4. iii) The Calcium Shell

"The more depressed someone feels, the harder it is for them to distinguish similar experiences they've

had. "(1)

When a negative memory from the past is triggered by the innocent action of a well-intentioned person, the patient now more easily associates that memory with the latter.

(1)Brigham Young University. "How depression blurs memories." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2013

"Birth control pills and copper IUDs - 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." ~Dr. Lawrence Wilson

"Sequentially, you get higher and higher and higher levels of copper concentration, which now will affect brain capacity, processing, and thinking and make anxiety and depression worse. This is what we see in post-partum depression and in post-partum psychosis.  Many times, you hear the stories about women who have shot their husbands and drowned their children, et cetera. If you notice, most of these women have had multiple children, usually three to four, sometimes even five, before these events have occurred. These women were copper-toxic females who could not get rid of copper, it affected their brain functioning, their nerve-conduction and in actuality caused a huge electrical short-circuiting of mental processes.  We’d be amazed at the knowledge of how many individuals who are in prison systems are there really because of a poor detoxification process involving copper."  ~Dr. Albert Mensah

 4. iv) Damaging Toll on Relationships

The copper level MUST be looked at in RELATION to other minerals in order to determine dysregulation, and this can only be determined through an HTMA.  In some cases the copper level on an HTMA may appear low, even though there could be a severe hidden or 'latent' toxicity issue. Looking solely at the copper level therefore could be misleading. The HTMA however provides key indicators that will show the copper toxicity condition even when the copper level itself does not show high.  These indicators are primarily a high calcium level (as copper raises calcium), or low potassium and molybdenum levels (as copper lowers both), although there are many others too.  Without properly understanding how to interpret HTMA test results, false diagnosis is common.  The Hair TMA is a very accurate way of testing, but, just like blood testing  (the recommended version of which would test red blood cell levels and certainly not serum or plasma), it is, in summary, not about the level of copper that shows up, but rather various patterns and indicators need to be looked at together for an accurate reading.  Otherwise even a hair mineral analysis that shows low copper can misrepresent the body's true copper load. 

"Zinc should be introduced slowly..... for example 25 mg....50 mg.... 75 mg..... and given either at bedtime or after the evening meal.  B6 and P5P should be given before noon. Failure to phase in the Zn slowly would be likely to result in temporary worsening of symptoms".  ~Dr. William Walsh

 3. iii) Why Ratios Are Even More Important than the Individual Copper Level

"Restoring and maintaining liver detoxification is one of the most important aspects of healing.  Sulfur, mainly in the form of sulfur-containing amino acids - mainly taurine, methionine and cysteine - are absolutely needed for the detoxification pathways in the liver. We find that most vegetarians…cannot remove toxic metals as well because they are low in the sulfur-containing amino acids." ~ Dr. Lawrence Wilson

"A 2013 study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that copper toxicity plays an important role in Alzheimer's disease development. According to the head of the study, Rashid Dean, PhD: “It is clear that, over time, copper’s cumulative effect is to impair the systems by which amyloid beta is removed from the brain."[16]

Amyloid beta is a main component of the amyloid plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer patients.

"Folic acid in an undermethylator is a big problem, because it actually strips you of methyl at the level of DNA. DNA level is in the nucleus of the cell where all the instructions are made.Now that same folic acid works differently outside the nucleus of the cell. There, it actually gives lots of methyl into the system. What many people, what many practitioners don’t understand is this role of duality of folic acid. In one area, it’s a donor of methyl. So for an undermethylator, they think if you give folic acid, that’s a great thing. In actuality, that’s not correct because in the nucleus where we’re trying to affect change, where the command center is, folic acid removes methyl. So that can inhibit any detoxification process. And where do we find lots of folic acid? In dark green leafy vegetables, in soy, in lutein, in satay, different proteins along those lines can be rich in folic acid. For the under-methylator, these are the individuals who really should not live a life of strict vegetarianism."


Beyond the author's own experience, training in HTMA, case studies, and working with clients, much of the information provided on this site is based on the life work of several pioneering doctors and experts in this field. These include:

Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, PhD., MD  (physician, biochemist, specializing in orthomolecular psychiatry focusing on schizophrenia, author of Mental and Elemental Nutrients...)

Dr. Eck (widely considered the authority on the science of balancing body chemistry through hair tissue mineral analysis and founder of Analytical Research Labs)

Dr. Watts, PhD (Dr. Ecks past partner at ARL, and founder of Trace Elements Inc (one of the two top hair testing labs in the U.S.), as well as its Director of Research)

Dr. Hans Selye Ph.D., MD  (pioneering endocrinoligist, Nobel prize nominee, acknowledged as the "Father" in the field of stress research)

Dr. Rick Malter, PhD (licensed nutrition counselor, licensed psychologist, leader in the field of copper toxicity and HTMA for the past 40 years, author of "Shrinking the Judge")

Dr. Lawrence Wilson, MD  (a student of Dr. Eck, for over 30 years he has focused on nutritional balancing science and copper toxicity research).

Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman (pioneering leader in the field of nutrition, columnist, functional and integrative medicine advocate, and author of "Why Am I Always So Tired")

Dr. Weston Price (considered the "Isaac Newton of Nutrition, medical researcher, and author of "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration")


6Copper toxic individuals very often will also have gut concerns, including candida and yeast, low HCl, poor nutrient absorption, gluten sensitivity, even leaky gut. One of copper's roles is that of an anti-fungal, and when in balance, helps to control fungi and yeast (including candida) in the gut.  However, with toxic levels of copper, much of this copper is in a bio-unavailable form, and is not serving it's role in controlling the candida, yeast, or other parasites. This allows candida to flourish.    Meanwhile, copper toxicity also reduces hydrochloric acid production. When hydrochloric acid (HCl) is low, the healthy gut flora are weakened.  HCl helps kill off pathogens and is required for the absorption of nutrients such as calcium, iron, and various vitamins. Reduced digestive enzyme production occurs and the intestine becomes overly alkaline, giving a nice home to pathogenic bacteria. 

"Research has shown that both metallothionein and zinc play powerful roles in preventing and restoring the damage in the gut barrier. Damage to the intestinal barrier can lead to serious conditions, such as leaky gut, colitis and Crohn's Disease."[16].  We already know that copper lowers zinc, and zinc is important for metallothionein synthesis.

 5. ii) Why Just Taking Zinc Isn't The Answer

 5. vi) How One's Emotional Programming May Block Correction

Even without experiencing full adrenal burnout, adrenal fatigue presents its fair share of symptoms. In her book 'The Everything Guide to Adrenal Fatigue', Dr.Maggie Luther lists the following symptoms of adrenal gland dysfunction as:

* difficulty getting up in the morning
* strong salt cravings or strong sugar cravings (usually one or the other, not both)
* daytime fatigue that is not relieved by any amount of sleep
* lowered or no libido
* difficulty handling stress, decreased productivity
* increased emotional symptoms including anxiety, irritability, depression
* trouble recovering from illnesses, chronic infections
* lightheadness when standing quickly, ongoing ringing in the ears
* worsening of symptoms if meals are skipped
* lack of focus, "brain fog", memory loss
* exhaustion in the morning, crashes in the early afternoon, energy bursts after dinner at night

(For those interested in learning more about the stages of adrenal exhaustion leading to burnout, I discuss this more in this article). Energetically, just as the person's physical energy decreases, or changes, so does their 'vibrational energy', or frequency.  This can also affect relationships because the ability to connect energetically to the person you once knew diminishes.  As Dr. Lawrence Wilson states, "Relationships often suffer when one person in the relationship goes into adrenal exhaustion". 

Many people with copper issues are asking about the connection with methylation and histamine, so a few words need to be included in this regard. In fact, understanding methylation can be helpful in developing an effective detoxification protocol.  Keep in mind methylation is a very complex topic with many variants. This section aims to provide a high level condensed overview only.

Methylation, quite simply, is a process that turns on systems within the body. It is foundational in many emotional or psychological or brain development disorders and, in the context of toxic levels of copper and other minerals and metals, converts these toxins into water-soluble compounds which can then be more easily eliminated. It is therefore a key component of being able to properly detox.  As copper rises, zinc decreases. Inadequate zinc inhibits the methylation process, which blocks proper detoxification, allowing copper to rise further, and eventually leads to physical weakness and emotional instability. Starting a detox without proper methylation can negatively impact the patient, physically and/or psychologically.   

People are either over-methylators, normal methylators, or under-methylators. Though both over and under methylators have good qualities, they each have profoundly negative consequences as well.  People are usually one or the other, and are 'born that way', predisposed by parental genetics.  Though the predisposition can be maternal or even from the great grandparents, quite often it comes from the father. "Many fathers we’re seeing are very key in unfortunately most of the pathology we see in their children" states Dr. Albert Mensah.  Before we more closely examine over-methylation and under-methylation, let's first understand methylation's relationship with histamine.

Histamine, found throughout the body, often to leads to itchiness, runny nose, coughing, headaches, inflammation, sore throat (common typical "allergy reactions").  This is why one takes antihistamines in the treatment of allergies (to inhibit the effects of histamine).  Histamine also signals gastric acid production in the gut and functions like a neurotransmitter in the brain, affecting both hunger as well as the sleep cycle. When histamine is high you tend to stay awake while low histamine helps you sleep.   Methyl groups help to deactivate histamine.  Over-methylators (typically common among creative folks in the arts) usually have low histamine, while under-methylators (more analytical and systematic in nature and career) typically have higher histamine. That being said, high histamine can sometimes also exist in over-methylators.  

As copper initially increases, so too do the levels of the copper containing enzymes histaminase and ceruloplasmin, which then leads to histamine breakdown. Low histamine allows copper to rise further, and is a sign of over-methylation, which then leads to an overproduction of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.  This overproduction is not a good thing. High levels of copper increase the conversion of dopamine (the feel good hormone) into norepinephrine (leading to anxiety and later depression).  On the other side of the coin, under-methylation stops those neurotransmitters from doing their job. When serotonin is not methylated, it becomes inactivated and leads to depression. This is just one example of why proper methylation is so important, and how it affects one's mindset.  Studies in fact show that high copper, low histamine, and over-methylation are traits found in the majority of paranoid schizophrenic and mentally ill patients.  Another important point to understand regarding these neurotransmitters is that measuring these neurotransmitter levels on a test doesn't tell you much. What's more important than their levels is the methylation activity.  Methylation turns on these neurotransmitters, and so even if your test shows normal neurotransmitter levels, if they don't have enough methyl, they remain inactive and aren't able to do their job.   

Copper toxicity (including correspondingly low zinc) is most often associated with over-methylation (histapenia). In the case of over-methylation, there is an under functioning of metallothionein, partly due to the lack of zinc which is required for metallothionein formation. Metallothionein is essential for the regulation of the copper / zinc balance, the body's ability to cope with and eliminate heavy metals, as well as affecting immune, digestive, and brain functions. Over methylation, as mentioned earlier, causes the overproduction of neurotransmitters including serotonin and norepinephrine, which can then result in high anxiety, reduced libido, confusion, and various forms of mental illness (especially paranoid schizophrenia). Other symptoms of over-methylation may include depression, frustration, sleep disorders, self mutilation/cutting, increased pain tolerance, weight gain, paranoid thoughts and/or auditory hallucinations, delusions, belief that people think ill of them, self-imposed isolation and/or withdrawal.

Under-methylation (histadelic) can interestingly enough also occur as a result of copper toxicity. High levels of bio-unavailable copper can lead to under-methylation by way of poor gut health. Copper is a natural anti-fungal and helps control candida. However, when copper becomes bio-unavailable, it's ability to control candida falters, and candida is then allowed to flourish. Candida impairs the methylation process. Furthermore, candida produces a toxic byproduct called Acetylaldehyde which, coincidentally, is also a byproduct of ethanol.  Note that the following symptoms are all common between a hangover, a yeast infection, and under-methylation: fatigue, foggy thinking, irritability, depression, and headaches.  The presence of gut bacteria by-products raises histamine. Meanwhile, those with gut issues will have reduced histamine-lowering-enzyme production, which makes it harder to eliminate histamine, thereby increasing levels. All these factors can mean under-methylation for the copper toxic individual.  With under-methylation (typically a sign of high histamine and low copper (or rather high bio-unavailable copper)), neurotransmitter function, cell membrane function, and cellular energy transfer decline. At this point we need to bring the amino acids homocysteine (a toxic amino acid) and methionine (an essential amino acid) into the discussion. Methylation converts the amino acid methionine into its by-product homocysteine as well as converts homocysteine back into methionine. With under-methylation, this continual conversion process is impaired.  Lowered homocysteine and subsequently low methionine result, as does a high level of histamine as there are a lack of methyl groups available to deactivate it.  Here's where things become more complicated. Stressors such as coffee, alcohol, lifestyle, and copper toxicity itself all contribute to raising homocysteine, as does low intake of vitamins B12, B5, B6 and poor absorption or intake of folic acid (see mention of MTHFR defect below). B12 deficiency is common among vegetarians, and a lack of B12 impairs methylation. As Dr. Albert Mensah explains below, under-methylators are not advised to live on vegetarian/vegan diets.

