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 - watching his beloved fiancee go through it and subsequently losing her to the psychological infuence of post-adrenal burnout copper detox, exacerbated by the guidance of a physician who failed to understand both proper testing and detox procedures and the impact psychologically of adrenal burnout and copper detox. He has since devoted his energy to research in this field and being a leader in awareness to bring increased support and understanding to the copper toxicity epidemic which is affecting so many. He vowed not to allow this tragedy that so profoundly affected his life and loved ones not serve a greater purpose. In this journey he has been overwhelmed with the countless stories from other women (and men too) who, likewise, have had their lives, health, or relationships devastated as a result of adrenal burnout, copper toxicity, and the subsequent detoxing process. Rick is an advocate for awakened nutritional awareness, informed consent for women on birth control, and improved education in the role mineral imbalances play in physical and mental health, energy, and relationships.
Medical Disclaimer: The author of this site is not a doctor. The information on this site is based on first-hand experience, numerous case studies, the author's own training in HTMA, working with those affected, and decades of research into mineral balancing and copper toxicity by doctors and other professionals. HOWEVER, this information is presented solely for informational purposes to help people better understand the potential health implications of high copper. It is not intended to provide medical advice, it is not intended to diagnose any condition, and it does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider, provided they understand both the physical and psychological effects of copper toxicity and the detox process. The author assumes no responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, dietary modification or action which results from reading, following, or interpreting the information contained above, or from the failure to first consult with a trained medical professional specializing in copper toxicity. The reader is therefore encouraged to speak with a medical specialist trained in copper toxicity and detoxing before starting any new therapeutic technique, diet, supplementation program, or detoxing protocol.
© 2014-2017. All Rights Reserved
copper toxicity, copper toxic, low zinc, schizophrenia, brain fog, copper toxicity symptoms, adrenal fatigue, calcium shell, copper, personality change, copper IUD, heavy metal detox, nutritional balancing, vegetarian, H.T.M.A., anxiety, Cu level,
The Psycho-Physiological Effects on the Mind, Body, and Emotions
Most doctors are either unfamiliar with copper toxicity or show little interest in it because treatment is based on nutrition, not pharmaceuticals; the latter approach provides profits, the former does not, nor is nutrition adequately taught in medical school. Furthermore, when it comes to assessing copper status, almost all doctors (or those writing about it) rely on blood test results (or studies based on blood testing). However, as excess copper does not get stored in the blood, the extent of this toxicity epidemic goes vastly unrecognized and misunderstood. Blood levels have almost no correlation to the stored tissue levels! Only through properly interpreted HTMA (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis) testing can the population ever truly come to understand the prevalence of copper toxicity, how it’s impacting their health, and how to properly approach the complex rebalancing of minerals in the body. “Until medical doctors and other “health” care practitioners begin to study the mind/body’s mineral system especially as it is reflected in HTMAs, the medical / mineral disconnect will remain. Without HTMA data, medical doctors will not recognize the epidemic nature of the copper toxicity problem." ~Dr. Malter, Ph.D.
The rest of this site explains, in significant detail, the various causes and effects of copper toxicity. Hopefully this work will shed light and clarity on a topic which affects so many, yet on which so much false information has been relayed by practitioners or written about online. The Internet today is flooded with articles that:
Without mentioning site names (their promotion is not deserved) it is important for people to understand the caution necessary when researching this topic. By far the majority of websites and blog articles out there writing on copper are presenting blatantly false or misleading information. A few examples:
A 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 are addressed on the Testing page of this site). The same medical website also makes the incorrect claim 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.
One of the world's leading providers of online medical health information states the primary cause of copper toxicity to be the consumption of illicit drugs or prescription, over-the-counter, alternative medications or drug overdoses. They fail entirely to make any mention of the MUCH more prevalent and important causes of copper toxicity, nor do they make any mention in their discussion of the key symptoms of fatigue, adrenal issues, or influences on mood and mental health. Quite frankly, their explanation of copper toxicity is misleading at best and void of any substance or truth on the topic whatsoever. How can the public ever be properly informed when such mainstream medical sites purport such astonishingly false information?!
A doctor-authored 'science based' site promotes copper as the protective, anti-aging, love miracle. The site suggests people do not need to worry 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 (ie: into tissue and accumulating in the body)!! Furthermore, one of the more significant effects of copper toxicity is what it does to the emotions. Whereas the article hypes copper as the mineral of love, the fact is (which the article misrepresents) is that copper at high levels can eradicate feelings of love and cause depression; in fact anyone who becomes highly copper toxic will experience a deadening of their emotions! The article goes on to imply that copper is great for mental health, completely ignoring the EXTREMELY
What You'll Learn on This Site
Copper Toxicity is a build up of stored bio-unavailable copper in the body that at high levels affects both physical and mental health. As unbound levels get too high (very common today due to our over-exposure to various estrogens, certain birth control methods, high copper diets, and other environmental, dietary, and lifestyle factors), copper becomes a powerful reactive toxin to both the body and mind, leading to a number of symptoms including brain fog, fatigue and adrenal burnout, depression, and at later stages is linked to the numbing of emotions, Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, even cancer. A more complete list of symptoms is provided below. It is a major factor in many of today's most prevalent conditions. Copper is an essential mineral in the human body and in its bio-available form plays many important roles. We all need it. However at high levels, a simultaneous toxicity/deficiency condition is created. Copper becomes toxic when it accumulates in the body's tissues in excessive amounts (Pfeiffer, 1975; 1987), while also becoming more bio-unavailable. It is this duality of copper's nature that makes it so confusing to many, compounded by countless authors, doctors, and studies that ad nauseam base their findings on blood test results, not understanding that the blood copper level has almost no correlation to stored tissue copper.
