnessing the news for instance.

Often they will put others peoples well-being before their own, not realising that in order to help others in this way one must help oneself first.  Most of these people could do with a good dose of self love!

Their social skills can become over powering and uncontrolled.  Some start to worry too much about what people think about them, and they often live their lives trying to seek approval from their peers.  This wastes a lot of otherwise valuable mental energy that can be directed towards good works within the world… Work that balanced copper types often thrive at, especially in caring roles.

Some can become so washed up in their imaginations that they start to replace reality with what they dream up in their heads, living in a substitute reality which is dreamed up by the imagination.  While this is not all down to copper, having too much of this mineral in the body can definitely exagerate and support this problem of over active imagination.

A head full of ideas but no follow through!

One of the most irritating effects of adrenal insufficiency induced copper toxicity is that it can cause a type of dreamy mentality within a persons mind where the person will often dream up a lot of aspirations but unfortunately they do not have the energy to follow through with them.

This problem gets worse as the adrenal glands slow down even more. This causes more free floating copper in the body which then makes it’s way to the brain, an organ which copper has an affinity for.  The brain gets stimulated even more, causing more aspirations to be dreamt up but with even less energy to follow through.

If copper toxicity is accompanied with a pattern called “sympathetic dominance”, (which it often is) this effect can be particularly stressful.  These people have quite wilful minds, and are high achiever types.

Most have good intentions, however their body will simply not allow them to function with high energy levels.  This problem can develop into a type of self sabotaging mentality if the person keeps judging themselves as underachievers for the lack of follow through they have.

They will often feel behind in life because of this if they compare themselves to others too much.

In fact, if they were to go on a nutritional balancing programme, it will teach them very important lessons in health that most of the people on planet earth have not yet learnt.

Health – A whole picture, just not about one part.

It is important to note, that while all these traits are commonly found in people with a high amount of copper in their body, the copper is part of a bigger picture.  Many people who start to accumulate copper are high achievers in the first place and drive themselves into a state of exhaustion, which then leads onto other problems, one being high copper levels.

If this is the case, other aspects of the total health picture such as one’s thinking processes and any emotional issues need to be dealt with if the problem is to truly correct itself at deep levels and on a more permanent basis, otherwise the problem can reappear later down the line.

Hair mineral analysis and copper toxicity – The best way to assess copper imbalances

Ironically, the copper level on a properly performed hair mineral analysis that has not been washed at the lab is not a very reliable way of assessing copper toxicity within the body.  To work around this problem, Dr Paul Eck, the developer of nutritional balancing science looked at other areas of a hair chart that were able to let the practitioner know whether copper is present in their patients body at an excess amount.

He found that even if the copper level was normal or low, if any of the indicators below were present, people with them showing on their chart would eventually start to release copper from tissues in their body.  On a hair chart this would show as a very high copper level, indicating that a copper dump is in progress.

It is a rather complex process, but one that works very well when the correct interpretation is used. The main copper toxicity signs are:

  • A slow oxidation rate is usually an indicator.
  • High calcium level above 70 mg %
  • Low sodium/potassium ratio (less than 2.5:1)
  • A potassium level less than 4 mg %
  • High mercury
  • A zinc/copper ratio less than 4.5:1
  • A zinc less than 13mg % and maybe if above 20 mg %

FIXING THE COPPER PROBLEM WITH HAIR MINERAL ANALYSIS & NUTRITIONAL BALANCING

Copper Supplementation – The confusing part

Nutritional balancing science is founded upon the basis that it is most important to balance the body chemistry as a primary way to heal the body.  It is different than most nutritional approaches which focus on one symptom first, or a set of bodily systems such as the digestive system and the lymphatic channels in order to heal the human.

For this reason, the proper use of supplementation can become a confusing subject.  This is especially true when it comes to supplementation of copper. 

A hair mineral analysis can be used to asses the need for copper these are:

A fast oxidation rate – A combination of 2 different mineral ratios can indicate to us whether a person is in slow, fast or mixed oxidation.  When someone is in fast oxidation, it indicates a greater need for copper supplementation.

Sodium/potassium ratio less than 2.5:1 – For various reasons this is an indicator of the need for more copper mainly because it helps increase the ratio to a healthy level.

Combination patterns – Some patterns on a hair mineral analysis, such as a low calcium/magnesium ratio combined with a low sodium/potassium ratio indicate the need for even more copper.

Why would someone need copper even though they are showing signs of copper toxicity?

The above explanation of the reasons for supplementing copper seem quite straight forward.

The most confusing part about it is that a lot of people need to take copper in a bio-available form, even though they may be showing signs of copper toxicity.  This understandably causes many people to question the validity of the nutritional programmes that are put together for them.