If you suspect copper toxicity or are unsure of your results, urinalysis and/or red blood cell tests (not the commonly offered serum test!) are additional tests that may be useful in providing a second opinion, keeping in mind the caveats mentioned below.   

 6. v) The Connection Between Copper and Methylation

"if the copper is free and unbound, you have a situation of powerful free radical toxicity that ensues" [16]

Detoxing copper requires a long term, committed approach that is not as simple as just taking zinc. The adrenals need to be supported, ceruloplasmin production needs to be increased, methylation may need to be corrected (see section 6.iv.), key ratios among other minerals need to be balanced, dietary changes may need to be made (especially for vegetarians), and the detox must be monitored through HTMA in order to ensure detox reactions remain in control. An increase in zinc (through supplementation or adding meat into the diet) will most certainly be part of the detox protocol as zinc is antagonistic to copper. However, one needs to be careful as adding too much zinc too quickly into a detox program can aggravate mental symptoms due to the mobilization of copper, amplifying the calcium shell, shutting a person down, increasing anxiety and negative emotions, and exacerbating the problem even further.  It is not advisable to supplement with any mineral until an accurate picture of one's mineral levels and ratios is first properly determined as can only be properly done through HTMA testing.   

"Excess copper has a distinctive effect on the HTMA mineral pattern and on the overall mineral system.   A high soft tissue calcium level, a low potassium level and a very high Ca/K ratio are the major mineral effects of an elevated copper level.  The thyroid slows, diminishing energy production, often producing depression and ADD types of symptoms.  When even more copper builds up in the brain, schizoid and psychotic reactions may also manifest. "  ~Dr. Rick Malter  

Serotonin is a calming neurotransmitter and helps control anxiety.   Serotonin receptors seem to be directly involved in the normal function of hippocampus in mood regulation and memory formation.   The problem is that copper oxidizes serotonin and therefore stops it from doing it's job.  Furthermore, if serotonin is under-methylated (methylation is discussed further in section 6.iv.), serotonin becomes inactive and further depression ensues.  

Many people who are copper toxic search online and discover they have symptoms that resemble copper deficiency.  This confusion is common.  Many of the symptoms of copper deficiency manifest in cases of copper toxicity. As copper levels build up, the adrenals weaken, ceruloplasmin (Cp) production eventually declines, copper increases further, and without adequate Cp to bind to the copper, excess copper gets stored in a bio-unavailable form in soft tissue.  This bio-unavailable form of copper is not usable by the body. As a result, the body has large amounts of copper (toxicity), yet very little of it can be properly used (deficiency). Dr. Malter uses the great example of likening the condition to being stranded in the middle of the ocean and dying of thirst.  There is lots of water all around, but none of it is in a form that can be used to drink. Typical symptoms of copper deficiency may include:
*fatigue,  confusion,  irritability,  depression,  impaired coordination,  iron deficiency,  anemia,  whitening of the hair, neutropenia,  varicose veins,  anorexia,  allergies,  lowered immunity,  mood disorders

During the acute phase of copper build-up, severe adrenal fatigue and brain fog are the common complaints.  To help address the main complaint of fatigue,  many practitioners will focus their attention on targeting the liver in order to restore adrenal function.  By targeting the liver, adrenal function can improve, giving one a sense that they have their energy back.  More interestingly, the symptom of brain fog will also likely clear up - as the brain fog is caused by toxic accumulation in the liver (which is the first placed bio-unavailable copper accumulates, explaining also why brain fog is one of the initial symptoms).  So, with one's energy back and 'clear thinking' restored, one should be fine, right? Not necessarily. 

Detoxing from copper (especially if the accumulation has been happening over an extended period of time) most often takes many months - sometimes even into years. However, during this time, there is a roller-coaster type of pattern where one initially feels better, then worsens, then feels better again, then worsens. Getting off the roller coaster at the first peak of improvement can potentially be very dangerous IF the practitioner is not monitoring the various mineral levels via HTMA.  What can happen in this case is the liver has lightened its copper load and adrenal function has improved, but nothing has been done to detox the stored copper that in the latter stages accumulated in the brain, and the person can wind up being left in a pseudo-reality state psychologically as a result with selectively altered perception and diminished awareness of what's happened. Though the patient feels better and a blood test shows "normal", there could still likely be large amounts of bio-unavailable copper in the brain. Furthermore, other mineral levels will likely also be out of whack, causing a wide range of psychological changes. All of this can only be properly determined through HTMA, and this underscores the importance of being monitored constantly via HTMA throughout the often lengthy detox process, as well as the importance of working with a practitioner that, beyond just treating the liver, understands the strong psychological connection copper has to the brain and thoughts.  Without such proper guidance or HTMA testing, the patient may believe they are fine and determine they no longer need treatment.  

Any treatment that mobilizes copper (either by strengthening the adrenals or through supplementation of zinc for example), can occasionally make the psychological condition much worse by mobilizing the copper, which not only brings to the surface old repressed traumas and fears, it also increases the calcium shell (and as a result awareness and feelings diminish) at the same time the racing mind slows down. The patient is restored to a feeling of 'normalcy', believing they are fine, while in fact they are now functioning in a new distorted pseudo-reality in the mind based on false emotional beliefs created under the numbing influence of the calcium shell, a weaker functioning neo-cortex, and subconsciously acting based on heightened anxieties and undealt-with fears from the past that naturally rise to the surface during this time. Most practitioners are not trained to understand these implications. The psychological implications are immense. Any practitioner not informing the patient of the powerful psychological effects that can present themselves during this time of detox is leaving their patient in peril.  

The other (and very important to understand) danger with offering adrenal support formulas without monitoring mineral levels through HTMA, is that the adrenal support can increase one's sodium level.  As sodium increases, the sodium to potassium ratio increases. This increases the stress response leading a person to more extreme reactions and shorter fuse than would be normal, and rash decisions / over-reactions are common.  Once again, the patient should always be made fully aware of what negative psychological symptoms may appear once detox begins so that extreme over-reactions and potentially damaging decisions can be avoided during this time.  Not doing so is certainly not in the best interest of the patient, and should be considered gross negligence. 

 5. iii) Caution About Feeling Better After Taking an Adrenal Formula

 3. ii) Why Serum Blood (and Urine) Test Results Are Often Misleading

Copper stimulates the diencephalon or old 'emotional' brain (based on quick emotional decisions such as anger/fight and avoidance/flight). Zinc on the other hand is needed for the new brain (cortex) - the brain associated with the “higher emotions” such as reasoning, compassion and love. As zinc drops and copper rises, these higher emotions are weakened and the person tends to revert to using the old brain - triggering a wide array of negative emotions and behaviours. Copper toxicity causes "excessive emotions of many types such as anger, rage, frustration and others."(³)  Additionally, copper is largely deposited in the limbic brain which contains the hippocampus - the cells of which have been shown to die when deprived of zinc.

Copper and estrogen are very closely linked. The higher the estrogen, the higher the copper retention. Copper is   therefore is a major factor in PMS symptoms. As estrogen rises during the premenstrual cycle (or during pregnancy), copper rises. This in turn increases sodium, which increases the Na/K stress ratio, and the individual becomes more prone to short fuse reactions to even the slightest stressor.  Meanwhile, nutrients which can ease PMS symptoms such as zinc and B6 are reduced as copper increases.

In addition, the lowered zinc as a result of high bio-unavailable copper in turn lowers NGF, and this directly impairs the intensity of romantic love.  Added to this, high copper also leads to the 'calcium shell'.  This rise in the tissue level of calcium is a defence mechanism against stress that reduces the adrenal response and blocks feelings and awareness, leaving one emotionally numb. 

 2. iii) The Implications if You Experience Adrenal Burnout

"At first, the person is able to cover for little slips in memory and job function. However, with progressing adrenal fatigue, personal productivity declines, tolerance decreases and emotional outbreaks become more frequent or have to be controlled with more effort.  Relationships often suffer first."  https://www.adrenalfatigue.org/burnout

 6. vi) An Opportunity for Spiritual Growth & Healing One's Emotional Past

"As an adult, if we find ourselves overreacting to stressors in our life with a heightened stress response – an argument with our spouse, a bill we weren’t expecting, a car that swerves in front of us on the highway – our inflammatory response stays on high, and this leads to physical disease and neuroinflammation, and mental health disorders. Mental and physical health disorders are a result of both the toxic stress response that developed in childhood, intertwined with our behavior — how we react to the adversity around us now — and together this becomes embedded deep into our biology. " ~Donna Jackson Nakazawa

Copper toxicity is a perfect example of the intimate connection between mind and body, between biology and psychology. What we put in our body affects our mind, and our mind affects what we put in our body. Likewise, our biology affects our psychology, and vice versa. One of the affects copper has (especially during the detox/dumping stages) is the surfacing of old suppressed fears and traumas.  Fears that have laid dormant for years come to the surface during this time, and a key part of detoxing is the realization, facing of, and resolution of, such fears. Everyone of us has innumerable past hurts and fears, yet with healthy reasoning we are able to move forward by limiting how much they rule us. Yet still, many of us live our lives and futures based on the past and yet we say "Oh, I'm wiiiide open!".  We're  not completely, even when we're healthy. As fears and hurts come to the surface as part of detoxing, it's then like we're driving in a car deciding which way to turn based on what we see in the rear view mirror!  It's interesting to note that most excess bio-unavailable copper gets stored in the same place where our fears are stored...in our tissues. As copper gets stirred up and mobilized through detox, so too do those old traumatic memories. This is further supported through Chinese medicine.  In the view of Chinese medicine, anger gets stored primarily in the liver, and many experts regard depression as a form of repressed anger. As one cleanses the liver through detox, these long-buried negative emotions can surface together with the toxic load. 

While far from exhaustive, the following symptoms are among the most common with high levels of copper (copper toxicity):
*fatigue,  exhaustion,  hypothyroid,  headaches,  mood swings,  depression,  chocolate cravings,  paranoia,  despair, constipation,  joint aches and pains,  concentration and memory problems,  depersonalization, spaciness,  racing mind, 
high anxiety,  candida, hypoglycaemia,  insomnia,  increased PMS,  schizophrenia…

"Burnout causes emotional and physical devastation that cripples the person’s personality and human potential ... The person whose life has been gutted by stress-damage usually does not know what hit him – and usually has no idea what is really wrong with him... When you go into burnout, unless you pull out of it and realize what actually happened to you - you can go into a state of disillusionment that can last the rest of your life." ~Dr. Eck

Oxytocin, known as the 'love hormone' or 'cuddle hormone' is important for behaviours including sexual arousal, recognition, trust, and bonding. As stress goes up (internally caused by rising copper and weakening adrenals), combined with external stressors, our bodies in time become more and more oxytocin deficient. This means that as copper toxicity builds and the adrenals become exhausted, oxytocin levels generally drop, and the sexual arousal, recognition, trust and bonding that once existed between partners can become diminished.  Symptoms of oxytocin deficiency can include generalized depression, heightened anxiety, social isolation, mistrust, resistance to intimacy affection and relationships, phobias, panic attacks, and sleep difficulties to name a few.   Meanwhile, other neurotransmitters also come into play...

About The Author
Rick Fischer is a Certified Health Coach with advanced training in HTMA, and author of The Healing Workbook, a 12 week guide to healing injury and illness by addressing diet, gut, and mindset. His life was profoundly affected by copper toxicity, losing his beloved fiancee to the psychological impact of post-adrenal burnout copper detox, exacerbated by the guidance of a physician who failed to understand both proper testing and detox procedures as well as the powerful negative affect copper detoxing can have. He has since tirelessly devoted his energy to the research of copper toxicity and being a leader in awareness in order to bring increased support and understanding to those suffering either first hand or watching their partners go through it. He vowed never to allow this tragedy that so profoundly affected his loved ones not serve a greater purpose. In this journey he has been touched and overwhelmed with countless stories from women (and some men too) who likewise have had their lives, health, and relationships torn apart as a result of adrenal burnout, copper toxicity, and the subsequent detoxing process..  There is such an astounding lack of awareness and understanding out there and so little support for those going through this.  In addition to his health coaching practice, of which HTMA and mineral balancing has become his main area of focus, one of his personal missions is helping to increase the awareness among the public and medical community of the risks of copper toxicity and the dire importance of education in this area concerning proper testing and detox procedures.

"This site is dedicated to a forever beautiful and inspiring woman as a small way of honoring the light, positivity and love she stood for, and her dream of helping women and girls with their nutrition, health and personal growth. I hope through this research we as a community can offer greater support, guidance and understanding to those going through similar nightmares."

As one of the Internet's most comprehensive resources on the topic, the mission of this site is to:

i) Offer in-depth research and clarity behind the copper toxicity epidemic (including detail on the progression & symptoms of copper as it accumulates first in the liver & subsequently in the brain).

ii) Provide much needed education to the medical community (as well as those affected directly)

   on accurate testing protocol, the psychological/ emotional/ adrenal/ energy implications, as well as

   guidance and caveats to consider during the detoxing process.

iii) Help those affected navigate through the complex, often confusing & lengthy healing process.

iv) Turn the tide of awareness so better support can be offered both socially and professionally.

