Copper Toxicity, a form of chronic heavy metal toxicity/mineral imbalance, can very accurately be described as a silent epidemic that is currently on the rise, yet is not well-known, nor properly understood within the medical community or general population. When I was first made aware of the fact that Copper Toxicity was one of the primary core underlying causes of my exhibiting, exceptionally debilitating symptoms (which I had been experiencing a few of to some degree for my entire life), I too had never heard of this imbalance. Over the past several years, I have tenaciously studied the copper mineral and this condition, having become very familiar with the intricate physiology behind this imbalance, as well as the copious array of extremely adverse effects that Copper Toxicity catalyzes on the body, the mind, and the spirit. I am deeply beholden to have now overcome this malady due to an intricate, lengthy, highly involved and multifaceted personal healing odyssey that I have actively undertaken for the past 4 years.
The remarkable transformations in my physical, mental, and emotional health that I have been able to make as a direct result of amending my severe copper imbalance has undoubtedly solidified the unbelievably powerful and influential role that this mineral plays in our overall well-being.
Copper Toxicity is one of a number of possible mineral imbalances. Mineral imbalance serves as one of the core underlying causes for the vast majority of the many chronic illnesses and dis-eases that are so pervasive today. Maintaining the delicate balance of our body’s mineral levels is one of the most important foundational aspects of ensuring optimal health. Our body’s mineral levels and ratios exist as the fundamental backbone behind the adequate functioning of our most imperative physiological components and processes including our adrenal and thyroid gland function, neurotransmitter metabolism, immune function, digestive function, overall metabolic rate, mental & emotional health, and more.
While the following analysis is quite involved and lengthy, I wish for you to take the most important message from this presentation right from the start: that you can and will heal, and your own inner strength is more incredible and capable than you have ever imagined before. The first step is making the decision that you desire true and lasting health for yourself, and as long as you maintain continued dedication and full and complete compassion for yourself throughout this process and journey, than optimal balance and vitality is imminent for you.
If you are currently someone experiencing Copper Toxicity, or are close to someone whom is, I send you my most sincere empathy, compassion, and support. My most vital piece of advice for you is to begin educating yourself on the process of healing and to take your journey one step at a time. Completely disallow the fact that this is not a well-known or well-accepted and understood condition yet from deterring you in any way. Focus on yourself, and your healing. You can and you will get through this. This condition is far-reaching, and can be absolutely debilitating, I truly understand. Love and support are of the utmost importance at this time, be tender with yourself and move at your own pace.
Copper Toxicity is a very serious condition that affects nearly every bodily system: digestive system/gut balance, neurological system, reproductive system, lymphatic system, immune system, nervous systems, endocrine system (including the thyroid, adrenals, and sex hormones), liver/gallbladder, kidneys, methylation processes, and a myriad of other minerals and their metabolism – iron, calcium/magnesium, sodium/potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and several others.
Below, you will find analysis regarding symptoms/causal chains, causes/risk factors, appropriate testing and treatment methods, analysis of the physiological nature of Copper Toxicity, as well as an integration of my own story and its multifarious elements throughout.
As is stated by Dr. Paul Eck, the founder of Analytical Research Labs and one of the founding scientists and revolutionaries behind mineral imbalance science and research:
“Many of the most prevalent metabolic dysfunctions of our time are related in some way to a copper imbalance. Copper toxicity is a much overlooked contributor to many health problems…”
Through continued communal effort, promotion of viable and well-informed literature, and the administration of broadened empirical research and non-biased clinical studies performed, I hope to see the day when this malady is recognized on a larger scale, within both the allopathic and alternative medical arenas, as well as amongst the general population. Working toward this goal has become one of my most treasured life’s passions, as I am fully committed to bringing well-informed, supportive, and substantial information regarding Copper Toxicity to the forefront, as this malady is one of the most misunderstood and unknown public health epidemics of our time, and is currently adversely effecting what I believe to be millions of people as we speak.
This challenge provides a great deal of opportunity: as it is time to release our hold on counterproductive, antiquated, dogmatic practices and perspectives, to embrace what works and identifies the core underlying causes of imbalance, henceforth catalyzing the most comprehensive, thoughtful, and efficacious healing. There is a reason that the state of our current society’s health is so direly compromised, and the disillusioned practices and methodologies that are running rampant in our contemporary “healthcare” arena are largely the cause – therefore, a number of notable changes need to be made.
As a rule of thumb, the well-being of the patient need never be compromised as a result of any given “treatment”, and the use of toxic, physiologically damaging substances must never be used as a medium in any way. Furthermore, each individual must be respected, heard, and valued throughout all phases of the healing process, being given ample time, energy, and consideration in the sculpting of the most appropriate bio-individual healing protocols. We are each versatile and unique beings, embodying a multifarious framework of mind, body, spirit, and emotion – henceforth, our healing programs must reflect this structure, taking into account each of these equally important components as a means of effectively leading us to a state of optimal balance and vitality. In addition, we each house a unique biochemical identity that is influenced by many significant individual factors such as genetics, mineral levels, toxic loads, environmental influences, personal history, stressors, and more. Productive and effective healing involves addressing each of these equally important aspects of the Whole Person, as a means of catalyzing True Self-discovery, and hence healing, on every level.
Furthermore, the practitioner – patient relationship must evolve to exist as a working partnership, in which the patient takes full responsibility for their own health and works as an active player on their path to healing. Becoming educated and aware as individuals grants an extremely beneficial sense of empowerment that is exceptionally conducive to the achievement of wellness on many levels. We must move on from the outmoded “fix me” mentality and emerge into a healthcare environment where everyone is knowledgable and working together as a united collective.
When proceeding with this paradigm shift, we do not have time for blame, regret, or hostility as this evolution in healthcare is indeed a process: we must only focus on shifting the tide and embracing a new world that is conducive and catalytic toward true and indelible healing – joining together in our efforts as a means of providing strengthened, non-harmful, richly diverse, and well-informed treatment and care that is based primarily upon integrity and the sincere and genuine goal of leading each individual to wellness in the most conscientious manner possible. These concepts are indeed fairly simple, and in my view should be overtly axiomatic in practice, however at present, these basic concepts need to be readdressed, recalibrated, and taken into account within all realms of healthcare methodologies and patient treatments.
There has never been a time in human history where chronic illness was as pervasive as it is today. Hundreds of millions of people are chronically ill. This is not by accident – there are large contributing causes to this, and rejecting new ideas, ways of thinking, and methods of treatment will simply keep things the way they are at present. Our evolution, and the mass healing of our societies’ people depend on keeping an open mind. Most people come to understand and accept Copper Toxicity because they themselves or someone they love has become afflicted with it. Until one has exhaustively researched this imbalance, has personally experienced it, or has invested a tremendous degree of effort in working to understand Copper Toxicity and its paramount and widespread consequences, an educated and informed perspective is not evident.
In this presentation, I have divided my analysis into a variety of the most important topics that I find applicable to the overall topic of Copper Toxicity and all that it embodies. The sections are as follows:
- The Imperative Paradigm Shift
- Copper Toxicity Defined
- Causes/Risk Factors
- Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) – the most effective and accurate means by which to test for CT, as blood does not illuminate the body’s true copper level for reasons described below
- Mineral Balancing and Bio-Individual Healing Protocols
- Copper Elimination/Retracing
- Relevant Practitioners
- My Personal History with Conventional Medicine/Path to Holistic Healing
- Pharmaceuticals (and the avoidance thereof)
- Additional Testing
- Epstein-Barr Virus
- Protocol Journal
- Craving High-Copper Foods/Aversion to Red Meat
- Separation from Your True Self from that which is the Influence of Copper Neurologically – “The Gift of Copper Toxicity”
- The Calcium Shell and the Awakening to One’s Life Picture
- The Profound and Life-Changing Potential for Emotional and Spiritual Transformation and the Subsequent Positive Impact
- Support and Understanding – Moving Away from Labels
- Clarifying the Confusion and Misinformation of the Facts Behind CT
- Sociological Change & Shifts in Methodology
- Profound Significance of Bio-Individuality
- Closing Remarks and Links (which you will find throughout this analysis sending you to relevant content throughout my blog)
- Copper Toxicity Eating Plan
As a direct result of all of the many powerful holistic treatment methodologies and modalities that I explain and analyze throughout this page and my entire blog, I now enjoy balance, vitality, and true, comprehensive health. My success in overcoming Copper Toxicity has been similar to weathering a lengthy, intense storm, yet I am profoundly, deeply, and ineffably grateful to be on the other side of this now, and aim to direct my focus to bringing further awareness to this intensely significant malady and serve as a true support to the many many people whom are currently suffering as a result of this imbalance. My healing process has been an elongated, involved process that I have put every fiber of my being into.
I aim to be the advocate that I wish I had at the start of my journey with Copper Toxicity, lessening the confusion and often onerous nature of embarking on an effective treatment program. I vow to apply my boundless and unyielding passion for this field in paving a path that finally brings this imbalance to light as it so desperately deserves to be. As we speak, many many many lives are being tremendously impacted by this imbalance, and there are not nearly enough available resources to lend guidance to these people.
This is an urgent and far-reaching public health problem that must be addressed on a large scale basis as soon as possible.
Copper Toxicity is a very real, common condition, as the element/heavy metal of copper is a tremendously powerful entity when present in any amount that is higher than the minute, delicate level that is needed to fulfill its physiological necessities.
THE IMPERATIVE PARADIGM SHIFT
As mentioned above, there is a broad-spectrum, obligatory shift in context and perspective that is needed at present in order to shift the current nature of our healthcare arena. With chronic illness more ubiquitous than ever before, it is clear that large-scale shifts are in dire need of being made. I point this out at the very beginning of my analysis, as one must adopt this broadened, improved perspective in order to understand and articulate Copper Toxicity and all of its many multifarious elements and implications.
In general terms, the Western medicine/conventional “disease model” views the body as a conglomeration of separate organs and systems and illness as a spontaneous manifestation that is often isolated to a particular part of the body. According to this model, when illness manifests and presents itself symptomatically, the aim is to target each specific symptom as if the symptom is the illness in and of itself. As a whole, it has been deciphered via millions and millions of cases of chronic illness that this model is exceptionally problematic. This model discounts the obvious interconnected nature of the human body and the essential standard of maintaining comprehensive BALANCE within this interdependent whole. In addition, and most importantly, this model discounts the inherent truth that illness and imbalance are born from a core underlying cause that propels overall imbalance, and symptoms are an extension of that cause. The slew of singular “disease” labels and conditions that are seen as stand-alone issues all their own are, in many cases, the symptoms of a main underlying cause. Therefore, given this, it would stand to reason that identifying and treating the core underlying cause would grant the individual the most comprehensive, lasting, and appropriate care as to amend their illness and bestow indelible wellness for them. This is essentially why you will only see me use the term “imbalance” to refer to illness as opposed to “disease”, or not refer to various symptoms as their common “disease” labels. These labels are tremendously misleading, because the focus need not be solely on the surface effect. The focus must reside on the underlying cause.
Here are a few examples: at present, many would assume that the psychological symptoms of anxiety, depression, or memory loss would be associated with the brain and represent some sort of brain disorder. Or, many would assume that a skin problem such as acne, eczema, or rash to be a dermatological disorder. Or, many would assume that digestive symptoms such as bloating, heartburn, gas, and abdominal pain to be a gastrointestinal disorder and indicative of an illness of the stomach. While each of those could be the case, it is far more common for each of these various symptoms to be the result of a core underlying cause, which on the surface seems to have nothing to do with its various presenting symptoms. Because a core underlying cause can and does often have a systemic effect on our body, a myriad of symptoms, that are all connected will manifest simultaneously.
Such is most definitely the case with Copper Toxicity. As is explained in great depth below, Copper Toxicity propels systemic (throughout the whole body) imbalance, which can and does manifest as many different kinds of symptoms throughout many different areas of the body, some of which are mentioned in the above examples. Treating each of these symptoms would clearly be counterproductive, as their fundamental, underlying cause is a mineral imbalance. Therefore, the focus would be on treating the imbalance of Copper Toxicity as to bring the body back into balance and hence alleviate each and every one of the many potential systemic symptoms.
Furthermore, and equally importantly, “mainstream” healthcare training dramatically lacks a thorough analysis of the dire significance of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients as the fundamental backbone to the optimal function of our body and its interconnected systems. One can not understand human physiology fully if they do not hold an understanding of the tremendously important and interconnected relationship of vitamins and minerals. I am not solely referring to diet and nutritional choices: I am talking about the physiology behind why these nutrients are so imperative and specifically how they behave in the body and why.
Without this understanding, an imbalance like Copper Toxicity is very difficult to fathom, because one is not equipped with the core tools of understanding the whole story of our bodies – and the mandatory nature of maintaining optimal balance of vitamins and minerals.
If you are not analyzing first, the current status of your body’s nutrient levels, and second, the food that you are putting into your body, than you are not giving due attention to the very core of health itself. NUTRITION IS HEALTH.
Same goes for testing. We are living in a time where even though vessels such as technology are progressing and expanding at a rapid rate, certain colossal structures within our society such as healthcare are having a hard time moving forward to suit the needs of our people. As an example, a very crucial example, blood testing still reigns supreme. Any other form of testing is viewed as supplementary or isn’t used at all. It is for this reason that dire imbalances, such as those of our body’s mineral levels, are completely left our of the equation because they are not being properly tested for. The blood is not the gold standard. It is an excellent medium for testing in many ways, but not for others. This is what I mean when I state that it is time to release our hold on counterproductive, antiquated, dogmatic practices and embrace what works. This is analyzed in greater depth below.
Just because something has been around for a long time, was how someone originally learned, was used as a standard for many years, or “used to be how it was” does not mean that it should maintain this standing today. As we grow and evolve as a human community, and within healthcare, our understandings of health and healing change. Therefore, the way we view illness and the methodologies we use to treat it will change too!
There is indeed a strong irony involved here, as the principles and science behind mineral imbalance are not new at all. This specific science has been used since the 1970s extremely effectively. Furthermore, the paradigms and healing methodologies behind natural medicine, as outlined below, are as old as they come, with our ancient ancestors utilizing many of these notions, extremely effectively. While not “new” per se, these notions and healing techniques are in dire need of being reintroduced and reinoculated into our society at large, and the healthcare field as a whole.
This shift in perspective involves stepping back and comprehending the bigger picture as to gain the most comprehensive understanding of illness and its causes and effects.
While many various components of this paradigm shift are mentioned throughout this page, one of the most important is this: the human body is a self-right vessel. By this I mean that the body does not spontaneously malfunction without solid reason, as it is constantly working to maintain balance and homeostasis regardless of the circumstances. Our bodies are designed with unfathomably fascinating and intricate abilities that were all included for a specific reason. As is outlined further below, if the body is given the proper support, and if the core underlying cause of one’s presenting imbalance is identified, the body will heal itself.
While each case will vary, as a general rule, removing organs prematurely that are behaving sluggishly at that point in time, infiltrating the liver with a slew of chemicals and pharmaceutical burdens, and leaving one’s illness inducing dietary choices and lifestyle in place are all a far cry from giving the body the ability to utilize its brilliant capacity to heal – and does a tremendous disservice to the patient in regaining their health and quality of life.
Continuing to get to the very root of one’s illness is imperative – looking far beyond what meets the eye and not stopping at one of the effects and treating it as if it is the illness itself. One must always dig deeper.
The focus need not be solely on the surface effect, it must be directed toward the core underlying cause.
Most people in our world have a very hard time accepting new ideas. It is much easier to remain constricted within a fixed viewpoint than to allow oneself to venture into unknown territory and become open to different perspectives and evolutionary ideas. This is ok. However, this does not allow our societies to evolve as they were intended to. Standing still gets us nowhere. And standing still at this present time in our world means accepting that over half of all adults in the United States, 117 million people, are suffering from a chronic health condition as of 2012 (according to the CDC). This means there is something wrong. This means that our current health models are not working. This means that change needs to be made. This means that we open ourselves up to new ideas that can change these circumstances.
As stated above, most people do not become aware of or accept Copper Toxicity until it has afflicted them or someone they love. It takes quite a while to study this imbalance to the degree that one is educated enough to offer an informed perspective. Keep this in mind.
From now until the end of time, there are going to be opposing forces. That is an inevitable truth. However, the back and forth…the dismissive and opposing camps…the premature criticism of something that one does not understand fully…the burying our head in the sand…the ongoing, extremely counterproductive and ego-driven argument of trying to win or prove someone wrong is an antiquated, stale space to occupy. As a people, we must wake up to where the current nature of our contemporary world has led us as a whole. This society is not well…it is quite ill, and that is completely preventable with the most appropriate education and shifts in modality.
So step back. Step back and let your own, first-hand, lived experience be your guide. Think for yourself. Exercise your reasoning skills to simplify the equation. You are your own best advocate and you are the primary custodian of your health and wellness goals. Open your mind.
COPPER TOXICITY DEFINED
The health of our body is exceptionally dependent on overall balance, especially when it comes to the balance of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that all of our physiological processes and organ systems depend on as to function properly. A very important piece of the puzzle is maintaining balance amongst the micro and macro minerals within the body. Aside from things like non-essential amino acids, most nutrients, minerals, and vitamins must be ingested, as our body does not produce them on its own. Micro minerals are needed in fairly small amounts as to fulfill their many functions, and macro minerals are needed in larger amounts to fulfill their many functions. Copper is considered a micro mineral (also called a trace element) because it is an element that is only needed in small amounts to meet our body’s needs. In addition (and what can be cause for confusion) copper is considered a heavy metal, because it has a relatively high density and atomic weight. Other examples of heavy metals include cadmium, mercury, lead, arsenic, cobalt, nickel, aluminum, uranium, and thallium. Anything that is considered a heavy metal can have detrimental effects when present in excessive quantity. The duality of an element existing as an essential micro mineral and a heavy metal is dependent on balance, and when this balance is disturbed, the consequences can be and are far-reaching.
It may seem difficult to fathom that an imbalance in one singular mineral that is needed for optimal health can have such far-reaching impacts, however, it can not be discounted that maintaining the delicate balance of the human body is of the utmost importance – mineral balance being of primary necessity. Think of it like the domino effect, a notable excess in one area tips the scale too far in one direction, and because our body’s systems and tissues are all connected, this will proceed to impact the whole body in various ways.
That being said, Copper Toxicity is a form of chronic heavy metal toxicity and is one of numerous possible mineral imbalances that has a profound impact on nearly every physiological system, organ, and tissue within the human body. This imbalance adversely affects the endocrine (hormone) system – including the thyroid, adrenals, and sex hormones (and hence organic energy production, among many other consequences) – the liver, kidneys, gallbladder, reproductive organs, digestive system (and hence the gut), neurological system (and hence the brain), lymphatic system, central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, methylation processes, and essentially everything in between, to a lesser or more severe degree depending on the case. The singular mineral/heavy metal of copper, when present to any degree that is higher than its very minute “ideal” level, is a very powerful element that has the sole potential to effect the macro balance, comprehensive functioning, and delicate homeostasis of our bodies in a myriad of ways. The analysis presented on this page will identify many of the reasons for this and the most prominent physiological processes which are the most intensely manipulated by this incredibly dynamic and omnipotent mineral/heavy metal.
Copper is indeed an essential micro mineral/trace element, and when present in ideal levels within the body (described as being present in a bioavailable form), which is a delicate, very small amount, it is responsible for many vital processes. Some of these important physiological processes include cellular energy production, melanin production, iron metabolism, maintaining healthy gut balance and histamine levels, bone structure, proper immune inflammatory response/general immune function, fat and cholesterol metabolism, neurotransmitter metabolism, psychological well-being, connective tissue maintenance, and acting as an antioxidant/reducing oxidative stress, among others.
HOWEVER, when it is present in any form higher than these low, ideal levels (the recommended daily amount is 2mg), it is described as reaching a biounavailable state, and can no longer perform these physiological necessities…
The “Toxic” Nature of High Copper: Copper is usable by the body and present in a bioavialable form when it is bound to a protein called ceruloplasmin (this is the main copper-binding protein, with up to 95% being bound to ceruloplasmin, the other 2 transport proteins are metallothionein and glutathione). This is referred to as a transport protein, because it is essential in order for copper to be transported successfully throughout the body to perform its various physiological tasks. The production of this protein is highly dependent on optimal adrenal and liver function – the adrenals stimulate production and the liver then manufactures and synthesizes ceruloplasmin. As copper begins to rise within the body, the adrenals become fatigued because of the developing physiological burden/stress and the liver becomes overloaded with excess copper (as it is the initial storage site), rendering both sluggish and dysfunctional. This then reduces the amount of ceruloplasmin that is being produced, and hence allows unbound copper to freely travel through the bloodstream, accumulating within various tissues throughout the body – the perfect storm has been created. Unbound copper can not be utilized, hence its existence in a biounavailable state.
Unbound copper is highly damaging and toxic to our body’s tissues and systems once it reaches and settles in them.
This is why understanding Copper Toxicity can be so difficult and seemingly enigmatic, as when one is exhibiting toxic, very high levels of copper, they are physiologically experiencing a simultaneous copper deficiency, as their body is unable to use the high levels of copper present due to the fact that it is being sequestered away, is unbound to transport proteins, and exists in a biounavailable state. I like to describe this metaphorically as being stranded in the middle of the ocean with no fresh water to drink. Due to this tandem toxicity/deficiency state, one will usually demonstrate many symptoms of copper deficiency, as listed below.
Biounavailable copper can not be used by the body, therefore most of the responsibilities of the essential copper mineral are ABANDONED AND REVERSED when one is in a copper toxic state. Given the physiological role of copper, this will present as:
- anemia (in that copper is in part responsible for optimal red blood cell and iron metabolism, as well as many other connections described in the symptom section below)
- increased free radical damage (in that copper is responsible for serving as an antioxidant and lowering oxidative stress – as a cofactor for the extremely important superoxide dismutase enzyme)
- gut imbalance/candida infection (in that copper is a natural anti-fungal and adequate zinc levels are needed to maintain optimal gut balance and intestinal lining integrity, among many other connections here)
- impaired neurotransmitter metabolism (in that copper is partly responsible for maintaining proper metabolism for neurotransmitters such as the catecholamines dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, as well as glutamate, GABA, serotonin, histamine and the MAO enzyme)
- histamine imbalance (in that copper is a cofactor for the DAO/histaminase, histamine metabolizing enzyme)
- decreased cellular energy production (in that copper plays a role in ATP production within the mitochondria)
- decreased bone density and tissue integrity (in that copper is responsible for maintaining both)
- weakened immune response and susceptibility to infection (in that copper is responsible for creating an effective inflammatory immune response in the presence of infection, as well as being necessary for the proper function of T cells)
- UTIs, parasitic infection, viral infection (such as Epstein Barr Virus), bacterial infection (such as H. Pylori), and fungal infection (such as Candida Albicans) are commonly seen in those with a copper imbalance
The body is a fascinating, highly resilient and intelligent entity that is constantly working to maintain some level of homeostasis in the presence of toxins and imbalances. That being said, as unbound, toxic copper levels rise, it will not simply circulate throughout the bloodstream (as the blood will remain free of anything that isn’t absolutely necessary for the majority of the time), it will become sequestered in tissues/organs as a means of protecting the rest of the body from additional exposure to these toxic levels of copper.
The process is sort of a vicious cycle of further adverse impact, as when each successive organ becomes overloaded with rising copper, this mineral/heavy metal will continue down the line, burrowing within each successive organ and system. For example, when copper begins it’s initial rise above ideal levels, the liver is the first organ to become overloaded. Once the liver is essentially “full”, it will then move to the kidneys, and then the reproductive organs, and then the brain, and so on and so forth. Seeing as the liver is responsible for overall toxin removal, metabolism of hormones, endotoxins, and pathogens, and the production of bile, along with many other vital filtration processes (the liver has 500+ functions), once it becomes overloaded with copper it is no longer able to successfully detoxify (or create enough copper binding ceruloplasmin), allowing copper to rise further, as well as giving a myriad of other toxins the ability to circulate throughout the body. As an additional compounding consequence, hormone imbalance arises as well as digestive upset, skin irritation, inexplicable weight gain, and many other symptoms due to the root cleansing organ being rendered incapable of operating in an adequate manner.
This is why identifying this imbalance as soon as possible is so imperative, as to save the remaining bodily systems and tissues from being adversely effected and making sure the liver will be able to expeditiously regenerate.
High biounavailable levels of copper also have a very pernicious impact on thyroid and adrenal gland function. CT is commonly the underlying cause of low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) and severe adrenal fatigue/burnout. The thyroid and adrenal glands are intimately linked and operate in tandem, hence their reference as a duo.
As can be assumed, once this toxic process begins, many varying symptoms will arise (listed below). The notion of subjectivity is of paramount importance here, as Copper Toxicity will present itself symptomatically in many different ways (both physically and psychologically) depending on the individual and their idiosyncratic physiological circumstances, lifestyle factors, additional imbalances, etc. Its presentation is far from homogenized. This is unbelievably important to understand and remain aware of when analyzing the malady of CT (I will use this acronym throughout my analysis), as confusion can arise otherwise. There is no one straight-forward clue to identify CT, and hence the great care and attention that is needed to unearth it and subsequently treat it productively, gently, and appropriately.
So why is copper the chosen mineral that can cause this much damage and have such a far-reaching impact?
This has to do with how our body again depends on balance to function optimally, and was designed with a series of checks and balances to keep each interconnected system working well. In other words, the body is designed with each various component having an intentional and functional relationship with the next. Some of the main relationships involving the element of copper hold a great deal of weight when it comes to maintaining overall systemic balance. For example, copper has a symbiotic relationship to the sex hormone estrogen: as one goes up, so does the other. While both men and women have estrogen in their bodies, women house a great deal more, hence the higher prevalence of CT in women than in men, and the direct correlation between Copper Toxicity and estrogen dominance (described below under symptoms).
Copper also has an inverse relationship with zinc, one of the most powerfully important and multifunctional minerals in our body. When copper levels rise, zinc levels fall, hence the easy acquisition of CT while eating a mainly vegetarian diet, which is often very low in zinc and high in copper-rich foods. Also, experiencing chronic stress greatly depletes our body of zinc and subsequently allows copper to rise (in tandem with depleted adrenal function caused by chronic stress). Furthermore, our soil’s zinc content has been greatly reduced over the decades, along with many other vital minerals and nutrients that play a role in keeping copper levels balanced.
Toxic copper also directly impedes methylation processes (which is an extremely important physiological process that has to do with DNA synthesis/expression, cellular energy production, the body’s ability to metabolize and effectively detoxify, neurotransmitter metabolism, and many other vital functions). There is currently active research being unearthed regarding the details of this, and I will update further when those conclusions have been made. There are also a myriad of other intimate elemental physiological relationships that are described further below.
Our body’s mineral balance is an interconnected system in which each mineral holds a specific and influential relationship to the other. Due to this interconnectivity, an imbalance (either a toxicity or deficiency) has a sort of domino effect on the behavior and level of each respective coinciding mineral. While there can be a broad variance when it comes to each individual’s mineral readings according to one’s own health history, bio-individuality, genotype, etc, the following are some of the most commonly seen patterns that arise as a result of Copper Toxicity/high biounavailable copper. As is very clear, most of these manifest as deficiencies once CT has been present for a considerable amount of time:
- Low zinc
- High calcium
- High or low magnesium (can be high when a calcium shell pattern is shown, and low if CT has developed to later phases)
- Low potassium (may be high during initial phases of rising copper and subsequent adrenal stress)
- Low sodium (this level may be high during the initial phases of rising copper and subsequent adrenal stress)
- Low phosphorus
- Low iron
- Low molybdenum
- Low manganese
- Low selenium
Mineral ratios are often more important to focus on than singular levels, in that our body’s minerals work together to regulate very important physiological processes such as thyroid and adrenal gland function, blood sugar regulation, stress response, and our overall sense of vitality. While there can be a great degree of variance from person to person, some characteristic mineral ratio patterns associated with Copper Toxicity include:
- Low zinc/copper ratio : ideal 8 to 1, respectively
- Low sodium/potassium ratio (the stress stage and vitality ratio) : ideal 2.5 to 1
- High calcium/potassium ratio (the thyroid function ratio) : ideal 4 to 1
- Low sodium/magnesium ratio (the adrenal function ratio) : ideal 4.17 to 1
- High calcium/magnesium ratio (the blood sugar ratio) : ideal 6.67 to 1
- High calcium/phosphorus ratio (the metabolic type ratio – in the case of CT, one is considered to have a very slow rate) : ideal 2.5 to 1
There are many additional causes and risk factors that can contribute to the acquisition of CT. They are explained further below, and mainly include being passed in utero/congenital acquisition (with each successive generation being more and more susceptible), the copper IUD specifically, copper water piping/well water contamination, eating a mainly vegetarian diet (which is low in the copper-antagonistic mineral zinc, and high in copper-rich foods such as nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes), any form of conventional birth control (the pill, all IUDs, etc.), chronic prolonged stress, chronic consumption of processed foods/conventional meat and dairy/sugar, dental amalgams, and several other nutrient/mineral deficiencies. One may also exhibit a combination of these risk factors and hence compound their likelihood of developing Copper Toxicity. Most often, CT is developed to a considerable degree and is given a lengthy amount of time to rise in severity, as the sufferer is unaware of their underlying imbalance and hence not treating it accordingly. The reasons for this are explained in length below as well.