The answer to this seeming contradiction is that balancing the major mineral levels is more important than building a programme based solely on the elimination of copper.  Copper is needed by some people in order to correct major mineral levels that are very important when it comes to staying in optimal health and causing healing to occur.

The whole of nutritional balancing science is built upon the foundation of building up vitality levels in the body first and foremost.  This is why it is so successful when it comes to achieving deep healing.

When the body has naturally high energy levels, and the correct materials (diet & water), environment and rest, it will eventually start to eliminate all toxins, including copper, which is often one of the first imbalances that the body starts to correct.  Therefore, if we were to build programmes solely on copper elimination we would then sacrifice vitality levels, the adrenal glands would suffer, and then the problem would occur again down the line.

HEALING FROM A COPPER IMBALANCE

The remedy approach’s to copper toxicity

When people find out that they have or may have a copper imbalance within their body, often the first therapies that they try in order to eliminate excess copper would either be chelation therapy or the use of copper antagonists.  These are rarely included in the healing system that is nutritional balancing because they are not needed.  A properly designed programme will do everything that these 2 therapies do and much more, which is why they are not recommended.  Below is a brief summary of the 2 therapies and reasons to why they are not used in nutritional balancing.

Chelation therapy – This is the use of certain chemical substances either chemical or natural to remove toxic substances and minerals out of the body.  It is mainly used to remove calcium deposits from the body and can also be used to pull out heavy metals from the body as well.

When it comes to ridding of excess copper from the body natural ways of trying to achieve this is done mainly by using chelating agents such as high dose vitamin c and molybdenum. 

While chelation therapy seems like a great idea on the surface, it has many problem, which is why it is rarely included in nutritional balancing.  To read more about these problems please go to http://drlwilson.com/Articles/chelation.htm

Use of antagonists – Antagonist therapy is when certain copper antagonist’s (substances that compete for absorption) such as zinc are used in high dose so that they cause the removal of copper from competing absorption sites in the body.  These can be used when a copper elimination is underway, however the biggest problem with them is that they are usually used without consideration of the balance of biochemistry.

A common example of the poor usage of this therapy for the elimination copper is high dose zinc supplementation.  When zinc is used in high dose it will usually cause the sodium/potassium ratio to become inverted, which will then negatively effect vitality levels, and other health systems related to this ratio.  When this is done the body’s ability to eliminate copper and other substances will decrease dramatically leaving the person worse off. 

Even though the person may well have eliminated some copper, they will often feel worse rather than better for this very reason.  Unfortunately, because the body seems to store copper away in various tissue sites, most of the copper will remain in the body because high energy levels are needed for its removal.

For these reasons and more, chelation therapy and antagonist therapy is not needed for nutritional balancing.  The only reason that they ever might be used is when a copper elimination is underway while someone is already following a programme.  Even use for this reason is quite rare.

Correcting a copper imbalance safely and permanently with nutritional balancing

Nutritional balancing is a step away from the usual allopathic, symptom/remedy approach even though on the surface it may look similar in ways.  For this reason it may not make sense to people who embark on the programme to balance their copper levels.

First of all, critical to all nutritional balancing programmes are that they are set up to balance the body chemistry first and foremost. 

In this science, symptoms are seen as a result of an imbalanced body chemistry, mainly due to stress, poor diet and lifestyle.  It is therefore critical to understand that copper imbalances are also a symptom of an imbalanced body chemistry and not a disease within itself. 

Any attempt to correct the surface problem (copper toxicity) with remedies without considering body chemistry first, may work in the short term, but will eventually fail as the copper imbalance returns along with any related symptoms.

This is much like building a sturdy foundation of a house so that the bricks and mortar rest on solid ground, and the the integrity of the whole structure is strong. 

The way that this is done is through first obtaining a properly performed hair mineral analysis that has not been washed at the lab.  This will give the most accurate results so that the individualised supplement and dietary programme is highly relevant for that person.

The benefits of carrying out this procedure is that a diet relevant to a persons oxidation rate can be recommended along with around 7 to 10 carefully picked supplements.  This is the only way that we can know that the health programme that a person is on is balancing and rebuilding the individuals health, rather than making it worse. 

The diet itself is high in cooked vegetables and includes daily meat intake.  Most people need a bit of fat but not too much, however some do well on more fat rather than carbohydrates as their energy foods. Meat itself is needed for substances which are important for elimination of copper and for its zinc content also, which is a hard mineral to obtain in modern day food. 

After diet and supplements have been picked out, the next obvious step is to reduce any copper exposure. Common sources are foods such as some nuts, avocados and vegetarian diets. Others can be copper IUD’s, copper cooking pans and others.