Copper toxicity is one of those things that, the more you learn about it, the more questions you'll likely have. This site is designed to help answer those questions. A brief site overview is given below to help you navigate, listing some key concepts covered on each page.
Adrenals: How copper accumulation directly affects the adrenals / the effects of burnout on ceruloplasmin production as well as relationships, and how most of copper's highly talked about positive effects reverse after burnout.
Flowchart: A detailed graphic of how copper accumulates in the body, first in the liver, and subsequently in the brain, and the processes and effects that occur.
IUD & The Pill: How these two methods of birth control have greatly contributed to the ever-increasing copper epidemic. In this section we also look at the very important hormone / estrogen connection to copper.
Diet & Gut: How copper affects digestive issues, and how vegan/vegetarian diets contribute to copper toxicity.
Relationships: Copper's numbing effect on the emotions, the damage to relationships, the Calcium Shell, and the oxytocin connection.
Testing: Understanding why HTMA is so important, and why blood testing and urinalysis can be very misleading testing methods.
Healing: Safe detoxing protocols, why the obvious choices of zinc and adrenal support can be dangerous, raising ceruloplasmin, emotional blockages to healing, & the gift of eventual healing
References:A list of books as well as online resources (and references) for further reading and study.
What is Copper Toxicity?
Copper Toxicityis sometimes 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 almost entirely irrelevant in assessing copper toxicity. Another erroneously used recent term, copper dysregulation, while it eludes to the body's inability to regulate copper, fails entirely to address the bigger picture of why we have this issue in the first place. The term also does not address copper’s toxic nature at high levels. Copper toxicity, as research has consistently shown since the 1970s, is far more than just a dysregulation issue that can simply be ‘fixed’ by regulating ceruloplasmin. Our modern epidemic of copper toxicity is, to a large extent, the result of ever increasing exposure to copper with each new generation as we’ve been seeing over the past half century, a key concept minimized and not fully understood by those focused on terming the issue ‘dysregulation’. Pyroluria meanwhile is a (mainly) genetic condition in which the individual produces excess kryptopyrrole which causes B6 and zinc deficiency. As zinc depletes, copper is allowed to accumulate, causing many of the symptoms of copper toxicity. Copper toxicity does not lead to pyroluria, but pyroluria can lead to copper toxicity. Copper toxicity, though sharing some similarities with Wilson's Disease, is different in that the latter is an inherited & rare genetic disorder which, like copper toxicity, causes copper to collect in the liver, brain and other body tissues, but has a more dire prognosis than copper toxicity, and for which a different treatment approach is required. This site deals specifically with copper toxicity, not Wilson's Disease.
"Many of the most prevalent metabolic dysfunctions of our time
are related in some way to a copper imbalance." ~ Dr. Paul Eck
“One of the most common and important imbalances that we see in clinical practice with trace minerals is excess copper and deficient zinc.” ~Chris Kesser
Before discussing symptoms, clarity needs to be given when referencing a deficiency condition. Many people who are copper toxic, after searching online, discover they have symptoms that resemble copper deficiency. This confusion is common, as most copper deficiency cases in the West are the result of copper toxicity. As copper levels build up, the adrenals weaken. This leads to an eventual decline in ceruloplasmin (a protein which binds to copper to make it bioavailable) production, and without adequate ceruloplasmin 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 (creating a deficiency condition). Dr. Malter, Ph.D, one of the leading researchers in this field over the past 40 years, 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. This is why the copper toxic patient's symptoms may simultaneously reflect that of both copper deficiency and toxicity. (Of course, in a small percentage of the population, a true copper deficiency does exist).
"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."
~ Cynthia Perkins, M.Ed.
"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.
Making a Difference Together!
This site was created to bring vital education and increased awareness to copper toxicity for the benefit and support of all those affected.
If the information on this site has been helpful to you and you'd like to acknowledge/support the time that has gone into compiling this research and the ongoing efforts in the education and awareness of copper toxicity, you may do so using the button below.
Your support (in any amount) makes a difference. With gratitude..
"This site is dedicated to a forever beautiful and inspirational woman as a small way of honoring the warmth, light and love she stood for,
and our shared dream of helping women and girls with nutritional knowledge, 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, while providing people in general and women in particular vital nutritional knowledge that can unlock a door to the rediscovery of their highest and healthiest potential."