Furthermore, due to the pervasive, extreme lack of awareness regarding CT, a compounding factor that contributes to its development is the inclusion of copper in most multi-vitamin blends. These usually include the 100% DV for copper, when one’s diet is often providing more than necessary to begin with, as many very common foods are high in copper: nuts, seeds, avocado, beans, mushrooms, wheat and grain products, farm raised fish, spinach, kale, liver, spirulina, and many others. I highly disagree with having a standardized protocol to follow regarding the amount of specific vitamins and micronutrients that everyone must follow, as our biochemistry is different person to person, and therefore there is no one-size-fits all that will adhere to each and every individual’s unique structure and physiological needs.
Another huge contributor to one’s susceptibility of developing a copper imbalance is the overall toxic environment that our bodies are consistently exposed to in today’s world…
Today’s industrial and contemporary world has exposed us to an endless variety of elements that have taken a profoundly large toll on our overall health. Not only is the standard western diet riddled with sugar, simple carbohydrates, gluten containing grains, and additives/preservatives that severely harm our gut and hence our immune system, but each and every day we are exposed involuntarily to toxins and xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are pathogenic components in our environment that behave as the carcinogenic form of estradiol within the body, worsening estrogen dominance, as described below – these can be found in the birth control pill, hormone replacement therapy, pesticides/herbicides, make-up products, household cleaning products, chlorinated water, industrial waste, prescription drugs, and more. Collectively, this truly throws our entire system off balance.
Furthermore, our nutrient and mineral depleted soil, pesticide-filled farming practices, hormone/nitrate/chemically ridden meat products, and additive and sugar-filled “food” production has rendered most of our food supply exceptionally harmful, and a compounding consequence is that even fresh, non-processed, whole foods are severely less nutrient dense than they once were. And to top this all off, we live in a highly stressed filled, go-go-go world where occupying the “fight or flight” sympathetic nervous system is almost the status quo. So many people are focused on everything outside of themselves and give little to no attention to nurturing their own physical and emotional/intellectual/spiritual health. This wrecks havoc on our overall physiological balance and wellness in an essentially incessant number of ways.
All of this being said, our bodies are simply unable to excrete excess toxins and pathogens effectively, as all of these aforementioned consequences of modern life have had such a profoundly detrimental impact on the successful functioning of our main elimination and cleansing organs (the liver, gallbladder, kidneys, gut, blood, and skin, mainly) as well as our overall physiological make-up.
Without adequately functioning cleansing organs due to all of these aforementioned reasons, the copper mineral is given the ability to continuously rise, putting further stress on our bodies and its attempt to maintain balance and successful functioning.
As is described further below, the most effective means by which to identify Copper Toxicity as one’s core underlying cause to their exhibiting health struggle is something called Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis, which is a comprehensive means to gauge mineral and heavy metal levels as they appear in the body over approximately a 3 month period of time. The interpretation of HTMA is an art all its own, as often, “what you see” in an overt reading is not what is essentially going on under the surface. The minerals in our body are metabolized in unique ways and appear on an HTMA in a manner that requires proper training to interpret correctly. For example, almost half of the time, someone will exhibit what is called “hidden Copper Toxicity”, as their metabolic processes have been so greatly effected by their rising copper levels that it has sequestered itself in their tissues and hasn’t yet become mobilized to reach excretion through their hair at that point in time. Others (including myself), will exhibit an overt Copper Toxicity, where the HTMA copper level is very very high.
In addition, in order to gain further scope into the other physiological impacts and implications that CT has effected, various other tests are very helpful such as a Comprehensive Stool Analysis/Parasitology X 3, comprehensive blood panels, urinalysis, thyroid testing, hormone panels, genetic testing, organic acids, urine amino acids, and several others. However, as explained below, it is very important to realize that these tests will not show linear, “expected” results, and must be interpreted with a full understanding and cognizance of CT and all of its physiological consequences (see the “Relevant Practitioner” section). Overall, the most efficacy has been demonstrated with using HTMA as one’s primary roadmap throughout healing. Acquiring a number of comprehensive, functional tests is a large part of gaining full insight into one’s bio-indivudal health status.
Following the acquisition of an HTMA, a personalized and bio-individual mineral balancing and holistic healing protocol is implemented. This is often an involved process over a period of time that includes diet modifications, lifestyle changes, supplementation, Whole Person (mind, body, spirit, heart) exploration, rejuvenation, and growth, and several other important components that are meticulously designed to heal the individual deeply as to amend their root cause. Each individualized healing program will also involve treating imbalances that are unveiled via other methods of testing. For example, administering specific amino acids for various neurotransmitter imbalances (amino acids – “the building blocks of protein” – are the precursors to neurotransmitters along with other nutrient cofactors), specific healing agents for various gut pathogen infections, and a myriad of other unique-to-the-individual components.
One’s bioindividuality is pristinely important to remain cognizant of, as we are all different inherently and physiologically and this must be honored throughout the healing process. Therefore, there is no “one size fits all” approach, as each regimen must be custom-tailored just for you in order to achieve the most sound and notable results.
Copper Toxicity, while rising in prevalence exponentially, is not a commonly treated malady and it not well-known. However, as with any other public health epidemic, this will change over time, as I and many others have made it their life’s mission to raise awareness and bring forth effective and appropriate treatment methods and support to what I believe to be the millions of people that are currently suffering from this profound malady unknowingly. Yes, that is a bold statement to make, however I believe in it wholeheartedly and will work tenaciously toward my goal of one day making this a household name, and hence increasing awareness, liberating many from undeserving suffering, and bringing light to something that is of dire paramountcy within our contemporary world.
Here I will outline some of the symptoms and warning signs of Copper Toxicity. As they can be very multifaceted and masquerade themselves as a variety of other conditions, it can be difficult to pin point in a lot of cases, especially considering that copper adversely affects many different bodily systems and tissues, which leads to a variety of other conditions which are not isolated to themselves, they are simply a result of the underlying cause, which is Copper Toxicity.
For example, copper has a large impact on the function of the thyroid, so someone may exhibit symptoms of hypothyroidism and treat this accordingly, yet they are not seeing the results they had hoped for as the underlying cause is unknown and not being addressed. Also, copper can very much impede the optimal function of our GI tract and digestive system, so someone may be diagnosed with IBS, SIBO, etc. and treat this accordingly, yet the same aforementioned situation arises where their symptoms don’t really show much improvement and they are lost as to why. Furthermore, iron deficiency anemia is very common with CT, therefore, one will exhibit an array of tell-tale anemia symptoms (hair loss, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, fatigue, etc.), with the underlying cause being copper imbalance.
The concept of a “casual chain” is helpful to understand when conceptualizing the many varying symptoms that can arise from CT. This is essentially the unique physiological chain of events that occur within one’s body and manifest into various symptoms. The following are a few common examples:
Copper Toxicity → gut imbalance/dysbiosis/pathogenic overgrowth/leaky gut → digestive upset, bloating, cramping, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, sugar cravings, brain fog, psychological/emotional imbalance, weight gain/loss, poor epigenetic expression, comprehensive endocrine/hormone imbalance (sex hormone imbalance, blood sugar instability/insulin resistance, thyroid dysfunction, adrenal dysfunction), decreased detoxification capacity (of other heavy metals, excess hormones, toxins of all kinds), malabsorption/deficiencies, chronic fatigue, malaise, insomnia, skin irritation, food sensitivities, allergies, autoimmune disorders, chronic inflammation…the gut is the hub of our bodies in every metabolic way, the symptoms that can maturate out of gut imbalance alone are endless, incessant, and many.
Copper Toxicity → neurotransmitter metabolism malfunction → anxiety/depression, insomnia, body temperature fluctuations, memory loss, irritability
Copper Toxicity → estrogen dominance → uterine fibroids, heavy periods, weight gain, irregular periods, hair loss, chronic fatigue
Copper Toxicity → impaired iron metabolism → shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, pale skin, heart palpitations, easy bruising
Copper Toxicity → insulin resistance → PCOS → high androgen levels in women → hair loss, facial hair growth, weight gain, chronic fatigue
Copper Toxicity → adrenal fatigue/insufficiency/burnout → extreme chronic fatigue, inability to handle stress of any kind, sex hormone imbalance, digestive upset, brain fog, anxiety/depression, thyroid dysfunction, and many many more
Copper Toxicity → low thyroid function → extreme chronic fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, insomnia, high cholesterol, depression, low body temperature, hair loss, slowed intestinal motility/constipation…the symptoms that can manifest solely due to thyroid dysfunction are incessant and numerous, as all of the body’s cells are influenced by the thyroid gland and thyroid hormones.
Copper Toxicity → kidney dysfunction → frequent urination, fluid retention, swelling of extremities, chronic fatigue
Copper Toxicity → liver congestion and sluggishness → weight gain, brain fog, malabsorption, chronic fatigue, bloating, decreased appetite, depression…the liver is responsible for over 500 physiological functions, and the symptoms relating to liver dysfunction are many.
Copper Toxicity → zinc deficiency → decreased digestive enzyme production/digestive disturbance, leaky gut (zinc is needed for intestinal mucosa integrity) – bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, autoimmunity – stomach ulcer (zinc is needed fro stomach lining integrity), depression, anxiety, lowered immunity, hair loss, decreased libido, skin problems, chronic fatigue…the list of symptoms developed as a direct result of zinc deficiency caused by CT is endless.
Copper Toxicity →histamine intolerance/mast cell activation →sneezing, rashes, itchy skin, flushing, weight fluctuations, anxiety, depression, hair loss, nasal congestion, brain fog, digestive upset, chronic fatigue, heart palpitations, and more.
As can be seen with these examples, the possibilities are many, yet the core underlying cause of Copper Toxicity is the commonality. Essentially, the specific and unique causal chains that could be catalyzed by CT are endless, as the above only serve to demonstrate a select few. Clearly, one will often comprise a combination of these such circumstances and catalysts, due to the far-reaching systemic effects of this imbalance overall.
I will list many of the symptoms that I experienced (or that had gotten worse after having had them to some degree my whole life and coping with them) followed by a number of symptoms that I did not personally experience, yet are associated with Copper Toxicity as well. Having been in contact with many individuals around the world whom have themselves suffered from Copper Toxicity, the following symptoms indeed represent a commonly experienced collection of symptoms across the board – mostly in women, and less commonly in men (CT impacts both men and women). Also, the combination of symptoms that maturate with CT are often both physical and psychological, with the specific manifestation depending completely on the individual and their unique bio-individuality.
You will also notice that many of these symptoms are characteristic of copper deficiency, and this is because when one is housing excess unbound bioUNavailable copper within their body, it can not be utilized (as described above), therefore resulting in symptoms of copper deficiency.
All of these components considered, it is extremely important to acquire an HTMA from a thoroughly trained, relevant practitioner in order to confirm your Copper Toxicity imbalance clearly and appropriately. The healing protocol that is necessary is often a highly involved, delicate process that must be given the utmost respect, care, acknowledgement, and consideration.
Symptoms that I personally experienced as a result of Copper Toxicity include:
- chronic never-ending fatigue and exhaustion – this left me mostly unable to partake in hardly any activities, unable to work out or go on my regular walks/runs, normal household chores would complexity wipe me out, activities outside of my home after around 3 or 4pm were completely out of the question, oftentimes unable to maintain function outside of bed at all. This is not just a “sort of tired” kind of feeling…this encapsulates your entire body, mind, and spirit. You are exhausted down to your bones…your every cell. You feel as though you are walking through cement to accomplish the simplest of daily tasks, and every activity of any kind feels overwhelmingly difficult. Your limbs feel heavy, your mind feels foggy. The absolute epitome of pure exhaustion, all day, every day.
- excessive hair loss (head, eyelash, and eyebrow) – very long standing (about 4 years)
- dry, brittle hair
- extreme digestive upset -chronic bloating/abdominal distention, slowed intestinal motility/constipation, food sensitivities, etc.
- abdominal pain (sporadic)
- low body temperature
amenorrhea – the cessation of the menstrual cycle (which lasted about 8-9 months)…this was immediately following my taking the broad-spectrum antibiotic (of which I will never entertain the idea of doing again, highly unnecessary in so many cases), which played an extremely large role in causing the cessation of my menstrual cycle for so long (compounded by active copper elimination), in that the detrimental impacts on my gallbladder and intestinal environment caused by this drug greatly impaired my body’s ability to maintain reproductive hormone balance. I have regained clockwork regularity, as I have addressed and healed both of these areas respectively.
menorrhagia – conversely, this is an extremely heavy, prolonged menstrual flow, which I experienced for a time once my cycle returned. This also appears to be more common for women whom have had the copper IUD. As discussed below, this is a common symptom of estrogen dominance, which is brought on by Copper Toxicity.
vacillating high and low blood pressure
anemia – low red blood cell count/hemoglobin/iron levels – there are many ways that CT causes anemia which include 1) lack of adequate iron metabolism as a result of biounavailable copper – bioavailable copper is required to convert the ferric to ferrous form of iron so that it can be utilized within the body as well as aiding in transporting iron into the hemoglobin molecule 2) kidney dysfunction due to copper overloaded organs impairing the production of RBCs – the kidneys normally produce a hormone that signals the production of RBCs, but when overloaded with copper are not able to perform this task 3) adequate Vitamin C stores are needed for proper iron absorption, and copper is a Vitamin C antagonist 4) for women, potential excessive blood loss due to heavy menstruation as a result of estrogen dominance, caused by CT 5) low hydrochloric acid production caused by CT, resulting in malabsorption of iron 6) various other nutrient deficiencies such as B12, folate, and Vitamin E which are all required to produce red blood cells 7) CT leads to manganese deficiency, while manganese is required for the stimulation of hemoglobin, and 8) parasitic infection – I implemented many various techniques to amend this symptom including the use of raw beet juice, a kidney cleanse, and the support of methylation pathways, as well as the avoidance of grains/nuts/beans which contain phytate compounds that can impede iron absorption, these foods are also very high in copper. It is important to note here that in many cases, one’s anemia will not be eliminated until their copper imbalance is treated, as this is commonly the core underlying cause for the anemia in the first place.
frequent dizziness – especially upon standing
heart palpitations and rapid heart rate
insomnia – inability to sleep for more than a couple hours – which was frustrating to say the least especially seeing as sleep is so imperative to adequate healing! I did use melatonin supplements which helped me sleep for about 4 hours at a time, being cautious not to overuse them as to allow my own hormones to do their job and naturally regain balance
weight gain and weight loss without change in diet or activity level (Many varying, bio-individual and metabolic factors are behind this symptom, for example: I was and have been on a diet the is completely free of all sugar, simple carbohydrates, grains, and mostly no dairy, which is clearly not conducive to weight gain – and the gain was mostly around my hips, thighs and abdomen, which is characteristic of estrogen dominance, see below)…I’ve also come to discover that the slight weight gain was caused by my malabsorption of fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids as a result of gallbladder dysfunction catalyzed by CT. In addition, per the brilliant help of a Comprehensive Stool Analysis/Parasitology test I was able to discover which specific strains of beneficial bacteria that I was lacking, and once I administered an enteric coated (a coating that allows the probiotic to sustain transmission through the stomach and remain immune to stomach acid) probiotic containing these strains, that extra weight melted off and I was able to regain my natural figure. Adrenal insufficiency and low thyroid function both tremendously contribute to weight gain or weight fluctuations in general.
extreme malaise and what I referred to as a “toxic” feeling all over my body – most whom have or have had CT can ID this tell-tale symptom.
worsening of malaise and fatigue immediately upon waking – from a nap or during the night
increased thirst – which is a common adrenal burnout symptom that isn’t linked to the adrenals in a lot of cases. This can also be a symptom of low potassium – a common result of low adrenal function, and liver and kidney stress – both very common with CT. Blood sugar imbalance and excessive cortisol production also contribute here.
kidney stress – frequent urination, darkened urine, back pain, water retention, etc.
- liver congestion and dysfunction
- adrenal insufficiency/fatigue: CT catalyzes and propels a tremendous degree of stress throughout the body from increased free radical damage on the cellular level to central nervous system inflammation to neurotransmitter imbalance and much much more – this is all tremendously taxing on the adrenal glands, almost always resulting in stage 3 adrenal exhaustion (see the “Stress” section below for further explanation)
low thyroid function – (aka “hypothyroid“) and vacillating high and low TSH readings which would go from .14 to just under 4 in a couple of months: Copper Toxicity adversely impacts thyroid function in a number of ways including 1) catalyzing iron deficiency – adequate iron levels are required for the optimal function of the thyroid 2) CT directly impacts the mineral ratio associated with thyroid function, the calcium/potassium ratio 3) high estrogen levels resulting from CT result in Thyroid Binding Globulin production, attaching to thyroid hormone and rendering it unusable 4) CT leads to adrenal fatigue – the adrenals and thyroid are intimately linked and essentially co-dependent 5) CT adversely impacts the liver and the gut: the thyroid hormone T4 is converted to its active form, T3 in these locations 6) toxic copper has a direct and detrimental function on T4
estrogen dominance – which is an insufficient ratio of estrogen to progesterone, not necessary ‘high’ estrogen levels, yet higher than necessary in relation to progesterone. I displayed overtly high estrogen levels, yet someone can be estrogen dominant and still display “normal” or even low levels – if progesterone isn’t sufficient to balance estrogen than one is considered estrogen dominant. This can be tested via a 30 day female hormone panel which entails collecting your saliva periodically over the course of a month or via a serum test for estradiol and progesterone. Zinc and progesterone are synergistic, therefore when one is experiencing CT, their progesterone will decrease due to decreased zinc as a result of rising copper, leading one in to a state of relative estrogen dominance. Furthermore, as the adrenals continue to become compromised due to rising copper, progesterone output will decrease as well, allowing estrogen to continue to rise (both the adrenal glands and the ovaries produce these hormones). Then of course, there is the direct synergistic relationship between estrogen and copper – as copper increases, so too does estrogen. Estrogen dominance involves a series of symptoms in and of itself which include breast tenderness/swelling, weight gain (especially around the hips, thighs, and abdomen), hair loss, hypothyroid symptoms (due to thyroid binding globulin production), increased fatigue, worsened PMS symptoms, irregular periods, excessive and heavy menstrual bleeding, bloating/water retention, foggy thinking, migraine headaches, acne, uterine fibroids, and more…all of which I exhibited.
increased DHT production – a symptom associated with androgen/sex hormone imbalance such as PCOS, see below for further explanation (this was amended via a tomato based compound called lycopene that operates as a powerful anti-androgen and additional anti-inflammatory/liver support agents as to catalyze natural excretion of excess hormones)
migraines – more so at night and first thing in the morning – this was a frequent occurrence during the most active times of my detox
skin problems – dry skin, dandruff, uncharacteristic acne
skin irritation/rash – on limbs (mainly my upper arms and calfs)
a tingling/”prickly” feeling all over my body which seemed to be right under my skin – primarily caused by liver congestion/sluggishness and gut imbalance/pathogen infection
scalp sensitivity and soreness, mainly around the crown of my head
slow wound healing
gut imbalance/dysbiosis and susceptibility to infection – specifically chronic Epstein Barr Virus – discussed below – and gut imbalance: both fungal infection/overgrowth and parasitic infection (discussed further below in the Additional Testing, Comprehensive Stool Analysis section)
poor circulation – cold hands and feet – this can be associated with the endocrine system as well as a result of anemia
nausea (word to the wise: peppermint tincture or lemon juice help to alleviate nausea brilliantly, this was very very helpful during active detox!)
many vitamin and mineral deficiencies – due to malabsorption, low hydrochloric acid production, poor gallbladder function (fat soluble vitamins/essential fatty acids), inadequate digestive function/gut imbalance & infection, poor methylation capacity, and the antagonistic relationship that copper has to numerous vital nutrients – some of my deficiencies included: B12, folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, Magnesium, Molybdenum, Selenium, Manganese, Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium, and others.
pale stool – a white clay color that lasted for months due to liver congestion/inadequate bile flow
intolerance to heat
pronounced vein visibility
shortness of breath – this is without any exertion at all, and was most commonly the result of iron deficiency anemia
dry, gritty eyes and blurred vision
muscle spasms and muscle weakness – stirring a pot for more than a few seconds would tire my arm
- hypoglycemia – biounavialable copper directly impedes adequate insulin metabolism and function in addition to contributing to severely low potassium levels. Potassium is responsible for transporting glucose from food across the cell membrane, and when deficient, a cellular low blood sugar state will result. Furthermore, all aspects of our endocrine system are connected, and when there is an imbalance in one area, a cascade effect is likely, which can throw the entire endocrine system off balance. CT impacts thyroid, adrenal, and sex hormone balance notably, all of which can lead to blood sugar imbalance. Other significant nutritional deficiencies resulting from CT such as zinc, magnesium, and chromium deficiency all directly impede optimal insulin sensitivity and metabolism, contributing to chronically low blood sugar. This contributed to others symptoms such as increased fatigue, brain fog, and anxiety – it is all connected.
joint pain (sporadic)
- high histamine/food sensitivity/environmental allergies – because copper and histamine metabolism are closely linked (DAO/histaminase enzyme), both high and low levels of histamine are shown in those with copper imbalance, it all depends on one’s genotype and other various biochemical factors. Also, because copper imbalance greatly impacts gut health/balance and decreases immune function, food intolerance/sensitivity and environmental allergies are common with CT
brain fog/sensitivity to light – ‘brain fog’ seems to be a pervasive symptom that many people experience and it is associated to a myriad of imbalances, deficiencies, and toxicities – through my experience I would describe it as the inability to think as clearly as you would like, making simple activities like driving much more challenging in that you must invest a temendous amount of focus while doing them, also there are much more frequent occurrences of ‘what did I come in this room to get?’ moments as well. Interestingly, on cloudy days, the brain fog did not seem as bad, yet on very sunny days it was more intensified
anxiety – once my illness became acute this was often free-floating, meaning it would come and go with seemingly no triggering, for example, when brushing your teeth, or cooking – arising during activities that were completely benign and enjoyable. There were also periods of my life prior to the time when all of my symptoms became extremely severe that I felt anxious moreso than I would have wished, and always knew there was an underlying contributor outside of what would be considered “normal” to induce anxiety. See below for an overview of my story. Once I began my healing protocol, I began experiencing the notorious “copper dumps” (described below), which must be monitored carefully. The anxiety symptom became acute panic a few times, in which case I took a break from my protocol and used the brilliantly wonderful herb passion flower to maintain some level of calm. The causes of this symptom are many. My nutritional deficiencies of zinc, magnesium, potassium, and chromium all directly impeded optimal insulin metabolism, leaving me in a chronic hypoglycemic state. Low blood sugar often results in anxiety, as the adrenal glands will continue to release cortisol and adrenaline as to signal the liver to release stored sugar, or glycogen. Finally optimizing my nutritional status and hence balancing my blood sugar levels also played a big role in eliminating anxiety, which was more notable and heightened early in the morning (the time of day that cortisol levels are highest and blood sugar is the lowest). Zinc deficiency in and of itself causes anxiety. Adrenal fatigue/insufficiency causes anxiety. Most nutritional deficiencies can result in anxiety, as well as thyroid dysfunction. Copper is also stored in the brain, and excess copper manipulates balanced neurotransmitter metabolism (the biogenic amines, as well as glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter) resulting in anxiety. CT also leads to gut imbalance, leading to enteric nervous system imbalance, and anxiety. Clearly, the causes of this one symptom are many. This symptom can be one of the most troubling…be open with your loved ones about how you are feeling, because any extra support is very very helpful during those especially unnerving times. Working on the relationship you have with yourself, and developing a strong, loving, nurturing, supportive inner dialogue is absolutely imperative, and serves as a blessing of this circumstance that will serve you life-long after you have healed.
racing thoughts – sporadic periods where thoughts are in a fast-forward state, occurring in an uncontrollable, rapid succession. This is both a general symptom of CT and a tell-tail symptom of copper elimination. See the “Copper Elimination” section below for further information.
- decreased sense of connectivity – to myself and the world around me. This is a complex symptom, and deserves far more explanation and outlining, some of which is done below. However for the purposes of this analysis, this basically felt like a veil was between me and my surroundings. It was as if I was struggling fruitlessly on a consistent basis to feel enlivened and satiated with life in general. I had a hard time solidifying and following my interests and often felt as if I was lacking the deep intrinsic passion that I knew was inside of me but was on a tempered and futile quest to be brought to the surface. Having now detoxified excess copper and progressively balanced my entire biochemistry – it is truly like night and day, and the legitimacy and unfortunate nature of this previously held symptom became so very clear.
- I have no doubt that an incredibly large amount of people are currently living each day as described above, thinking to themselves that this is “just who they are”, having no clue that this is absolutely NOT who they are, it is a consequence of a core underlying cause such as Copper Toxicity. This is just one example of the dire need to shift our perspectives and paradigms as to unveil the TRUE UNDERLYING CAUSE of any imbalance within the body or the mind. Our natural state of being is joyous, connected, loving (toward ourselves and others) and free…this is a birthright and anything other than this is an imbalance that can be amended given the appropriate attention.
And this list is not even exhaustive! In total, I experienced 60+ symptoms simultaneously at the most severe point in my moving through this illness.
- I have no doubt that an incredibly large amount of people are currently living each day as described above, thinking to themselves that this is “just who they are”, having no clue that this is absolutely NOT who they are, it is a consequence of a core underlying cause such as Copper Toxicity. This is just one example of the dire need to shift our perspectives and paradigms as to unveil the TRUE UNDERLYING CAUSE of any imbalance within the body or the mind. Our natural state of being is joyous, connected, loving (toward ourselves and others) and free…this is a birthright and anything other than this is an imbalance that can be amended given the appropriate attention.
Additional symptoms associated with Copper Toxicity:
- diabetes/insulin resistance
- elevated cholesterol
- decreased/eliminated libido
- eating disorders
- “bipolar disorder”
- some cancers
As is clear here, there are many symptoms associated to Copper Toxicity as it has such a profound effect on so many varying, interconnected bodily systems. There are many conditions that are thought to be related to CT, which will be investigated further as well.
- Zinc deficiency and several other vitamin and mineral deficiencies largely contribute to one’s likelihood of developing Copper Toxicity. As has been mentioned, zinc and copper have an inverse relationship, and a lowering of zinc will perpetuate an increase in copper. Zinc deficiency is tremendously common today due to a wide variety of reasons, including our pervasive soil depletion (hence a reduction in our food supply), increased chronic stress levels (which dramatically lower zinc levels in the body), use of pharmaceutical drugs, and gut imbalance to name a few. Deficiencies in copper-balancing minerals and vitamins such as Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Magnesium, and Manganese also greatly catalyze the development of CT, as well as a deficiency in pre-formed Vitamin A, which is in part responsible for the production of ceruloplasmin. Poor dietary choices, and the consumption of processed “foods”, conventional meat and dairy (which is loaded with added hormones, antibiotics, steroid drugs, and more), sugar and gluten containing grains all contribute to many chronic health issues, including gut imbalance and subsequent malabsorption of vital nutrients that maintain copper balance.
- Eating a mainly vegetarian diet, which can be low in zinc (again, the most copper antagonistic mineral and one of our biggest and most effective allies in keeping copper in balance) can perpetuate this imbalance. Also, vegetarian diets are often high in foods that are rich in copper such as nuts/seeds, beans/legumes, soy products, leafy greens, and grains (COPPER TOXICITY EATING PLAN includes a comprehensive list). Nuts, seeds, grains, and beans are also high in phytic acid (also known as “anti-nutrients”), which can bind to zinc and other vital nutrients and block their absorption.
- Copper supplementation can often contribute to one’s likelihood of developing CT. Copper is included in almost all multi-vitamin products, at the full Daily Recommended Value, which is 2mg. Due to the fact that copper is present in almost all whole foods to some degree, most people are indeed acquiring their required daily amount via diet. The scale begins to tip in favor of excess copper when an overabundance is being consumed via a multi-vitamin supplement as well.
- Congenital/passed in utero – copper imbalance can also be passed from mother to child, as this imbalance continues to increasingly prevail throughout successive generations. I was born with a relative copper imbalance, which continued to worsen over time. A large reason as to why this imbalance has become increasingly prevalent in this generation is that the birth control pill and other forms of synthetic birth control were introduced in the 1960’s and became widely used (in turn spiking estrogen levels), hence catalyzing an increase in endogenous copper levels amongst the eventual mothers whom used them.