Next on the list of critical factors the are a part of a whole healing programme is attitudes and lifestyle.  You may not be surprised to hear that critical to the deep healing of copper toxicity and any health issue for that matter, is living in the correct way and incorporating wholesome attitudes into your life.

Lifestyle factors to incorporate into ones daily life are more rest, slowing down ones pace of life, having fun, relaxation, meditation and overall stress reduction.  Copper toxicity and imbalances body chemistry can also be a result of being a part of a poor relationship or hard work situation, so these may need to be looked at so that complete healing healing occurs.  For instance becoming involved in supportive relationships can be a great way to help heal all levels of your being.

Release of any negative emotions is also very helpful for the release of copper from the body.  This may sound surprising to you but most people with a copper imbalance tend to be rather emotional, up in their heads a lot and at times quite angry.  Some might have unresolved negative emotional patterns that need to come to the surface to be embraced and let go of.  These emotionally charged patterns tend to take up huge amounts of the persons total energy and can be a major part of the “whole health picture”.

Finally, as a result of incorporating all of the above factors into the individuals life, a instantaneous and automatic healing process will occur, this process is called “Retracing”, which is a fascinating process you can read about here. http://drlwilson.com/Articles/RETRACING.htm 

A vital part of this process is the actual elimination of toxic substances from the body, otherwise known as detoxification.  Copper is usually one of the first of these substances to come out of the body.

To support this process, at least three detoxification procedures are recommended to every individual.  One is the daily use of the coffee enema, the other is near infra-red sauna therapy and the other is a mental exercise now called the pushing down exercise.

While these procedures are not completely necessary, they do help assist the removal of copper and other toxins tremendously and thus move the healing process on a lot faster. They are therefore highly recommended, even if you can only do them twice a week for instance.

Increase vitality – When all of the above recommendations are put into place and incorporated as a whole healing programme what occurs within the body is a drastic increase in vitality levels.  High vitality levels are crucial to detoxification and deep healing of any kind.  This is why nutritional balancing is first and foremost concerned with increasing energy levels in the body.

As the body is introduced to high energy levels again it allows the intelligence of the human body to be re-established and for copper to be redistributed into the correct places. 

It does this by healing the adrenal glands which recover their ability to signal the liver to synthesise copper binding protein ceruloplasmin.  This is one of the main proteins responsible for transporting copper around the body, and preventing oxidative damage causes by free floating copper.

Copper only really accumulates in the wrong places when the body loses its self regulating control mechanisms which in this case are producing enough binding proteins.  When these are reestablished, copper will get to the right places in the right amounts at the right time in a way that is directed by the bodies optimally functioning self regulating intelligence.   

These are the main ways that a nutritional balancing programme is able to correct an imbalanced copper toxicity. Other factors include inhibiting sympathetic nervous system activity and encouraging parasympathetic activity, the careful use of antagonists at times and restoring minerals such as zinc that help the elimination of copper.

The benefits of copper toxicity syndrome

My own experience with copper toxicity

I myself suffered from copper toxicity symptoms for all my life, not realising that these symptoms were somehow related to this mineral. 

My own situation became worse as I got into my teens and the stress of life started to increase and as a results I started to feel anxious, fatigued, brain foggy, nervous around people and generally cut off from reality and spacey.  I walked around mostly in a haze day in day out. 

Eventually to medicate my problem I turned to drink and cannabis.  This temporarily relieved my symptoms but eventually it would cause them to become much worse later down the line. 

It was in my 20’s when my situation started to get rather unbearable due to the panic attacks I was experiencing each and every day, sometimes on an hourly basis. 

Thankfully it was around this time that I found out about copper toxicity from Dr Wilson’s website (www.drlwilson.com) and got myself on a programme. 

My first hair result showed a high copper level double it’s normal value.  This finding was to my relief, and I got on a programme straight away.

After only 2 weeks my panic attacks disappeared which encouraged me to follow the programme even more.  It took about 3 years for the copper level to come back to normal, and now I am in much better health all around.  I never suffer panic attacks, and my mental & emotional well being is better than ever. 

All this has helped me realise that copper toxicity was something that caused me to look for real answers within myself and lead me onto the path of wellness and a spiritual life, it has therefore been a blessing in disguise.  I hope it can be for you as well.

References

http://www.drlwilson.com/Articles/copper_toxicity_syndrome.htm

http://arltma.com/Articles/CopperElimDoc.htm

http://arltma.com/Articles/CopperToxDoc.htm

http://arltma.com/Articles/CuIntroDoc.htm

http://arltma.com/Articles/VeggieRtChDoc.htm

http://arltma.com/Newsletters/BloodvsHairNews.htm

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