"The limbic brain is responsible for what are called emotions in human beings. The main structures of the limbic brain are the hippocampus, the amygdala, and the hypothalamus. The limbic brain is the seat of the value judgments that we make, often unconsciously, that exert such a strong influence on our behaviour."  [10]

The Psycho-Physiological Effects of Bio-Unavailable Copper Accumulation in Humans

Click Anywhere on the Chart to Open an Enlarged View (or to download in PDF)

It will open up enlarged in a new window. 

"...as a person's stress level increases and intensifies, s/he is more likely to develop a calcium shell, especially if s/he is in a constant highly stressful situation," [ie: demanding job, purchasing a home, intense academic pressure...] "This is because, under stress, a person tends to lose magnesium and zinc from their cells and tissues. As magnesium is lost from cell and tissue storage, more soft tissue calcification is likely to occur and the Cal/Mg ratio will increase. These mineral changes lead to increased muscle tension, more unstable blood sugar levels, diminished awareness of one's feelings, and lower energy levels. Depression and anxiety may also increase in frequency and intensity. Since zinc antagonizes copper, a drop in zinc allows copper and calcium to increase even more."

~'The Strands of Health',

Dr. Rick Malter

"Virtually all MDs, including psychiatrists, still have not heard of this health problem. They practice medicine and psychiatry with an incredible lack of awareness that such a serious health problem even exists. They claim to be practicing “evidence based medicine”, yet they are practicing without the most basic evidence – real laboratory data showing the presence of excess (toxic) copper that has a profound effect on both the physical and mental health of the vast majority of their patients. Ever since Carl Pfeiffer, MD, PhD first wrote about the devastating health effects of copper toxicity in 1975, it has been a challenge for him and others among us to get the message out to the public and health professionals. Today, with the development of the internet and Google, the time is ripe for getting the copper toxicity message out to the public." 

~ Dr. Rick Malter, Ph.D.

"While trace amounts of copper are needed to sustain life, excess copper is extremely toxic in the brain."

~ Tohoku J Exp Med 2003 Apr;199(4):239-45

"In the fall of that year I went into total breakdown…Gittleman talks about adrenal burnout in zinc deficiency as a total exhaustion of the adrenal capacity to respond to stress.  Deep burnout produces a bone-shuddering, unrelenting fatigue that is beyond anything I would have imagined… Burnout was only part of what was going on. There were also waves of a kind of feverish delirium that made it very hard to focus on my surroundings or communicate with others… I remained in a free-floating kind of fugue state for years. It is part of the disorientation of the condition that I don’t know now exactly when I came out of it...there is such a high level of confusion, distractibility and anxiety in certain people today that they frequently cannot focus on the information that could help them. Such observations lead me to look into the area of zinc deficiency and adrenal burnout in their situations."
~ Laurie Warner, MA, CNC

There are two areas in your brain where you grow new brain cells. One is the hippocampus, which is involved in memory. It turns out that this growth is decreased in cases of depression."

~ Kirwan. Behavioural Brain Research, 2013

"Dr. George W. Crile pointed out many years ago that liver problems usually precede psychological and emotional problems. "

~ The Eck Institute of Applied Nutrition and Bioenergetics

"Storage of toxic metals in the brain also contributes to mental illness. When the liver becomes over-burdened with deposits of various metals and cannot safely store any more of these metals, the body begins to store the excess of these metals in secondary reservoir sites.

In the case of copper, manganese and iron, the secondary storage area is the brain. Excessive levels of copper in the brain are associated with symptoms ranging from depression, anxiety and mood swings to schizophrenia."

~ The Eck Institute of Applied Nutrition and Bioenergetics

"An excess of copper can contribute to many symptoms: e.g., depression, spaciness, paranoia, alternating moods, anxiety, panic, fearfulness, schizophrenia, phobias, etc. However, individuals may have any or all the above signs and symptoms of a copper toxicity and yet not have a high tissue copper level on a tissue mineral test."

~ The Eck Institute of Applied Nutrition & Bioenergetics, Ltd.

Do you have a story to share that could help and support others being affected by copper toxicity and / or detoxing?   Share it here.

Stories of How Thoughts Become Distorted During Times of High Copper & Detoxing

Stories of The Destructive Effects High Copper Levels & Detoxing Have Had On Relationships

This is already partly answered in the question above.  The first few days are usually rough, but then as the adrenals gain strength a sense of improvement will be felt as energy increases and brain fog lifts. This is the first of many peaks during the long term elimination process of copper. Overall, especially psychologically, effects often worsen before they improve. This can takes weeks to months to even years, depending on severity.  As one embarks on a copper detox protocol, it is common for anxieties to increase further before they get better.  It should be noted that not everyone will experience copper elimination symptoms, although most people do to varying degrees. Some common symptoms of detox may include increased flu-like symptoms, severe PMS, headaches, paranoia, increased awareness of fears, decreased libido, insomnia, fatigue, depression, digestive problems, emotional detachment (due to an increase in the calcium shell) - the list of symptoms is extensive. Increased anxiety and panic attacks are also very common (as copper is mobilized in the body a temporary hypoglycemic state is created which boosts adrenal secretion and in turn increases anxieties).  As one begins to detox, it's not uncommon for the copper level on the Hair TMA to show up at an even higher level than before - this is simply the copper being mobilized and excreted.  This however, in turn, can affect the ratios with other minerals (such as magnesium and calcium), and lead one further into a calcium shell.  Relationship struggles, even break-ups, are common during this time (as evidenced by the number of stories shared above and on various forums online) and it's important to keep this in mind if you feel your relationship heading down the same path.  Remember that you are not yourself during this time. As copper stimulates the old brain and weakens the neocortex, selected parts of reality and the perception of certain people and beliefs can get distorted.  Of course this doesn't happen in all cases as everyone's reactions are different based on severity of toxicity, detox protocol and monitoring, past triggers / programming, patterns and old repressed traumas. As old fears and relationship hurts come to the surface however, they are projected onto the existing relationship - all at the same time that negative emotions are amplified, the rationalizing neocortex is weakened (and subsequently so too are the emotions of higher consciousness), anxieties are sky high, and feelings of romantic love are erased by the numbing effect of the calcium shell. The patient may be left with feeling nothing but the need to get away. By being aware of this common occurrence beforehand, understanding that it is a voice induced by copper and not one's true self, and detoxing through a properly monitored nutritional balancing program, the patient is better equipped to deal with the side effects he or she may be experiencing.  Over time, as copper is eventually eliminated, the calcium shell (which previously had numbed the emotions and blocked awareness of what was happening), begins to break apart. 

 4. i) Why Copper is Called The 'Emotional Mineral'

It can be expected that one will feel worse, often through many cycles (or roller coaster 'dips') as the copper is dumped, before eventual long term improvement is achieved.  Knowing that detoxing occurs in cycles will help the patient get through the rough times. The detox process usually brings to the surface some of the worst symptoms of toxicity, both physical and psychological.  Many of the case histories here exemplify this.  The importance of proper monitoring and support throughout the detox process cannot be over-stated.  

As the adrenals strengthen through detox, initially one can 'feel' better both physically and mentally. As the adrenals strengthen, not only will one's energy begin improving, but the ever-present symptom of brain fog may also dissipate (as the brain fog was caused by toxicity in the liver).  However, with the strengthening of the adrenals also comes the mobilization of copper.  As copper is mobilized, though the patient may be feeling better physically, several things happen psychologically, often without the patient even being aware.  The copper released from storage in the blood as a result of detox is now free, unbound copper.  Without adequate Cp or minerals such as molybdenum to bind to the copper, the mental symptoms will worsen.  The mobilization of copper also increases stress on the body and, by raising calcium as a result, amplifies the calcium shell effect and with it a further numbing of emotions and awareness. This is why changes in perception and personality are not uncommon during the detox phase. The calcium shell also helps slow down the previously racing mind while also numbing the patient to what is happening around them, both of which lead to a false sense of improvement.  In effect, though some symptoms have "improved" (mainly physical ones as the liver improves), other symptoms (psychological) are less obvious to the patient and can get worse. This is why detox must be done in a slow, gentle, and monitored way. 

As one eliminates copper through detox (even one properly monitored), patients will often experience the effects of copper "dumping". The dumping is simply the elimination of copper. Typical symptoms of a copper dump include severe depression, uncontrollable anger, anxiety, panic attacks, and sleep disturbances, as well as increased headaches, paranoia, increased awareness of fears, decreased libido, fatigue, ending relationships, and digestive problems.  Often the symptoms are frightening and very uncomfortable, and if the patient is unaware of what is happening they often stop treatment as it is too unbearable.  By understanding that copper dumping and the associated symptoms are part of the detoxification process, patients (and their partners) are better able to endure what they are experiencing. Dumping usually occurs in cycles, and life can feel like quite a roller coaster for some time.  Detoxing is NOT a quick process, and can usually take 6 months to a year or more, with many up and down cycles, until the health of the mind and body are restored.  Women generally have a rougher and harder time detoxing than men, due to their higher estrogen levels and monthly cycles.     
It should be noted that aerobic exercise, stimulant drugs, and increases in stress while detoxing can further exacerbate symptoms of copper elimination. These activities increase metabolic rate and cellular energy production which in turn can trigger copper dumps from cellular storage. 

2. i) Key Symptoms of Copper Toxicity

​"The first factor that can cause emotional reactions is the association of memories with mineral patterns. It is well known that thoughts and memories may be triggered by such things as odors, music, or specific locations that remind the person of something from the past. What is less well known is that memories can also be associated with specific biochemical patterns. As we rebuild and rebalance the body chemistry a person may pass through a mineral pattern of 20 years ago. Suddenly, thoughts or feelings from that time can flood into consciousness. The change in body chemistry unlocks, releasing feelings that were dormant or subconscious. To suddenly experience these feelings can be frightening inasmuch as they can occur out of the blue, when one thought they had finished with or forgotten a particular situation or emotion."

 6. iv) How Vigorous Exercise Can Block Healing, Even if You Feel Better

"I have talked to so many people who say, “Well, I read that zinc was good, and I did this and that.”  And I said, “You know what you did? You actually activated detoxification mechanisms that now cause your depression to get worse." Dr. Albert Mensah

Let's take a closer look at homocysteine. Methylation is needed in order to convert this toxic amino acid into vital methionine.  Improper conversion and the stressors previously mentioned can result in higher levels of homocysteine. Other factors that also contribute to higher homocysteine levels include lack of exercise, processed foods, family history of vascular disease, inadequate levels of bioavailable copper, zinc, magnesium, family history of depression, smoking, and birth control usage.  Furthermore, low activity of the gene that regulates the enzyme MTHFR will lead to increased homocysteine. About half the population have a genetic variant of the MTHFR enzyme which predisposes them to increased difficulty resynthesizing methionine.  High homocysteine is a primary risk factor for vascular disease and predisposes people to a higher risk of Alzheimer's, dementia, decline in memory and judgment, mental illness, and lowered mood / depression.  Most often, homocysteine has accumulated due to a lack of necessary nutrients (most notably the B vitamins, zinc, and folate (folate should be taken together with B12)).  TMG is also very helpful in maintaining a healthier homocysteine level.

So what does all this mean? Copper toxicity and detox, and the methylation cycle, are closely linked. Recommended nutrients for proper rebalancing will, to a small extent, depend on the levels of histamine and homocysteine and the methylation activity. The methylation activity also lends significant understanding to the personality changes that people experience as copper levels rise and neurotransmitter levels are thrown off.

Determining your methylation status can easily be done through a whole blood histamine test, assessed by a skilled practitioner in the field.  

"One of the key things you first have to understand is who you are biochemically and how

the wrong detox mechanism can affect you psychologically and psychiatrically." Dr. Albert Mensah

For over-methylators, B12, niacin amide, DMAE, choline, manganese, zinc, omega-3 essential oils (DHA and EPA), folic acid, and vitamins C and E are often recommended, while methionine, SAMe, inositol, TMG and DMG are avoided. Meat can also be greatly reduced in favour of more vegetables, and especially if a MTHFR defect is found.   Folate is found naturally and largely in cooked dark green veggies. MTHFR defect reduces the ability to convert folic acid into the active form of the vitamin (folate).  At least 1.5 cups of cooked greens 3x week is needed to overcome a copying defect. Supplementing with methylfolate however, for the overmethylator, should be avoided as it further increases methyl.   There are 50+ variants of the MTHFR enzyme (polymorphisms) which affect the effectiveness of MTHFR.  The MTHFR variants are not a defect in the gene per se, but rather a transcription error which is widely caused by zinc deficiency, copper toxicity and mercury.

Under-methylators generally need to correct an underlying deficiency in calcium, magnesium, methionine, B6, and B12.  SAMe and TMG can be beneficial, and organic meat sources should be increased.  Methyfolate can be given, but generally not for more than 2 or 3 months at which time it may worsen symptoms.  B3 (niacin) should be avoided as it drains an already low supply of methyl.

When high histamine is present, then any supplements that raise histamine should be avoided or limited. This includes niacin, folic acid, and B12.   Taking antihistamines will help. Magnesium and Vitamin C are natural anti-histamines. Focusing on gut health will also help, as will increasing intake of antioxidants.