- The copper IUD can catalyze Copper Toxicity, as this is a direct, continuous feed of excess copper into one’s system. I do find it very unfortunate and tragic that the copper IUD is marketed and advocated for as being the “least harmful” form of contraception in a lot of cases. One would think that a great deal of background research and testing would have to be done to ensure that the use of copper in a device that is permanently inserted into a women’s uterus would not catalyze severe detriment to her health (and if there was said testing performed, I would guess that those participants must have experienced the ill health that thousands of women are as we speak, as a direct result of the insertion of their copper IUD). No, Copper Toxicity is not well known, however I would think that medical and/or drug professionals would easily hypothesize that using any mineral, especially one that is considered a heavy metal, should be used with extreme caution. I was even told that the copper IUD was the “safest” form of contraception, in having no synthetic hormones comprised within it. This was suggested to me as an alternative to the Mirena IUD that I had removed (see below)…needless to say, I am very glad that I did not heed this suggestion, as this was shortly before I found out that I had Copper Toxicity, and my symptoms had begun to reach intolerable severity. Overall, this concept relates to much of my analysis below, in that one should not have to sacrifice their health in order to effectively utilize a form of “safe and effective” birth control. I remember thinking when I had the Mirena IUD (described below), “is all of this really worth the small component that this is a contraceptive?” as the myriad of symptoms that were catalyzed by it paled in comparison to the original reason I had it inserted to begin with, which was clearly to prevent pregnancy. Furthermore, I hypothesize that a great deal of the women whom have the copper IUD inserted are already copper toxic to some degree, they just aren’t aware of it, which obviously compounds this paramount issue even more. To think that I was going to get the copper IUD is unfathomable in hindsight, as I was already very copper toxic, I just had yet to discover my underlying imbalance. It is important, however, if you have found yourself experiencing Copper Toxicity as a direct result of the copper IUD, to try your best to release any anger or resentment that has built up within you. I had to work hard to do the same regarding the antibiotic that set me back so much (described below), but it is possible. Holding those feelings will only prevent you from truly healing overall so do keep that in mind. This isn’t to say that this matter should be taken lightly, however it is key to release our attachments to wrong-doings at the hands of another, because at the end of the day, that only serves as a detriment to us. You will get through this, for sure. In having been in contact with many women whom have developed Copper Toxicity as a result of the copper IUD, symptoms can arise within as little as one month of insertion, or take a number of years to manifest. Something that is undeniably apparent is that all of these women became ill as a direct result of the copper IUD, and this connection absolutely must become far more recognized and understood as to spare thousands of additional women from developing this imbalance.
- Hormone replacement therapy and/or simply being a woman, as estrogen and copper go hand in hand, when one goes up, so does the other.
- The birth control pill/any form of synthetic birth control which can strike an imbalance in estrogen levels and henceforth copper. It seems as though most if not all forms of conventional birth control methods have a pernicious impact on copper balance amongst many women, as they synthetically manipulate the natural balance of sex hormones and can contribute to an overt deficiency of progesterone and hence zinc and a rise in estrogen and hence copper.
- Copper cookware/copper water piping/well water supplies are all contributors to CT. It is important to have your water supply checked to see if this too could be perpetuating your plight…I had mine checked shortly after finding out that I had CT, and it is indeed just under what is legally mandated – I stopped using any tap water for the most part. Click here to visit my Copper Toxicity Eating Plan page where there is a whole section for water and which kinds have helped me the most in my healing protocol. Furthermore, some homes are built with copper water piping which inevitably becomes infiltrated into tap and bathing water. While usually not the sole cause of CT, copper cookware can exacerbate and tip the scales in favor of a copper imbalance, and should not be used. Stainless steel is a much better medium for cookware.
- Dental amalgam fillings can contain up to 30% of copper. Over 50% of this material is comprised of mercury, which is one of the most toxic substances in existence. This is another area similar to the copper IUD, that is severely flawed within medicine. The use of a substance as harmful and physiologically damaging as mercury has absolutely no place being used as a medium in health-care devices and materials. Dental amalgams can and do catalyze severe chronic illness in many people and it is certainly advised to have your dental amalgams removed by a trained holistic/”biological” dentist. Especially for those whom are experiencing heavy metal toxicity symptoms (listed above), it is imperative to seek out a dentist whom is first, aware of the toxicology of mercury, and second, trained in the safe-removal procedures (often referred to as the Huggins Protocol) that must be followed as to ensure that one is not exposed to excess mercury during the removal process. There is controversy in a lot of cases regarding the correlation between illness and dental amalgams because all of us are biochemically different, as is discussed frequently throughout this page. While one person may be able to retain a mouth full of mercury fillings without experiencing any notable illness, another may be severely sensitive to this toxic compound and become extremely ill. This difference is due to a myriad of physiological and epigenetic (described below) reasons. For example, as discussed in the METHYLATION section below, if someone has several of the significant and common gene mutations, MTHFR, CBS, or MTRR, they will have a more difficult time detoxifying than someone who does not. While it can be a hefty investment, I feel as though the replacement of one’s dental amalgams should be at the top of the priority list when embarking on a healing protocol of any kind, especially a copper/heavy metal focused program. In general, once most or all sources of toxins are removed within and around us, our body’s natural ability to heal will be strengthened.
- Mirena IUD – Personally, I did not have the copper IUD, however I did have the Mirena IUD for only 4 months and experienced a great deal of severity in my symptoms upon its administration. The Mirena IUD releases small amounts of a synthetic progesterone hormone called levonorgestrel, which can suppress natural progesterone production and in turn catalyze the overproduction of estrogen. Due to the symbiotic relationship of estrogen and copper, this can then contribute to rising copper levels. Of course, when I chose to use the Mirena IUD I had no idea that I had an underlying Copper Toxicity problem, so I blindly went with the advice of my gynecologist as this was the most “effective” form of birth control that she recommended, “with the least, if any, amount of side effects.” Little did I know! The two doctors that I discussed this with dismissed my concerns, stating that the symptoms I was experiencing had nothing to do with the IUD, even though they did not exist prior to its administration (yet another example of being your own best advocate regarding your health and its subsequent treatment).
- Stress/Adrenal Insufficiency – this is a big one, see section below for thorough analysis here. In today’s world, the majority of people remain in a low-grade, chronic stress state. This is due to an influx of all forms of stress, be it emotional, physical, or environmental. The chronic occupation of the “fight or flight” stance equates to consistent stimulation of the amygdala in the brain, consistent stimulation of the adrenal glands to produce hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline/epinephrine, and a consistent occupation of the sympathetic nervous system. This has a profound and systemic impact on the overall functioning of the body – as chronic stress can adversely impact all areas of health and well-being. One of the main reasons that a chronic stress state significantly contributes to CT is that the adrenal glands are in part responsible for stimulating ceruloplasmin production – the copper binding protein that binds to copper, renders it usable and non-toxic, and safely transports it through the body. As adrenal function declines and one progresses through the 3 stages of stress (explained below in the STRESS section), the adrenal glands become significantly crippled to maintain their physiological responsibilities. Ceruloplasmin production declines, and unbound, toxic, “free” copper begins to circulate throughout the body and becomes stored in tissues.
HAIR TISSUE MINERAL ANALYSIS (HTMA)
Copper Toxicity must first be identified in an individual via Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis testing – a highly effective, science-based method of testing that entails taking a sample of hair from the patient and testing it in a laboratory for its primary mineral and heavy metal content. HTMA is the most viable means by which to test for copper imbalance, as the blood does not house any substance within it that it does not have to for any length of time – the blood is homeostatic. This means that heavy metals such as copper will not reside in the blood for a notable length of time, they will be sequestered in tissues, and must be found via a method of testing that will gauge tissue storage levels and not serum levels, as serum copper will only be high when one is experiencing acute copper poisoning, a “copper dump”/active elimination of copper, or currently has a copper IUD implanted.
HTMA is not interpreted in a “literal” manner, as there is a specialized art that must be utilized in order for the intricate results to be correctly interpreted. Each mineral in our body functions differently, and therefore the way in which it is excreted and metabolized within the body will vary, hence a need to view each mineral and its activity from a perspective that is unique to that mineral. In addition, the individual mineral readings do not hold as much significance in meaning as each mineral ratio, therefore HTMA must be interpreted by a practitioner whom is properly trained in this area, as to understand its nuances and hence allow the test to grant the most advantageous and correct information for the individual.
As with any component regarding one’s health, there will be variances regarding individual circumstances. One person may exhibit both high levels of copper in their hair as well as high serum levels…or one may exhibit high urinalysis copper levels (discussed below) and not high serum copper levels…or, one will exhibit high hair copper levels and normal serum copper levels. Readings are all relative, however HTMA serves as the most accurate means by which to unveil underlying Copper Toxicity, by far. A great deal of this variance also has to do with the timing of one’s toxicity and whether or not copper has begun to mobilize from tissue storage – as each given phase of the rise of toxic copper as well as the mobilization out of the body will provide different results depending on these said phases of metabolism. Over time, this will become more clear and more widely utilized, as thousands of people have successfully healed from CT as well as various other mineral imbalances by using HTMA as their primary means of guidance throughout healing, myself included.
Also, it is important to wash your hair the night before the day your hair will be collected. I have been advised that it is best to have the sample collected over 5 hours but under 24 hours from the time that you washed it (scheduling your appointment for the collection the following morning). Pubic hair can also be used if the hair on your head (most commonly with males) is too short for ample collection amounts. I use Analytical Research Labs (ARL) based in Arizona, which I have been very happy with in their attention to detail, personalization, and their giving a very lengthy informative analysis that explains the physiology behind your readings and how they apply to your specific levels and individual symptoms. (And don’t worry, only a small amount of hair is taken and you can’t tell from where at all!)
Here is an example to demonstrate the extreme necessity of HTMA:
Someone can be tested via blood right after they remove their copper IUD. Their serum level is high to begin with, concluding that they are indeed experiencing Copper Toxicity, no surprise. They then return to their doctor to receive another blood test several weeks later, and find that their serum copper is now “normal” and are informed that they are good-to-go. While this news may seem welcomed, it is often false, in that the copper that was present in the blood has now been sequestered into tissue storage as the blood can not house it for long, and must “get rid of it” in order to prevent further physiological/neurological damage from occurring. This individual is then led to believe that they no longer need to worry about CT as an issue, and move on having no knowledge of the fact that their copper imbalance is not only still present, but it is essentially worse, as it has become embedded into their tissues and absolutely must be mobilized out in order for them to continue living healthily both physiologically and psychologically.
Such is also the case with Wilson’s Disease (described below), which is a genetic malady that involves a mutation in the ATP7B gene, creating abnormal copper metabolism from birth. Most individuals with Wilson’s Disease will have a normal serum copper reading, as the high levels of copper that have built up in their body is being hidden away in their tissues as a means of the blood protecting the rest of the body from comprehensive damage and maintaining its homeostatic nature. In fact, a large number of those with Wilson’s Disease will actually show lower than normal serum copper levels, due to lowered ceruloplasmin, which is a copper binding protein that is produced in the liver and is responsible for transporting copper successfully throughout the body.
This indeed involves a major paradigm shift within healthcare, as blood is clearly the first and foremost medium that is used to gauge various deficiencies/toxicities. However, just as I explain in the below section regarding support and understanding, we must drop our resistance to new ideas and start to embrace them with an open mind. There is a reason that our public health is so direly compromised at present, and improper testing methodologies are part of that reason. We must embrace what works, and discard previous dogmatic attachments to what used to be and look forward to creating a healthcare environment that utilizes improved testing mechanisms that provide results in a clear, gentle, comprehensive manner. This is where TRUE healthcare is given, and TRUE, deep-rooted healing is achieved and subsequently maintained.
Click here to read an article regarding the importance of HTMA testing which will give you further examples as to why this method is most effective, as well as several reasons behind its lack of use in mainstream healthcare arenas at present.
IMPORTANT: A series of misinformed, inaccurate studies have been performed and published which have essentially influenced the entire medical community to disregard HTMA and render it unreliable. Blood remains the gold standard for testing mineral levels, which simply does not allow the practitioner to gauge tissue stores most accurately. As to continue to focus on shifting the tide to illuminate the core underlying cause of illness and imbalance, it is imperative that HTMA testing begins to emerge as a standard screening tool utilized by many practitioners. A key point here is that before Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis is accepted as a viable means of diagnostic testing, a major effort to streamline the testing procedure, protocol, ideal ranges, interpretation criteria, and results reports is called for.
There are currently only two labs in the USA that do not wash the hair specimen upon receipt: Analytical Research Labs, Inc. and Trace Elements, Inc. To allow for the most accurate results possible, it is imperative that the specimen remain unwashed. All other labs do wash the sample upon receipt which manipulates the results considerably. All other labs also do not adhere to the standards of ideal ranges and interpretation either, leaving it very easy to see why HTMA is not taken as seriously as it should be. This is of huge concern and is in great need of an overhaul, undoubtedly. It is my and other’s hope that more progressive practitioners are willing to look past the several studies that completely discount HTMA and give it a chance in researching the mineral balancing science and testing techniques as developed by the only two viable labs mentioned above. This science has been developed and solidified over the course of the past 40+ years, with millions of HTMA tests being performed with concrete accuracy, clarity, and precision.
While it can be difficult to emerge out of our various long-held thought processes and previously held understandings…
Maintaining and exercising an open mind is IMPERATIVE FOR CONTINUAL EVOLUTION.
As with any large shift that is accomplished within a broad facet of society such as healthcare, the transition of awareness and true cognizance of the tremendously vital and imperative need for HTMA as a common, widely utilized form of testing will take some time. However, as time goes by, and more and more individuals are truly able to regain their health and access a clear scope into what has been causing their progressive struggle as a direct result of this profoundly helpful and comprehensive method of testing, the advocacy for HTMA will grow in proportion. Until then, those of us that have experienced these aforementioned endowments to our health by using HTMA will continue to spread awareness and educate the general public and most importantly medical practitioners as a means of slowly but surly integrating this form of testing into practice.
This truth is also wonderfully explained by Dr. Paul C. Eck, one of the founding fathers of break-through nutrient and mineral balance science and founder of Analytical Research Labs (1974):
“…anyone who tries to judge the validity of tissue mineral analysis by checking it against the blood will be disappointed. The blood is the highway of the body. You can have high or low levels of various minerals in your tissues – and still have relatively normal levels in your blood. For example, 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 was actively being released?”
-Chatswoth/Dr. Paul Eck, “Energy: How It Affects Your Emotions, Your Level of Achievement, and Your Entire Well-Being”
Again, there are only two labs that follow the needed standard, and the only two that should be used:
- Analytical Research Labs, Inc. (ARL)
- Trace Elements, Inc.
Regarding overall healing and treatment methods to effectively and indelibly heal from Copper Toxicity, there is no “one size fits all” approach, nor a panacea “miracle pill” that can be administered. Healing from this serious malady involves a comprehensive protocol that will likely involve many drastic lifestyle changes in order to provide the most efficacious, deep-rooted healing. This imbalance often takes many years to develop to a severe degree, therefore it will take a bit of time to correct itself. Not only does a “miracle pill” not exist, but this approach and misguided methodology perpetuates a paradigm within healthcare that the individual need not take responsibility for their health, and may go on living an illness-inducing lifestyle if they simply begin taking a drug. This does not provide true healing and this is not true healthcare. One must take full responsibility for their own health, learning as much as possible about themselves and this malady in order to heal, and fully commit to sedulously adhering to their healing protocol as a means of achieving true and lasting wellness.
MINERAL BALANCING AND BIO-INDIVIUDAL HEALING PROTOCOLS
Following the conclusive presence of CT via a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis, either by an overtly high reading or “hidden” copper imbalance (as indicated by various other mineral ratios), a specially designed mineral balancing protocol must be implemented, based on your own bio-individual results. Dr. Paul C. Eck designed what he termed “nutritional balancing” in the late 1970s, which is a comprehensive, natural healing methodology that includes a myriad of healing techniques involving the use of clean, whole foods, lifestyle adjustments, supplementation, and mind-body-spirit focused work in order to balance overall mineral levels and biochemistry, and hence heal both physically and psychologically. There are also additional, bio-individual, subjective details to each case that must be identified and attended to, which are often determined via the use of additional forms of functional testing, many of which are listed and explained below.
Our body is well-equipped with complex and highly effective detoxification mechanisms, which are capable of performing most of the heavy lifting when provided the best support. The aim of most holistic oriented healing protocols, is to implement custom-tailored natural healing agents to support these detoxification mechanisms, while recognizing and honoring the body as a self-righting vessel. Well if that is the case, than why doesn’t the body eliminate excess copper on its own? …you may ask. In most cases, this is because our body was not built to handle the incredibly large toxic load that is put upon it in today’s contemporary world. On top of the myriad of environmental and industrial toxins that we are exposed to on a daily basis, add in food preservatives, excess sugar consumption, a hormone/antibiotic laden meat supply, xenoestrogens (compounds and chemicals from things like plastics that mimic the hormone estrogen in our body), pharmaceutical drugs, toxic mediums such as dental amalgams, and heavy metal infused water supplies, and your body has a hard time keeping up. Our system becomes fatigued as our detox mechanisms (the liver, kidneys, gallbladder, and gut, among others) are constantly struggling to maintain physiological homeostasis and cleansing, and when presented with a circumstance that truly threatens our body’s harmonious balance such as Copper Toxicity, the stage is set for the development of serious health consequences. There are some whom are capable of detoxifying excess unbound copper with much more ease than the majority, however it seems as though this is the exception to the rule.
Just as Copper Toxicity itself is a multi-dimentional and complex imbalance that impacts a wide variety of systems within the body, the healing protocol necessary to recover from CT is multi-dimentional and complex as well – as it addresses a myriad of significant physiological, psychological, and spirit-oriented realms that comprise our Whole Being.
SOME OF THE KEY AREAS OF FOCUS WITHIN A COMPREHENSIVE PROTOCOL:
- Comprehensive balancing of one’s tissue mineral levels and ratios.
- Strengthening of the elimination organs (liver, gallbladder, kidneys, skin, gut, among others).
- Strengthening and balancing the adrenal and thyroid glands (aka adaptogenic support): the most salient energy producing and metabolism regulating glands within our body – and hence a strengthened ability to handle and overcome any type of intrinsic or extrinsic stress (emotional, physical, environmental, etc.)
- Balancing one’s metabolic rate and hence improving cellular energy production (mitochondrial function).
- Overall detoxification and elimination of pathogens and toxins such as pathogenic bacteria, yeast/fungus, parasites, viruses, chemicals, “food” preservatives/additives, environmental toxins, excess hormones (most commonly estrogen), additional heavy metals such as mercury, aluminum, lead, etc. Reducing the body’s overall toxic load is imperative in order to allow our body’s natural healing mechanisms to function optimally as they were designed to do.
- Supporting one’s digestive capacity, especially during active healing, as to keep the body inhospitable to invading pathogens and increase nutrient absorption, which is imperative for healing and achieving balance.
- The absolutely mandatory recognition of mental/emotional/spiritual elements within oneself which contribute to a chronic stress state and hence the manifestation of dis-ease, and focusing on healing tools to release adverse attachments and live with renewed emotional freedom and True Self awakening. Unleash Your TRUE SELF! and 5 Steps To Dismantle and Release Pain from the Past are two articles that outline these powerful practices further. TOOLS, EXERCISES, AFFIRMATIONS, & QUOTES houses a plethora of guidance as well.
- Custom-tailored dietary shifts relevant to one’s individual biochemistry. Nutrition IS health.
- Custom-tailored supplementation relevant to one’s individual biochemistry.
In addition, optimizing glutathione production (the body’s master antioxidant, a copper binding protein, and elemental component of both phases of liver detoxification) and identifying and optimizing methylation processes (explained in-depth below) are two additional, very important elements to incorporate into all Copper Toxicity healing protocols.
Utilizing genetic testing is also an extremely valuable tool when designing custom-tailored, root cause focused healing protocols, as this will unveil one’s clinically significant gene mutations which can be nutritionally supported and therefore reduce their capacity for providing healing road blocks.
Furthermore, optimizing gut health and balancing gut dysbiosis is also always an imperative area of focus in healing, as our gut not only comprises the majority of our immune capacity, it is also highly responsible for the production and balancing of our body’s neurotransmitters (the enteric nervous system) and ability to absorb and assimilate vital nutrients. Every single malady that has existed and will ever exist will be aided by giving due focus to healing the gut.
Also, of exceptional importance within a copper balancing protocol is the focus on ceruloplasmin production. Up to 95% of the body’s copper is transported and bound to this protein, or shall I say should be bound to this protein, as to exist in its non-toxic, bioavailable state. When one is copper toxic, however, they are harboring a high degree of unbound, toxic “free” copper, which is ultimately traveling through the blood to the body’s soft tissues, wrecking havoc on overall physiological balance and function. Increasing ceruloplasmin dramatically reduces this toxic effect, and allows the relative copper deficiency (due to biounavailablity) that one experiences with CT to balance. This is done primarily by the implementation of whole food Vitamin C (vs. ascorbic acid, which should be avoided), zinc (picolinate), pre-formed Vitamin A/animal protein, liver support, and adrenal support. The use of sulfur amino acids and healing agents is also helpful for supporting liver function and hence ceruloplasmin production, yet it is key to remain aware of one’s possible sensitivity to these, as many copper toxic people are sensitive to the ingestion of sulfur (in addition to those with the CBS SNP, as described below).
The inclusion of coffee enemas is also a very important, extremely powerful method to boost liver function, stimulate optimal detoxification capacity (by encouraging optimal bile flow and supercharging the glutathione s-transferase enzyme), and cleanse the colon. I know, this sounds extremely strange, however, the tremendous value of this procedure can not be left out of the equation. See below for further explanation.
Various other detoxification procedures that stimulate the liver and lymphatic system such as castor oil packs and dry brushing can potentially be used as well.
Additional steps can be taken as well, in accordance with the results of various other tests performed. For example, someone could unveil a specific gene mutation via genetic testing as mentioned above that calls for the administration of methylated B12 into their protocol, or a particular neurotransmitter imbalance could be unveiled via an Organic Acids Test or Urine Amino Acids test, and a specific amino acid will be introduced to catalyze further balance here (additional testing is discussed below). Or a specific gut pathogen presence could be unveiled on a Comprehensive Stool Analysis/Parasitology X 3 test and healing agents to eradicate this particular infection would be implemented. There are an endless array of possibilities regarding your specific healing protocol, especially considering the tremendously wide variety of bodily systems that CT adversely impacts.
Great care must be given throughout this process, as the balancing/copper lowering techniques must be particular to that person’s bio-individuality and additional mineral pattern readings. This is by no means an overnight endeavor, and will often take several months to years for true and lasting healing to be accomplished. It is also very important to monitor the body closely, as detox should be a gradual process as to not overload the already compromised elimination organs (liver, gallbladder, kidneys, gut, etc.).
True and lasting healing is absolutely possible, yet it is up to the individual to take responsibility for their own health and dedicate themselves fully to the healing process (diet modifications, lifestyle changes, psychological/spiritual development, supplementation, etc.). Of course, there are a myriad of varying life circumstances that may expedite or extend the time it will take to heal, however it is imperative to develop the perspective that your health is now one of your main and most important priorities, in order to successfully bring about the comprehensive, permanent, deep-rooted healing and health that you are absolutely deserving of.
One must always be under the supervision and counsel of a qualified healthcare professional during this process, whom is willing to dedicate the individual time and effort that is mandatory and needed to heal from CT. This person much as be extensively trained in the interpretation of HTMA, and the subsequent implementation of mineral balancing and all-inclusive holistic healing protocols.
Yes, this all seems like a lot, and the lengths needed to regain one’s health will vary depending on the severity of the imbalance.
Always remember that you are 100% capable, and these changes and efforts are all contributing to your greater good.
I do not include a detailed, literal description of my very very very involved healing protocol/supplement regimen, as I do not want to portray the idea that one size will fit all. This is not the case, as your protocol will differ according to your unique biochemistry. Yes, there are a number of components on a copper balancing/overall mineral balancing program that will be the same or very similar for everyone – such as the use of supplemental zinc, or other various copper antagonists (such as whole food Vitamin C, molybdenum, and manganese) – however it is more important to focus on the subjective details that will serve you and only you.
Please visit my COPPER TOXICITY EATING PLAN page, however, for a great deal of insight into the many elements to consider regarding custom-tailored healing protocols. I have learned in a crystal clear way throughout my highly involved, very lengthy healing process, that tender care must be given, patience must be pristinely and overtly executed, and each seemingly small detail is equally as important. This takes courage, dedication, stoutheartedness, and an unwavering desire to BE WELL, therefore a considerable degree of “work” is involved in this process, undoubtedly. You can do it, I assure you.
Again, CLICK HERE for my Copper Toxicity Eating Plan page, which outlines a great deal of the components involved in a CT healing protocol in general.
In my view, the healing protocol for Copper Toxicity is highly representative of what must be adopted on a large scale in healthcare, as these are the primary components to consider when healing from this incredibly powerful malady, and are also the primary components behind the practice of Naturopathic Medicine:
- First do no harm – investigate your options in full and first and foremost, utilize only natural, healing/non-toxic, non-invasive therapies (of course there are exceptions, however this is the rule of thumb).
- Doctor as teacher/partner in healing – your doctor will guide and educate you, however you absolutely must take responsibility for your own health and be your own best advocate: you know your body best.
- The brilliant healing power of nature – our natural earth has provided an endless, copious array of efficacious healing tools and agents that support your body’s natural, pristine, incandescent, intricately designed ability to heal autonomously.
- Identify and treat the underlying cause – in this example, Copper Toxicity would be your underlying cause…simply treating your list of symptoms would not be amending your root cause of copper imbalance and hence you would not be able to truly heal on a deep and permanent level.
- Treat the Whole Person in Mind, Body, Spirit, and Heart – your physical body is only part of the interconnected totality that makes up your Whole Being. Your feelings and your soul’s essence: your Heart Center – your Spirit – are all equal elements in this equation and must be supported, healed, advocated for, and given thorough attention and care in order for you to once again, truly heal on a deep and permanent level.
Overall, I’ve learned more in my own healing about anatomy, physiology, mineral imbalance, and achievement of emotional & spiritual freedom than I could have ever fathomed possible about 3 years ago. If all of the above mentioned points are taken into reverent and careful consideration, than overall wellness is yours for the taking – it is simply up to you to embrace them.
**As a rule, regarding supplementation, I always stick with yeast, soy, and grain free products for the most part. Certain lines make it very clear that these ingredients are not included and some don’t – I always purchase products that overtly describe what is and isn’t included. Also, if I am purchasing a food substitution such as beet juice powder, I always ensure that the product is non-GMO and organic. There are always exceptions with certain products, but some of my chosen and trusted lines of supplements are Standard Process, Thorne Research, Pure Encapsulations, Seeking Health, Biotics Research, and Pro Thera/Klaire Labs. If ever in question, I always call or email the supplement company and have always received prompt responses answering my inquiries. **
Castor Oil Packs
Lowering one’s copper level is a complex, comprehensive process that involves great care, attention, and patience. As opposed to focusing on solely lowering copper, there are many elements that must be considered as to achieve the most effective and safe healing, hence the use of a full mineral balancing and bio-individual holistic healing protocol as described above.
The idea and goal of each healing protocol is to mobilize copper out of tissue storage, however this must be accomplished very gradually and slowly as to avoid exacerbating one’s already symptomatic state. The main elimination pathway of excess copper is through the the liver, then bile, through the intestines, and out via stool, with a secondary elimination pathway being through the kidneys and urine (copper is also eliminated via tissues such as the hair and skin). However, when copper is being mobilized out of tissue storage, it temporarily enters the blood on it’s way to these elimination organs, catalyzing a temporary state of acute copper poisoning. This process is often referred to as “copper dumping” and occurs throughout one’s healing journey in an ebb and flow type of pattern – what I refer to as the yo-yo pattern (this is also shown via HTMA as a continual rise and fall of one’s copper level).
When one’s blood copper level increases dramatically during this time, pre-existing symptoms commonly worsen for a period, or one will experience various new physical and psychological symptoms such as racing thoughts, heightened anxiety (which can develop into acute panic attacks), increased digestive upset, skin sensitivity, worsened chronic fatigue, insomnia, worsened brain fog, headaches (often migraines), skin rash, irritability, mood fluctuations, and several others. These symptoms also arise due to a relative deficiency in copper binding proteins, including ceruloplasmin. This experience can be not only annoying and uncomfortable, but frightening as well. Ceasing one’s supplement regimen and other healing procedures for a few days often helps to lessen the severity of copper dumping symptoms. Seek support from loved ones, rest more, and nurture yourself during these times. Make your own rules and put your health and healing first on your priority list. Using passion flower helped me TREMENDOUSLY to calm the all-too-common symptom of anxiety as I made my way through copper elimination.
Personally, I could literally feel my blood flowing when I went through copper dumps, it almost felt cold, and most definitely toxic. It was a bizarre and unsettling feeling to say the least. I could also notice a change in my hair color over a matter of days, having not dyed it in several years. This was a very intriguing observation.
