The Psycho-Physiological Effects on the Mind, Body, and Emotions
What is Copper Toxicity?
levels of copper stored in the brain (including Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, ADD, depression, anxiety, 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)". The amount of blatantly false information in this one article alone is astonishing, yet sadly people read and trust this kind of literature because it’s authored by a doctor, and as a result the public is 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 (including doctors) 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. The countless women who are suffering from copper toxicity are not being helped by those who continually deny and suppress the concept of copper 'toxicity'. How many more people have to painfully lose their health or a loved one because of ignorance surrounding copper toxicity or their practitioner not understanding that the blood copper level is a fluctuating and highly unreliable marker, or not understanding the effect birth control pills, copper IUDs, copper sulfates, estrogens, copper piping and high copper diets have on people, physically and psychologically. To deny copper toxicity is to deny an individual's right to possibly finding the one answer that could save their life or transform their health. Too many lives have already been hurt or destroyed as a result of medical ignorance, 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. The hope is that through this website and furthering the life's 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]
“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 eventually weaken from over activity. This leads to an eventual decline in the production of ceruloplasmin (a protein which binds to copper to make it bioavailable), 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 accumulates 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 for over 40 years, uses the great analogy of copper toxicity being akin 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. As a result, 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)
Copper Toxicity or Deficiency?
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 public 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 continues to be 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 excess 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) 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 significant negative psychological symptoms that present with high
"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.
Copper toxicity is among the most medically and publicly misunderstood health epidemics in our world today. Though very few have heard of it, chances are high it's affecting you or someone you know. This site provides the Internet's most comprehensive evidence-based resource and support guide 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 detox/healing process;
ii) Provide much needed research and education to the medical community and general public;
iii) Dispel the large amounts of false information being written about copper that pervades the
Internet, 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 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 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.
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, stress, 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, chronic fatigue and adrenal burnout, depression, panic attacks, and at later stages is linked to the numbing of emotions, paranoia, hallucinations, Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, even cancer. A more complete list of symptoms is provided below. Copper toxicty is a major factor in many of today's most prevalent conditions, and should at least be an essential route of investigation for any of the above mentioned symptoms. Copper is an essential mineral in the human body and in bio-available form plays many important roles. However at high unbound 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 and more bio-unavailable which then impairs and in many cases reverses its beneficial attributes. This duality of copper's nature makes it greatly misunderstood, an issue compounded by authors, doctors, and studies that base their copper findings on blood tests, not understanding that the blood copper level has almost no correlation to stored tissue copper.
"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. 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. Today, the time is ripe for getting the copper toxicity message out to the public." ~ Dr. Rick Malter, Ph.D.
"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" 
Copper toxicity is 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. Copper toxicity, more often than not, exists even when blood levels are normal or low. Another erroneously used term of recent, copper dysregulation, while it eludes to the body's inability to regulate copper due to low ceruloplasmin, fails entirely to address the bigger picture of why we have this epidemic in the first place, nor does it address copper’s toxic attributes at high levels. Copper toxicity, as research has shown since the 1970s, is far more than just a dysregulation issue that can be ‘fixed’ by regulating ceruloplasmin. Our modern epidemic of copper toxicity is largely the result of ever an increasing exposure to copper with each new generation over the past half century, a key concept that is trivialized and not fully understood by those focused on ‘dysregulation’. Copper toxicity, in the context of this site, differs somewhat from Pyroluria (a genetic condition in which the individual produces excess kryptopyrrole which in turn causes B6 and zinc deficiency). 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.
"Many of the most prevalent metabolic dysfunctions of our time
are related in some way to a copper imbalance." ~ Dr. Paul Eck
"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