To lower homocysteine, folic acid with B12, B6, as well as TMG supplementation have effectively been used commonplace for decades.

​Now, a key question is, is addressing methylation absolutely necessary for copper detoxing? This could be debated. While biochemically there exists very good scientific understanding of the methylation process, there is less clarity behind using methylation in a practical approach to clinical nutrition. While understanding one's methylation status can certainly be useful (as addressed above), it can also be a costly distraction from working with the fundamentals of nutritional balancing of which minerals should take primary importance. In fact, as mineral levels come into better balance, so too can one's methylation improve.​​

"With slow oxidizers, one gets biounavailable copper problems. Here one has a combination of too much free copper floating around, but a deficiency of available or bound copper. This may be due to adrenal exhaustion causing impairment of ceruloplasmin synthesis in the liver, and perhaps deficiencies of other copper transport proteins such as metallothionein." ~Dr. Wilson, M.D.

Unfortunately there is still far too much reliance on serum blood testing to diagnose copper toxicity or evaluate re-balancing progress. As a result, misdiagnosis is rampant.  Such outdated practice is not only ignorant and irresponsible, but also dangerous, and as long as people continue to focus on their serum blood results, the mass confusion surrounding this epidemic will only continue.  Copper, as it builds up in the body and becomes more and more bio-unavailable, gets either excreted through urine or stored in soft tissue. It does NOT STAY in the blood. The homeostatic nature of blood removes excess minerals and toxins quickly.  A blood test will show what the body is being exposed to hour by hour (what is circulating), but the blood level shows very little correlation to stored amounts of copper in tissue - one of the primary indicators of copper toxicity.  Copper toxic individuals therefore very often receive blood tests results that show 'normal' and are diagnosed as 'healthy'.  As Dr. Eck points out, "If you have high levels of a certain mineral, like copper, held tightly in storage, why on earth would you expect the copper to show up in the blood - unless it is being released?!" If the source of copper exposure is removed, and the body is not releasing copper, then the blood level will show normal, regardless of how much stored copper there is.  A urine test on the other hand shows what the body is excreting. When the body is excreting copper, then elevated copper levels will show on a urine test. If the urinalysis is performed during this time of excretion, it will catch the copper toxicity problem.  But once again, what is being excreted is very different from what is being STORED. The stored copper is NOT being excreted, rather it is tightly stored in various organs and soft tissue of the body, particular the liver and the brain, yet won't show up in a urine test.

​Now, there is a difference between serum mineral levels and red blood cell mineral levels.  As mentioned, the blood works very quickly to eliminate copper as it must maintain a relatively tight homeostatic range. Serum levels are thus maintained at the expense of levels inside cells and tissues. Most doctors and labs just test serum levels and patients are told their levels are normal (especially once the source of the copper exposure has been removed).  The blood test is also only reliable in a very short window of time. As an example, if a patient with a copper IUD in place has a blood test, it will likely show a high copper level as copper is being "fed" into the body at that very moment. But if that copper IUD is removed and a blood test performed a few days later, the blood test will likely show a normal level of copper. In fact, it may even show copper deficiency, because the copper is bio-unavailable. Again, this serum level completely ignores the stored bio-unavailable tissue copper in the liver and brain and other organs, yet the diagnosis is given that the patient is "fine"!  Copper needs to be bound to a transporter protein (either ceruloplasmin or metallothionein), otherwise it becomes bio-unavailable, does not enter the cell where it needs to be, and instead gets accumulated in a bio-unavailable form in the body's tissues. The problem again with the standard blood serum testing procedure is that it ignores not only the accumulated bio-unavailable copper stored in the tissues, it also ignores the copper content within the cells.

The following quote is by Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND speaking about the inadequacy of serum tests. While in the quote she is referring to magnesium, the same is true for copper:  "A serum test for magnesium is actually worse than ineffective, because a test result that is within normal limits lends a false sense of security about the status of the mineral in the body. It also explains why doctors don't recognize magnesium deficiency; they assume serum magnesium levels are an accurate measure of all the magnesium in the body."


 5. vii) When Focusing on Ceruloplasmin Production Becomes Important

"As excess copper and calcium increase in the cells and tissues, a calcium "shell" will build that will tend to block more and more feelings until the person no longer is aware of what is being felt and experienced. Such a person often talks of "not feeling anything" or being "numb" and "dead" emotionally. As the calcium shell builds, a person's perception and awareness diminish.  The overall psychological effect of excess copper is a loss of emotional control and awareness accompanied by diminished feelings and numbness." ~Dr. Rick Malter, Ph.D.

"[HTMA] may be the most important health test that exists… Only when you and your doctor know for sure your mineral status and important ratios can you adapt your diet, minerals and supplements to work toward proper balance."  ~Dr. Robert Thompson, MD 

Copper toxicity is among one of the most misunderstood conditions in the world today. It's a tragedy that many of those practitioners we entrust our health to have very little understanding of copper toxicity or how to test for it and detox. The very fact that blood testing is still done so prolifically as the primary determinant of toxicity - with almost no mention of HTMA - goes to show a most basic lack of understanding behind copper toxicity on the part of practitioners.  Sadly, HTMA has been suppressed through various smear campaigns for the past 30 years, and as a result has cost people dearly who could have benefited from proper testing. While media and medical journals widely advertised the 'results' of these anti-HTMA studies (data that is decades old from 'studies' which involved just 1 or 2 person samples and violated almost all proper testing protocol), they largely ignored the thousands of peer-reviewed references that support HTMA, or the fact that HTMA is used routinely by various heads of government and world class athletes who have access to the very best medical care. Though human hair has been accepted as an effective tissue for biological monitoring of toxic heavy metals by the US Environmental Protection Agency and is being used for this purpose throughout the world, when it comes to copper toxicity suddenly this fact becomes ignored.

Furthermore, the interpretation of HTMA results is very complex, and exhaustive training is required to fully understand what the charts indicate.  Without being able to understand HTMA data, it is very difficult to understand, or treat for that matter, copper toxicity. Understanding HTMAs is not as simple as just looking at a mineral level. An advanced understanding of the interconnection that mineral levels have on each other, mineral ratios, as well as their various effects on both body and mind is required. However most practitioners do not receive this training - even many who attempt to offer HTMA. Any doctor is able to open an account at a testing lab and run hair tests on patients.  However prescribing supplements based on simply looking at which mineral levels are high vs low will give very poor results.  As an illustration of this, lets assume a patient shows a high Mg level with an extremely low K level. Looking simply at Mg, Mg would therefore not be recommended. However, with a deeper understanding of how to interpret HTMA, the low K relative to sodium represents an increase burn rate of Mg, leading to Mg deficiency, and thus Mg for this patient is required!). In the end, incorrect interpretations of HTMA results has led to poor improvement in patients, and doctors without proper training in this field therefore dismiss HTMA as not being an accurate tool.  In effect, they have dismissed a very accurate screening tool based on their own lack of understanding how to use it.

Furthermore, a number of websites, even those by high profile doctors, perpetuate misleading information surrounding copper toxicity. This website does not aim to either bash nor promote such websites, and so their links will not be directly mentioned here. However, to elude to a few:

One particular 'science based' website authored by a doctor promotes copper as the protective, anti-aging, love miracle.  The site mentions people not having to worry much about copper excess because the body does a fantastic job regulating levels, citing "with amazement" how numerous studies show that copper "magically" disappears out of the blood. It completely fails to make mention of where this excess copper goes!! Furthermore,  one of the most significant effects of copper toxicity is what it does to the emotions, and it is in complete contradiction to the message of that article.  Whereas the article hypes that copper is the mineral of love, the fact is (which the article ignores) is that copper at high levels can completely eradicate feelings of love. It makes no mention of copper's high correlation to cases of schizophrenia, or it's effect on the calcium shell.  If a copper toxic person reads that article, they could easily be led to believe that their love is only a result of high levels of copper. While a normal, healthy level of copper is needed for feelings of love, the opposite happens with high levels of copper. As Dr. Rick Malter explains in his book The Strands of Health, "Anyone who becomes highly copper toxic will begin to experience a deadening of his/her feelings."  The article goes on to imply that copper is great for mental health, completely ignoring the EXTREMELY significant negative psychological symptoms that present with high levels of copper stored in the brain. The article goes on to make claims such ridiculous claims as "the only dietary source of copper that a person should worry about is in contaminated water" (implying that diet plays no role in copper toxicity and adjusting diet therefore would not make any difference!), and that "copper provides preventative benefits for ALL conditions except one (Wilson's Disease)".  Sadly people read this kind of literature and, without proper guidance, can be vastly misled.

Another medical website widely used for diagnosis of various conditions makes no mention of HTMA but rather promotes urine and blood testing as the best ways of diagnosing copper toxicity (the reasons why such advice is dangerously flawed have already been addressed on this page). The same site also makes the claim, under symptoms, that constant fatigue has a weak or unproven link to copper toxicity. Again, this is a reflection of a complete lack of understanding behind how copper directly affects and weakens the adrenals, leading to fatigue.  And then there's another national public service information site from the U.S. that claims to offer "objective science based" information, stating "The human body adjusts its internal environment to maintain copper equilibrium" and that copper rarely gets stored in the body. They must be kidding! Yet, once again, people believe that kind of nonsense because it comes from a so-called 'trusted' source.  

Countless more websites talk about all the benefits of copper (it helps increase energy, is good for healthy brain function, assists emotional health, supports healthy metabolism, helps thyroid activity...) ... and lead the reader to believe most of us are deficient in copper so we should be increasing our intake!! Listening to this kind of advice, regardless of how famous the doctors might be, is extremely dangerous. First, most deficiency is caused by a toxicity issue, NOT by a lack of copper in the diet (see section 2.ii). Second, those benefits are only true at a normal, healthy level of copper. As copper builds up and becomes bio-unavailable in large quantities, all those aforementioned benefits actually REVERSE!!!  No one out there seems to be talking about this, and only those who have studied this field in great depth understand it. Copper increases energy? At a basic level, yes...but too much copper leads to adrenal exhaustion!  Healthy brain function? It's a marker in almost 2/3 of all schizophrenics, decreases awareness, increases depression!!  Emotional health? Too much copper leads to a calcium shell, the numbing of emotions and damage to relationships. Supports metabolism? It leads to a slowing of metabolism. Helps thyroid activity? Copper raises calcium and lowers potassium, leading directly to a slowing of thyroid activity!  And again we see even more websites claiming that the body is able to self-regulate the level of copper.  Anyone with even a basic understanding of mineral balances or of HTMA knows how absurd such a claim is.

Very sadly, the Internet has become a breeding ground of erroneous information, and it's becoming increasingly difficult for the public to know who to believe. So long as practitioners continue to cling to old dogmas and favor blood testing over HTMA, and so long as a blind eye is turned to the fact that excess copper not excreted gets stored in the body's tissues and is the cause behind a number of today's most serious physical and mental health concerns, the public will continue to pay the price.  Those of us in the health care and holistic healing communities have a duty and owe it to the people we serve to promote proper understanding of this epidemic.  The research on this site is the summation of 40+ years of research specific to mineral balances and copper toxicity.  There is no longer a lack of research, or evidence. The evidence is clear and factual. Hopefully through this website and furthering the work of pioneers in this field including Drs Eck, Watts, Pfieffer, Malter, and Wilson, the tide will eventually be turned in favor of awareness and proper understanding for the benefit and healing of all those affected. 

"Copper toxicity often leads to the destruction of relationships. Sometimes they don't realize it because their feelings are numbed so much by the buildup of excess calcium and copper, they're not even aware that their feelings are numbed, deadened, and cut off, and they're basically operating at a cognitive level and not a feeling level, And yet cognitively they can convince themselves that they're thinking their way through their emotional life. And that's simply not the way it works, psychologically. I would venture to say that divorce courts are loaded with people who's relationships were destroyed by copper toxicity. Because the role of copper toxicity impacting the emotions, thought processes and behaviors is not understood, it leads to a lot of animosity and anger and resentment, and revenge - a lot of flare ups of the Judge psychologically - that ultimately winds up destroying the relationship."   ~ Dr. Rick Malter

 1. Overview chartof the progression of bio-unavailable copper    

      accumulation and the key psycho-physiological effects. ​

​2. Symptoms:

     i. Key symptoms of copper toxicity

     ii. The connection between copper toxicity and copper deficiency

     iii. The implications if you experience adrenal burnout

​     iv. The gut connection

3. Testing:

     i. What is the best way of testing?

     ii. Why blood (and urine) test results are often misleading

     iii. Why ratios are even more important than the individual copper level

     iv. Slow metabolizer vs. Fast metabolizer

4. Affect on Relationships:

     i. Why copper is called the 'emotional mineral'

     ii. The cortisol - oxytocin - dopamine - serotonin connection

     iii. The Calcium Shell

​     iv. Damaging toll on relationships

​5. Detoxing:

     i. How long does it take to properly detox from copper toxicity?

     ii. Why just taking zinc isn't the answer

     iii. Caution about feeling better after taking an adrenal formula

     iv. How detoxing can make the symptoms worse

     v. What to expect during detox

     vi. How one's emotional programming may block correction

     vii. When focusing on ceruloplasmin production becomes important

     viii. General recommendations for diet and supplementation

     ix. Additional things that may assist detox

6. Other:

     i. Why there's so little awareness of copper toxicity & proper testing

​     ii. Should I be concerned about using a copper IUD?

     iii. I'm a vegetarian. Does this mean I am copper toxic?

     iv. How vigorous exercise can block healing, even if you feel better

     v. The connection between copper and methylation

     vi. An opportunity for healing one's emotional past & spiritual growth


8. References and Further Reading

What is Copper Toxicity

Copper Toxicity is a build up of bio-unavailable copper in the body that at high levels affects both physical and mental health. Typical symptoms initially show as brain fog, mind racing, and increasing fatigue. Copper toxicity plays a direct role in weakening the adrenals, and at later stages symptoms can include adrenal burnout, schizophrenia, depression, personality change, and emotional numbing. Gut problems, Alzheimer's, and even cancer are also linked. Copper is an essential mineral in the human body and in its bio-available form plays many important roles. While these benefits are widely reported, the dangers of high levels of bio-unavailable copper go widely ignored. It is this duality of copper's nature that makes copper toxicity one of the most misunderstood conditions today. As unbound levels get too high, the promoted benefits of copper reverse, leading to a lot of misunderstanding (additional explanation here), and making copper a powerful reactive toxin to both the body & mind. This has been documented since the 1970's, and references to much of the 40+ years of research compiled on this site are all included for those who wish to explore further.