Often, the amount of copper that is being removed from tissue storage is more than your body is equipped to bind, leaving more unbound, toxic copper to travel throughout the bloodstream. While a slight worsening of symptoms is sometimes unavoidable (what is referred to as a “healing reaction”), it is imperative that this process occurs slowly and scrupulously as to not worsen one’s condition. For example, zinc is included within every copper lowering protocol (as it is copper’s main mineral antagonist), in precise and custom-tailored amounts. As opposed to taking mega-doses of around 150mg of zinc per day, it is far more conducive to safe healing to keep zinc doses between 10-50mg as to ensure slow and steady elimination of copper, and to avoid perpetuating severe and quick onset of copper dumping. One must avoid the temptation to hasten their healing via the implementation of high doses of any healing agent, as this can and will worsen this condition and create far more harm than good.
As is outlined below, what is referred to as the “calcium shell” can quite often accompany copper imbalance. As copper levels rise, so too does calcium, as a direct response to both the physical and psychological stress that is catalyzed from rising copper. This pattern can result in psychological and emotional detachment, numbing of feelings, lack of awareness, and overall disassociation with oneself and those around them. A comprehensive copper lowering protocol addresses the Calcium Shell as to reduce high levels of biounavailable calcium in conjunction to copper, however if the proper steps aren’t taken and close monitoring is not undergone, one’s Calcium Shell pattern can worsen. Once adrenal support is administered, depending on which stage of copper accumulation one is in, an enigmatic stress response can be experienced due to a spike on one’s previously very low sodium levels (following the slow rise of biounavailable copper and hence resulting adrenal fatigue, one’s sodium level with continuously fall). Our adrenal glands determine our body’s endogenous sodium level, and when they are “jumpstarted” at the start of healing, we may experience a sudden spike in sodium, which serves as an additional source of stress. One’s stress response is activated once again, which can raise the calcium level further and worsen the already existing calcium shell pattern. The key word here is sudden. As to avoid this occurrence, protocols must be initiated slowly and monitored very closely via HTMA testing. This way, one’s coinciding mineral levels and overall biochemical balance can be obtained gradually, without exacerbating the already sensitive and stressed physiological state.
As outlined in the following section, it is very important to work with a practitioner whom is educated and trained in nutritional balancing and mineral imbalance, as to ensure that these exceptionally important notions are taken into thorough consideration.
Furthermore, there are many brilliant parallels between our emotional and physical healing, as they both require the same steps. When embarking on any form of deep-rooted healing, what is referred to as “retracing” is a common occurrence. In the case of Copper Toxicity the main aim is to balance one’s copper levels, however as has been mentioned, this is done by balancing one’s entire body chemistry. Therefore, many different toxins are being potentially eliminated and a variety of other imbalances are being corrected at the same time. This will produce a healing reaction (i.e. the exacerbation of existing symptoms) and it will also catalyze retracing. Just as we must face our past emotional hurts and traumas in order to dismantle their power, digest our lessons, and move on from them, our body often revisits old imbalances as it is working toward permanent healing. Although it may not appear true on the surface, you are healing on a deep level, and your body is generating new energy, giving it the ability to permanently heal old physical and emotional wounds that it wasn’t able to prior. Aches and pains from old injuries may arise, for example. In my case, my right foot began to hurt to the point that I couldn’t put weight on it for several days. This was the same foot that I had broken many years prior. Quite interesting, indeed. In general, judicious use of molybdenum can be used to lessen the severity of healing reactions, as it is a copper antagonist and aids in expediting copper elimination from the blood.
Moreover, a very important part of retracing and healing reactions to take note of is the very real emotional aspect. Throughout the often lengthy healing process, “emotional detox” is extremely common, and it can come out of nowhere. For example, something that you thought you were completely “over” will resurface in your mind and you feel inclined to revisit the past hurt all over gain. Or, you may simply start crying sporadically for no clear reason. Or, you will have feelings of irritability, anger, depression, and increased anxiety. Feelings of insecurity, worry, emotional sensitivity, and obsessive thoughts can all arise as well. While these symptoms are by no means enjoyable and can be rather upsetting, it is very important to just roll with them, and realize that it is all part of your healing process and is a temporary experience. Explain this phenomenon to those around you as well, as this can have an impact on your loved ones (explore this topic further in the “Support and Understanding” section below). Much more is included regarding the emotional aspect of healing from Copper Toxicity in the sections below. Overall, always remember that these upsetting emotional experiences are a means to an end ultimately – and once you move through them effectively, your subconscious and conscious mind and heart are permanently cleansed of any past hurts and pain: a true gift, in every sense.
Regular monitoring of one’s copper level via HTMA and various other additional tests (listed below) is key as to ensure the most steady and conscientious progress. In addition, it is exceptionally important that one is educated on the process of copper elimination prior to their embarkment on a healing protocol, as copper dumps and healing reactions can be very uncomfortable, cumbersome, and frightening. “Feeling like you are going crazy,” is a common anecdotal description from those whom were unaware of the copper dumping process while it is occurring. Having experienced many copper dumps myself first hand, I can surly attest to this, and feel as though my being educated on this process prior was of the utmost help in lessening the stress and fear that can accompany copper elimination.
You are not going crazy, I know it feels like you are, but this too shall pass.
With conscious planning and care throughout healing, the exacerbation of symptoms can be kept to a minimum and one is most certainly able to obtain optimal balance over a steady period of time. Slow and steady wins the race here, most definitely. I took several day breaks in my program often, as to reduce the severity of my healing reactions, and this technique helped quite a bit.
Some cases are more severe than others, yet most will experience some degree of copper dumping along the way. For those who’s case is more on the severe side, such as mine was, consistently remind yourself that you can and you will achieve wellness and balance successfully. The healing process can push you to your limits, and some days, all you can expect from yourself is to focus on putting one foot in front of the other, and that is just fine. If you feel like you want to cry, then cry, let out your emotions. Allow yourself to embrace this process as much as possible and begin to find equanimity in your journey. This is far from easy, it is extremely difficult in fact, however, it is nothing that you can not handle, and nothing that you can not overcome. You will emerge from this process more whole and aware than you’ve ever been before, and all of your struggles will prove tremendously worth it.
Use this as an opportunity to strengthen the most important relationship in your life: the one that you have with yourself. You can get through anything with self-love and self-compassion. This too shall pass.
While “conventional” or allopathic medicine can be very helpful, there is still a great lack of awareness regarding Copper Toxicity within practice. It is for this reason that one seek out the help of a natural medicine oriented practitioner as at the current time, those are the practitioners whom are most qualified to treat this malady in a relevant, appropriate manner. There are many titles by which “alternative” practitioners go by, and as this profession becomes more readily accepted and sought out, the accessibility to such a practitioner should become easier for you to attain. Naturopathic Doctors (ND), Certified Clinical Nutritionists (CCN), Doctors of Chiropractic (DC), Functional Medicine Doctors, Certified Nutrition Specialists (CNS), and Certified Holistic Health Coaches (CHHC) are several of the titles that would be appropriate to treat this condition. There are also a great deal of Medical Doctors (MD) whom are becoming much more “alternative” minded (such as DO’s, Doctor of Osteopathic) and therefore would be appropriate as well, however, it is important to assess whether this is the case upon your initial meeting with them.
Remember that you are your own best advocate and the first medical professional that you seek out may not be the most appropriate or be the best fit. Follow your intuition and remember that no one is infallible and you must remember that your achievement of lasting health is the main goal. Do not allow any practitioner to discount your concerns or to undermine your symptoms as “all in your head”. Someone with an open mind whom is willing to serve as your educator and mentor, and also devote ample time to getting to know you, your case history, and current health status (not simply 15 minutes with you), and has a mind-body-spirit centered healing methodology would be the best candidate.
Another common misconception is that DC’s are only spinal doctors and nothing more. Since the beginning of my journey with Copper Toxicity, my primary care doctor has been a DC, and he has been an ineffably valuable person in my achievement of lasting health. DC’s are trained in nutrition, natural treatment methods, and a lot of them are qualified to order and interpret Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis quiet well. I couldn’t be more grateful to have found him and he will always serve as one of my most salient mentors and of course healers. In areas where ND’s are less readily available, finding a DC can be a little easier, yet many often pass them by assuming that their scope of practice is solely limited to spinal adjustments. Yes, some of them may not work a great deal with HTMA or have a broad range of natural healing methodologies that they practice, however, it is definitely worth a shot to make an appointment to assess whether or not they are capable of treating your case. The scope of practice for many DC’s is very appropriate for treating mineral imbalance and chronic illness in general.
Another point to consider is that CT can really perpetuate a heightened state of anxiety, brain fog, and restlessness. Being open and honest about this (without holding any shame associated to it, as this is not “your fault” it is simply a symptom of your physiological imbalance) with your chosen healthcare provider is pivotal to developing and establishing a trusted relationship with them. You may want to bring along a family member or close friend whom you trust to your first few appointments, as they can help you in being a second pair of ears for the often overwhelming process of learning about your illness and that which will be best for your treatment protocols. You can also feel free to write some notes before you initial visit, that include your symptoms, feelings, observations, and questions, as this will help you to guide your meeting in a constructive way and allow you to leave feeling as though your voice was heard. Once again, any practitioner whom is deserving of treating your case will devote ample time to getting to know you as a person, your case history, and assessing your current health status from many different angles. Even if it takes you a few tries, the appropriate practitioner is out there for you to find and utilize, just approach this process with an open mind and never cease to have full compassion for yourself in this journey.
And it is very important to remain aware that as mentioned above, this malady is not well-known, nor commonly treated, so often times you will need to seek out a practitioner whom you already know has experience in treating Copper Toxicity and is knowledgeable about it’s many intricate implications – not simply find a holistic oriented doctor, assuming they can properly treat CT. Being in the digital age is highly advantageous, as there are various practitioners that will be willing to work with you via email, phone, and Skype.
In addition, it is wise to view the doctor/practitioner to patient relationship as a working partnership, in that you are an active player in your journey to achieve wellness. Educating yourself extensively on your imbalances is imperative as to ensure that you are capable of guiding your own journey consciously and appropriately. When working with an imbalance that is not well known, nor commonly treated, this point holds even more weight.
Over time, this will all improve, and there will be far more healthcare practitioners of many varieties whom are educated and qualified to treat this malady. Increasing awareness of Copper Toxicity will always be one of my primary life’s goals, and I surly look forward to the time when this direly important condition is given the attention and acknowledgement that it undoubtedly deserves.
MY PERSONAL HISTORY WITH CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE/PATH TO HOLISTIC HEALING:
For as far back as I can remember I have struggled to feel well overall. While my story is quite involved, here is a brief synopsis of the main components of my health and healing journey.
Between the ages of 12-17 I utilized only “conventional/allopathic” doctors, in the attempt to address why I was exhibiting chronic fatigue (I never felt “up to par” with the seemingly very high energy levels of my peers…and by about 1 or 2 in the afternoon, my only concern was getting home and getting in bed), digestive upset (extreme nausea, constipation, extreme abdominal bloating, vomiting, food sensitivities, etc.), and skin irritation, mainly. I had many tests performed – anything from CT scans, to MRIs, to ultrasounds, to every blood test known to man, etc. At one point I even had a camera inserted into my stomach through my throat which was quite a “different” experience to say the least. I was seen by gastroenterologists, general practitioners, gynecologists, etc. all of whom told me that nothing was wrong with me, as all of my tests had come back “normal”. My final “diagnosis” came from a pediatrician (as I was 17 at the time) whom diagnosed me with “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” and Epstein-Barr Virus and essentially called it a day. I remember thinking, “well, I could have told you that I have ‘chronic fatigue syndrome!'” I was told that there was nothing that could be done the treat either of these “conditions” and was left to my own devices at that point, and given absolutely no guidance as to where to go from there, or how to amend my increasingly cumbersome symptoms. (see below for additional information regarding Epstein-Barr Virus)
Even at the young age of 17, my intuition told me something was very off here. This “diagnosis” of “CFS” is an excellent example of the dire shifts that need to be made in all facets of healthcare. Chronic fatigue is a symptom, it is not a stand alone “syndrome”. Symptoms have core underlying causes. “Diagnosing” someone with this so-called “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” and sending them on their way, often (and tragically misleadingly) being told there is no “cure”, is an inexcusable, unfathomably negligent misstep. What is causing the chronic fatigue is so often lost, not that there is no “cure” to begin with. An incessant array of imbalances, including Copper Toxicity, are left to continue to worsen as a direct result of this one practice. It is inexcusable. It is close-minded. It is a disservice to the individual and it has no place in healthcare. I absolutely see and understand the need for patients and healthcare providers to find answers, hence the all-too-common jumping the gun on stamping this “CFS” label on a tough case. If you want a true “diagnosis” in this set of circumstances, “kick the can down the road syndrome” or “we don’t know what is causing your symptoms syndrome” would be far more illuminative and accurate.
After this “diagnosis”, I went on to college and essentially learned to deal with my symptoms…I accepted them as my “normal” unfortunately and tried my very best to cope with them while simultaneously trying to enjoy my life. I also didn’t want to (as no one does) view myself as “sick” so I kept quiet about a lot of my struggles and tried my best to keep up with everyone around me. It did take me an extra year to graduate, and frankly I’m surprised it didn’t take longer, yet it was nice to go to a liberal arts university, having an amazing variety of professors whom were truly understanding of my struggle, even if I couldn’t give them a clear idea as to what was causing my plight. In addition, I couldn’t be more grateful now and back then for the incredible love and unconditional support that I’ve received from my family. They have and always will serve as a profound gift in my life and I love each and every one of them endlessly.
I graduated college at age 23 and went on, coping with my symptoms, until mid to late 2013 (at age 27) when they had reached a paramount degree of severity, quantitatively and qualitatively, and I could no longer ignore or cope with them – I desperately needed help, and answers. Due to the fact that I had already been down the conventional road, and also that both of my parents have always respected and utilized holistic healing modalities, I chose to seek out a holistic health oriented practitioner for this go-round, and that is when I found my primary care DC/alternative doctor…what a sincere blessing he was to find! I had various tests performed during my initial appointment with him (and many following as described below), one of which was my first Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis, which unveiled one of my main underlying causes, finally. My tissue copper levels were nearly 9 times what they should have been to be considered “ideal”.
That is also when the comprehensive, effulgent, and exquisite world of holistic health, nutrition, and natural medicine was unveiled to me and I was able to actualize my true passion and life’s calling in this arena. I’ll never forget my doctor’s initial words to me regrading our intended treatment methods: “we’re going to heal you nutritionally,” he said frankly. My intrigue grew exponentially, and this moment was the start of my paramount love and ardor for all that is functional/systemic medicine and the natural healing arts and sciences.
The initial phases of beginning to heal were darker and more strenuous than I had ever experienced or imagined possible (when copper is being mobilized from tissue storage, one will experience a worsening of symptoms as “copper dumping” as it is commonly referred to, puts the body into an acute state of poisoning, in that copper is coming out of your tissues and into your blood stream, intensifying all of your symptoms to a great degree, in an often “roller coaster” type pattern that is very unpredictable). On top of the roughly 40 symptoms I had been experiencing up to that point, around 20 new ones were tacked on – and I was existing in a state where I felt imprisoned in my own body. During this protracted time, I found strength in myself that I never even knew I had – every single day, for several years.
My battle was of course compounded by the fact that I was suffering from a malady that no one I spoke to had ever even heard of, and I felt very lost and isolated initially. Not a soul could understand what I was going through, which presented even more challenges indeed. People just aren’t programmed to understand this for what it is. The human condition is a brilliant one, however, so I “pulled myself up by my boot straps” and got to work…really got to work. I took my love for study and personal research and began enlightening myself on everything I could get my hands on, turning a room of my home into my personal research office. I read books (from anatomy & physiology books, to self-help books, to holistic health books to universal law/law of attraction books, to published medical journals, endless papers, and more), tenaciously searched the internet (finally coming up with a variety of viable, research/science based sources), spoke to natural health practitioners, filled endless journals, and wrote tens of thousands of pages of notes, findings, connections, and everything in between. My thirst for knowledge grew more and more with each passing day, leaving no doubt that I had been introduced to my life’s work…my inherent passion…a part of who I am and the path I would follow life-long.
I also began the often difficult task of trying to explain what was going on with me to those whom are close to me. You see, this is hard for not only the person suffering, but also for those whom love them. You never want to see someone you love struggling, especially with something as seemingly illusive as Copper Toxicity.
Initially, it was difficult to describe my circumstances to the degree that anyone truly understood my plight or took it as seriously as it deserved to be taken, which was frustrating to say the least. Everything I explained was completely new to every individual in my life, so the learning curve was steep. I noticed that the severely chronic nature of my illness was an additionally difficult element to understand for others. Commonly, someone “gets sick” and then they “get better” in a relatively short period of time, however this was much much different. My journey to healing was a number of years, not weeks or months, which was surly a very hard truth for many to wrap their mind around. Living with a chronic, debilitating illness puts your somewhere in between being completely bedridden/hospitalized and walking around looking and behaving seemingly “normal”. This is very hard for people to understand. It takes constant effort to illuminate this situation for others, however this effort is well worth it in the quest to spread further awareness and hence gain further understanding for more and more people.
If someone is supposed to be in your life, they will put forth the effort to try to understand your situation the best they can, without casting judgments or misconceptions on you. This will be made very clear to you as you move throughout your healing journey. This also served as a brilliant opportunity for me to solidify independent thought, fortitude, self-love, and autonomy, as the need for other people to understand the true nature of my circumstances dissipated over time. I understood, finally, which was most important.
Very few people are able to understand this condition, or take it as seriously as it deserves to be taken. Do not let this discourage you.
As my daily research efforts exploded with new and enlightening connections and understandings, the whole realm of Copper Toxicity started illuminating itself to me and I began putting the pieces together myself: as you have to when researching something that isn’t already well-known and commonly treated. It also became overtly clear, very early on, that my degree in sociology was to serve me very well in my didactic endeavors, as I gradually began to see that our current societal paradigms largely contribute to why this isn’t more well-known nor properly understood. Our society just isn’t designed or programmed to see this for what it is, while under the guise of the western medicine disease model that is inherently married to blood testing, rigid dichotomies, and a basic lack of acknowledgment of the necessity for Whole Person healing. Symptoms are “diagnosed” as stand-alone illnesses and the core underlying causes are ignored.
Armed with my endless array of conclusive discoveries, I was able to see that I was born with a relative copper imbalance, as evidenced by my life-long experiencing of some of the tell-tale signs of CT (my extreme, chronic fatigue, digestive upset, and skin irritation/sensitivity). The discovery of my various clinically significant genetic imbalances also solidified this truth, as described below. Furthermore, as is the case with millions of women, my mother was on the birth control pill for 12 years prior to conceiving me, a factor that can greatly increase one’s copper level and contribute to CT’s generational compounding. Early in my research, when I found out that CT can be passed in utero, a big, bright light bulb went off for me and it all started to make sense. To say that was a liberating epiphany would be a dramatic understatement. “No wonder none of those doctors could figure it out!” I thought…in my clear realization that HTMA testing was not utilized by them, nor taken seriously or looked at as a viable method of testing within the macro field of “healthcare”.
I then began thinking of how many other people are out there, suffering from this very malady, seeing doctor after doctor, and being told that there is nothing wrong with them (and probably being diagnosed with “CFS” and sent on their way similar to me). That statement is kind of a catch 22. You want there to be “nothing wrong with you”, however, you deeply know that there is, and when no one can seem to figure out what is causing your very real struggle and endless symptoms, you are left in a space where you feel very lost, misguided, and frustrated.
Now, I finally knew…and while it was going to be a rather circuitous and protracted endeavor, involving a great deal of effort, I could heal, and I could actualize the life that I had always known that I could. Now that, my friends, is a wonderful thing indeed.
While this journey has been the most formidable, arduous, challenging, perfidious, unpredictable, frustrating, confusing odyssey I have ever, without a doubt, embarked on, it has simultaneously been the most enlightening, awakening, rewarding, gratifying, knowledge-building, and enjoyable one as well. I have been given the gift of actualizing whom I truly am and have found a path that I can sincerely and honestly say fulfills me more than I ever thought possible.
My blossoming journey of obtaining optimal health through my introduction, emersion, and complete Whole Being awakening within the world of holistic health has bestowed me with gifts and blessings that I had only dreamt of before and continues to do so on an astoundingly magical level, every day. My gratitude is endless, and I express and feel this always. (Click here for one of my essays outlining the unwavering significance of gratitude in our daily lives)
I have now been essentially reborn, and the direct correlation of our body’s copper balance to our physical, emotional, and mental health couldn’t have been made more clear for me.
I learned the hard way that any type of prescription medication can and does exacerbate Copper Toxicity and the copper elimination process. This is only based on my experience and is not to say that one should discontinue any medication they are currently on, however, this is the treatment method given by most conventional doctors which can very much slow down or even harm the patient whom has an underlying mineral imbalance such as Copper Toxicity. In a general sense, pharmaceuticals have a notably detrimental impact on one’s liver, and seeing as this is the first organ that becomes overloaded with rising copper, the use of prescription drugs can really put a CT suffer in a disadvantageous position overall. This can compound an already existing copper imbalance, or worsen one’s symptoms during copper elimination, as the adequate liver function is imperative to product the copper-binding ceruloplasmin protein.
I’ve learned from several other cases of Copper Toxicity, the delicate and often intricate detox process may not be honored by a conventional doctor, which can also slow down healing or harm the patient. In my case, it was a broad-spectrum antibiotic to treat a simple UTI that catalyzed a tremendous amount of struggle for me symptom-wise. I do not feel regretful about taking this drug (primarily because it has taught me a great deal regarding the adverse effects of pharmaceuticals and has also taught me that I will always save myself the trouble in the future and bypass them if at all possible), however I have clearly learned that there are many other, equally as effective ways to treat things such as UTI’s that antibiotics are administered for on an excessive basis. Gut health can be the root cause of many maladies and upsetting the delicate balance of your gut flora by using broad-spectrum antibiotics can really slow down your ability to regain your health, and should, in my opinion, be avoided, especially considering the fact that they are not necessary in a lot of cases. There are a lot of naturally sourced healing agents that have equally as efficacious antibiotic properties while simultaneously lacking the effect of eradicating the “good” bacteria in the gut when used…I didn’t learn this until after taking the said broad-spectrum antibiotic, as I was still in the place where I held the common misconception that antibiotics are “necessary” in a lot of cases. I have since utilized the aforementioned naturally sourced agents for bacterial infections which have been far more effective than any prescription I have ever taken in the past.
Completely healing from the tremendously adverse impact of the antibiotic on my gut health took well over a year. In a balanced individual (someone whom wasn’t suffering from a malady such as Copper Toxicity, for example), taking this drug wouldn’t have such a significant impact, however when one is experiencing an underlying imbalance such as CT, the digestive system and hence the immune system (as this is where most of our immune/defense mechanisms are housed) isn’t often strong enough to withstand these pharmaceuticals (as well as the liver, which is responsible for processing them and in the case of CT is again the first very important organ that is adversely affected and overloaded).
Furthermore, as has been discussed, the primary elimination pathway of copper is through the bile, and into the intestines. Therefore, optimal gut health is essential for copper to be successfully mobilized out of the body. If one’s gut is compromised, then the process of successful copper elimination becomes all the more difficult and less smooth sailing. On top of harming the gut, antibiotics again have a tremendously adverse impact on the liver, which then reduces the amount of ceruloplasmin produced and puts one in an even further state of disadvantage.
I aim to share this component of my story to potentially save someone else the arduous hassle of learning this the hard way and therefore prolonging their healing process even further. All I am suggesting is that great caution is taken when considering such treatment, however, each individual is the ultimate judge of what they believe will be best!
I no longer entertain even the slightest possibility of taking any pharmaceutical, as using naturally sourced healing agents has undoubtedly shown me the most efficacy and I personally believe that one should not have to trade in one set of symptoms for another, as is the case with most prescription drugs. Our bodies are designed to heal themselves on their own when given the proper support, of which nature has readily provided for us and as can been seen through the duration of natural and human history.
Seeing as Copper Toxicity adversely effects nearly every physiological system, it is helpful along your journey to perform a variety of different tests which will gauge how each of these systems is functioning and to identify any subjective contributors that may be exacerbating your imbalance. True healthcare equals utilizing a myriad of different techniques and screening tools as to assess the most comprehensive picture possible. Do note though that as your body is biochemically shifting into balance, these values will vacillate considerably, demonstrating many different types of readings. This is absolutely “normal” and is simply an indication of the body shifting into a state of homeostasis: which is your main goal.
Also, bio-individality is exceptionally important to consider, as your readings may demonstrate other bodily imbalances that are unique to only you, and hence not fit the “standard” model for what CT “should” show via your test results. As more and more research is emerging regarding this malady, it is becoming highly apparent that there is a large variance in lab results and hence it is difficult to even develop a common standard. As further awareness is raised, and more viable research is performed, there will be a more clear gauge as to what to look for and be mindful of regarding your various results.
While my primary guidance was and still is given through regular Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis testing (very effectively), I have had a myriad of additional tests performed as well, and describe most of them below as follows:
- Serum Copper (again, this test was only performed for informational purposes and not to gauge my authentic tissue levels of copper at any point in my healing journey)
- 24 Hour Copper Urinalysis
- Various tests to rule out Wilson’s Disease (Urinalysis, Total Serum Copper, Free Serum Copper, Kayser-Fleischer rings through a Slit Lamp Test)
- Ceruloplasmin Serum Test
- Fecal Metals Test
- Comprehensive Blood Panels (CBC, lipid panels, etc.)
- Alkaline Phosphatase
- Vitamin D Levels
- Comprehensive Stool Analysis/Parasitology
- 30-Day Female Hormone Panel
- Thyroid Testing
- Iodine Loading Test
- Adrenal Fatigue
- Methylation Testing/23andMe DNA Analysis – see “METHYLATION” section below
- Organic Acids Test – information regrading this exceptionally comprehensive and valuable test will be added soon
- Urine Amino Acids – added soon
Serum Copper and Urinalysis:
There are two types of copper blood tests: total and free copper. Total refers to the copper in the blood that is bound to ceruloplasmin – essentially, the “normal” non-toxic form of copper. Free copper refers to the copper unbound to ceruloplasmin – the toxic form. If examining the blood, this is the value that is most appropriate to consider here. My total copper level was ‘normal’, while my free copper levels were indeed fairly high, a common occurrence with CT. Also, Red Blood Cell blood levels can be tested for, as the RBC value is more accurate in determining the tissue stores of various minerals and nutrients. Again, however, many elements can manipulate blood readings, which must be taken into consideration.
As explained above, using the blood to gauge one’s true copper status is problematic in that it essentially depends on which state of copper accumulation or elimination one is experiencing as to what the blood will unveil. Someone whom is indeed copper toxic can exhibit normal copper levels in their blood, as again, the blood is not where excess copper is stored. Blood tests can be helpful in painting your total Copper Toxicity picture, yet should not be solely relied upon as a comprehensive diagnostic tool.
This is why Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis is the most accurate means by which to test for copper, as this method allows you to gauge mineral levels as they appear in the tissues, over the course of about a 3 month period of time. While blood testing is axiomatically helpful in many regards, the blood reveals that which is occurring within the body right at that point in time, and as the body does not keep much that it doesn’t have to in the blood for any length of time, this form of testing can be very illusive and produce inaccurate results as to what is truly “going on” within your current physiological structure and function. (It is important to perform regular HTMA tests throughout your healing, approximately every 3 months, and then every year upon the acquisition of balance in order to monitor levels consistently and maintain the health that you’ve worked so hard to obtain)
I also preformed a 24-hour urine copper test, which resulted as normal. The reasoning behind a “normal” 24-hour urine test is very similar to the above analysis regarding blood testing. One of the elimination pathways of copper is indeed the kidneys, however one must be actively excreting copper in order for a notable level to be present in urine. As copper rises to toxic levels, it is stored within the tissues and is not being actively excreted consistently, therefore urine testing will only unveil high copper levels if one is experiencing active copper elimination at that point in time. It is for this reason that urine testing is may be helpful to gauge the progress of ones’ detox protocol, however relying on urine and blood for initial diagnostic purposes is problematic and very often void of validity.
WILSON’S DISEASE: Important note: there is a genetic malady called Wilson’s Disease which is the only form of Copper Toxicity that is recognized in western medicine. This is different that the form of Copper Toxicity that I am referring to here, and is much less common. It indeed involves a dysfunction in copper metabolism, yet is primarily associated with a mutation in the ATP7B gene. I was tested for Wilson’s Disease (serum copper, ceruloplasmin, 24-hour urine, the presence of what are called Kayser-Fleischer rings which are copper-colored rings in the eye that are tested for by an ophthalmologist, etc.) just to rule it out. At first, this created a great deal of confusion for me in my research and the interpretation of my own case with Copper Toxicity, due to the very limited amount of available information regarding any other form of CT other than Wilson’s Disease. Part of my mission in raising awareness about the form of Copper Toxicity that I am analyzing here is to highlight it’s extreme prevalence and to also introduce this malady to western medicine as a viable imbalance that must be recognized as well.