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. A few of these individuals who have given us so much knowledge and deserve recognition 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 endocrinologist, 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 who, for over 30 years, 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")
...and the many others, not mentioned here, who have devoted their work to bringing greater awareness and understanding to copper toxicity and mineral imbalances in general.
significant negative psychological symptoms that present with high levels of copper stored in the brain (including Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, ADD, depression, the list goes on!) The article goes on further to make such false 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 and trust this kind of doctor-authored literature and as a result are being dangerously misled.
A national public service information site from the U.S. that claims to offer "objective science based" information, states "The human body adjusts its internal environment to maintain copper equilibrium" and that copper rarely gets stored in the body. Hundreds of thousands of HTMA profiles very clearly disprove that! Once again though, people believe such falsehoods because it comes from a so-called 'trusted' source.
Sexual health and official birth control option websites make little to zero mention of the copper connection to the symptoms listed above, putting women's physical and mental health at risk. Women so often realize something is wrong but they simply can't get their doctors to listen, and information (or lack thereof) being relayed from sexual health officials isn't helping the matter. Countless more websites (including one of the world's top 10 most visited natural health 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 public to believe most of us are deficient in copper so we should be increasing our intake!! They do not understand that most deficiency is caused by a toxicity issue, NOT by a lack of copper in the diet. Second, the benefits mentioned are only true at a normal, healthy level of copper. As copper builds up and becomes bio-unavailable in large quantities, those aforementioned benefits actually REVERSE!!! Copper increases energy? At a basic level, yes...but too much copper leads to adrenal exhaustion! Healthy brain function? It's a marker in over half of schizophrenics, and a key factor leading to Alzheimer's! Emotional health? Too much copper leads to the numbing of emotions and damaged relationships, as well as being a leading cause of depression and anxiety. 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 who studies the interrelationship of minerals and uses the hard evidence provided by HTMA testing knows how absurd such claims are.
Tragically, the Internet has become a breeding ground of erroneous information, a lot of it led by a few individuals who have the power and a platform to convince large unsuspecting audiences, and this is the unfortunate environment the public is left to navigate through. It's becoming increasingly difficult for people to know what to believe. Those that dismiss HTMA in favor of blood tests, or who deny the concept of copper 'toxicity' or the importance of mineral balancing, are not only doing a great disservice to their patients, but through their own lack of understanding are holding back the advancement of greater medical and nutritional awareness that could otherwise help many of today's most serious physical and mental health conditions. Too many lives have already been hurt or destroyed as a result of medical ignorance (no matter how well intentioned), and the health of our future generations, especially our young women, is most at risk. 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. It's time we move into a new paradigm of health, recognizing the interconnection between our environment, food choices, and minerals levels, and how those interrelated minerals influence, and indeed control, our health, even our personality. The science, research, and hard evidence has existed for over 40 years; it's time we recognize the toxic nature of copper on the body resulting not from mere internal 'dysregulation' but from the large number of sources from which we are receiving over-exposure (copper sulfates, copper IUDs, copper piping, xenoestrogens as examples). Leaving outdated medical and nutritional beliefs behind, let's open ourselves to knowledge which can truly serve the greater good of people. When women receive fully informed consent to birth control, when nutritionists understand the essentiality of program design based on a client's individual mineral profile and not fad dietary beliefs, and when the medical system allows for greater conversation on the role mineral imbalance plays in disease, what are the possibilities for our world in terms of reducing illness, increasing human energy, and saving relationships and lives?
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, especially through HTMA data. Hopefully through this website and furthering the work of pioneers in this field including Drs Eck, Watts, Pfeiffer, Malter, Wilson, and others, the tide will eventually be turned in favor of awareness and proper understanding for the benefit and healing of all those affected.
"High cellular copper levels, along with related sulfur deficiencies, can be considered to be one of the most prominent causes of many physical and mental health problems, including ADD and Alzheimer's Disease." [http://www.acu-cell.com/crcu.html]
"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
Addressing the Widespread Misinformation and Lack of Medical Understanding Surrounding Copper Toxicity
Most Common Symptoms of Copper Toxicity
Copper Toxicity or Deficiency?
There is perhaps no greater medically and publicly misunderstood epidemic in the world today than that of copper toxicity. Chances are high it's affecting you or someone you know. This site aims to provide the Internet's most comprehensive evidence-based resource on the topic in order to:
i) Help those affected get real answers to their symptoms and questions while helping to
navigate the complex and often confusing healing process;
ii) Provide much needed research and education to the medical community and general public;
iii) Dispel the endless amounts of false information being written about copper that pervades the
Internet, dangerously misleading so many to believe they need more copper when they don't;
iv) Turn the tide of awareness so women may one day receive the fully informed consent they
deserve before being put on birth control; so that young girls who may already have excess
copper can reduce their copper load before puberty at which time estrogen will amplify the
potential for psychological problems (ie: depression, anxiety, OCD...), so that the medical and
mental health communities understand the mineral connection to a wide array of conditions
that are currently being masked by pharmaceuticals; and so better support and understanding
can be offered both socially and professionally to all those affected.