Copper 'Toxicity'

The Psycho-Physiological Effects on the Mind, Body, and Emotions

 2. ii) The Connection Between Copper Toxicity and Copper Deficiency

 5. ix) Additional Things That May Assist Detox

"The main thing that is preventing you from waking up, the main thing that is preventing you from finding the joy, and the main thing that is preventing you from living your life here now, fully, is your fear.  So you could be doing everything you want to be doing, but if you do not address the fear, you're not going to wake up…. We all want to stop judgement, the negative emotions, culturally it's not acceptable to say what I feel, to show that I'm insecure, that I'm angry, that I'm not happy, all these things stay repressed in our body. Where do these repressions go? They stay in your tissues. Every single experience you've had in your life starting from your birth, the memory of your birth, the trauma, or even if it's the experience of fear, it's in your tissues." 
~Mada Eliza Dalian

 6. iii) I'm a Vegetarian. Does This Mean I am Copper Toxic?

As copper accumulates, the resulting stress and mineral imbalances weaken the adrenals to the point where they may completely "burnout".  Full adrenal burnout is a significant game changer that can have life long affects on the patient.  The obvious symptom is an overwhelming sense of debilitating fatigue, often with a period of complete and utter exhaustion.  Resentment, withdrawal, dizziness, loss of libido, slurred speech, depression, insomnia, frustration, lost interest in relationships, moodiness, poor concentration, and irritability are all common symptoms. Often, the patient is not even aware of what their feelings really are. The lack of energy reduces awareness to the true extent of the problem.  In fact, many of the symptoms of copper toxicity at this stage are the same as those common with adrenal burnout, and the issue is just as much about the burnout as it is with the copper. If copper toxicity is accompanied by adrenal adrenal exhaustion/burnout, the above symptoms are amplified. It is highly improbable for a person who has experienced adrenal burnout, especially when copper toxicity is also at play, for emotional thinking to be rational in the period following burnout.  The following excerpts are taken from an interview with biochemist, HTMA pioneer and world's foremost expert on trace mineral relationships, the late Dr. Paul Eck, as can be found in the book 'Energy: How it Affects Your Emotions, Your Level of Achievement, and

Your Entire Well-Being' by Chatsworth and Eck:

Ceruloplasmin (Cp) levels are another often confused point surrounding copper toxicity. Some individuals show healthy levels of Cp, while others show low levels.  Some practitioners place all their emphasis on increasing Cp, others do not.  To understand these discrepancies, let's first look at what Cp is and does. Ceruloplasmin is one of two main transporter proteins that bind to copper to make it bioavailable. Ceruloplasmin carries 95% of the copper in the body. Without it, copper remains in a bio-unavailable (unbound, harmful) state. The lower the Cp level, the faster copper will accumulate in the liver and the brain as insufficient carrier protein exists to bind the copper to make it bioavailable.  With the hard working adrenals, initially Cp production is sufficient, in fact Cp often increases as copper begins accumulating. However, as with many of the other effects of copper, benefits turn into their opposite negative quality following adrenal burnout. For example, copper helps in energy production, yet also decreases energy by burning out the adrenals. Copper can be emotionally warming at healthy levels, but creates apathy and emotional numbness at toxic levels. Concerning Cp, levels are often high prior to burnout, but then drop following burnout.  As Drs. Eck and Wilson pointed out as far back as the 80's, copper toxic individuals are presented with high levels of Cp.  Missing from their 1989 report entitled 'Copper Toxicity' however is what happens to Cp AFTER burnout.  Post-burnout, the adrenals are too weak to allow the liver to produce adequate Cp, and production drops.  This is why, following adrenal burnout, as Cp production drops, the bio-unavailable level of copper increases even faster.  On the other hand, pre-burnout, the adrenals are working overtime, speeding up, producing Cp, and this explains Dr. Eck's finding of high Cp in copper toxic individuals.

So, in terms of treatment, the focus on increasing Cp will really depend on the state of the adrenals. Not everyone needs to increase their Cp.  Less focus should be put on increasing Cp pre-burnout, while more emphasis should be placed on increasing Cp post-burnout. Even when emphasis is placed on increasing Cp, it should not be done under that single focus while ignoring other mineral levels. The most important part of any healthy mineral detox process is re-regulating the various mineral ratios.  By re-regulating these mineral levels, the adrenals will strengthen, Cp production occurs, and negative side effects both physical and psychological can be minimized. When the sole focus however is on adrenal strengthening and Cp production, this can lead to a worsening of certain symptoms as mineral ratios may further go out of balance. To illustrate this, let's look at a non-mineral-balancing approach where one simply takes an adrenal support supplement. The adrenal support, while it should strengthen the adrenals, can lead to a cascade of effects, including a decrease in zinc, magnesium and potassium, while increasing sodium and calcium. As calcium increases over magnesium, not only are the numbing effects of the calcium shell intensified, but emotions such as anger, panic and denial increase, as too does the risk of blood clotting and heart attack. Meanwhile the drop in potassium relative to sodium increases the stress response leading to a wide range of negative psychological reactions including heightening anxiety and a shortening of one's fuse. This list of symptoms only barely scratches the surface, but at least gives some idea of the importance of keeping other mineral levels balanced during the detox process. Many people spend time and money on blood tests to measure their Cp in order to determine how well they're progressing. But really, what is that going to tell you? Even if you see your Cp levels increasing, this gives no information as to what is happening with your various mineral levels, whereas an HTMA paints the whole picture. A blood test to check Cp won't tell you for example what your Na/K stress ratio is, and if you have high stress this is depleting both zinc and magnesium, further allowing copper to rise.  In conclusion, while increasing Cp production is important especially for the post-adrenal burnout patient, it should only be pursued while having mineral levels regularly monitored through HTMA and adjusted as necessary. Now, with the foregoing all being said, a few steps that can assist in increasing Cp include:
i)  eliminate Vitamin D which destroys liver retinol needed for Cp
ii) stop taking calcium and ascorbic acid which, respectively, block Mg and Fe absorption and disrupt the Copper<-->Cp bond
iii) take cod liver oil and whole food vitamin C which, respectively, increase retinol and bioavailable copper
iv) increase dietary fat while limiting carbs (fat is needed for proper copper absorption)
v) add Taurine which helps copper metabolism in the liver

Copper, at a typical healthy level, helps release of endorphines that contribute to normal feelings of love and euphoria.  Manufacturers of certain copper containing products have used this as a benefit in their marketing messages, calling copper a 'love mineral';  and several websites even jump on this misleading message, not understanding that too much copper creates the REVERSE. Contrary to copper being a 'love mineral', the higher that the bio-unavailable copper level becomes, the more that feelings of love are numbed... at the same time that the risk for depression, irritability, and even violence increase.  Broken relationships are extremely common as a result of the effects of high copper (see additional case histories, as well as section 4.iv).

As copper accumulates it becomes bio-unavailable - in other words a deficiency exists as a result of the toxicity. The dichotomic emotional effect is perfectly summarized in the book 'Energy: How it affects your emotions, your level of achievement, and your entire well-being':

While it's true that copper increases the emotional states of humans, this should not be confused with feelings of love and positivity, though many have erroneously interpreted it this way.  Science clearly shows that high levels of bio-unavailable copper trigger negative emotional states (fear, anger, irritability, etc), while at the same time deadening positive feelings.

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There are a number of additional resources on the web which explain in more detail what one can expect, including http://www.arltma.com/Articles/CopperElimDoc.htm, and the numerous links on the resources page of this site.  The book "The Strands of Health" by Dr. Rick Malter Ph.D offers not only one of the most comprehensive looks at Hair TMA testing, but should also be mandatory reading for all who are navigating their way through copper detox, both patients and practitioners alike, in order to understand the importance of precise mineral balancing and the consequences of not doing so properly. 

"An adequate copper level is what gives a woman her 'warmth'.  Copper is involved with the production of estrogens - the female hormone. Women who lack 'AVAILABLE' copper tend to be cold and sometimes either secretly or openly hostile to men." ~ Chatsworth & Eck

 5. v) What to Expect During Detox

"The main hormone that mediates stress response is cortisol which is directly toxic to nerve cells in the part of the brain (the hippocampus) that mediates memory and emotion - it kills them."   ~ Dr. Andrew Weil

We as humans inherit the belief systems of our parents. During detox especially, those belief systems & past fears are brought to the surface, and patients will often project those fears and beliefs onto people close to them.  This is an opportunity to examine how past hurts, fears and messages may be affecting one's current behaviour, and to let them go so they no longer control and sabotage our lives.  What did your father / mother believe about life / abundance / relationships, etc?  Are you now acting in a similar way?  As for fear, it is the greatest enemy that stops us in our evolution in life (a truth brilliantly told as far back as the Pharaoh's journey depicted on the tomb walls of Egypt's King Tuthmosis II).  Sometimes the greater our spiritual evolutionary 'reward' (awakening), the greater the fear that one must conquer first...and in the context of this website, copper toxicity may be the catalyst that calls one to that challenge of growth. Fear may be the culmination of all the hurts, struggles, doctrines, failures and confusion amalgamated into a single force that unconsciously controls a person. To release fear, it may be as simple as recognizing it as your creation, facing it, naming it, and then choosing to no longer let it control you. Forgiveness, of yourself and others, becomes the next step. In this light, a quote from the book 'A Course in Miracles' is well suited: "The world we see merely reflects our own internal frame of reference...Projection makes perception. We look inside first, decide the world we want to see and then project that world outside, making it the truth as we see it.  We make it true by our interpretations of what it is we are seeing...all of this we must learn to forgive, not because we are being 'good' or 'charitable', but because what we are seeing is not true. We have distorted the world by our twisted defences, and are therefore seeing what is not there. As we learn to recognize our perceptual errors, we also learn to look past them or 'forgive'... Forgiveness means no longer living in the fearful past...Forgiveness is the most powerful healer of all... "

The role of copper increasing calcium and forming the calcium shell further underscores the need to differentiate between one's true self (prior to the shell) and one's reactions and patterns that occur during the shell. 

Until one's minerals have been properly balanced, a return to vigorous exercise might in fact block one's ability to fully heal.  Not only can exercise mobilize copper (which if this mobilization is not properly monitored and excreted can lead to an increased copper load in the brain and further affect one's perception), it is also highly stimulating and can give a person a false sense of vitality. This stimulating effect is so powerful that it can actually allow an adrenal burned out person to feel fit and healthy, even as key mineral reserves are being dangerously depleted. The following excerpt is from the 1981 Healthview Newsletter Issue 27-29 in discussion with Dr. Paul Eck:

"When you are fatigued, and cannot, or will not, do anything about it, the body often dulls your sensitivity. It reduces your awareness so you can continue to function.  Often the person has no idea of the trouble he is in until you pull him out of it. This is frequently true of heavy exercisers. One reason for this is that exercise can give people a sense of physical and mental euphoria which is not warranted by their physical condition. Vigorous exercise can cause a release of narcotic-like substances from the brain and pituitary gland. This is why runners say they get a "natural high." ...The person is getting an exalted and exaggerated sense of well-being that is frequently NOT supported by a solid mineral base. What concerns us about heavy exercise is that it is so stimulating. It has the ability to prevent people from feeling bad when they should feel bad.  It has the ability to block out awareness of an underlying fatigue."
As a result, a return to exercise too quick and too hard in a copper toxic burned out individual can further support a false sense of improved wellness and cause them to abandon further treatment.  The exercise, just like adrenal stimulants, also raises sodium over potassium, increasing the stress response, further burning magnesium, further increasing the calcium shell, and further complicating the process of counseling such a person.