Fecal Metals Test:
One of the primary elimination pathways of most heavy metals, including copper, is from the liver, through the bile, into the gallbladder, intestines, and finally excretion through stool. For this reason, a fecal metals test, which is a test that assesses various heavy metal levels in one’s stool, may be helpful to gauge the progress of a detoxification protocol. However, this method is congruent with blood and urine, in that relying on a fecal metals evaluation for initial status of one’s copper level would be illusive, as the presence of increased levels will only develop upon the active elimination – something that rarely happens unless a detox/copper lowering protocol is initiated. Furthermore, heavy metals are not being eliminated 24/7, so these results aren’t the most reliable.
Comprehensive Blood Panel:
It can be helpful diagnostically to receive a baseline (before treatment) comprehensive blood panel, which will gauge one’s lipid levels (cholesterol), kidney function, liver enzymes, blood thyroid levels, iron status (hemoglobin, ferritin, RBC), MCV (the size of one’s red blood cells), and various other important markers.
You may request that a blood glucose and hemoglobin A1C value is tested on this panel, and this is helpful, as CT will often lead to hypoglycemia.
Ceruloplasmin is a copper-binding protein that is one of the main agents responsible for transporting copper successfully throughout the body, rendering it bioavailable (along with metallothionein and glutathione). I indeed tested low for ceruloplasmin, and many people with Copper Toxicity will as well, as it is produced in the liver and once copper levels increase to toxic levels, the liver becomes too overloaded to perform many of its vital functions regarding metabolism and mineral transport. The adrenals also stimulate ceruloplasmin production, and their function is tremendously depleted by CT. This leaves toxic, unbound copper to freely travel throughout the body. You may come across analysis that explains that ceruloplasmin levels are high in CT sufferers, however I have deduced the opposite conclusion, along with others whom research this condition: this also has to do with which phase of toxicity one is occupying -in that ceruloplasmin may be high in the initial phases of copper increase/retention and quickly drops as CT progresses in severity
- As mentioned above, part of each CT healing protocol involves increasing ceruloplasmin (hence bound, bioavailable copper) by increasing active, pre-formed Vitamin A/retinol via animal protein, whole food Vitamin C, and the strengthening of the liver and adrenal glands.
Furthermore, my alkaline phosphatase (an enzyme produced primarily in the liver) levels tested low, which is linked to inadequate zinc levels (which are pervasive in those with CT), B vitamin deficiencies (very common with methylation dysfunction and various genetic SNPs, as described below), and has also been linked to improper copper metabolism.
Vitamin D, which is actually a steroid hormone when it is converted to its active form in the liver, is an extremely important nutrient to be mindful of. Vitamin D is closely linked to blood glucose metabolism, insulin resistance, mitochondrial function, and overall hormone balance. Copper can also have an adverse effect on all of these aforementioned physiological functions. I indeed tested low, and have successfully increased my levels over time. It is important to note the the most effective means to increase Vitamin D is to get it from the sun! While this can be hard in colder months, I find it very healing and enjoyable to sit in the sun for 20-30 minutes each day even if it is quite brisk outside. Wild caught salmon is also a great source, as well as a high quality Vitamin D3 supplement. Vitamin D can lower potassium levels, so it is important to supplement with both, as those with CT often experience low potassium as well.
Comprehensive Stool Analysis/Parasitology:
Comprehensive Stool Analysis can be one of the most helpful and necessary tests to acquire on anyone’s healing journey: when healing from any illness at all. The gut is the master hub of our body and is vitally important for the metabolism, synthesis, and detoxification of many many important substances in the body. CSA tests, particularly those using something called PCR technology and 3 collections, give one a comprehensive scope into the functioning of the GI tract – including probiotic presence, digestive enzyme capacity, inflammation markers, pathogen presence, and more.
I had this test performed about a year and a half after I first discovered my copper imbalance, but I would suggest acquiring this test much sooner. Understanding the current state of your gut health will greatly help to eliminate current infections and support your particular gut imbalances, which will help so much to hasten overall healing and lessen symptom severity.
Some gut pathogens can evade these tests – but for the most part these are very helpful in getting an overall picture of basically the most important area of your body when it comes to achieving and maintaining optimal health and balance (both physically and psychologically): the gut!
An interesting finding was that my intestinal secretory IgA levels tested very very high. Secretory IgA is an immunoglobulin and antibody that is produced by the intestinal mucosa and serves as the first line of defense in response to infection or the presence of pathogens. It is also a helpful tool to identify intestinal inflammation. This indicates that I was in an acute phase of immune defense against intestinal infection, of which copper can greatly exacerbate, in addition to being in an inflammatory state. I exhibited a moderate level of yeast and parasites, which to be honest was surprising to me, as I thought their presence would be much higher. I did have this test performed after following my gut healing protocol for quite some time prior. It is also key to know that stool testing is not completely accurate, as we are not always eliminating gut pathogens that may very well be present in higher amounts within the intestines. This is extremely similar to stool testing for heavy metal content, or blood testing for mineral levels – the degree of variance is extremely high, rendering these methods less superior when it comes to total accuracy.
- Initially, I treated my presence of yeast and parasites as most do, by attempting to “kill them off”. I did this for well over a year with little to no progress…which was frustrating to say the least. However, my DC and I chose to target this from a different angle by healing my gut lining instead, which granted me great improvement (one of my favorite healing agents for gut lining/intestinal permeability treatment is Collagen Hydrolysate by Great Lakes – do be mindful if one has a glutamate/GABA imbalance, which is common with CT, because collagen could possibly exacerbate this). Also, I have discovered a connection with gut pathogens and what are called biofilms, which is a protective coating that is built around the microbial pathogen in an effort to survive. This is left out of most gut healing protocols unfortunately, as it is a fairly new discovery. Once I have targeting this area (via the use of systemic/proteolythic enzymes, taken on an empty stomach throughout the day), I saw more improvement in about a month than I had in about 12 months of simply trying to “kill them off”. As is stated in my “About” page, my healing odyssey was certainly ever-evolving, as I was and still am continuously being enlightened on new and more appropriate/relevant healing methods than before…I really do enjoy this aspect of discovery! Furthermore, as described above, coffee enemas are one of the most powerful methods to eradicate parasites from the body, and are an essential step to any complete, natural healing protocol. Oxygen therapy is also exceptionally helpful as a master gut pathogen healing technique, and it has helped me worlds as well.
- Yeast/Parasites/Gut Dysbiosis: The presence of yeast and parasites is almost a pervasive occurrence amongst those with any kind of heavy metal poisoning. This is due to a variety of reasons. Partly, in the case of Copper Toxicity, the copper mineral/heavy metal is (when it is present in ideal, bioavailable levels) responsible for keeping pathogenic yeast and parasites at bay, and in balance with “friendly” bacteria in the gut. When copper rises to toxic, bio-UNavailable levels, it is no longer able to perform this physiological necessity and hence gut pathogens are given the opportunity to rise. (NOTE: not every form of yeast will be Candida Albicans, which is the most common form of pathogenic yeast…my CSA test revealed a non-candida form of yeast present, for example). Also, when one is experiencing CT, immune function will decrease significantly, leaving one more susceptible to to acquisition of pathogenic infections such as yeast and parasites. Ideal, bioavailable copper levels are also greatly responsible for optimal immune function and T cell formation. Parasitic infections in particular are far more common than one may initially assume, and are absolutely not only attributed to third world countries. We are exposed to these every day, yet most often, if our immune system is functioning at optimal levels, we are successfully able to ward them off. Furthermore, when one’s stomach acid production (HCL) is reduced, as is the case with CT, it is much more difficult to ward off ingested pathogens, as optimal HCL production aids in keeping these pathogens at bay. With lowered defenses, we can develop an infection from exposure which is commonly found from being around household pets, eating in restaurants, consuming meat that has a parasitic infestation, and various other common, every day sources. Clearly, it is nearly impossible to avoid these exposures, hence the importance of supporting the gut well, as the gut houses the vast majority of our immune response and is elemental in keeping our bodies in the place where they can successfully keep pathogenic infections at bay.
While these symptoms are similar to those of many various imbalances, some of the notable symptoms associated with parasitic infections in particular include:
- Digestive disturbance – gas, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea
- Rapid heart rate
- Continual dehydration despite optimal water intake
- Malabsorption despite optimal diet and supplementation
- Anxiety, depression, and overall emotionally instability
- Brain fog
- Skin eruptions and irritation
- Chronic fatigue
- Generalized malaise
- Sleep disturbance (and grinding teeth at night)
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Low grade fever
Identifying the presence of a parasitic infection (or any form of gut imbalance/infection including fungal and bacterial) and working to balance and eradicate these pathogens is of EXTREME IMPORTANCE. The nature of a parasite, in particular, is to feed on the nutrients that are ingested by the host (the individual). Obviously, this is very problematic because it disallows one from building up and maintaining optimum nutrient and mineral levels that are absolutely necessary to balance and ultimately heal from Copper Toxicity. While there are many different individual, differing factors that can exacerbate one’s case, this one is of paramount importance and is very worthy of looking into, as so many with CT are much more likely to develop infections of this nature due to the overall weakened state of one’s immune function and digestive capacity.
30-Day Female Hormone Panel:
I have also had a 30-Day Female Hormone Panel performed via the collection of saliva over the course of a month. This test indeed confirmed that I exhibited Estrogen Dominance – which is not surprising in that estrogen and copper have a symbiotic relationship – when one goes up, so does the other. Also, progesterone (the counterpart hormone to estrogen) has a symbiotic relationship with zinc, which has an inverse relationship with copper. A very intriguing and fascinating deal which really shows the delicate, interrelated nature of mineral levels and respective ratios and their profound significance in gauging and treating the many maladies which are born from an imbalance in overall mineral levels. The endocrine system absolutely fascinates me, as I’ve discovered and experienced more and more how profoundly significant it is to our overall physiological and psychological health. It operates with such a delicate balance, and when elements such as copper are added to the mix, a lot of dysfunction can arise in this area. While CT impacts more women than men (as is hypothesized yet not yet proven), both sexes house a sensitive conglomeration of hormones that are all intimately related. While the hypothalamus is indeed the “hub” of our endocrine system, it only takes a slight misstep anywhere in the overall composition (regarding the thyroid, adrenals, reproductive system, pituitary gland, etc.) to upset this delicate balance.
- In addition, I have had serum hormone tests to gauge estradiol (the most abundant of the 3 main types of estrogen in the female body and potentially the most harmful when present in excess), progesterone, and free testosterone (the active and usable form of testosterone in the blood), which supported my exhibition of Estrogen Dominance. It is key to remain aware of what phase you are in of your menstrual cycle when the blood is drawn for this test, as the reference ranges vary greatly depending on whether you are in the follicular, ovulary, or luteal phase.
Blood (serum) thyroid testing can help to get an overall idea of how your thyroid is functioning, however, using the blood as a medium for this can be problematic for a myriad of reasons. My TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, produced primarily by the pituitary gland which is one of the major hubs of the endocrine system, under the hypothalamus) values, for example, went from very high to very low over the course of a few short months, leaving me confused at first, but seeing as mineral balancing catalyzes a great deal of successive biochemical change, this actually makes sense. As a general rule, using the TSH value as a sole measure of thyroid function is problematic in that it is not uncommon for this value to fluctuate due to many various reasons.
Furthermore, having high estrogen levels in relation to progesterone (estrogen dominance, as explained above – which is almost ubiquitous amongst CT sufferers) can produce what are called binding globulins in the blood which adhere to the active form of thyroid hormone (T3) and render it useless essentially. This is why so many people (women, most commonly) are told that their thyroid is “normal” as indicated from a serum test “within range” yet are still suffering from the endless array of symptoms associated with thyroid dysfunction. In this case, your whole thyroid panel can come back within range, yet you are clinically exhibiting the symptoms of low thyroid function. Notably, the reference range of “functional”/alternative thyroid testing versus “conventional” thyroid testing is very different, the latter being much wider in scope. For example, typically one will experience symptoms of low thyroid function with a TSH at or above 2, yet the conventional reference range can go up to 5 for some labs! This absurdity aside, thyroid testing can be tricky, and low or high thyroid function is a common symptom of many imbalances. It is obligatory to consider the whole picture when it comes to measuring thyroid function overall.
I hope that this all-too prevalent occurrence changes however, as so many people are left in a state of confusion as to why they are still suffering and are often told that their plight is “all in their head”. Now, as I’ve often said, don’t these practitioners realize that these people would much rather be doing something else than sitting in their office in the attempt to find out why they feel so poorly? I highly doubt that anyone would simply contrive a set of symptoms “in their head” and waste not only their own time, but the paid time of a practitioner of which they have sought out in hopes of feeling better. This topic relates to the analysis I present below regarding the fact that the true healing and nurturing of the individual is absolutely imperative to providing true and lasting healthcare…as each individual’s personal thoughts, feelings, and concerns must always be taken seriously and viewed with reverence. I have heard many many people express that they were “made to feel like an idiot” or had their concerns and expressions “discounted” by their doctor. This, in my opinion, is tragic. Healthcare must be defined and implemented as promotional of health and demonstrative of care. This absolutely must become more pervasive, as it is truly imperative to catalyzing and achieving overall, Whole Person health and vitality…this should be obvious.
Within a blood panel, however, the most valuable thyroid markers will be:
- TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) – a hormone released by the pituitary gland which essentially tells the thyroid gland how much hormone to release – often high with hypothyroid function and low with hyperthyroid function, hypothyroid being the most commonly associated with Copper Toxicity
- Free T4
- Free T3 (triiodothyronine) – active thyroid hormone
- TPO (Thyroid Peroxidase) and Thyroglobulin – these are antibodies which identify if an autoimmune thyroid condition is present such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or Graves Disease
The “free” values indicate the thyroid hormone that is unbound to binding globulin, and hence the hormone that is active and usable in the blood. Testing “total” thyroid hormone includes the bound form as well, which is unusable and less valuable to test for.
Keep in mind that even if your free values are “normal” this does not necessarily mean that your thyroid is functioning optimally – as we have discussed, blood thyroid markers in general are very malleable and can often be illusive if viewed in isolation.
Iodine Loading Test:
Additionally, relating to the thyroid, I have had an “iodine loading test” performed which entails taking a very high dose of iodine and collecting your urine over a 24-hour period. This method rests on the notion that if you hold adequate levels of iodine, you will excrete most of the iodine solution via your urine, if you are deficient, you will hold on to it and the iodine content of the urine will be lower. Much to my practitioner’s surprise, I excreted 92% of the solution, meaning I was not deficient in iodine at all. He actually expressed that not a single patient of his has shown these results, and I was the sole exception. I always felt an intuitive resistance to iodine supplementation, and that proved why. Iodine can be helpful and is necessary for adequate and balanced thyroid function, however caution and addressing one’s bio-individualtiy must be taken into consideration.
- Kelp is a natural form of iodine that can be taken in lower doses, and I have indeed used this for thyroid and general immune support with great success (particularly Norwegian kelp which tends to be the most clean and pure). This is a common healing agent used on most mineral balancing protocols.
Furthermore, along with the thyroid, copper has an exceptionally adverse effect on adrenal health (as these two paramount components of our overall endocrine system are very intimately related). It is a vicious cycle in that stress (physiological and psychological) can lower adrenal function, which can increase copper levels, yet having high copper levels in and of itself stresses the adrenals, which further perpetuates an overall sympathetic nervous system response (“fight or flight” mode) which is nearly inescapable. This is why chronic anxiety (sometimes with seemingly no triggering at all, aka “free-floating”) is so common with Copper Toxicity. I go into this a little further below in the “Stress” section.
The adrenal glands have an unbelievably important role in maintaining macro homeostasis throughout our entire physiological infrastructure. Once the adrenals become notably weakened, each respective system in our body is adversely effected and imbalance quickly arises. This is a highly important area of focus for all of Copper Toxicity research, as toxic copper has a direct and highly detrimental impact of adequate adrenal function, which is the cause of a great deal of the above mentioned symptoms.
There are tests such as cortisol saliva tests and various adrenal hormone serum tests, however one of the most clear methods of gauging adrenal function is once again HTMA. There are a number of various patterns and mineral ratios (the sodium/potassium and sodium/magnesium ratios, specifically) that very accurately portray one’s level of adrenal function, as well as the stage of stress one is occupying, hence allowing a properly designed healing regimen to be adopted and utilized.
As someone whom has experienced adrenal fatigue to severe degrees, I can assure you that this is very real. The simple existence of adrenal fatigue is often said to be “nonexistent” amongst some healthcare methodologies, which is another unfortunate reality in that it can and does serve as the underlying cause of many different maladies, yet many are left to simply cope with or struggle through these debilitating symptoms, being told that their said struggle has no viable origin. Treating my adrenals naturally catalyzed the cessation of many of my symptoms, including my insomnia, anxiety, weight fluctuations, brain fog, etc. Again, this can be the underlying cause of a wide variety of symptoms and in my opinion absolutely must be addressed…I would almost hypothesize that nearly everyone has some sort of adrenal fatigue today, seeing as we live in a world that is very fast-paced and characterized by pretty high levels of stress on a daily basis – it is essentially the status quo. Of course this will vary depending on the circumstances, yet is imperative to give attention to none the less, and in my belief is most definitely not consolidated to an illusive, “rare” syndrome.
- Due to the extremely adverse impact that copper has one one’s adrenal strength, and hence lowered sodium and potassium levels in the body (detected via HTMA) I believe nearly everyone whom is exhibiting CT will have dramatically lowered autonomous hydrochloric acid (HCL) production. Furthermore, gut imbalance (which is extremely common with CT) catalyzes low HCL as well. Lowered or void stomach acid production severely hinder’s our ability to produce adequate bile, absorb many vital minerals and nutrients, and suppresses protein synthesis. For these reasons, I believe the inclusion of supplemental HCL before every meal to be one of the most important components of a tailored Copper Toxicity healing protocol.
Note: It is counterproductive to make broad-sweeping claims about one’s biochemical status during active healing, as it is always shifting, and while you are embarking on a bio-individual mineral balancing protocol, your physiological make-up is vacillating in many ways as a means of achieving deep healing and true balance over time: this is the point of the protocol. This is why I found some frustration when testing all of my aforementioned levels and values. A lot of these tests were performed while I was actively detoxing, therefore it is to be expected that they unveiled a non-linear, seemingly “all over the place” collection of readings. Depending on the day you test, you could be considered hypothyroid one day and hyperthyroid the next. Or you could have high blood pressure one moment and low the next. You see where I’m going here. Overall, try your best to remain calm and relaxed throughout your healing processes, as that is indeed exactly what it is: a process. You are healing on a deep-rooted level, permanently, and while that may not show itself to be true for a while, it absolutely will over time, assured.
As mentioned above, while blood can be illusive in determining one’s mineral levels, a Comprehensive Bio-Screen blood panel is extremely helpful to determine a variety of other important pieces to the puzzle. Ideally, a comprehensive screen with include a CBC (Complete Blood Count). Throughout my journey, I exhibited anemia markers when acquiring this test (showing low red blood cell levels, low hemoglobin levels, and low ferritin levels) which also explains a lot of the debilitating fatigue, in that RBCs transport oxygen throughout the body. Toxic copper levels greatly impede proper iron metabolism (in that bioavailable copper is in part responsible for maintaining optimal iron metabolism), which was apparent in my case throughout.
Furthermore, parasitic infection can also contribute to anemia, as well as lowered kidney function (the kidneys produce a hormone called EPO that signals RBC production) – both of which I exhibited throughout my healing process. Treating and improving my methylation cycles, which involves B12 and folate supplementation, simultaneously improved my anemia (and noticeably decreased my rapid heart rate and heart palpitations), in large part because B12 and folate are vital for the production of red blood cells. I also consistently displayed low iron levels on my HTMAs, yet “replacement therapy” as it is commonly referred to (supplementing with nutrients that report low) is not effective regarding iron, if the underlying cause of anemia is copper imbalance. Sometimes iron supplementation can exacerbate gut imbalance, serving as food for the “bad” bacteria, which is also important to remain mindful of. This is another example of how one must focus on healing the root-cause as opposed to the symptom. In this case, anemia is a symptom of Copper Toxicity, and in healing the underlying cause of CT, the symptom of anemia is healed as well. On some occasions, iron supplementation is necessary, however this must be temporary and monitored closely via a Complete Blood Count/Ferritin testing, as the body will store most of the iron it takes in, similar to copper in fact.
I have also come across yet another brilliant healing component of beets, which is their ability to naturally raise iron levels. I do try to juice everyday, yet when I am unable, I utilize an organic bottled beet juice or an organic beet juice powder supplement that has bestowed welcomed benefits for me, as my energy levels and overall sense of well-being have dramatically increased. Beets are also very helpful for the promotion of bile flow, which is the main elimination pathway of copper, so their inclusion in a copper-lowering protocol is undeniably wonderful. And to top that all off, they are also a natural form of betaine, an extremely helpful healing agent when addressing the improvement of methylation processes (explained below).
Furthermore, I also exhibited what is referred to as macrocytic/megaloblastic anemia, detected via my consistently high MCV readings. Essentially, this indicates that the size of one’s red blood cells is too large, and is a helpful indicator in unveiling folate and B12 deficiency/defective utilization. This reading is related to methylation dysfunction, as described below. In its bioavailable form, copper is involved in the maturation of red blood cells, so when one is experiencing a relative copper deficiency due to high biounavailable copper, a high MCV is likely.
Copper Toxicity is indeed an underlying cause of estrogen dominance (a hormone imbalance that involves a relative higher level of estrogen compared to progesterone), yet I additionally believe that copper imbalance is an underlying cause of PCOS as well. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is also called “hyperandrogenic anovulation”, as PCOS primarily involves an overproduction of androgens in women – testosterone, which then converts to DHT. This can cause symptoms such as acne, weight gain, difficulty conceiving, facial hair, and head hair loss, among many other unpleasant and unwelcome symptoms. Many healthcare practitioners claim that there is not a known cause of PCOS, and if anything, it is mostly genetic. I disagree here. Yes, mineral imbalance can be genetic in that it is passed in utero (as in my case), however as can be seen throughout this page, one can easily develop CT over time due to lifestyle choices and environmental factors.
PCOS is a very common hormone imbalance, and if my hunches and hypothesis prove correct, then underlying copper imbalance could very well be one of the primary contributing causes to this. I am actively unearthing further confirmation here, and will focus on making this distinction in a formal testing setting.
Along with many other false claims running rampant in our “healthcare” arena at present, it is simply untrue that one must “learn to live with this and cope with the symptoms the best they can,” as the core underlying cause of many of these “diseases” and imbalances, such as PCOS, can indeed be corrected. Furthermore, prescribing the birth control pill to alleviate symptoms is exceptionally counterproductive in that it will most often worsen the underlying cause and compound an individual’s hormone imbalance further. Any form of synthetic birth control will often spike estrogen levels, and hence spike copper levels, inherently putting someone in a worse position to develop additional hormone imbalances such as PCOS as a result of their supposed “treatment”. If we step back and focus on unearthing the UNDERLYING CAUSE than a lot of strife can be avoided, and thousands of people may move on with their lives happily, healthily, and balanced.
Copper has an incredibly intense and close relationship with so many elements within our physiological structure, and therefore serves as the underlying cause of a tremendous degree of illnesses and imbalances that are all-too common today. This is something to take strong notice to, undoubtedly.
As a teenager, the 5 to 6 years that I spent under the sole treatment of conventional doctors did not produce any notable guidance except for the definitive finding of Epstein- Barr Virus antibodies. I was tested twice over the course of a year and a half, both Epstein-Barr Virus panels revealing very high antibody/antigen levels, high monocyte levels, and anemia (low Red Blood Cells). Monocytes are a form of white blood cell that are particularly triggered to attack in the presence of viruses such as Epstein-Barr. When one demonstrates elevated antibody levels over a prolonged period of time, along with the sustainment of various symptoms that are characteristic of EBV such as extreme chronic fatigue, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, anemia, and malaise, what is called “Chronic Active Epstein-Barr Virus” is attributed. The unveiling of this detail was highly welcomed throughout my anticlimactic journey back then, of test after test, doctor after doctor, revealing nothing about the cause of my cumbersome symptoms. While this detail was welcomed, the feedback from my MD at the time was not: “there is nothing that can be done to treat this” my mother and I were told…and sent on our way. I sadly took his statement to heart for over 10 years.
It wasn’t until many years later, in my quest to gain further clarity on every possible contributor to my ill health that I began to look deeper into this. Come to find out, there is plenty that can be done to treat Epstein-Barr Virus, and there is much more to the story here.
First, it is critical to understand the nature of the Epstein-Barr Virus, which is one of the most common viruses in existence. Almost everyone is exposed to and contracts EBV at some point in their life, however, it all depends on the strength and resilience of one’s immune system as to whether or not EBV will catalyze symptoms or have any notable impact on one’s health. EBV is a progressive virus that has the potential to grow and worsen through 4 main stages. The most common of scenarios is that an individual is exposed to and contracts EBV as a teenager (transmission is exceptionally easy as EBV can be contracted in utero, in restaurants, through various bodily fluids, and via blood) which equals Stage 1. Then, after a short period, the virus will evolve into mononucleosis, producing symptoms of extreme fatigue, sore throat, fever, swollen lymph nodes, anemia, and rash. Usually one is bedridden for a number of days to weeks, and eventually regains optimal health once their immune system has eradicated EBV into a permanent state of dormancy. Some, however, do not kick the virus completely over this period of time, and “Chronic Active Epstein-Barr Virus” develops and remains. This is considered Stage 3, as the virus now begins to nestle within the liver, thyroid, and spleen mainly, and the lingering symptoms of extreme fatigue and lethargy remain. If EBV remains in this stage without being identified and treated, it can then develop into Stage 4, in which one’s central nervous system is impacted by the virus and many additional symptoms can arise such as heart palpitations, brain fog, thyroid dysfunction, liver sluggishness, and others.
What prevents one from kicking the virus at Stage 2? That is where Copper Toxicity comes in! As is stated by Ann Louis Gittleman in “Why Am I Always So Tired?”,
“…those who have chronic viral infections typically have low zinc and high copper levels. High tissue copper predisposes an individual to recurring viral infections. This pattern is frequently seen in individuals who have been diagnosed with Epstein-Barr. These viruses are know to be related to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Often individuals with CFS will have great difficulty overcoming their condition unless they have their tissue copper levels evaluated and take appropriate measures to lower excess levels.”
Therefore, if one is born with a copper imbalance, such as myself, than opportunistic pathogens such as EBV will have a much easier time developing and sticking around, further worsening the condition of the sufferer and contributing to the chronic, protracted nature of their ill health. Also, zinc is a powerful anti-viral mineral, and one’s resulting zinc deficiency due to CT compounds the development of a chronic viral condition indubitably. In addition, bioavailable copper is in part responsible for producing an effective inflammatory immune response in the presence of infection, and when one is experiencing a relative copper deficiency as a result of high biounavailable copper, this immune response will be lacking, allowing infection to flourish. In order to prevent this, identifying one’s copper imbalance as early as possible is key, as this truly serves as the underlying cause of one’s increased vulnerability to additional imbalances, which further complicate and exacerbate the measures that will be needed to indelibly heal.
The critical factor is that most doctors are unaware of the progressive nature of EBV, and are not familiar with appropriate treatment methods even upon the identification of a chronic active infection. Such was clearly the case with my experience. Furthermore, most doctors are definitely unaware of the connection between lowered immune function and copper imbalance, and would not take the measures to identify and amend this underlying cause appropriately. This leaves many in the dark as to what is truly causing their long-standing ill health.
While I was unfortunately told that there was nothing that could be done to treat EBV, therefore allowing the infection to progress into its latter stages over the course of many years, there is in fact plenty that can be done. Many powerfully effective anti-viral and immune system boosting natural healing agents exist. For example, agents such as Monolaurin, Cat’s Claw, Elderberry, L-Lysine, Andrographis, Teasel Root, and Nettle Leaf can be used, among others, as well as the judicious and bio-individual consideration of minerals and vitamins such as Zinc, B12, methylfolate, and Vitamin C. Above all, identifying and treating one’s main copper imbalance is the first and most significant step in allowing the body to fully eradicate additional pathogens, which Copper Toxicity allowed to flourish in the first place.
Methylation is an extremely important fundamental biochemical phenomenon in the body that consists of a series of physiological processes that involve the body’s ability to properly detoxify (via the phase 2 conjugation liver pathway), mitochondrial cellular energy production, neurotransmitter metabolism, hormone balance, glutathione production, protein synthesis, DNA expression and many other exceptionally vital physiological processes. Methylation occurs in every cell in your body many many times on a never-ending, consistent basis. Given the paramount significance of all of the aforementioned physiological responsibilities of methylation overall, this area is absolutely imperative to address when embarking on any kind of deep-healing protocol, especially in regard to Copper Toxicity, and essentially couldn’t be more important to consider throughout the healing process.
Among many other areas, methylation relates to a series of biochemical processes within phase 2 liver detox (referred to as the conjugation phase) that deliver what are called methyl groups to attach to and render toxins, excess hormones, heavy metals etc. water-soluble so that they may be more easily and effectively eliminated from the body via the kidneys/urine and through sweat (fat soluble toxins are eliminated via the bile). A wide variety of common contributors impede the body’s ability to properly methylate, and hence create blockages in the successful detoxification of pathogenic toxins, as well as dysfunction within each of the other vital aforementioned physiological processes that optimal methylation capacity is responsible for. Excess copper specifically, as well as any form of liver toxin/heavy metal, can have an adverse impact on methylation processes, which can greatly impede one’s ability to detox excess copper and other toxins.
Furthermore, the methylation pathway is comprised of several different cycles such as the trans-sulfuration cycle and urea cycle, each of which rely on the optimal balance and function of various genes/enzymes, amino acids, and minerals. If these are out of balance due to a toxicity such as CT, the whole of the methylation pathway will become impaired.
Out of this scenario comes the similar “vicious cycle” described with adrenal insufficiency and CT. As copper levels continuously rise over time, one’s methylation capacity is compromised and taxed, which reduces the body’s ability to continue to detoxify properly, allowing excess copper and other toxins to build up even further. Therefore, supporting this process and these pathways is of the utmost importance, as failing to give this area focus can often subject one to an excessively protracted and elongated healing time-frame and/or put them in a situation where they are not able to truly heal without supporting this vital physiological foundation.
Your genetic profile (called your genotype) plays a big role in all of the physiological processes and systems within the body, including the processes of methylation. Your body’s genes produce enzymes, and then encode them with specific instructions. There can be glitches in this process, which are referred to as “copying errors”. A gene mutation produces, in essence, faulty instructions for the enzyme to follow, this is referred to as a Single Nucleotide Polymorphism – or SNP. Everyone has SNPs, and the way these copying errors are expressed is referred to as your “phenotype”. Only some of these SNPs are expressive, or “clinically significant”, meaning they notably impact your health. Specific clinically significant gene mutations/SNPs that lye along the methylation pathways such as the MTHFR, MTRR, CBS, BHMT, and several others can predispose one to accumulating excess copper, toxins, and other heavy metals such as mercury, because the instructions given from the gene to the enzyme that are responsible for optimal detoxification are not encoded properly. So for example, there is the MTHFR gene, which has a coinciding MTHFR enzyme. This particular enzyme rests at a vital point in the methylation pathway, but when the MTHFR enzyme is receiving improper instructions from the MTHFR gene, the intended responsibilities of the enzyme will not be fulfilled in full, or the enzyme will function at a reduced capacity. This is discussed further below.
Amending methylation dysfunction/optimizing phenotypic expression of SNPs is primarily done by determining one’s unique biochemical status and implementing methylation-dependent healing agents such as specific methylated and/or bioactive B vitamins and methyl donors (which is simply any substance that can transfer a methyl group – a carbon atom bonded to three hydrogen atoms – to another substance and hence keep the myriad of methylation processes flowing) as part of one’s custom-tailored treatment program. There can be an exceptionally wide scope of variance here in regard to which specific healing agents should be used for one’s specifically unique biochemistry, and this should be assessed on a case by case basis.
Optimal methylation capacity, as well as optimal gene expression overall is highly contingent upon various lifestyle and environmental improvements, as well as optimal and balanced gut health. When it comes to improving one’s methylation function, the focus is more so on reducing those elements that are impeding proper function (such as balancing copper levels, for example) as opposed to over-stimulating the body with a load of supplements. Of extremely important mention is that supplementation to support methylation must always be 1) custom-tailored 2) follow the “less is more”/”low and slow” rule 3) not forever. Some people, for example, have a very heightened sensitivity to methyl donors for various reasons (experiencing heightened anxiety, agitation, fatigue, among other symptoms/side-effects), so adding in a lot of supplementary methylation boosters can tip the scales too far in one direction. A general rule of thumb when supporting the complex and important realm of methylation and epigenetics:
Diet, lifestyle, and gut health come first, and supplementation is used as a temporary aid as to bring the individual further into balance. The body is fascinatingly intelligent, and over-supplementation can hinder the body’s ability to reach optimal balance in general, especially in the case of methylation.
There are several indicators that can expose poor methylation via testing:
- A high MCV reading (which is the size/volume of Red Blood Cells, indicating a deficiency/ defective utilization of vitamin B12 and/or folate)
- Anemia markers (which indicate a deficiency in B vitamins)
- Considerably high or low homocysteine levels (which is a toxic amino acid that requires optimal methylation to be converted to its non-toxic counterpart, methionine). Testing one’s homocysteine level is an extremely insightful gauge into their personal methylation status, plus the potential phenotypic expression of various clinically significant gene mutations. For example, low homocysteine levels are exhibited by those with the CBS gene mutation, as this mutation causes an up-regulation of the trans-sulfuration pathway, leading to lowered homocysteine. The ideal value for homocysteine is around 6.
- High whole blood histamine (optimal methylation is required for histamine break-down, therefore a high histamine level will be one indicator of reduced methylation capacity – histamine levels are consistently shifting, however, so this reading is by no means the gold standard for determining one’s methylation status, especially considering that so many other various factors impact the status of one’s methylation capacity)
- MTHFR gene mutations (which indicate one’s reduced ability to use the MTHFR enzyme to organically convert vital B vitamins such as folate and B12 from foods eaten into their “usable” forms necessary for successful methylating ability and optimal systemic utilization). This can be determined via a direct blood test, or the 23andMe saliva DNA analysis, described below. There has only been thorough research performed on two of the 30+ possible variants, these being the C677T and A1298C. As with all gene mutations, one can be heterozygous with one parent passing down the mutation, or homozygous, with both parents passing down the mutation. As can be assumed, a homozygous mutation results in a higher percentage in the reduction of its physiological functioning. The MTHFR gene mutation has received a lot of attention, and while it is indeed exceptionally important, so too are all of the other possible SNPs that have shown clinical significance…
- Various additional clinically significant single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, that are important within the methylation and detoxification pathway. These are unveiled via a “23andMe” saliva DNA analysis. This is an exceptional service that allows each individual access to their own unique genotype, or their full collection of SNPs. This information is extremely valuable in sculpting custom-tailored healing protocols, as there are various considerations to be made depending on your specific genetic picture. Some of these include the MTRR, CBS, BHMT, MAO, VDR, COMT, and many others. While one can actually have hundreds of SNPs, only a select few of them have the ability to impact our health in a notable way, i.e. being “clinically significant”
- Various markers on an Organic Acids Test – a brilliant test that measures a myriad of metabolic byproducts via a single urine sample. Some markers include metabolites to determine gut balance, B vitamin status, antioxidant capacity, ammonia clearance, sulfate levels, neurotransmitter levels, and others.
- Various imbalances on a Urine Amino Acids test – amino acids and neurotransmitters are a huge part of methylation pathway processes, and testing your own individual amino acid levels is an excellent way to gauge where you may be experiencing shortfalls within the methylation pathway. This is also a very helpful way of gauging various phenotypically expressive gene mutations. For example, if one has the CBS gene mutation and it is expressive, they will show high taurine on a UAA test. These tests are also helpful in assessing gut health and nutrient absorption ability.
- What is referred to as a “four low” pattern on HTMA tests can also indicate methylation dysfunction.
Again, determining one’s unique biochemical status is of the utmost importance, as the treatment protocol needed for each individual will vary depending on various test results, patient history, and several other contingent attributes. It is very helpful to ask questions and try your best to find a physician/practitioner whom is knowledgable about the significance of methylation, has experience in this regard, and understands the often complex and extremely important notion of bio-individuality. This is a new and growing science, however, and awareness is growing exponentially at present.
Regarding testing, an interesting note regarding folate and B12 levels is that if someone has the MTHFR gene polymorphism (and additional significant SNPs), their blood levels of these nutrients will often appear high. This is because of their inability to metabolize these nutrients into their active, usable forms, causing them to build up in the blood and fail to be effectively utilized and absorbed within tissues.
Many varying facets must be considered in order to custom-tailor a healing protocol that will be the most appropriate for each individual. This often takes a period of trial and error to decipher one’s unique responses and tolerances of various healing agents, dietary shifts, and lifestyle modifications. For example, regarding supplementation, for those with the MTHFR and MTRR gene polymorphisms, B12 supplementation is often needed (at least temporarily) in that this default in gene expression causes a deficiency due to the inability of the body to convert B12 into a usable form (exactly as is the case with folate as well). Some may respond favorably to methylcobalamin B12 and others hyrdoxocobalamin B12. Both of these forms of B12 are considered “active”, however they are metabolized differently and depending on one’s bio-indivdiual make-up, tolerance for each will vary.
Furthermore, there are several co-factors, or “methyl donors” that are often used to improve methylation capacity including SAMe, TMG, and methionine. One may respond well to all three of these, only two, only one, or none at all, depending on various factors of that one individual’s case (for example, if the VDR and COMT polymorphisms are present, then one will likely exhibit a heightened sensitivity to methyl donors and must proceed with caution when taking them). Furthermore, some may exhibit a sensitivity to high-histamine foods as well as present allergy-related symptoms, and some may not (see explanation of histamine and methylation/CT below). While two individuals can exhibit the same MTHFR and other polymorphisms, and both experience poor methylation, the treatment protocol for each can vary widely, and it is obligatory that adequate attention and consideration is given as to honor this variance.
Currently, there is various analysis supporting the fact that Copper Toxicity either causes “overmethylation” or “undermethylation”. This terminology is rather deceiving, and does not represent the nature of methylation processes very accurately. A much more indicative notion would be that an imbalance such as CT propels generalized poor methylation capacity, not necessarily an over or under functioning. As mentioned above, there are many contributors that can catalyze poor methylation, several being specific to CT. While there will of course be many variances and bio-individual contributors that can affect one’s presenting methylation status, the following points explain my view that CT will most often contribute to lowered, or poor methylation function:
- Biounavailable copper behaves as a liver toxin, which can reduce methyl groups necessary for adequate methylation.
- CT catalyzes gut imbalance, which can cause fungal overgrowth, low HCL, and malabsorption of vital nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, and B vitamins – all of which contribute to lowered methylation capacity.
- CT can cause vitamin B6 deficiency, as copper and vitamin B6 are antagonistic. This then leads to impaired/lowered methylation function in that one’s optimal methylation ability is dependent on adequate levels of vitamin B6.
- In addition to malabsorption cause by gut imbalance, CT also clearly propels a significant zinc deficiency amongst sufferers. Zinc is imperative for the optimal breakdown and maintenance of in-range homocysteine levels, as well as being required for optimal methylation overall. When there is a deficit of zinc, an essentially endless array of dysfunction and imbalance can arise, methylation impediment surely being one of them.
- Both hypothyroidism and kidney dysfunction can have an adverse impact on optimal methylation ability, both of these being intimately related to Copper Toxicity in that toxic copper significantly lowers thyroid function and can overload the kidneys and hence markedly reduce their functioning.
Stating that “X is the case, without exception”, or exhibiting a tunnel-vision type methodology is highly problematic, as this perspective completely loses sight of the tremendous degree of variance that can and does exist. As I delve deeper and deeper into my research and analysis endeavors, this notion becomes more and more highlighted. There seems to be an endless array of topics that are controversial and two-sided, with each “side” adamantly standing by it’s platform as an irrevocable truth. Regardless of the topic of debate, THE RECOGNITION OF VARIANCE IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE, AND IF ONE’S BIO-INDIVIDUALITY IS GIVEN THOROUGH, OPEN CONSIDERATION, THAN APPROPRIATE, CONSCIENTIOUS HEALING MAY TAKE PLACE, LEAVING THE EXISTENCE OR NEED FOR DEBATE AND DISAGREEMENT BEHIND.
This brings me to mention of a current topic of debate: whether the use of folate helps or hinders those whom are considered “undermethylators” with high whole blood histamine levels. Some claim that the use of folate in the diet and via supplementation will hinder methylation and exacerbate low serotonin levels. This analysis is based on scientific work performed in the 1960s and 1970s, which has since considerably evolved to reflect a more broadened understanding of methylation. Others, especially in regard to MTHFR polymorphisms, stress the use of methylfolate to account for the deficiencies caused by this gene mutation and to support hampered methylation cycles, as optimal methylation capacity is indeed dependent upon usable, active folate levels. This analysis is based on more recent scientific evidence which reflects the updated understandings surrounding methylation and genetics. While there will always seem to be different “camps” and schools of thought surrounding any topic really, the appropriate means to treat each case will depend on one’s unique bio-individuality, and there is no “one way” to approach what is considered appropriate. This is where trusting yourself and learning to follow your intuition really comes into play.
The deal with folate and “folic acid”: in discussions involving methylation and some of the common gene mutations along the methylation pathways such as MTHFR, a lot of confusion can arise regarding folate, or Vitamin B9. Folic acid and folate are not the same thing – they can not be used interchangeably. Folic acid is the synthetic, man-made form of Vitamin B9, while folate is the organically occurring, natural form of Vitamin B9. For anyone with any of the clinically significant SNPs along the methylation pathway, or anyone with methylation dysfunction in general (which is the vast majority of people today) – only methylfolate (or “5-MTHF”) should be used. Folic acid further compounds these issues by competing at and congesting Vitamin B9 receptors, and is best left out of the equation. I am always careful to check supplements, and while eating a mainly whole food diet makes the “label” checking almost irrelevant, it is safe to check any food labels, as folic acid can be snuck into tons of unsuspecting foods!
Overall, it is highly beneficial to invest in most of the above mentioned tests in order to determine your own unique identity and use these results as a roadmap to tailor your protocol specifically to you and your individual biochemistry and genetic picture. Those with MTHFR and other related gene mutations/polymorphisms (MTRR, for example) typically exhibit a need for supplemental methylfolate (in conjunction with active B12) to account for the impairment in folate metabolism that is caused by this glitch in the methylation cycle, myself included. One’s entire genome must be considered, as there are other polymorphisms that will need to be considered before an MTHFR/methylation supporting protocol is undertaken.
Furthermore, as methylation dysfunction can hinder one’s ability to endogenously produce glutathione (a copper-binding protein which is also considered one of the most abundant and powerful antioxidants and detoxifiers of the body), it is significant to focus on supporting this area. While direct supplementation with glutathione is often ineffective due to lack of adequate absorption, supporting the body’s ability to produce it’s own is effective. This includes focusing on liver support, judiciously and temporarily utilizing certain methyl donors that support glutathione production such as SAMe, and implementing a custom-tailored methylation supporting protocol. Sulfur containing healing agents such as NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) and Alpha Lipoic Acid are often recommended, which some tolerate well and others do not (as sulfur sensitivity is highly common with CT). Liposomal glutathione can also be used, which is a specifically designed encapsulation technique which allows glutathione to reach the bloodstream more effectively.
This is where one’s unique genotype is extremely important to consider. That is, there are a number of potentially clinically significant polymorphisms that one can exhibit that will sculpt the unique manner by which healing protocols should be developed. For example, if the CBS and/or BHMT polymorphisms are present, a sulfur sensitively/intolerance is likely and the above mentioned glutathione-boosting healing agents will have to be avoided for the time being, while the trans-sulfuration pathway is supported. These SNPs also often cause impaired ammonia detoxification, which will also have to be amended prior to addressing MTHFR/MTRR abnormalities.
This analysis is referred to as “nutrigenomics” and “epigenetics” and is and will be an area of focus for me throughout my life and career. Epigenetics/nutrigenomics are expansive and highly significant areas to consider when utilizing and developing root-cause focused healing protocols, as ever-evolving research is revealing that our gene expression is contingent upon various nutritional and lifestyle factors, and therefore if specific, bio-individual attention is given, we are able to support various genetic imbalances and decrease their potential adverse impact on our overall health.
Copper Toxicity can also catalyze histamine imbalance in sufferers, with both high and low levels being shown. Methylation is in part responsible for balancing histamine levels, in addition to copper naturally breaking down histamine when present in its bioavailable form (as copper is a cofactor of the DAO/histaminase enzyme which is responsible for the inactivation of histamine). It will depend on which stage of copper accumulation and elimination one is in as to whether or not they exhibit high or low histamine levels. This is a current area of focus and has yet to be concretely solidified. Histamine Intolerance/mast cell activation is often experienced by those with high histamine levels, whom have a difficult time detoxifying and breaking down ingested or excess histamine due to poor methylation. This imbalance is associated with a host of additional symptoms such as allergies, rapid heart rate, brain fog, weight fluctuations, digestive disturbances, headaches, insomnia, menstrual irregularities, and many others…very similar to the symptoms of Copper Toxicity! Furthermore, gut imbalance of any kind can manipulate histamine levels in that certain gut pathogens produce histamine, and our gut mucosa (lining) is responsible for producing enzymes to break it down. If one’s gut lining integrity is comprised, and an overgrowth of gut pathogens is present, histamine imbalance is likely.
Heavy metal toxicity of any kind greatly encourages abnormal gene expression. Therefore, once the underlying cause of CT or any other heavy metal toxicity such as lead, mercury, or aluminum is amended, the phenotypic expression of our DNA is much more optimal.
This is still a very new subject of analysis, and is gaining more ground within the medical world at present – methylation in general, as well as the profound significance of DNA analysis, nutrigenomics, and epigenetics in assessing health status and subsequently developing appropriate treatment methods. I intend on focusing on this area throughout my career in order to draw more solidified, concrete conclusions on this highly involved, yet exceptionally important topic.
I will devote ample and much needed attention to unearthing empirical data surrounding the self-evident and exceptionally important link between Copper Toxicity and abnormal gene expression, henceforth bringing to light treatment protocols that support the most custom-tailored, bio-individual mineral balancing and nutrigenomic/epigenetic factors.
As per my independent research, and connecting pioneering findings from several key figures in the fields of epigenetics and nutrigenomics, I have derived a viable list of “genetically predisposed” gene mutations that I feel directly contribute to a susceptibility to the development of Copper Toxicity. As mentioned above, this will be an area of focus for me life-long as I work to test my hypothesis empirically in this profoundly important and ever-expanding area of healthcare.
It is very very helpful to keep a “protocol journal”…basically noting, on a daily basis, the emergence or dissipation of various symptoms, what supplements are begun and when, as well as what diet changes are implemented and when. This is a profoundly helpful tool in gauging what is effective and what is not for your unique bio-individual identity. Little did I know that my own protocol journal would grow into an entire office of research and documentation! While I realize that a lot of people won’t be as enthralled with this process as I’ve been, I will say that my protocol journal has been on of my best resources and tools to use in catalyzing my further understanding of this process and its overall efficacy. This is also a wonderful tool to further direct one’s focus, which is profoundly advantageous in granting peace-of-mind in what can be an overwhelming and complicated process.
CRAVING HIGH-COPPER FOODS:
Another interesting component here is that due to the bio-unavailable nature of copper once it reaches toxic levels (meaning it is stored in our tissues and unable to be properly utilized by the body, henceforth being “unavailable” in it’s physiological necessity – which when present in “normal” levels includes producing cellular energy, breaking down histamine, promoting immune response, iron metabolism, the production of melanin, among others) one will often crave foods that are high in copper as the body’s attempt to compensate for this relative deficiency. After I learned this, a light bulb went off for me because most of my favorite foods were high in copper! Chocolate (I know, that’s a tough one!), mushrooms, avocado, shellfish (shrimp, for me), and nuts are some of the main heavy hitters. No worries though, once you begin to lower your levels and have been on your custom tailored diet for a bit, these foods really don’t appeal to you anymore, at least that has been true in my case. As I’ve said to several people before, my getting over this and regaining my optimal health was much more important to me than the fleeting satisfaction of a piece of chocolate or shrimp cocktail!
Also, due to reduced zinc levels (caused by high copper), which is responsible for manufacturing adequate levels of digestive enzymes, many will have an aversion to eating red meat. Seeing as red meat is the most bioavailable form of zinc, it is essentially imperative on an effective copper-lowering protocol. So, initially, it can be OK to acquire protein sources from poultry, yet over time, as your levels drop and your zinc stores are regained, this aversion will dissipate and you will be able to digest red meat much more easily and hence incorporate it into your diet more often. Click here for a much more in-depth analysis of the diet that is most conducive to healing from Copper Toxicity, which I did and still do follow.
Exercise can catalyze a “copper dump” (as described above), so I was mindful as to not over do any kind of strenuous activity. This wasn’t difficult to do, however, as the extreme fatigue that is consistently experienced basically rendered me unable to take part in any form of notable exercise for a great length of time. I used to run 3 to 4 times a week, which I am working back up to slowly but surely. Throughout my entire healing protocol, I performed and still do daily, full-body stretches which is helpful. This is an excellent way to keep your blood flowing and your muscles loose even if you aren’t able to partake in consistent and active exercise just yet. Clearly, daily exercise is imperative to include in an overall health maintenance protocol, however, just like anything else, we must remain mindful of our current subjective circumstances in order to adhere to what will be best at that point in time.
THE FOLLOWING 4 SECTIONS WILL ANALYZE THE EXCEPTIONALLY IMPORTANT, VIABLE, AND TRUTHFUL FACT THAT MINERAL IMBALANCE HAS AN OVERT AND DIRECT IMPACT ON ONE’S MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, AND INTELLECTUAL HEALTH. THIS ACCOUNTS FOR THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF COPPER TOXICITY, AS ORIGINALLY MENTIONED ABOVE.
The body, the mind, and the spirit are all interconnected and interdependent. You can not heal one without healing the other. This understanding and execution is obligatory to indelibly healing.
Exactly how the psychological impacts of this imbalance will manifest for someone is completely subjectively dependent on the individual and can take on many different forms. Some of the many factors that can influence this are one’s conscious and subconscious core beliefs (which many can be false and limiting and need to be reformulated!), past hurts/traumas, overall personality, upbringing/childhood, family dynamics, current life’s circumstances, and several others.
Stress, of any kind, can and does increase copper levels. Stress is quickly coming to light as the catalyst behind a myriad of chronic and acute illnesses, for good reason, as stress has an overt and direct impact on the successful and optimal function of our physiological make-up. For the following analysis, when I refer to stress, I am referring to any kind of stress: be it emotional, mental, physical (i.e. intrinsic physical imbalances in the body which act as a stressor), or environmental (industrial toxins, xenoestrogens, pesticides, etc.). This is important to point out because it is commonly assumed that when we say “stress” we are only referring to emotional stress, when this term is in reference to much more – anything that acts as a contributor to the disequilibrium of your balanced state of being.
The process of experiencing stress has been sculpted into 3 main stages: the alarm stage, the resistance stage, and the exhaustion stage (also known as adrenal burnout). These stages are highly applicable to the phenomenon of Copper Toxicity, as during it’s initial development (or during one’s young life, if born with CT as I was), one is occupying the 1st stage of alarm, then given some time, one will move the the 2nd stage of resistance, and finally, after the body and the mind have reached a certain point, one will move into the 3rd and final stage which is exhaustion and adrenal burnout. There are also specific HTMA mineral patterns which are attributed to each of these highly significant stages of stress that can be very clearly identified.
In addition, there can be somewhat of a “vicious cycle” that is perpetuated by copper and its relation to stress. While Copper Toxicity can indeed by caused by high stress in one’s life, copper in and of itself (when present in levels higher than the very small amount that is needed to perform it’s physiological necessities) has a very adverse effect on our adrenal glands, as it propels an incredible amount of physiological stressors and irritants (covered above). In a general sense, this can also lead to the inability to adequately handle daily stresses as well. Therefore, the cycle begins where stress creates CT, and then CT perniciously effects the adrenals, rendering one unable to properly handle stress, and to top it all off, copper adversely effects so many other bodily systems (as I have previously mentioned) creating physiological stress on the body which further exacerbates the overall stress load on the individual. Stress stress stress!
One of the main goals of a custom-tailored mineral balancing and bio-individual holistic healing program is to strengthen the adrenal glands as a means of physically managing stress more appropriately and cathartically. In addition, engaging in emotional freedom and mind/body/spirit healing techniques in order to identify, free, and shift limiting beliefs and shift our way of thinking as to set one up to handle emotional and intellectual stress more effectively and productively IS OF THE UTMOST, MANDATORY IMPORTANCE. Our bodies are built to respond to stress and threat TEMPORARILY and then resume the regenerative, relaxed state of being rather quickly. However, in today’s world, due to many common forms of chronic emotional, physical, and environmental stress, the body is not given the opportunity to resume its relaxed state, leading to a plethora of health consequences.
Experiencing notable levels of stress while simultaneously experiencing Copper Toxicity can also catalyze the elimination of copper from tissue storage. While this is indeed a “good” thing, sometimes this can happen too quickly, and increase the severity of your stress levels and exacerbate cumbersome symptoms such as anxiety and racing thoughts (a common symptom related to CT – which I would describe as a sort of “fast forward” of your normal cognizance, each thought is coming to you all at once…this has only happened to me a hand full of times but it is very disconcerting, to say the least, when it happens). This occurrence is also severely worsened when one is unaware that they have an underlying copper imbalance, at which point you are sincerely convinced you are “going crazy”. It is a highly unenjoyable experience indeed. As hard as it may seem, it is truly important to practice relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, meditation, etc. in order to be able to relax into this process as much as possible, reaching a place of equanimity within yourself. Here is a post that further explains this exceptionally important element of your healing process. I also found it helpful to listen to soothing music right before I went to bed (yet try to keep all of my devices outside of my bedroom as they can disrupt restful sleep), and still do. The goal is to maintain a steady occupation within your parasympathetic nervous system, which is your calm, relaxed, “normal” state of being, as opposed to your sympathetic nervous system, being the “fight or flight” mode. Not only does this make your overall daily experiences more enjoyable, yet it is profoundly imperative to allowing your body to truly heal.
While the psychological stress that is essentially a pervasive symptom of CT is unavoidable at times (as we are often “stuck” in the fight or flight stance due to decreased and disrupted adrenal function – also referred to as the “exhaustion stage” of stress…and I’d say that descriptive term couldn’t be more accurate!), I have found it helpful to practice the above mentioned techniques in order to reach a steady place of relaxation. It is a challenge, for sure, but something that is oh so important to the overall effectiveness of this treatment protocol.
An additional tool which is effective both physiologically and psychologically, is taking epsom salt baths. I also add some lavender essential oil. Epsom salt is great for overall detox, acquisition of magnesium, and it is very very soothing. I found a brand that includes eucalyptus as well, which is also very soothing. I put about 4 pounds of it in each bath, which sounds like a lot, but it dissolves quickly in warm water and I really felt a difference after my baths. I took them about 4 times a week during active detox, which was by no means a challenge to do! (*Note: I once used a brand that I thought was wonderful, until I read the ingredients label and discovered that it included copper! I couldn’t believe it! Thankfully, I only used it once before making that discovery..this is exemplary of the fact that it is very important to read labels of essentially everything you use whether it be food, personal hygiene products, etc…as you never know what could be included that can and does have an adverse impact on your overall healing.) Another neat technique I used when taking my baths is similar to an emotional freedom visualization that I came up with: when the bath water is draining, I imagine and feel it taking away all of the toxins (literally and figuratively) that were present within me. Click here to visit my Journal entry where I explain a similar visualization technique in more detail titled “stepping out of the metaphorical ‘pool'”, thank you (it’s listed under November 6, 2015).
Dissolving the shame!
As a means of working toward further wellness on a broad scale, we as a people must work on shifting and dissolving the needless catalization of “shame” that is associated to stress to a more accepting, healing-focused paradigm. Due to the often fast-paced nature of our world, the continuous “growing pains” of self-realization and evolution, possible early childhood or adulthood trauma, personal responsibilities such as raising a family, working full-time, and the subconscious and conscious harboring of negative, false, and self-limiting beliefs, we all experience stress to some degree. This is simply part of life and can not be avoided. Upon hearing that stress can cause CT (or any illness for that matter), one may feel as though it is “their fault” for the fact that this has occurred, feeling a sense of guilt. This can be a very counterproductive internal belief that will leave little room for the development of a light-hearted, hopeful perspective toward healing and hence greatly impede the ability for one to truly heal – on both a physiological and psychological level. And seeing as it is becoming more and more known that stress can be the catalyst behind many existing maladies of today, this is a very important component to consider…
You did not get a manual at birth instructing you on exactly how to live your life as to avoid being in a state of chronic stress. You have always been doing your best, with what you have, at the awareness level that you are at that point in your life – and this comes with a fair amount of experiences, trials, suffering and pain before we can wake up to a new way of thinking and way of life that will free us from ever experiencing ourselves and the world around us in that way again. In fact, in today’s world, it is surprising if someone DOESN’T have adrenal fatigue, insufficiency, or is in complete stage 3 adrenal burnout!
So very many people are unnecessarily infiltrated with conscious or subconscious feelings and beliefs of self-hate, lack of self-worth, self-love, and self-acceptance as a direct result of past pains and hurts, that were often – at the very root – the result of someone else’s projections of their own inner battle and suffering. It is like a never-ending cycle…and it is so hard for many people to wake up to the unnecessary nature of this stressful suffering because the cycles just keep continuing, from person to person, until no one knows where anything originated, why they feel so badly, or why they can’t seem to climb out of the hole they feel they are in.
All in all though…
This is not your fault!