 3. iv) Slow Metabolizer vs Fast Metabolizer

Even independent of each other, copper toxicity and adrenal burnout both lead to withdrawal, apathy, irritability, anxiety, memory problems, and depression. When both are experienced together, the results are amplified, and it can be devastating on relationships. The highly copper toxic individual shuts down emotionally (compounded by the calcium shell, and especially even more so if adrenal burnout occurs. This is discussed in section (2.iii) and should be reviewed to fully understand why an individual may shut down or even leave the relationship entirely during or following adrenal burnout and/or copper toxicity. Sexually the person is biologically forced to withdraw when burnout occurs - the body is trying to preserve its energy and so the sex hormones, being not as critical, are put on the back burner. It can seem to the patient that they no longer desire their partner, not understanding that this feeling is simply a survival mechanism and not their true self. The closer and more intense the relationship, and the more intense the copper-induced burnout, the more intense the opposing negative withdrawal reaction often is toward that person. The stories in the slideshow below, though most are based on copper toxicity stemming from copper IUD use, nonetheless underscore this change in personality and damage to relationships.   Forums across the internet (such as this one) are also filled with stories of how the Pill and IUD have devastated relationships.

A high copper level induces stress, anxiety, and fears. When a stressor happens that brings up some past emotional pain, cortisol is triggered to help us do whatever is necessary to avoid that pain again. With proper rationalizing, we are able to tell which current 'dangers' are real, and which aren't (most aren't - our current fear is almost always a reflection of some past programming projected on to some future event that hasn't even happened).  Under normal conditions, oxytocin steps in to regulate these bad feelings while the (neo)cortex part of our brain rationalizes that the triggered fear or anxiety is not real...and we get back to life as normal without over-reacting.  This isn't the case however when copper levels become high (or during detox) - fears from the past are brought to the surface, and the neocortex is weakened and the brain's ability to determine if the fear is real or not is compromised. The natural response is then to run away from whatever or whoever even innocently triggered that past emotional pain.

As copper builds up higher and higher, the adrenals get weaker and cortisol production then slows. When cortisol production is low, especially near adrenal burnout, you are 'constantly going into hypoglycemia, which can result in depression, irritability, mood swings, poor concentration, poor memory, dizziness, fatigue, sleepiness and many more unpleasant effects.'(*)   Subsequently, when adrenal function is restored through a detox protocol, cortisol production once again rises. In addition to the diminished feelings of romantic 'love' and compassion brought on by the calcium shell and neocortex, the newly heightened cortisol level kills memories and emotions even further, all of which can profoundly affect relationships. 

"There is a predisposition in this country to kinds of virtuous extremes, and I lived this life myself. I was a vegan, I was a vegetarian, I was non-fat, I was low-fat, I was anorexic, in short I thought that if animal foods would kill you and fats would kill you, the less the better and zero must be ideal.  This is obviously nonsensical thinking. It's black its white.  It's rigid. It's extreme. And it's not virtuous... 
Little by little I started to eat these foods (traditional - meat, poultry, raw milk, etc) again and in time came back to being a moderate omnivore, a conscientious carnivore, a traditional foods person, and restored my health along the way.... ... I was...gloomy and irritable, I was depressed in the winter, in short I was a sickly person with a big personality and I had no idea that my virtuous diets were making me sick until little by little I added traditional foods back." 
~Nina Planck (Food Writer)

"When the shell breaks up, it is often described in the person's own words as a wall or a plate glass coming down or disintegrating. Or, it may be experienced like a dam breaking and a flood of blocked feelings rushes in an overwhelms the person." ~The Strands of Health, Malter.

 2. iv) The Gut Connection

 5. iv) How Detox Can Make the Symptoms Worse

"Correcting a copper imbalance can NOT be done in 2 weeks or even 2 months."  

~Dr. Lawrence Wilson​

"Women recently have been encouraged to substantially increase their dietary intake of calcium in hopes of preventing osteoporosis in their old age. TMA data strongly suggest that most women today are slow oxidizers. Adding significant amounts of calcium to their dietary intake will very likely exacerbate tendencies toward hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency (characteristics of slow oxidizers). Increasing calcium intake will further slow the rate of metabolism of these women and allow for greater accumulation of toxic metals in the body. Increasing calcium intake in a slow oxidizer will especially allow for increased accumulations of excess copper. This phenomenon will be intensified by the use of the birth control pill or by estrogen replacement therapy during and after menopause (Mehta & Eikum, 1989). The accumulation of excess copper will lead to greater storage in the liver and in the brain. The excess copper accumulation will further slow the rate of metabolism with both psychological and physical problems manifesting more frequently (Malter, 1985). This process may be leading to a major iatrogenic health disaster."[++]

 6. ii) Should I be Concerned About Using a Copper IUD?

As copper rises, so too does sodium, while conversely potassium levels decrease.  The ratio between sodium (Na) and potassium (K) is known as the 'stress ratio'. As the Na/K ratio is allowed to rise, the intensity of stress rises, and one's ability to handle stress becomes less. The slightest irritation can cause intense agitation, and the person may act out in a reflex over-reaction that bypasses higher cortical intellect function. Balancing this ratio is essential to correcting a copper toxicity issue. The challenge is that emotional issues from childhood may block the correction of this ratio and even over-ride the effect of supplementation because the issues are imprinted in the brain and nervous system at a subcortical cell and tissue level. (I talk more about this in my article here). Further compounding this challenge is that by this stage the calcium level has also risen to form a "shell" effect that numbs the emotions and selectively blocks the person's awareness of their behaviour and reactions. 

Dr. Eck: ...without correcting the accumulated nutritional distortions that have occurred in their bodies, the most they can expect is a partial comeback.
HV: Tno the person it may seem like a total comeback. But I would gather that they are unaware of how much they have lost.
Dr. Eck: Exactly! When a person undergoes a severe stress, or a series of minor stresses, the body’s reservoirs of zinc become severely depleted. The end-result is an ever-increasing build-up of copper in the tissues. Excessive tissue copper leads to a depression of both adrenal and thyroid activity. It is at this point that burnout ensues. Recovery from burnout occurs only when excessive tissue copper has been eliminated and tissue zinc reserves fully restored. Partial recovery from burnout occurs when tissue copper levels are diminished. Full recovery occurs only when excess tissue copper has been completely eliminated. Although a person may indeed have tremendous amounts of excess copper stored in his tissues, it may not immediately appear on a tissue mineral analysis until the body releases this copper from storage reservoirs.
HV: I have noticed that people in burnout retire into their own world. Now they may be just as talkative as before, but somehow they are more distant. The person’s spontaneity seems to be gone, they seem to be more artificial. It seems as though there is always an aura of repressed anger about them – as though they are ticked off and you don’t know why. You wonder if it’s at you or if it’s at everything. You never know. You can’t even talk to them about it because they will not talk about it. They will even deny that it is true.
Dr. Eck:  This is true. People in burnout will withdraw. They hesitate to communicate; you have to be so careful what you say to them, and often they won’t cooperate or want to work with anyone. They act as if they want to do everything on their own without anyone’s help. If you try to get too close to them they push you away. Even though they need your help, they may act as if they don’t, and even act as if they resent your ‘interfering’with them.
HV: The person might think that their relationship with their partner isn’t satisfying and that they need a different person.
Dr. Eck:  This is true. It is very easy to blame everybody else when you are in a state of adrenal exhaustion. One of the first insidious signs of burnout – even before chronic fatigue – is that all of a sudden the person is not as sexually aroused as he used to be. He doesn’t think about it as often and he doesn’t participate in it as often. What we are saying applies even more to women than it does to men.
HV:The person is no longer the same person that he was before. He becomes unapproachable.
Dr. Eck: It shouldn’t come as a surprise that burnout breaks up so many marriages.   People in burnout have trouble making emotional commitments to others. They are too sunken into themselves. They can’t even take care of themselves. What do they have to give to others? They don’t have enough energy to make a deep commitment to almost anyone or anybody. Often the person has no real idea of what has gone wrong with their life... They may become functional to a point where they return to work and enjoy things more. However , the devastating effects of a severe burnout are usually permanent.

"If there is excess copper in the body, then a wide array of psychological and physiological symptoms and conditions can also develop like Tourette’s, schizophrenia, bipolar, mania, autism, asperger’s, anemia, hair loss and much more. Extremely high copper levels can result in a psychotic break."[13]

~ Cynthia Perkins, M.Ed.

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Another aspect that needs to be understood is that, when adrenal burnout accompanies copper toxicity, it may be years until the health of the person is restored.  Many of the negative psychological symptoms of copper toxicity are very similar to those of adrenal burnout, and on top of eliminating all excess copper from the tissues, the restoration of the adrenals also needs to take place.  Adrenal restoration can take 9-15 months for a fast oxidizer and 15-36 months for a slow oxidizer (Eck). 

"Anyone who becomes highly copper toxic will begin to experience a deadening of his/her feelings."   ~The Strands of Health 

In addition to diet, there are some basic things you can begin doing at home that can help, including:

  • Reduce Stress. Find which areas or events in your life are causing you stress, and reduce or eliminate them. Taking on new projects, workloads, or hard exercise all increase stress.  Stressful events cause the adrenals to weaken further, making it even harder for the body to excrete excess copper.  Find ways to relax and be at peace.
  • Meditate or do Tai Chi
  • EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)
  • Breathwork. Breathwork can be one of the most powerful anti-anxiety and stress relieving tools you can use.  One very successful method is the "4/7/8 Breath". To do this, begin by fully and powerfully exhaling through the mouth. Then inhale fully through to the nose to a count of 4. Hold for 7 seconds. Then release and exhale through the mouth forcefully for 8 seconds. Repeat this for 4 breath cycles. Then stop. Do not go longer.  Do this twice a day, consistently each day, for at least 6 to 8 weeks.
  • Get adequate rest
  • Epsom Salt Baths or Magnesium Chloride Baths
  • Avoid excessive exercise (at least until the adrenals have had a chance to strengthen).  Heavy and/or aerobic exercise can make copper dumping symptoms worse.  On the other hand, it can also stimulate an exhausted person enough that it buries the true extent of the problem, while silently depleting minerals even further (refer to section 6.iv)
  • some protocols recommend enemas. Some people do find this helpful, however the caution here is that while it can help take out some copper, it at the same time will remove other electrolytes. Sodium, potassium, and magnesium will be lowered, and this can lead to health issues. 
  • Sweating / saunas offer a gentler and safer approach with a less severe effect than enemas
  • Be objectively aware of recent behaviours. Did you make a drastic decision or did your life take a turn around the time you began to detox? Decisions which could be seen as hurtful or have dragged you in a negative or more closed-off direction are often not your true, higher self, but rather are influenced by copper, negative energies, and triggers.  Try as best you can to focus on positive, higher conscious behaviours such as forgiveness, love, kindness, compassion, openness.  Believe in the real you, which is always positive towards yourself and others.
  • Most importantly, seek support and guidance from those who understand copper toxicity and the detox roller coaster. Copper toxicity is very poorly understood. Though people and practitioners will offer you their advice, they really have no understanding of the extent of changes that copper can cause in an individual. Make sure the actions you take are based on advice from those who've taken the time to really understand this condition. There are also several support groups and forums out there filled with individuals who, like you, are working their way through their understanding and healing.   
  • Psycho-therapy, recommended to help reduce the destructive effects of the superego (also known as the Judge (Malter, 2001) which copper gives rise to, and emotional support, are both very beneficial.  In addition to a number of additional resources linked to at the bottom of this page, Ann Louise Gittleman's book 'Why Am I Always So Tired' offers a dietary program that can assist in remedying copper overload.

Depending on severity, it can take anywhere from 6 months to several years to correct a copper imbalance (²).. and this assumes the patient is undergoing a properly constructed and monitored nutritional balancing program.  Removing excess tissue copper completely is required, and this requires a long term commitment. Typically vegetarians and those on raw food diets take the longest to recover, not only because the copper has been building up in the body over a long period of time, but also because of the resistance those people will have to adding meat back into the diet. A great interview article in this regard can be found in 3 parts here. Likewise, the balancing of minerals in general requires a long term commitment, and even under correct guidance can be expected to take many months. Trying to detox too quickly can result in serious side effects both physically & mentally.

Oxidation types (or metabolic types) are based upon the work of Dr. George Watson, Ph.D, who was able to detect distinct patterns and differences between what he termed slow oxiders and fast oxidizers (a similar concept to slow metabolizers and fast metabolizers).  These patterns are easily identifiable through an HTMA profile, and also show a clear connection with the three stages of stress (Dr. Hans Selye). For simplicity sake, there are two main metabolic types, slow and fast. The fast metabolizer, with an overactive thyroid and adrenals, is releasing energy too quickly, running himself out of fuel. The slow metabolizer is releasing energy too slowly – basically he doesn’t have enough. The slow metabolizer will typically have elevated levels of calcium, magnesium and copper (with low sodium and potassium), while inversely the fast metabolizer will have elevated sodium and potassium (with lower calcium, magnesium and copper). Infinite ratios result of course within these two broad descriptions. What's important to understand however is that most almost all copper toxic individuals represent as slow metabolizers. Copper not only leads to a slowing of metabolism, but the slowing metabolism in turn spirals the copper accumulation higher as the copper is not being used as quickly as it would be in a Fast type. Simply put, copper accumulates as metabolism slows down. Sluggish adrenals and thyroid will allow copper to build up. As mentioned though, copper is also a major reason why these glands slow down, so it's a vicious cycle. Traits of slow metabolizers often include fatigue, depression, apathy, low blood sugar, adrenal insufficiency, and hypothyroid. These traits are clearly explainable through the various mineral ratios presented on the HTMA profile. The more extreme the slow metabolizer pattern is, the more apparent symptoms of depression, despair, and apathy / emotional numbness become.  
Understanding one's metabolizer type (and the key ratios within) is paramount to creating a healthy recovery protocol. Although specifics can vary person to person, slow metabolizers typically need more potassium, zinc, vitamin A and Vitamin C, while avoiding calcium, copper, and Vitamin D.