This is an OPPORTUNITY for you to recalibrate your inner world – to learn and utilize new tools that will heal you in mind, body, and spirit. The tools that you develop, shifts in your thinking, and recalibration of limiting beliefs will help and improve your life, for the rest of your life. This is a true gift. THIS ALLOWS YOU TO SAY GOOD-BYE TO THE OLD, AND HELLO TO THE NEW. As human beings, we often need strong impetus to change for the better – and developing a physiological imbalance often serves as that impetus. Embrace this circumstance – let it vastly contribute to your personal evolution. You deserve to reach your full potential, and this will help to get you there.
One of the main goals of a custom-tailored mineral balancing and holistic healing protocol is to strengthen the adrenals glands and encourage occupation of the parasympathetic nervous system (restful and regenerative), hence improving one’s ability to handle stress. Once a certain degree of comprehensive balance is achieved, one is able to embrace their life with open arms, seeing the challenges/stresses of life as par for the course, and disallowing them to serve as any form of notable detriment. These challenges are seen as opportunities for growth, and can be used to one’s advantage as opposed to serving as a road-block or harmful contributor to one’s health.
Click here for an essay I wrote titled “Stress Without Distress” which helps to further illuminate this notion. A list of other helpful tools for eliminating stress and refreshing your way of thinking is listed below as well.
SEPARATION FROM YOUR TRUE SELF FROM THAT WHICH IS THE INFLUENCE OF COPPER and THE GIFT OF COPPER TOXICITY:
Another large component of my mission in advocating for CT awareness is to highlight the many real psychological symptoms catalyzed by this imbalance, and work to make it clear that these symptoms are not character traits, they are a result of the many exceptionally powerful influences that excess copper can have, as listed below.
While copper adversely affects nearly every bodily system, it has a particularly profound impact on the brain. That being said, experiencing CT first hand can serve as a tremendously daunting challenge in all ways, especially psychologically and intellectually.
It is immensely important to separate one’s True Self from that which is the influence of copper.
Having a solid support system during this time is elemental to successful recovery, as well as moving through your healing process with the awareness that copper is the underlying cause of your symptoms – both physically and psychologically. You are NOT GOING CRAZY, and you are not inherently flawed: you are experiencing a mineral imbalance that is affecting your psychological function.
Please see my article, Unleash Your TRUE SELF! for more on this exceptionally important topic.
As is described further below, copper imbalance imparts a notable effect on one’s cognitive, emotional, and neurological health. This is mainly caused by the following:
- Following the liver and kidneys, the brain is often one of the primary organs that rising, toxic copper is stored in.
- Copper Toxicity propels gut imbalance, and hence enteric nervous system imbalance, which is a derivative of our primary, autonomic nervous system, that is housed in the GI tract. The enteric nervous system is responsible for a great deal of our body’s neurotransmitter production and metabolism. This is why the gut is often referred to as the “second brain”. When there are imbalances in this area (due to dysbiosis of bacteria, yeast, parasitic infection, intestinal permeability, etc.), one will often experience strong and overt feelings of frustration, hopelessness, anxiety, etc.
- Copper Toxicity adversely effects optimal neurotransmitter production and metabolism in that bioavailable copper is a precursor/cofactor to some of our most important neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine. When copper becomes biounavailable, the metabolism of these powerful neurotransmitters is adversely effected, leading to all kinds of psychological and cognitive symptoms such as depression, anxiety, obsessive thoughts, excessive worry, detachment, despondence, behavior changes, and many more.
- CT’s profound role in the perpetuation of adrenal burnout, which houses an endless array of emotional upheaval, deterioration of the Spirit, and enhancement of anxiety/depression.
- CT’s adverse effect on the thyroid, creating essentially the same imbalances as that of adrenal burnout. Thyroid dysfunction in and of itself, on top of the endless physical symptoms that often arise, often involves other symptoms such as depression and anxiety.
- CT’s perpetuation of estrogen dominance, which encourages mood fluctuations, anxiety, depression, irritability, and a host of other emotional and neurological symptoms.
- Various other neurological function disruptions such as excessive amygdala stimulation as a result of the brain’s response to chronic stress.
As can be seen from these many contributors, one’s True Self and core being (whom is balanced, confident, self-assured, aware, connected, relaxed, engaged, energetic, loving, etc.) will often struggle to prevail when faced with these many powerful elements that are so tremendously overwhelming and have such a notable influence on our emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health. It is key to remain aware that these are all simply symptoms of this imbalance, and this is not who you are. As you slowly emerge into a more balanced physiological framework, and copper levels come back into balance, your True Self will reemerge (or be unveiled for the first time in your life) in all of its magnificence and beauty…
Work to maintain equanimity throughout healing and keep your eye on the prize. The psychological symptoms in and of themselves can be debilitating, but this too shall pass.
The Gift of Copper Toxicity
Whether it is clear to you or not (which, believe me, it isn’t at the beginning of your journey with CT!), the acquisition of Copper Toxicity can and will serve as a highly advantageous tool for you to learn and grow as a person, and henceforth serve as a true gift in your life’s journey.
This highly involved imbalance basically forces you to stop and re-evaluate your lifestyle (physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually), the harboring of false/limiting subconscious and conscious beliefs attached to the past, and basically all facets of your inner and outer world. It catalyzes a true state of silent introspection in that in order to truly heal from this, one must honestly, courageously, and adamantly perform a great deal of “inner work”…analyzing their life up until that point and the possible counterproductive negative attachments or patterns that have not served them well and contributed to the state of chronic stress and resistance that can cause or worsen copper imbalance.
Undergoing this inner work and reevaluation of limiting beliefs and past attachments catalyzes a truly abundant and rich journey of awakened self-discovery that is elemental to your true growth and evolution as a whole, magnificent being. Emotional blockages are also profoundly important to address in that they can serve as road blocks to the attainment of full wellness and therefore must be given due attention. Analyzing one’s core conscious and subconscious beliefs (most often developed very early in life) with full honesty and integrity is obligatory to healing, and tremendously helpful in bettering one’s life and overall wellness. These beliefs sculpt our whole world, and giving yourself the gift of redefining them on your terms (according to your TRUE SELF values) is a brilliant action indeed.
Emotional, intellectual, and spiritual healing is presented and analyzed in great length and detail throughout the entirety of this blog, primarily because it is equally if not more important than addressing the sole physical component of this exceptionally multifarious malady. As people, we often have to be pushed into certain circumstances that will propel us to partake in the changes that need to be made to actualize our best and most authentic selves, and this is absolutely no exception. The profound opportunity for positive transformation that is brought about by CT is such a solid gift, and this is elaborated on further below.
Here are several links to the direct pages and articles in my blog that outline a few of the most important and helpful paradigms to address when healing the exceptionally important realm of your emotional/spiritual/intellectual inner landscape and perspective and work toward achieving notable freedom and expedited healing from Copper Toxicity and any other chronic illness:
- TOOLS, EXERCISES, AFFIRMATIONS, & QUOTES
- JOURNAL entries which include helpful tools in our journey to achieving emotional freedom.
- 5 Steps To Dismantle and Release Pain from the Past
- Unleash Your TRUE SELF!
- NOURISH YOUR SOUL
- My wish for you 🙂.
- Stress Without Distress
- Acceptance vs. Resistance
- It Essentially Comes Down to Choices…
- The Notable Significance of Expressive Writing
- Accepting Your Gifts When They Are Given To You
- The Power of Vulnerability
THE CALCIUM SHELL AND THE AWAKENING TO ONE’S LIFE PICTURE:
The calcium shell is a stress response.
The body is an absolutely fascinating entity that exemplifies a great deal of cause and effect processes in both a metaphorical and physiological manner. As is described above, stress greatly catalyzes Copper Toxicity: both emotional and intellectual stress as well as the physiological stress that this imbalance imparts of the body and its tissues and systems. As a coping mechanism of sorts, what is commonly referred to as the “calcium shell” arises as a means to literally and figuratively shield and protect someone from experiencing the overwhelming stress that CT is catalyzing (both physically and psychologically). This is often indicated by a very high HTMA calcium level (and often a coinciding high magnesium level at first), which is synonymously indicative of Copper Toxicity, whether it be overt, by a very high tissue copper reading, or “hidden” (as indicated by other various mineral readings that signify an underlying copper imbalance). Remember, the interpretation of HTMA is an art all its own, and the results can be far from straight forward. As tissue copper levels rise, one’s tissue calcium levels rise as well, to the point that this mineral becomes biounavailable, similar to that of copper once it reaches toxic levels.
As a result of this phenomenon, several various physiological and psychological symptoms will develop such as aches, pains, and muscle tightness. Psychologically, one may experience and be perceived as being removed, detached, idle, and essentially remain in a relative state of figurative sleep-walking, where they are not truly in touch with themselves or truly engaged with the world around them. That is, they are alive and living, yet not truly in touch with their organic, raw emotions, passions, and paths. They are unaware and not deeply cognizant of what is going on around or within them, to a certain degree depending on the severity of the case. Not standing up for oneself, making excuses for yourself as well as others, not fulfilling your True Potential/remaining idle, allowing oneself to be taken advantage of, and not actualizing a true sense of self-love and self-worth are all very common characteristics when one is in the depths of the Calcium Shell. Furthermore, remaining in destructive relationships and not demonstrating a clear awareness of what is best for oneself is also a possibility here. Of course, depending on varying other singular mineral levels and ratios, every individual will experience the effects of the calcium shell differently. These could be long-standing life characteristics, demeanors, and patterns, or they could seemingly come out of nowhere.
As one embarks on a mineral balancing and bio-individual healing protocol and gently and slowly works on balancing their core underlying cause, being Copper Toxicity, the calcium shell begins to crack and dissolve…leading one to a state of further and true awareness. This can be an overwhelming experience, as the calcium shell was built for a reason, to protect you from the intensity of your life’s stresses and circumstances, as well as the physiological stress that was put on you so adamantly as a result of CT. One will become aware, not only of their physical pain and uncomfortability, but they will awaken to the possible imbalances and stressors that are present within their emotional and spiritual life as well. Most often, this involves becoming more aware of the pain catalyzed by past traumas or hurts that one was not able to fully heal from at the time.
While this process may seem daunting, I can assure you that it is equally liberating, intriguing, and life-changing as well. When I personally experienced the shedding of my calcium shell, I actively became aware of a myriad of my life’s circumstances that needed a great deal of my attention. I had developed several adverse patterns in my life that did not honor the True and magnificent me, and I essentially woke up to this truth and decided to make some drastic changes, working tenaciously on building the relationship that I have with myself and hence becoming much more in touch with my organic, intrinsic, True Self. This will often entail building the unwavering and vulnerable (see my essay titled The Power of Vulnerability) strength and power to face these counterproductive beliefs, patterns, people, etc. in order to make the conscious and awake choice to change your life for the better. It is very important to note that if the proper measures are not taken when detoxing copper from tissue storage (for example, by failing to seek and utilize the above mentioned types of practitioners), one’s imbalance can be exacerbated and become much worse than it already was to begin with. That is, the calcium shell can rise, leading someone further into a space of emotional isolation, detachment, and despondence. That is one of the reasons why seeking the proper care, as to detox in the best and most conscious manner possible, is so very important on your quest to achieve optimal balance and vitality.
These changes will take some time, but as your physiological balance is reached more and more, you will emerge into a new inner landscape where you find fulfillment and comfort in this awakening…embracing this space of vulnerability in order to face that which was holding you back throughout your days of living with the calcium shell, and emerging into a space where you are truly living and occupy a joyful, peaceful, and intrigued space most predominantly. Hence my description in the previous section being – the Gift of Copper Toxicity. The shedding of your shell, which is essentially synonymous to the shedding of your Ego, your figurative mask, your limiting and hollow coping mechanisms…ultimately allows you to occupy the true and lasting space where you are emotionally free, consciously aware, and confident about whom you are and where you are in your life. Never cease to have full compassion (as always) for yourself in this process, and true liberation will be absolutely imminent and transformative for the better.
THE PRISTINE POTENTIAL FOR POSITIVE TRANSFORMATION/RELATIONSHIPS:
Again, a profoundly important notion to understand when looking at mineral imbalance of any kind is the fact that minerals not only have an intense impact on our overall physiological make-up, but our psychological well-being as well. Specific minerals have varying implications, and copper has been said to be the “emotional” mineral, in that it is deeply connected to one’s heart center in many cases. Due to the fact that copper has a tremendous impact on neurological function, and that the brain is one of the first organs to be infiltrated with toxic copper stores, one’s cognitive, emotional, and overall neurological performance and awareness can be deeply effected by Copper Toxicity in many regards.
Everyone will experience this in a subjective, idiosyncratic way, and no two stories will be exactly identical, as we all have varying spiritual/emotional/intellectual pictures dependent on many components such as upbringing, current life’s circumstances, inherent personality, personal perspective, conscious and subconscious core beliefs, and many other contributing attributes and elements in one’s overall life’s picture.
On the other hand, there will indeed be some commonalities regarding psychological symptomotology amongst CT cases as well. The most commonly shared symptoms include untriggered, sporadic anxiety and racing thoughts, most often experienced when copper is being eliminated from tissue storage (which happens in a sporadic fashion while actively healing). Furthermore, most of us will experience some degree of a change in awareness, whether it be a worsened sense of isolation and detachment due to the calcium shell (as explained above), or the opposite: a reawakening and positive transformation. There can also be a combination of these, as in my case. I was living for years in a space of relative disconnect – where I had not yet truly awakened to my own potential or developed a true sense of self-love and worth. When my copper imbalance rose to significant and severe levels, I was able to utilize this circumstance to my advantage and essentially perform a comprehensive overhaul on my life, for the better.
I was basically forced to step back and re-evaluate all that had led me to The Now, and figure out how I wanted to change myself and my perspective in order to strengthen and actualize my best self and the brilliant life that I had always known I was absolutely capable of manifesting and maintaining. As a result, I have adopted many salubrious ways of life in order to better serve my heart and soul in a compassionate, nurturing, self-loving way. I have come home to my True Self and in the process have discovered my deeply cherished life’s work, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
When an underlying imbalance causes psychological challenges for the sufferer, there will inevitably be various effects within one’s life…one of which regards relationships. This can manifest in MANY different ways depending on the person.
The most important component to point out before I outline some of the outward impacts is:
This begins with the most significant relationship of all: the one that you have with yourself. The way that you feel about yourself is how you will behave in your outward relationships…and seeing as Copper Toxicity has a powerful ability to manipulate our intrinsic feelings, awareness, sense-of-self, and self-worth, there will be a notable impact on our outward relationships: and just as we are all unique souls and Beings, this will manifest and present itself in different ways.
From my observations of many different cases and my own personal experiences, I have come to see two primary affects of Copper Toxicity on relationships (familial, friendships, romantic, or colleagues): one being absolutely, positively transformative for the better amongst all forms of relationships and one being detrimental amongst mainly romantic partnerships.
- Copper Toxicity, either during it’s overt/acute manifestation or through the proper healing through mineral balancing (and hence elimination of excess tissue copper), can serve as an incredibly prolific awakening for you, in allowing you to actualize the most valuable components of whom you are, and hence endow your relationships with a further sense of clarity: strengthening those which are most valuable to your current life’s picture and possibly amending those which are lacking mutual respect and/or nobly departing from those that could be detrimental to your acquired clarity and healing. I have experienced this effect, personally, as my process has been pristinely enlightening and catalytic of my own intrinsic spiritual and emotional awakening, and hence the renewal and strengthening of my most dear relationships, and shedding of those that no longer paralleled my clear acquisition of self-love, respect, worth, and personal boundary.
- Some whom suffer from Copper Toxicity experience or initiate the disintegration of certain healthy relationships, primarily and most commonly romantic partnerships, due to the severe impact that CT has on one’s neurological function and overall psychological framework. This has often been the result of treating this imbalance incorrectly (i.e. implementing detox too quickly, not utilizing the most relevant and knowledgable practitioners to guide the healing process, allowing copper levels to rise to staggering levels and sequester further into tissue storage due to not knowing this imbalance is present to begin with, among other reasons). This is of course not at the “fault” of the sufferer, as my analysis has clearly outlined the dire fact that this malady is far from well-known and is not a common, effectively treated illness, therefore thousands if not millions of people are either seeking the help of practitioners whom can not guide their healing appropriately, or are currently plagued with this affliction and have not discovered that copper is at the root of their plight, and hence are experiencing a worsening of symptoms. These aforementioned, unfortunate circumstances can often further exacerbate and worsen the rise of the calcium shell, the metabolism of neurotransmitters, the functioning of the adrenal glands, gut imbalance, and several other physiological systems which greatly impact our personality and brain function overall. These contributors can lead to a “deadening of feelings”…where the individual feels apathy and a lack of connection to first, themselves, and second, those they are committed to in a romantic relationship. Those whom experience this seemingly lose feelings for a romantic partner overnight, someone whom they had previously been deeply in love with. Commonly, when extreme adrenal burnout is experienced (due to Copper Toxicity), what could be considered surface, or less significant tasks such as libido and connection to others are essentially put on the back burner, so that the body can conserve what little energy it has to vital survival mechanisms. So those experiencing the deadening of feelings for a romantic partner often also experience a loss of libido.
Regarding the effect of CT on one’s relationships, it is highly significant to point out that there is a very big difference between ending relationships due to the effects of the calcium shell (hence an onset of a deadening of one’s feelings) and the departing from toxic/unhealthy relationships (of any kind) as a means of solidifying and actualizing one’s autonomy, value, and self-love. The latter is a likely product of the awakening process and is often necessary as a means of addressing and amending outward stressors in one’s life, and moving into an emotional/spiritual/intellectual space where one is considerably free and can hence truly heal.
Copper Toxicity highlights and encourages the overt expression of the primary emotional imbalances within the individual – whatever they may be for that person. CT essentially serves as a chronic emotional and psychological trigger.
Personally, through this process, I have been able to actualize, more so than ever before, who I truly am in my core, and realize and act on my own self-love and self-worth. For many years prior to this healing odyssey, I had lacked a strong and secure connection to my True Self and did not exercise my Voice openly, hence some of my relationships were demonstrative of that. Also, as a result of CT and an early life trauma, I did not possess the awareness or energy that is necessary to define and set personal boundaries with others.
Since I have balanced my copper levels and performed massive inner work, awakening on an incredibly large, multifaceted scale, I have shed the past adverse patterns in my life that did not serve who I truly am, nor honor me in the respect and value that I deserve, and everyone deserves, in relationships. I spent months working to unearth the root origin of my subconscious false and limiting core beliefs that were hindering me in my present and reformulated them to match my present True Self. I worked tirelessly, even through the torturous psychological symptoms of CT, to face and forgive past traumas that were limiting me in my present (5 Steps To Dismantle and Release Pain from the Past). As a result of this work, I developed a very clear and overt idea of what a mutually respecting relationship means to me and solidified my Voice, which most definitely allowed me to courageously move on from unhealthy circumstances and emerge into a space of true liberation and emotional freedom. My own core values became crystal clear, and hence it became must easier for me to set and maintain my own personal boundaries – a hugely important component to maintaining healthy relationships of any kind.
Once you reach the place where you hold unwavering, 100% unconditional self-love, your ability to attract and build balanced, healthy, fulfilling, adventurous, loving, and incredible relationships of any kind becomes strong. It all begins with the relationship that you have with yourself.
What can happen with individuals whom are unknowingly experiencing Copper Toxicity (and hence a continual rise of copper levels and subsequent increased level of bio-unavailable copper in tissue storage) is a sudden or “strange” change in behavior or personality. This is due in large part to the calcium shell, as well as the further increase of copper being stored in the brain. Because this individual is not aware that CT is the cause of these changes, a great deal of confusion may arise within both the sufferer as well as those in their life. Individuals in this position may choose to end relationships with their romantic partner suddenly (often claiming that they “don’t feel anything for them any longer”), become hostile, or fear-based when they have never really exhibited this behavior before, or simply change their overall character in a way that is not conducive to their True Self. I have spoken to and read about many cases similar to this. You see, minerals and their INCREDIBLY POWERFUL IMPACT on our overall well-being are not well-known, so most people don’t immediately think, “oh, well, I must be experiencing a mineral imbalance and this is why my personality seems to be changing!”…far from it. Most are left in the dark, literally and figuratively.
When one is living within the confines of the calcium shell for an extended period of time, there is also a common potential to remain in many relationships (of any kind – friendships, romantic partnerships, etc.) that are not mutually respecting due to one’s lack of self-awareness, worth, value, and the state-of-being of which the calcium shell perpetuates that keeps you out of touch with yourself and what is truly best for you in your life. Often, those occupying this space will assume that others around them are of more value, have more of a right to speak their truth, and will often remain silent when they feel as though they have been wronged as a means of “keeping the peace”. However, as treatment is initiated slowly and surely, the calcium shell begins to dissipate and excess copper that is stored in the brain begins to release. It is then that one is able to wake up to this truth, and hence begin to live with a new found strength that allows them to easily and truthfully stand up for themselves, demonstrate self-worth and love in any and all endeavors, and remain true to the respect and value that they now know they inherently deserve. Clearly, emerging into this space is a celebratory endeavor and grants the individual a new found freedom to live their own truth freely.
What differed a great deal in my case as opposed to those mentioned above is the fact that even though I didn’t know much about Copper Toxicity in particular (when I was experiencing it at the most severe level), throughout my life I had gathered the real and important relationship between our mental/emotional health and our physical health, and how each are intimately intertwined. Due to this basic knowledge, and my growing awareness of all of the physiological and psychological implications of the copper mineral (when present in any level higher than the very small amount that is “normally” needed) as I continued to research tenaciously even through my darkest times, I came to truly understand that any feelings I was having that didn’t line up with my True Self center were simply the influence of copper and nothing more. I was also in the highly advantageous position of having my own space – literally and figuratively – and was able to focus on my healing as my top priority. I wasn’t in a committed romantic relationship, did not have children, and was already sort of in a “transition” period of my life, therefore I was able to embrace my healing, in every regard, with full-focus and essentially give it all of my attention. Due to this, when I was experiencing my most dark periods, I chose to remain fairly isolated, which in my opinion is necessary, even if you are committed to various other life responsibilities…at least for a short time if at all possible. That way, I could sort out these shifts myself, and with the help of my family, without the added pressure and confusion of a lot of outside influence.
Is it possible to do this successfully and move through these darker periods when you are committed to a partner, have children, and a full-time job? ABSOLUTELY! You’ll just have to get creative as to when you can dedicate certain periods of your day to only you, and even if that is only for a few minutes, it is vital to your healing and the successful emergence through your darker mental and emotional periods. Once again – this highlights the EXTREMELY IMPORTANT COMPONENT OF SUPPORT AND UNDERSTANDING throughout one’s healing process. While I very quickly learned that I would have to accept that hardly no one would truly understand my plight and it’s details, I simultaneously came to absorb the fact that extending my need for continuous love and support during that elongated period of struggle was of the utmost significance.
Once I literally and figuratively came out of this space, I realized that I had had the ability to face this head on, and therefore disallowed it to adversely effect me spiritually and emotionally…it’s presumed “negative” power had disintegrated, as I had successfully shifted this energy of negativity into a POSITIVE POWER in every way, and I was essentially reborn. I had left literally almost every detrimental behavior, thought, pattern, etc. in the past and was able to embrace my True Self with a welcomed, warm, sure sense of gratitude and clear awareness. All of these aspects serve as some of the primary goals of a comprehensive natural and Whole Person healing protocol indeed.
You may see now as to why I refer to CT as one of the greatest gifts that has been bestowed on my life – it was the primary catalyst for my realization and recognition of whom I truly am – as I was able to assess every fact of my inner and outer life up to that point and consciously, courageously, and thoughtfully made decisions to make every part of my Now line up with my True Self center.
I now live from this space of absolute emotional freedom and liberation on a daily basis, and never cease to express my tremendous Gratitude consistently and truly.
Life will always come with challenges and obstacles, however, once you are able to achieve a certain degree of acceptance, honesty, love, awareness, and emotional freedom within yourself, you are able to meet these challenges openly and willingly – seeing them as advantages and opportunities for further growth and learning.
You can get there, with a strong commitment to your healing, I assure you.
Everything that occurs in our lives, and everyone whom comes into it, are there to teach us a larger lesson. This is a highly liberating and insightful truth that, when clearly recognized in the moment, will serve you in a myriad of ways. If you develop a keen sense of self-awareness and are able to view the larger picture as opposed to the often temporal notions of fear, apprehension, worry, resentment, anger, etc. than you will emerge into a continuous space that will allow you to see and actualize these lessons immediately upon their occurrence in your life. This will then liberate you from holding on to the past, feeling regret, projecting blame, and anything of the like, and will fill you with acceptance, appreciation for your lessons and those whom have taught them to you, guide you further on your abundant journey of healing and learning, and catalyze an overall sense of unwavering peace and tranquility in your intrinsic and outer being: therefore building your life to be a comprehensive, fulfilling landscape of love, joy, true happiness/excitement, and gratitude.
It is my inherent belief that everyone’s True Self is characterized by self-evident tact, warmth, love (toward the self and others), joy, and kindness, and anything other than this is the expression of imbalance within someone. Any kind of negative expression directed toward you is not personal, and always has to do with that person’s own intrinsic pain and suffering that is being misguided outwardly. People will often lash out at others or outward circumstances as a way of temporarily lessening the weight of their own inner turmoil. It happens all the time, every day, in many different types of ways but this is the core commonality amongst angst, anger, criticism, rudeness, ridicule, hate, alienation, discrimination, or anything of the like. The only emotion one should feel for others whom express negativity such as this in any way is compassion, as this is not anyone’s True Self, and is directly indicative of that individual’s inner battle and suffering. Of course we will all experience disagreements and strife in our lives in various ways but my point here is that one that is truly connected to their True Self and holds a considerable degree of awareness will exercise tact and respect in the process, thoughtfully and considerately expressing themselves in a manner that does not cross the line to become blatant and reckless negativity. So free yourself right now from concerning your attention and energy toward anyone that behaves in this way – it has nothing to do with you and never did. Feel compassion for them and hope that they can find happiness within themselves and unveil their own, truly loving True Self throughout their journey.
Believe me, most of these notions will become a lot more clear to you once you embark on your own comprehensive healing protocol/journey, and your own sense of awareness reaches levels you had never previously conceived possible.
There will always be various storms that arise in our life, yet it is up to us as to how we wish to sculpt and write our script in order to allow these storms to be advantageous, rich additions to our story and our personal growth. Here is an essay I wrote that uses the metaphor of a storm to explain this point further. All in all, we must learn to dance in the rain, and realize that we are the master of our own destinies, in every single way, shape, and form.
I have now emerged into a strong, resilient, aware inner landscape that is characterized by reverence and a full understanding of what a mutually respecting relationship means to me – as it adheres to my most treasured values and True Self. This will of course look different and comprise different elements depending of the specific person.
We don’t learn these huge lessons overnight, they take time and experience to acquire. Therefore, begin by having full compassion for yourself first and move about your journey slowly and with keen awareness to what makes you feel good, loved, and respected, and what doesn’t…and then move away from the latter in lightness, peace, and gratitude. In other words: if it doesn’t nourish your soul, let it go. Actively and consciously FORGIVE YOURSELF for any judgements or perceived “mistakes” you may have made – realizing that these hiccups were the necessary steps to bring you to where you are today. Each and every turn serves a larger purpose that propels mandatory change in your life and aids in your overall growth, wisdom, and evolution as a worthy and deserving soul.
I find it very important to point out as described above, that my experience has been more liberating, refreshing, and positively life-changing than anything else, and I hope that it is for many others whom eventually overcome this exceptionally multifarious malady as well: IT ALL BEGINS WITH PROPER AWARENESS AND EDUCATION, and then the stage may be set for the most positively transformative experience.
Some CT sufferers will experience adverse impacts on relationships (mainly romantic in nature) as a direct result of their copper imbalance. However, this is not the only outcome that can arise from Copper Toxicity, as CT can catalyze a true awakening within oneself, and hence endow their relationships with deeper fulfillment, clarity, and most of all respect.
Educate yourself and allow this circumstance to serve you.
It is my and other’s hope that as this illness and its implications becomes exponentially more well-known, and an increasing number of practitioners – both allopathic and alternative – become trained and knowledgeable about Copper Toxicity and how to suitably treat it, there will be far less individuals whom are left cleaning up the mess after their imbalance has reached clamant severity and hence actuated more harmful consequences on their life than positive, transformative liberations.
It is our responsibility in this world to take a step back and look deeper: for all is not as it seems on the surface. Writing someone off as “crazy”, or stamping a quick diagnosis on them as “bipolar” or simply someone with “anxiety and depression” DOES NOT SOLVE ANYTHING. There are causes to these symptoms…that is what they are: symptoms. And if these causes are viewed and treated appropriately, than the sufferer may work to unveil their TRUE self, and move forth with their life building, growing, learning, and flourishing, which is their birthright to begin with.
If you have fortunately unearthed CT as a possible cause of your current health struggle and are now under the care of a knowledgable, congruously trained healthcare practitioner, I encourage you to use this as a greatly efficacious avenue to actualize your True Self, and hence figuratively beautify and CLEANSE your own inner landscape (your emotions, spirituality, and intellect), improve your relationships to the point that they are stronger, more mutually supportive/loving, and serve as a notably fulfilling and uplifting entity in your life more so than ever before.