"Copper also affects neurotransmitter production. It actually pushes the conversion of dopamine, that lovely, warm, fuzzy feeling neurotransmitter into that excited neurotransmitter, norepinephrine. So, all that norepinephrine cause the heart to race, it can cause anxiety, it can later cause depression and it can later cause adrenal fatigue." Dr. Albert Mensah

For some women, the copper IUD experience is without any significant symptoms, and most OB/GYN's will insist there is no possible connection with the IUD or that an increase in copper levels or psychological changes can occur.  However, one must be very aware that the copper IUD is not as innocuous as those promoting it make it sound. As far back as 1975, Dr. Carl Pfeiffer in his book Mental and Elemental Nutrients made the connection between the increasing prevalence of copper 'toxicity' and use of the pill and IUD.  After copper IUD insertion, both blood tests and hair tissue mineral tests will likely show an increase in copper levels. Here for example is one case (study) in point. This alone does not lead to problems, as for many women their diet contains enough zinc to balance the increase in copper, and their systems are strong enough to maintain proper regulation.  That said, it will not take much searching online to find forums filled with thousands of women who's lives and healths have been utterly ruined after having their IUD put in, and numerous class action law suits have been filed as a result (that alone should be a clue as to the dangers). The copper builds up slowly in the body. For many women symptoms first begin appearing 1 or 4 months after insertion, for others though the time period may be much longer, years to decades. Symptoms initially begin as physical (brain fog, fatigue, acne...) as copper builds in the liver, but then once copper accumulations start reaching the brain, severe shifts in personality can occur as a result of increasing bio-unavailable calcium and changes in neurotransmitter production. Be especially cognizant of your energy, behaviour and reaction to things in the period 2 to 5 months after insertion.  For some people, the simple decision to use a copper IUD can change their entire life trajectory, destroying important relationships, and beginning a cascade of health issues that can take many years to rectify.  The slideshow in section (4.iv) above offers a few stories of the damage that the copper IUD (and subsequent copper accumulation) has had on relationships.  The Pill, which also raises copper retention by increasing estrogen, can also devastate relationships, as talked about here.   [Click here to view additional case histories.] 

In 1979, Karl E. Mason, PhD, wrote, "the continued use of oral contraceptives has been, and will continue to be, an important factor in influencing copper homeostasis in women."[17]  And yet, 40 years later, women continue to be given misleading advice from practitioners that insist that birth control could have no correlation with copper toxicity or their presenting copper-related symptoms.

Another thing that can happen during detox is something known as "retracing".  Retracing stems from a subconscious association of memories with biochemical patterns. The following is an excerpt taken from Analytical Research Labs (this article and many others can be found on the resources section of this website).

First and foremost, if you suspect copper toxicity, it is imperative that you work with someone experienced in treating not only the condition itself, but also someone properly trained Mineral / Nutritional Balancing and / or specializing in Functional Medicine, and begin by having an HTMA done. If your well-intentioned doctor/ homeopath/ naturopath offers you a detox protocol, make very sure before you begin that they have successfully treated even extreme cases of copper toxicity and understand the psychological implications of copper. Most doctors don't understand the importance of HTMA data, nor do they make the connection with methylation and neurotransmitter imbalances.  Without such experience and having a full understanding of what copper does to the body both physically and psychologically, as well as understanding that it is not the copper level in a serum test that indicates the level of copper toxicity but rather various other mineral patterns and ratios that present themselves as a result, even the best intentioned care giver can make the condition and symptoms in some areas many times worse. If your doctor cautions you against HTMA work, that is a sure sign to also look elsewhere, as such a view means they do not adequately understand the complexities of copper toxicity or how to properly treat it.

One of the first steps, in addition to being tested for heavy metals, is to have a full health and lifestyle history done. This can offer clues as to where your exposure is coming from (if it's not immediately obvious). Identify where the exposure is coming from and remove this source immediately. Under the care of a Mineral / Nutritional Balancing expert, make any necessary dietary changes.  Certain nutrients will need to be added to help support the liver and clear out toxins from the gut. Maintain your supervision throughout the course of the detox so that side-effects both physiologically and mentally can be monitored and properly explained. Having a whole blood histamine test will also give invaluable advice concerning methylation and which will affect detox protocol.

In terms of diet, it's widely accepted that vegetarian diets exacerbate copper toxicity, and vegans/vegetarians should strongly consider slowly reincorporating animal meat back into the diet (despite the strong resistance to this that will be felt by many with copper toxicity).  It will be almost impossible to properly detox otherwise. This is not meant to promote meat - the modern Western meat based diet is far from healthy and plant based diets have great health benefits. However, if you are hoping to fully recover from copper toxicity, despite personal objections to eating meat, it is of almost paramount importance to add at least some meat back into the diet. This does not need to be a lifelong commitment. Certainly though it can help speed up and make more effective the period of detox, and may be the make or break decision determining a proper recovery - physically and psychologically. Organically raised grass fed meat is recommended. Organic or not though, foods that have high enough zinc levels to counterbalance the high copper should be increased, these being red meat (best source) such as beef, lamb, and venison, chicken, eggs and pumpkin seeds.  Likewise, high copper containing foods should be reduced or eliminated - these being notably shellfish, nuts and seeds (except for pumpkin seeds), soybeans (tofu, tempeh, miso, etc.), legumes, wheat, coconut, avocado, chocolate, coffee, and leafy greens. To help recover and detox, these foods should be limited.  Beyond these dietary suggestions, there are other steps that can be taken as well, some of which will be mentioned here - with the strong caveat however that, for full nutritional and detoxing supervision, the patient work with a Mineral Balancing and/or Functional Medicine expert who can offer proper testing (through HTMA), guidance, and ongoing monitoring of your condition. The specific diet and supplementation for you can only be accurately established after first having an HTMA test done which will show the various balances / imbalances across a spectrum of minerals. Remember that it is not just about correcting the copper level, your recovery will also be determined by the balancing of other key minerals and ratios.  Those minerals that are deficient in relation to others will need to be increased through diet and supplementation, while other minerals in excess may need to be reduced.  Without HTMA results to use as a guide, any supplement or detox program would be nothing more than blind guesswork, and certainly not in the best interest of the patient.

Other foods and herbs that can generally help the liver and the detoxing process include: 
Fermented foods, Turmeric, Pomegranates as well as Brassicaceaes Vegetables, Milk Thistle (very important for liver detoxing), Stinging Nettle (nettle infusions), Cod Liver Oil, Flax, Dandelion Root Tea, Kombucha Tea, and Diatomaceous Earth (both of which bind to and help remove heavy metals from the body), Castor Oil packs, Desiccated Liver, and St. John's Wort. The latter, St. John's Wort, also is effective with decreasing serum estrogen (you'll recall from earlier that high estrogen from say taking the birth control pill raises copper retention).   **Check with your medical practitioner before beginning any herbal supplementation.

​In terms of supplementation, for the slow metabolizer copper toxic individual:
Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, Phosphorus, Vitamin A (retinol form rather than beta-carotene), Vitamins B1, B2, B6, (Whole) Vitamin C, Manganese, Molybdenum, Chromium, and sulfur (MSM) are generally recommended to help with copper balancing and breaking up the calcium shell.  Vitamin A is particularly important to produce ceruloplasmin which copper can bind to in order to make the copper bioavailable. Vitamin C is helpful for chelating copper from the liver and the brain.  In cases where the patient shows a high calcium level or low potassium (as is common with copper toxicity / slow metabolizers), Vitamin D should be avoided as it will make the negative side effects even more pronounced. In such cases Vitamin D further increases calcium (numbing emotions), lowers potassium (which slows the thyroid, lowers energy, and increases depression), raises the sodium potassium ratio (which threatens the stress response, and lowers (calming) magnesium.  Vitamins B1, B2, and B6 can help reduce elevated copper levels. Manganese can help release copper from storage.  Molybdenum on the other hand helps bind free copper in the blood - especially useful when copper is being released from storage and entering the blood (without the binding of free copper the mental symptoms can worsen).  L-Taurine (an amino acid which helps bind copper) can also help.  A product called 'Parapack' (by Trace Elements) and ICMN (by Endomet Labs) are also beneficial. Parapack is designed specifically for the slow metabolizer, while ICMN (if you are able to still find it) can help lower bio-unavailable copper without the often uncomfortable side effects of zinc.  You can also refer to the section above regarding Ceruloplasmin for additional suggestions that may help.  Keep in mind however there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation that can be given here - again the detox and nutritional plan is a highly personalized plan that must be properly assessed and monitored. 

Regarding magnesium, both copper retention as well as stress are contributors to magnesium deficiency.  Magnesium deficiency not only causes a myriad of symptoms (including clouded thinking, irritability, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, hallucinations, and personality changes), it also further adds a toll to the adrenals.  

As for the supplementation of Vitamin C, it's important that it be whole Vitamin C and not synthetic ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid unbinds copper from ceruloplasmin which then actually increases unbound / biounavailable copper, potentially making things worse. Whole vitamin C on the other hand contains Tyrosinase as well as copper ions which the liver needs to produce ceruloplasmin.  The adrenal glands require large amounts of Vitamin C, and as copper stresses the adrenals more, the greater the need for Vitamin C in order to help eliminate the excess copper. Stress depletes Vitamin C from the tissues, especially from those of the adrenal cortex.  Remember the goal here is to increase both bound copper as well as ceruloplasmin. 

"Over 30 years ago, Hoffer and Osmond discovered that Vitamin C was helpful in the treatment of certain, not all, schizophrenics.   We know today, from hair analysis research, that the type of schizophrenia that responds favorably to massive doses of vitamin C, is what we refer to as copper-induced schizophrenia. It is the accumulation of excessive amounts of copper in the brain, which is responsible for this particular type of schizophrenic behavior.  Vitamin C causes copper to be chelated and removed from liver and brain reservoirs."   ~ The Eck Institute of Applied Nutrition and Bioenergetics, Ltd.

In almost all cases a very high level of calcium on an HTMA is a result of copper imbalance. The stress caused by rising bio-unavailable copper in the body allows calcium to rise as a form of defense against the stress. A calcium level above 165mg% is indicative of the calcium shell pattern.  It creates a numbing, deadening effect along with apathy, withdrawal, rigidity, and being somewhat out of touch with reality.  

The following offers a great background and is taken from The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Volume 9, Number 2, 1994:

"Once digestive vigor has been reduced and copper buildup has affected liver function, foods high in copper, or those that interfere with zinc, can be troublesome. Gittleman states that vegans, who often combine plant protein sources to increase protein intake, can be especially susceptible to copper toxicity."[14]

"Copper is one of those bad boys when it is leaving your system....if it’s coming out too quickly. You can indeed control the rate at which elements like copper are removed from the system through detoxification. And that’s extremely important, because believe me, you don’t want somebody or a family member calling you saying, “What did you do to my wife? She is not the same person and…” I’ve had that happen before. So we have to be very careful."  ~Dr. Albert Mensah​

"A high tissue level of calcium tends to block natural cellular functioning [and] tends to be associated with emotional blocking, numbing of feelings, depression, low self-esteem, pessimism, and feelings of inferiority. The more need there is for emotional blocking and deadening of feelings, the more the TMA calcium will tend to exceed magnesium. …In alcoholic or other dysfunctional families, there seems to be a strong tendency for a child to develop a calcium "shell" as a natural self-protective mechanism which helps to constantly deaden feelings of vulnerability and anxiety. …This calcium shell can become a chronic entrenched mineral pattern. …Psychologically, a chronic high Ca/Mg ratio tends to be associated with denial or covering up a problem with which the individual cannot or will not deal." [++]

"Excess copper can cause dramatic imbalances in two key neurotransmitters, and may lead to depression or behavioural/learning issues. For example, 68% of all ADHD kids have a tendency for very high levels of copper. Excess copper can cause inattention, anxiety, and hyperactivity. Copper is especially problematic for women because estrogen and copper are proportionately related. If you're high in estrogen, you'll be high in copper.~William J, Walsh, PhD

It means you are at significantly higher risk of having elevated levels of copper.  How 'toxic' it becomes on your body depends on how long you've been following vegetarianism, the strength of your detox pathways, stressors in your life, and if other sources of copper (such as the birth control pill or IUD) are also contributing.  Everyone reacts differently, and there are different levels of toxicity.   Elevated copper levels however do not necessarily translate into symptoms. The build up may be gradual and silent, until a certain copper threshold is reached. Symptoms will depend on the extent of the toxicity. 

Most vegetarians/vegans have too low a metabolic rate for copper to show up in a blood test (unless there is a current and direct exposure to copper (such as an IUD)) because the copper is not being released into the blood. Thus, without an HTMA, many copper toxic individuals go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Even when a vegetarian takes zinc supplements, copper can easily accumulate, especially in the presence of tired adrenals and stress. Furthermore, the vegetarian diet is high in phytate-rich grains, which further lowers zinc (even though grains (though particularly high in copper) contain zinc, the zinc is neutralized by the phytates and oxalates). Without adequate zinc, they lack the ability to retain potassium. Adequate potassium is necessary for hydrochloric acid secretion in the stomach - a deficiency of which will develop a distaste for animal protein, solidifying further the vegetarian's belief that they feel better eating vegetarian food. No matter how much potassium the individual eats through vegetables and fruit, it is not being retained. This lack of available potassium is a common cause behind many vegetarian complaints including apathy, underweight, and depression. The answer is not to simply eat more potassium, but rather help the body make it useable by strengthening the adrenals and metabolism. Otherwise, the vegetarian will continue to crave stimulants such as chocolate (high in sugar, copper, and oxalic acid) or running/jogging which temporarily whips up the adrenal glands making the person feel temporarily 'more alive'...all the while depleting their energy reserves further and allowing copper to rise.  

Another problem the vegetarian faces is potential sulfur-deficiency, which then makes proper detoxing even more difficult.  Sulfur is found in certain vegetables (i.e.: garlic, onions, beans) as well as in meats. It is most abundant however and in a more usable form in meat. This creates a serious problem for many vegetarians and vegans as sulfur is essential for liver detoxification and removing heavy metals. Without enough meat-based sulfur sources in the diet, vegetarians will be even more prone to the build-up of heavy metals, as well as experience a much harder time chelating those metals and detoxifying the body.

A quick search on online forums will turn up a very large percentage of vegetarians (and ex-vegetarians) sharing stories of their battles with copper toxicity, many of them eventually realizing their health was more important than their principles, however virtuous .  Many vegetarians who have been diagnosed as copper toxic have returned to a meat diet, as doing so is almost essential in order to properly heal and re-balance minerals.  [It's interesting to note that many of the severely copper toxic women on this page were also vegetarian].

 5. i) How Long Does it Take to Properly Detox from Copper Toxicity?

 6. i) Why There's Little Understanding Around Copper Toxicity & Proper Testing

 5. viii) General Recommendations for Diet and Supplementation

"In the case of copper, a mineral almost all burnout victims accumulate, this by itself can take three or more years to eliminate. Sometimes we have had people on a nutritional correction program for up to two years before any of the stored copper starts releasing."  ~ Dr. Paul Eck

This site was created to bring education and increased awareness to copper toxicity for the benefit and support of all those directly and/or indirectly affected. If you feel called to support the research compiled here and the ongoing efforts in the education and awareness of copper toxicity, you may do so

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"Copper lowers dopamine (a neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s pleasure and reward centers) and increases norepinephrine (another neurotransmitter that also functions as a stress hormone) in the brain. Imbalances in these important neurotransmitters are related to anxiety and panic disorders, depression (especially postpartum), bipolar disorder, ADHD, autism, violence, and paranoid schizophrenia."  
~Dr. William J. Walsh, PhD, Author of Nutrient Power: Heal Your Biochemistry & Heal Your Brain

"Copper toxicity often leads to the destruction of relationships. Sometimes they don't realize it because their feelings are numbed so much by the buildup of excess calcium and copper, they're not even aware that their feelings are numbed, deadened, and cut off, and they're basically operating at a cognitive level and not a feeling level. And yet cognitively they can convince themselves that they're thinking their way through their emotional life. And that's simply not the way it works, psychologically. I would venture to say that divorce courts are loaded with people who's relationships were destroyed by copper toxicity." ~Dr. Rick Malter, Ph.D

"Copper toxicity reduces the ability to cope normally with stress and the inability to respond adequately can provoke many fearful emotions, including anxiety and panic. In many cases, the body over-reacts to nearly any stress rather than under-reacting. This constantly puts the body into a full fight or flight defensive reaction which normally includes the emotions of anger and fear. This is why chronic stress and adrenal fatigue are often associated with anxiety, panic, phobias and compulsions…depression, irritability, mood swings, poor concentration, poor memory, dizziness, fatigue and sleepiness."   ~Theresa Vernon, L.Ac. [12]

 4. ii) The Cortisol - Oxytocin - Dopamine - Serotonin Connection

 3. i) What is the Best Way of Testing?

"The Slow Oxidizer has elevated tissue levels of calcium and magnesium. A person's sense of awareness may be affected by tissue levels of calcium and magnesium. The higher levels of calcium and magnesium in the Slow Oxidizer tend to be associated with emotional blocking and deadening of feelings. The excess calcium and magnesium provide a natural barrier between outside stimuli and the inner emotions. The high levels of calcium and magnesium tend to provide a protective shell at the cost of emotional blocking and deadening of feelings. This allows a person to more easily cope with stress or abusive situations because awareness is blocked and feelings are deadened.

A high tissue level of calcium tends to block natural cellular functioning, especially that involved in energy production. Lowered cellular energy production tends to be associated with emotional blocking, numbing of feelings, depression, low self-esteem, pessimism, and feelings of inferiority. The more need there is for emotional blocking and deadening of feelings, the more the TMA calcium will tend to exceed magnesium. As the Ca/ Mg ratio increases, blood sugar problems will increase along with neuromuscular problems such as spasms.

In alcoholic or other dysfunctional families, there seems to be a strong tendency for a child to develop a calcium "shell" as a natural self-protective mechanism which helps to constantly deaden feelings of vulnerability and anxiety. In chronically unpredictable and threatening situations, these feelings would become intolerable without the aid of the calcium shell. However, this calcium shell can become a chronic entrenched mineral pattern affecting glucose metabolism and neuromuscular functions. By adversely affecting glucose metabolism, the high Ca/Mg ratio also tends to predispose the individual to a higher risk of alcoholism or other addictions. Thus, TMA profiles allow us to observe and explain how psychological stress within a dysfunctional family can affect critical mineral patterns which then increase the person's risk to repeat the addictive and dysfunctional behavior. Over an extended period of time from childhood to adolescence, a high Ca/Mg ratio may become chronic and entrenched.

Psychologically, a chronic high Ca/Mg ratio tends to be associated with denial or covering up a problem with which the individual cannot or will not deal. TMA research allows us to see how regulatory minerals can be affected by psychological and emotional factors which then have a profound physical effect. In the case of an elevated Ca/Mg ratio, the associated physiological craving for sugar, alcohol, or other substances can lead to an addictive pattern."

Dr. Wilson also offers a great description of the Calcium Shell at: http://drlwilson.com/Articles/CALCIUM%20SHELL.htm    

Vitamin B12 is also extremely important, especially for copper toxic vegetarians/vegans. While copper may not directly lower B12, B12 deficiency is common is many copper toxic individuals, especially those who are vegetarian / vegan. In fact, B12 deficiency is inevitable for the vegan/vegetarian unless otherwise supplemented.  Decades of studies show that B12 deficiency is common in patients with emotional disturbances and mental illness. The late Dr. Victor Herbert from Mt. Sinai Hospital blamed B12 deficiency for the hospitalization of many patients in mental institutions.  

Now, a few words of caution: While the aforementioned supplements are generally recommended, keep in mind that they will likely trigger copper dumping (along with all the negative associated effects, both physically and mentally).  The detox stage brings about some of the worst symptoms of copper toxicity, and you have to decide if you are willing to face it.  Minerals can be a double edged sword if not introduced to the system properly.   For example, zinc is necessary for balancing copper, magnesium helps with fatigue, while calcium can also help alleviate some of the effects of copper dumping.  However, if any of these are introduced too quickly (or too much), it can make matters substantially worse (http://www.arltma.com/Articles/CopperElimDoc.htm).   It is for this reason again that you work closely with a Nutritional Balancing expert trained in copper detoxification for all specific supplementation and dietary advice.  Furthmore, your methylation activity and histamine / homocysteine levels will determine a further need for, or avoidance of, certain nutrients (refer to section 6.iv below).

In cases where high copper and low zinc levels have altered the brain (ie: high copper induced schizophrenia), the following is one treatment protocol as presented by Carl C. Pfeiffer, Ph.D., M.D. and Scott LaMola, B.S. "The treatment program consists of the administration of Zn, Mn, vitamin C, niacin, vitamin B12, and folic acid. The rationale underlying the treatment is that folic acid in conjunction with vitamin B12 injections raises the blood histamine while lowering the degree of symptomatology. Zinc and Mn allow for the normal storage of histamine in both the basophils and the brain. With this treatment the high blood Cu is slowly reduced and symptoms are slowly relieved in several months time. Zinc and Mn with vitamin C remove Cu from the tissues. The largest tissues of the body, namely the liver and muscles, are flushed of their Cu first so the serum Cu may rise to aggravate mental symptoms. If this occurs then the dose of Zn should be reduced."  [8]

A Note on Terminology: Copper Toxicitymay also be referred to as hypercupremia, though it is a misleading term since hypercupremia literally translates to mean 'high copper concentration in the blood' even though blood levels are largely irrelevant in assessing copper toxicity. Another term being tossed around is copper dysregulation.  While it correctly eludes to the body's inability to regulate copper, it fails to address the toxic nature of this mineral at high levels, and suggests an incomplete understanding of this epidemic and why we are facing this problem. Copper toxicity is far more than just a dysregulation issue, it is also the result of ever increasing exposure to copper with each new generation, a key concept minimized through the term 'dysregulation'. Copper toxicity, though sharing some similarities with Wilson's Disease, is different in that the latter is an inherited & rare genetic disorder with a more dire prognosis than copper toxicity which can treated through mineral balancing.

Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis, tested through either ARL or TEI labs (labs that do NOT pre-wash the hair samples), and assessed by a practitioner trained in understanding mineral ratios, is the best way. Copper toxicity (and associated symptoms) is not always indicated directly by the copper level alone (on any test), but through the levels and ratios of other related minerals. Only an HTMA test will show this.  Often, copper is so tightly stored in the body without being released that no blood or urine test will show the hidden high copper load, and even on an HTMA the copper level may appear to be low. This underscores the importance of working with someone who understands proper HTMA interpretation.  HTMA provides essential indicators that, when properly interpreted, can show the presence of a hidden copper toxicity problem, and provides the evidence-based information necessary to properly detox copper while balancing other mineral levels at the same time - a necessary part of the process. Any other approach to treating copper toxicity without this 'bigger picture' of other various minerals is really taking a blind approach to treatment, and dangerously exposes the patient to other mineral levels being thrown off in the process which in turn can greatly exacerbate the psychological and physical changes that occur in the patient. This underscores the importance of frequent monitoring of mineral levels throughout the detoxification process, something that can only be accurately achieved via HTMA. [Click here if you wish to learn more about HTMA or have an HTMA test done].

"Many of the most prevalent metabolic dysfunctions of our time are related in some way to a copper imbalance." ~ Dr. Paul Eck

A great deal of energy is expended to hold on to resentments, frustrations, anger, guilt, rage, shame, and fears. Whatever energy may be built up by taking vitamins and minerals may continue to be drained and wasted in holding on to emotional conflicts and feelings that are not adequately dealt with.... Mineral patterns may remain out of balance because there is an internal psychological resistance to change. Until the person works through and resolves the emotionally conflicts, mentally, he or she will be blocked in changing their related adverse mineral pattern....When the emotional conflict is finally resolved, a tremendous amount of energy is freed up and a significant mineral pattern change may then take place." 
~Dr. Rick Malter Ph.D  (Excerpt from "The Strands of Health")

During the often long and arduous period of detoxing, negativity and confusion are common.  To help with this, it can be helpful to take a step back and question your reaction to certain situations. If you've closed off a certain part of your life during this time, that's likely the area in which your biggest hurt or fear exists, and thus it's the most important, albeit hardest, area for you to examine. Choose positivity, love, abundance, and kindness toward others.

A fundamental fact of adrenal burnout (and fatigue) is that energy is needed to be passionate and loving. "How can a person possibly be vivacious and passionate toward others when he barely has enough energy to take care of himself?" Dr. Paul Eck.  During the period of and after adrenal burnout, sex drive drops as a matter of survival and the person has no choice but to put love on the back burner.  If they don't understand that this is just a common part of adrenal burnout they may believe their relationship is falling apart or even withdraw from it completely.  One needs to be extremely careful with the decisions made in the period following adrenal exhaustion/burnout as this is when the psychological symptoms are most pronounced, and actions become largely based on the symptoms discussed above, combined with the further additional emotional numbing of the Calcium Shell which is further exacerbated at this stage.  The reason is for the increased calcium shell at this point is that, following burnout, the body's ability to eliminate toxins slows down even further than before. This, combined with the body's weakened ability to produce ceruloplasmin, results in a sudden spike in copper levels, and this increases stress.  This directly leads to the increased formation of the calcium shell in order to protect the body from stress, and as a result, extreme anxiety, diminished feelings and awareness and other symptoms of the Calcium Shell prevail.