Always remember: YOU HAVE THE POWER and this imbalance will not get the best of you. This is a tremendous opportunity – as with any challenge – that you are fully capable of overcoming.
This initially presumed tremendous struggle now serves as the biggest gift that has ever been given to me at present in my life. There have been an endless array of POSITIVE consequences infiltrating my existence for which I recognize, am deeply grateful for, and continue to notice every day.
SUPPORT AND UNDERSTANDING – MOVING AWAY FROM LABELS
In my experience and those of others, support and understanding serves as one of the absolute foremost important aspect of the healing process and all that encompasses Copper Toxicity – sociologically, physiologically, psychologically, and in general.
There is a great deal of misunderstanding and misjudgment that often surrounds Copper Toxicity – what it entails, the appropriate methods of treatment, the required length of an effective treatment regimen, physiological truths, essentially everything surrounding CT. This fact isn’t too surprising considering the great lack of awareness mentioned previously, however, this misunderstanding and deficiency of clarity can very much compound the already difficult experiences of those suffering from this malady. If you or a loved one are suffering from Copper Toxicity (or suspect that you may be), it is exceptionally important to embrace this circumstance with an open mind and with true, unwavering compassion. This truth can not be stressed enough. While everyone (both individuals and healthcare professionals) will have a slightly different take on how this imbalance should be dealt with, the primary goal can not be lost in translation, which is achieving true and lasting health. While you or your loved one may not understand this condition completely, please do not allow this to perpetuate any unfounded judgement toward the sufferer in any way. I speak from first hand, lived experience when I say that Copper Toxicity can be a highly isolating experience, and this isolation is only worsened when one feels misunderstood or judged for any reason surrounding this condition.
Before making assumptions or drawing uninformed conclusions, ask questions, it is that simple. And this goes for anything that one is not throughly knowledgable of.
As is described further below, if you are a sufferer of Copper Toxicity (or any other debilitating chronic illness), the most important priority is that you understand the nature of your condition and your healing. Then, try your best to educate those close to you on your current circumstances and how you are feeling (physically and emotionally).
After you have explained your circumstance, bring yourself to the place where you completely disallow potential outside judgement, misunderstanding, and criticism from impacting you in any way. Let all of that be. It is very hard for others to understand this condition if they are not personally growing and healing through it, so just focus on yourself, let outside criticism of any kind go, and let it be.
It is significant to note that for a period of time, in order to achieve optimal results, an individual will most likely be required to rest a great deal (temporarily “taking a break” from active social engagements, travel, etc.). This is not optional for most, as the debilitating, to-the-bone fatigue that CT perpetuates often leaves one with little choice but to rest. This is important on both a spiritual and physical level, and is made all the more effective when the people around you lend open and true love and support (i.e. accepting that the sufferer is incapable and unable to participate in many activities at that point in time, understanding that they may not come off as their “normal” selves, supporting the myriad of lifestyle changes that must be made in order to adequately and lastingly heal, and essentially just being there for them, as this process is difficult to say the least and our struggles are truly lessened when we feel unconditionally supported and loved, as is true for all life’s circumstances).
If such proper care is given during healing, the sufferer is able to comprehensively rejuvenate in a much shorter amount of time and return to their “normal” life’s activities as a much stronger individual! It is important to note as well that if one is to overexert themselves throughout the healing process, this will often simply lengthen the time it will take for them to reach optimal balance once again (or for this first time in their life!), and seeing as this process is quiet lengthy even when all of the proper precautions are taken into consideration, one should avoid said exertion, and reach a place (while challenging) that they are relaxing into the process and respecting that rest is key to a successful treatment program. Yes, you will want to take part in all of your normal social activities, etc. however in many regards, and throughout the duration of your healing process, your successful recovery must remain at the forefront of your mind and you must sculpt your daily life accordingly. Each of our respective life’s circumstances are different of course…some of us are parents, some of us are students, some of us have full time jobs, and some of us don’t. That being said, you will of course have to adhere to a lot of your expected responsibilities, however, this is why a solid support system and the achievement of a considerable amount of outside understanding is so important, because finding the time to focus on your healing, without outside “pushing” or uninformed encouragement to take part in activities that will overextend you, is an imperative element to your overall achievement of lasting health. This may be tough to navigate at first, but as with anything you put your Whole Being into, it will get easier over time as you come to find what works best for you.
Furthermore, learning as much as you can about this condition, your treatment protocol, what to expect throughout healing, and basically all facets of CT in general will be helpful for you when it comes time to explain your current circumstances to others and henceforth allow them to gain further understanding. You see, you make not “look sick”, and you may or may not have been hospitalized, or bound to your bed…so it is often difficult for others whom aren’t experiencing this to conceptualize what you are going through. Also, no one in your world has probably ever heard of this before, as very few have, and this can add to the confusion and resistance. All of that being said, it is key to your healing process to learn independently in order to enlighten those around you of your new goals, needs, and that which will be most fitting to bring you to an overall state of optimal balance and vitality.
Here is a possible example to use when describing your copper imbalance to others:
“I have been experiencing a condition called Copper Toxicity, which is not very well-known right now. It involves an imbalance in copper within the body and effects almost every system in my body as well. Some of my symptoms have been ____________, and I have acquired this from a) my copper IUD/the birth control pill/the Mirena IUD b) it was passed in utero and I’ve been dealing with this to some degree my whole life c) the vegetarian diet I’ve been on for a few years d) my town’s water supply has high copper content, etc. I am currently still learning about it, but have gathered that I will have to make a considerable amount of lifestyle changes in order to heal, and this will probably take some time. Thank you for your open-mindedness and your understanding, it is very appreciated.”
Or something similar, dependent on your individual circumstances and whom you are talking to. I noticed that when I would get too much into the physiology behind this imbalance, I would quickly lose a lot of people’s attention, so it is often more efficient to keep it short and sweet.
People like labels and compartmentalization. It is easier and safer for individuals to conceptualize something if they have something to identifiably call it and subsequently place it in a particular category or box. This is why “dis-ease” labels are thrown around so frequently as a means of putting meaning onto a set of circumstances, albeit often rigid, illusionary “meaning” indeed. For example, “you are diagnosed with bipolar disorder and you are mentally ill” – a direct and rigid label followed by a stifling and stigmatized categorization. Or, “you have X disease and you are terminally ill” – this one really perturbs me. Wouldn’t it be more helpful to encourage one’s innate ability to physiologically, emotionally, and spiritually heal than branding them with a suffocating and terrifying label that imprisons them unnecessarily to live within a perspective that continues to compound their illness? To me, this is obvious and nowhere close to the perpetuation of true healthcare.
Yes, individuals must be informed of the facts of their current health status in order to gain solid knowledge and perspective, however they do not have to be told how or what they “are” in association to their illness, this should be up to the freewill of the individual and no one else. These labels are counterproductive to healing, and put us in a mindset that subconsciously or consciously marks you as whatever label you choose to put on yourself – or others choose to put onto you, indefinitely. While the myriad of symptoms and other imbalances that are born from Copper Toxicity all currently have labels such as “hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, anxiety, depression, IBS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, hypertension, etc, etc, etc” these labels are not necessary to list, as you would essentially be going on forever in a lot of severe cases, and ultimately, these are all simply symptoms of the underlying cause, THEY ARE NOT CONDITIONS IN AND OF THEMSELVES.
Dis-ease is simply an imbalance in the harmonious flow of the Whole Person, and that is why in most holistic healthcare settings you will hear “dis-ease” being referred to as imbalance and not the slew of popular labels that are often given. This is because the root and true definition of “dis-ease” is being honored – that it is simply an imbalance. This fact frustrates many, and will often make your explanation to others more difficult, as they wish for you to give them a label. Personally, I had to fine-tune how I chose to describe what I was going through, and those whom I communicated this with could take it or leave it…but I chose to shift the limiting, label-ridden obsession and describe my situation as exactly what it was: an imbalance.
Yes, “Copper Toxicity” could be considered a label as well, however it is more so a descriptive term to illuminate a subjective, open set of circumstances. We of course have to have a descriptive term in order to illuminate meaning and identify that which we are referring to, yet we do not have to stamp indelible stigma, characteristics, and limiting viewpoints on these descriptions to make them meaningful. My hope is to move away from the counterproductive, rigid aggregation that is catalyzed by the aforementioned obsession with labeling, and move more toward a less permanent descriptive dialogue that is indicative of the true meaning behind a set of circumstances. Copper Toxicity means an imbalance in the appropriate levels of intrinsic copper – an imbalance that can be corrected…an imbalance that presents itself in many different ways, amongst many different kinds of people, with many different varying life’s circumstances. Such is the case with any malady really. My point here is to dissolve the often hurtful and subconscious “branding” of someone as a result of their “diagnosis” and perpetuate liberation, a “can do” attitude toward healing, and an understanding of the importance of subjectivity by using descriptive terms instead of rigid labels and marginalized disease terms.
Our life’s journey is a FLUID path of learning, growth, evolution, and movement. What characterizes one’s world at one point can and will change over time. We are meant to remain consistently in a state of active development. We do not fit into boxes, as this discounts the aforementioned fluid nature of one’s life path. In order to celebrate the exquisitely beautiful capacity for change throughout our personal evolution – as a people, we must move away from stamping labels, and recognize the POWER OF CHOICE and capacity for transformation.
I have undoubtedly learned throughout my journey that labeling myself or being labeled by others catalyzes a stifling feeling of suffocating misjudgment within me. I feel it builds an unnecessary and overt wall that impedes me from living my full potential, keeping me locked in the past. It discounts my powerful and brilliant ability for constant transcendence and development…a glass ceiling that unjustly keeps me in idle motion and limits my universal birthright to freedom. This isn’t ok, nor is it necessary or called for. Labels are powerful and our society is hard-wired to use them, therefore moving away from this standard is tough…very tough. It is imperative, however, and an absolutely obligatory component to our improved evolution as a human social world.
You are as capable as you believe yourself to be, no matter what anyone has told you or tried to instill in you. I have proven this to myself time and time again throughout my healing journey. You dictate your path – you write your story.
You are allowed and have the freedom to call yourself or believe yourself to be anything that you wish, whenever you wish, and hopefully this inner dialogue will be conductive and promotional to true healing. Always, and I mean always, listen to your inner voice…your True Self…as this will steer you in the right direction. No one else can determine the true nature of your healing (or anything about you for that matter) but you – and you can use this to your advantage by solidifying the undeniable, unwavering, and absolute truth that YOU CAN AND WILL HEAL, if and only if you decide that that is indeed what you want for yourself and your life.
Do not allow yourself to be imprisoned completely unnecessarily by the occupying of a label (ANY label, not just dis-ease labels) that is stamped on you by someone other than yourself. This is dehumanizing, unjust, uncalled for, and has far-reaching consequences that are not at all taken as seriously as they should be. Choose to free yourself from labels, I assure you you will feel a huge lift as you realize your inherent freedom and birthright to identify yourself autonomously.
What we were yesterday may not be what we are today, and that is ok. People change, and that is ok too. Free yourself from the compulsion to label or be labeled and you’ll be surprised at the liberation you experience on many levels. Give yourself this gift.
Our experiences need not become our identity.
Sociologically speaking, individuals and groups of individuals resist and judge that which they don’t understand and hence cannot relate to. This is and has been shown throughout many facets of our human social world, both now and throughout history. In order to shift the counterproductive societal aggregation and marginalization that this paradigm perpetuates, we must work toward a shift in perspective that is characterized by openness and a willingness to learn as opposed to an invariable mindset that is dismissive and based on unfounded judgment of the unknown. As Arthur Schopenhauer so eloquently explains, “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident.”
Always remember this: perception is reality. People will view any and everything based on their own perspectives, which are based on their own experiences.
While it is often easy to judge people or circumstances of which we do not understand or that differ from our own life’s picture, this is a lost cause and we must remain consciously cognizant of releasing our close-minded attachment to judgment (judgment simply being defined as the over-criticizing or uninformed defining of a person, place, thing, circumstance, idea, etc. by which one is not living first-hand). This perpetuates a separatist reality where we are not connected and therefore can not work together to perpetuate true and lasting healing across the board. Differences (in all respects) must be celebrated and acknowledged as gifts to broaden our scope and understanding of the people and the macro world around us. As the old adage goes, variety is the spice of life, and that is indeed a statement that holds much veracity!
If you are the loved one of someone whom is suffering from Copper Toxicity (or suspects that they may be), it is highly beneficial to take the time to learn as much as you can about this imbalance yourself as well. This will allow you to provide a stronger level of understanding and support overall. While it is clearly impossible for anyone to “truly understand” (whom is on the outside looking in), it is indeed very possible for loved ones to perpetuate a more conducive healing environment and relationship through their own desire to help and support via learning. This will also give you a more clear idea as to what to expect throughout the detox process, as it can be a very unpredictable, arduous journey at times. When sharing a household with someone whom is actively recovering from CT, it is also important to remain aware of the many lifestyle changes that will have to be made to adhere to efficacious treatment. This learning process may catalyze some new, health-promoting changes that you yourself can implement in your own life as well!
All in all, support is very important, and truly helps to lessen the confusion, alleviate the stress, provide needed strength, and promote a healing journey that feels doable and a little less formidable to the sufferer in general. I am more than happy to lend advice based on my own, first-person, lived experience with severe Copper Toxicity, as I have experienced, to some degree, all of the aforementioned judgments, and have developed some very helpful and liberating tools to disallow them from serving as a detriment, or alter my inner strength in any way. Visit my contact page for the email address that I use as my primary contact, thank you!
(There is also a “print” button at the bottom of this page so that you can print any portion of this presentation that you may find particularly helpful)
Here is an excellent example of small (yet powerful) gestures that can be made to boost the spirit of someone you love whom is struggling to regain their health. This is a card that was sent to me by my older, dear sister, Claire (aka “Claire Bear” 🙂 ):
It reads: “Strong, Serene, & Sure…Megan, That is your true self…a peaceful warrior who can rise above any struggle with the power of wisdom and truth. I love you so much. I can’t wait to see what you are capable of after this most recent and difficult challenge. Hope you get well soon! Love, Claire Bear”
Without a doubt, this gesture meant the absolute world to me, and came to me at a point in my acute healing journey when I really needed some words of encouragement. Great tears of joy were shed upon my receipt of it for sure! Even if you don’t understand, it is so so helpful to lend a simple, kind bit of support and encouragement, as it does worlds for boosting our spirit and will to reach the optimal health and vitality that we all so truly deserve, and will imminently obtain.
CLARIFYING THE CONFUSION AND MISINFORMATION BEHIND THE FACTS OF CT:
Once one discovers or suspects that Copper Toxicity may be the cause of their current presenting symptoms and health struggles, often they will embark on a personal research mission to answer their vast array of questions and gain further clarity on this imbalance. Very soon after beginning this process, it will become apparent that the collection of information that is currently available is far from streamlined and far from collective.
Copper Toxicity effects everyone differently, and has an impact on nearly every physiological system, therefore symptoms and methods of acquisition of this toxicity will be “across the board”. There is currently still a great deal of misinformation and misconceptions regarding essentially every facet of Copper Toxicity that are being presented mostly throughout the internet. These misconceptions entail anything from how copper is truly metabolized and stored in the body (some claiming that excess copper is always naturally excreted and hence non-toxic and/or dangerous), to the promotion of blood testing over Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis for Copper Toxicity, or any mineral imbalance.
Please do not allow this wide scope of analysis or misguided information to deter or frustrate you, it is simply exemplary of the fact that there are a myriad of implications that Copper Toxicity entails, and there is still a great lack of awareness and adequate understanding amongst the general population as well as amongst medical practitioners. As more viable research and studies are performed, and accurate and fact-based literature is promoted, this will become more clear and there will be further avenues to access for guidance and support in a straight-forward way. Also, it is impossible to portray the details of this imbalance in an abridged format, as that would be doing the tremendous array of important components within this realm an injustice, hence the great length of the most reliable sources of information. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and open-mindedness.
Another primary aggravating factor and misunderstanding here is that copper is needed in only a very small amount in order to fulfill all of it’s necessary physiological functions (listed in the above section), yet when present in any level higher than this very small amount, it will actually have the OPPOSITE EFFECT on each of these functions. For example, and as can be seen throughout the majority of my analysis, higher than normal copper levels will adversely impact the thyroid and adrenals, severely impact cellular energy production, reduce bone density, perpetuate gut imbalance, impair iron metabolism and neurotransmitter metabolism, among many other detrimental effects.
Frequently, I come across sources that promote the use of supplemental copper to help all of these bodily functions, yet the most important component is being left out of the equation – that supplementing with copper is a very risky endeavor in that you are most likely receiving plenty of copper via your diet, seeing as most foods contain some degree of copper. Your body will not excrete excess copper in most cases, it will store it (unless your adrenals, thyroid, liver, and gut are in absolutely superb condition and function), and this will leave you in a highly disadvantageous position, as eliminating excess is a highly involved, lengthy endeavor and if this can be avoided, it absolutely must be.
**There is an exception regarding the use of supplemental copper in some cases of Copper Toxicity. This is assessed via the intimate and accurate interpretation of a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis – when copper increases to very high, toxic levels, it is indeed rendered biounavailable (as discussed above) and is unable to perform it’s physiological necessities – in some exceptional cases a practitioner may see the need for temporary, closely monitored copper supplementation as a means of incorporating usable, bioavailable copper to the body, and hence reduce the body’s need to continuously store it. As is discussed in the HTMA section, there is a specified art to interpreting HTMA, and any such use of copper supplementation or any component of healing from Copper Toxicity for that matter must be monitored via the regular and close acquisition and assessment of HTMA**
While my case was most definitely severe, more so than is most commonly seen, it was most definitely not uncommon in it’s primary characteristics, as Copper Toxicity is not a rare occurrence.
Regarding proper testing procedures, yes, determining one’s “free” copper blood level (which is unbound to transport proteins and therefore toxic and free to sequester in tissues) can be a helpful diagnostic tool, however HTMA grants a far more expansive metabolic picture, as described above. While some with CT will indeed exhibit high free blood copper levels, some will not, hence the importance of utilizing HTMA as a primary testing medium in order to account for the deficit that blood testing has the potential to create.
When someone has been trained with one perspective and standard over a long period of time, it is often difficult for them to maintain an open mind to newly emerging standards that may contradict their previously held perspectives and beliefs. As people, we get set in our ways, and health practitioners are no different. Therefore, new ideas can often threaten one’s comfort level or catalyze resistance. This accounts for a great deal of the reasoning behind why mineral imbalance in general is not more well-known. As more and more people and healthcare practitioners embrace an open mind and hence welcome new and revolutionary core principles in medicine, there will be a big shift. The shift is happening slowly…but it is indeed happening.
In general, while debate and varying perspectives is a healthy reality and builds diversified, thorough analysis, the promotion of out-dated, ill-informed analysis that directly impacts the health of thousands of people is uncalled for. Allowing these aforementioned misfortunes to continue without interjecting my voice and perspective here would only mean that I was an additional part of this problem, and my only goal in sharing my story and analyzing this extremely important, intense, and multifarious malady is to serve as a solid, clear, helpful, effective, liberating, and compassionate source of support and guidance for those whom are currently suffering from Copper Toxicity.
This being said, and as mentioned throughout my analysis in-depth, there is no room or time for blame, hostility, or counterproductive aggregation and argument. There is only room and time for open-minded perspectives, acceptance of what works, and the true and unwavering embracing of the fact that Copper Toxicity is a real, common, and relevant public health issue at present, and in order to solve this problem and move forward efficaciously as to promote true and lasting health for thousands of people, clear and accurate information must be presented, and healthcare professionals must embrace an open perspective on new and innovative principles that can and will catalyze true healing and set the stage for a united healthcare environment.
SOCIOLOGICAL CHANGE & SHIFTS IN METHODOLOGY:
Copper Toxicity, in its incredibly multifaceted nature, is extremely characteristic and representative of some of the main sociological shifts that must be made within our contemporary world. Furthermore, the manner by which Copper Toxicity is accurately tested for and treated also represent a great deal of the direly needed shifts in healthcare methodology that must be made at present.
I clearly aim to join in the effort of bringing Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis to further awareness, and work to solidify it’s viable role in the testing and effective treatment of many. It is my belief that mineral levels and ratios serve as one of the most insightful avenues in gauging the physiological state of the human body, and subsequently serve as an incredibly valuable tool in designing efficacious treatment protocols. I aim to catalyze an environment where we can all work together (merging the division between “conventional” and “alternative” medicine) as opposed to apart, which will make the overlying goal here much more attainable: to help others achieve and indelibly maintain true and lasting health, both physically and psychologically.
As another sociological reference, we as a society love to form dichotomies such as “us” vs. “them” as a means toward creating further significance and purpose behind our own individual efforts. This paradigm is highly limiting and does not perpetuate a world where difference is celebrated, everyone is working together toward a common goal, and varying points of knowledge are embraced and utilized amongst many different specialties and healing modalities. Both “conventional” and “alternative” medicine each respectively have a lot to offer, and when I am a practicing Naturopathic Doctor one day, I intend on entertaining both realms as a means of treating the Whole Person in a relevant and comprehensive manner. While I clearly lean more toward the “alternative”and holistic realm personally, I find it disadvantageous to completely discount the “opposing” side just because it appears to differ in many ways. I also believe it is inappropriate to label “alternative” medicine as “quackery” simply because it uses a different methodology than allopathic medicine. I also find the reference to holistic healing modalities as “alternative” medicine to be relatively problematic as well (even though I do use this terminology as reference seeing as it is indeed how holistic modalities are referred to on most occasions). It isn’t necessarily “alternative” medicine…it is simply medicine. I do however, love the reference to holistic healing as “functional” medicine, as it is indeed very very functional!
Moreover, analyzing the lifestyles and healing modalities of our early ancestors is a great way to conceptualize how and why natural healing protocols are so efficacious. Hardly any of the chronic illness that is ubiquitous today existed back then, and for good reason. Yes, the advent of “modern medicine” has been a brilliant development in many respects, however we can not lose sight of the extremely helpful and effective healing agents that are readily available for us within our natural world! These need not be labeled as “harmful” or “useless” as so many like to call them…they should be embraced as non-invasive, gentle ways to catalyze the miraculous ability of the body to heal on it’s own – for that is how we are designed physiologically.
One great example of this is the simple idea that nutrition, in and of itself, heals. Proper, individualized nutrition simply can not be left out of the equation if one is to address and truly heal their underlying maladies, as nutrition is health! Nutrition has everything to do with how and what our body metabolizes, therefore it is paramount in shifting the physiological state toward a more balanced operation. The old adage “you are what you eat” couldn’t have more truth behind it, and this simply can not be discounted. At present, there is an overt lack of acknowledgment within allopathic medicine of the profound and inherent importance of proper nutrition and it’s direct relation to our health and ability to heal. Without a doubt, the advent of a new and more inclusive treatment perspective within the allopathic realm is called for, as to honor this inherent truth and catalyze the most appropriate, least harmful, and true form of healing. In many conventional settings, one can visit a number of different doctors without the slightest mention of nutrition and it’s role in achieving and maintaining health. This has always baffled me – as the two exist in tandem, as partners: nutrition and health, that is. By no means am I trying to “bash” western medicine or discount its legitimacy, I am simply aiming to broaden the horizons and catalyze a healing environment that takes into account every, very important facet that must be addressed, which without a doubt includes nutrition.
Nutrition IS health.
Furthermore, viewing the body as a series of individual, non-connected systems and disease as an “out of nowhere” occurrence that has no underlying cause is also problematic. Simply treating someone’s symptoms is like putting a Band-Aid on a wound that will never truly be allowed to heal, as it is simply being covered up. In addition, treating the individual as though they are not autonomous and the own leader of their health devalues the human condition and puts people in a place where they do not have to take responsibility for their own health (prescribing a “magic pill” for example, with a far-reaching claim that this will be a panacea to all of someone’s present health struggles…completely failing to address that many other factors must be incorporated such as lifestyle changes, nutrition, emotional health, etc.). Moreover, administering “treatments” that unnecessarily propel a domino effect of additional symptoms on top of what are already being experienced is detrimental for obvious reasons. As I’ve stated, we should not have to trade one set of symptoms in for another, as this is completely losing sight of our true goal for lasting healing to occur. And removing organs because they are dysfunctional at that point in time is discounting the body’s natural ability to heal and leaves many people in a position where they can not truly achieve their macro health goals because they no longer have a vital organ which plays a key role in the interconnected patchwork that is our human anatomy and physiology. Yes, some treatments are experimental, and addressing many maladies will involve a series of trial and error techniques, however, the well-being of the individual should not be sacrificed in this process and this should be axiomatic in practice. Overall, I believe it would behoove us all to release our attachments to dogma and open our minds and hearts to proactive learning, acceptance, difference, and the multifarious, exceptional brilliance that is the human body and mind, and respect it in all ways shapes and forms.
As is stated at the beginning of this analysis, judgment gets us absolutely nowhere. While we each indeed feel passionately about our respective opinions, belief systems, and preferred methods of healthcare, it is important to step back and realize that in order to catalyze the unity that is so direly needed in our society and our world at large, we must give reverence to each other and never lose sight of our primary goal to achieve, promote, and advocate for true and lasting overall health – within ourselves as well as in others. We need be only driven by this authentic, organic goal – leaving behind any drive that is fueled by hollow motives such as the gaining of power, the acquisition of tremendous monetary wealth, or the simple and misguided, ego-driven desire to be “right”.
PROFOUND SIGNIFICANCE OF BIO-INDIVIDUALITY:
Something that I believe both allopathic and alternative modalities can and should implement on a much larger scale is the idea that every person is different biochemically. Yes, we are all comprised of the same organs, bodily systems, utilize the same vitamins and minerals, etc. however “bio-individuality” is something that must be considered for each and every individual person and their unique healing. Elements such as one’s unique mineral levels and ratios, genetic characteristics, personal health history, lifestyle, dietary elements, and emotional landscape/core belief system all go into sculpting the diverse and individual picture. This is why obtaining a very thorough evaluation and analyzing a variety of different testing methods is so helpful – it helps to paint the picture that is unique to you and only you.
Theory and one-size-fits all approaches are much different than clinical realities and lived experience.
Healing techniques, supplement choices, dietary guidelines, lifestyle suggestions…anything at all having to do with sculpting your healing protocol is going to be dependent on your individual set of circumstances. Something may look great on paper, and seem perfect for you, yet when introduced, is not well-toleratred or catalyzes an adverse reaction. The broad consideration of your whole bio-individual picture combined with your lived experience will ultimately determine what is best for you. This takes patience, awareness, an open mind, and often stoutheartedness. It is unbelievably worth it.
Advocating for generalized protocols and blanket sweeping treatment regimens discounts this individualism and can often counteract and greatly prolong true healing. There is indeed never going to be a “one size fits all” methodology – unless of course we are discussing notions of expressing daily gratitude, achieving emotional freedom, and coming to truly love oneself, then we may all follow similar guidelines! 🙂
I’ve learned the profound significance of bio-individuality in endless ways throughout my own journey, far too many to include in total, however I will explain a few…
For example, when my gut health became one of my main focuses, I followed many “gut healing” protocols that advised the consumption of large quantities of garlic and onion, as well as cruciferous vegetables. Not only was my gut health not improving, but it was getting worse and I was lost and very frustrated as to why, especially considering the fact that I was putting so much thought and energy behind what I was eating and spending a great deal of time preparing my meals to tailor to these specific guidelines. It wasn’t until I was introduced to FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols – a form of carbohydrates/sugars found in particular foods such as garlic, onions, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc.) that I started connecting the dots. I actually came to discover FODMAPS when researching the digestive enzyme alpha-galactosidase, which is primarily and specifically responsible for the digestion of these aforementioned sugars. Due to the gut dysbiosis that was caused by the broad-spectrum antibiotic that I was administered, the “bad” bacteria in my gut were fermenting these FODMAPS which I was loading my body with thinking I was doing it some good. These foods are of course highly nutritious, and are actually considered to be “prebiotics” which feed the good bacteria in our gut. Sounds perfect on paper! However, when one is in a rather severe state of dysbiosis, these foods can exacerbate symptoms and will have to be avoided until the gut has healed and balanced further.
Furthermore, fermented foods are widely advocated for as an effective and natural probiotic source. While this is indeed true, fermented foods are also very high in histamine, which for someone whom is exhibiting Histamine Intolerance, this would exacerbate existing symptoms, as was my personal experience.
A similar occurrence arose as well in my journey when I finally realized one of my underlying causes behind my digestive dysfunction was that my gallbladder wasn’t functioning properly. This was of course caused by the adverse effect that copper has on the liver, and hence the gallbladder, clogging the bile ducts and slowing down proper elimination pathways. Also, come to find out, the particular antibiotic I was administered (as mentioned in the Pharmaceutical section) has been proven to damage the gallbladder in particular! (I did a lot of work internally to release the anger that arose upon this discovery, as it is so hard for me to fathom why and how it is AT ALL acceptable to prescribe “medicine” that often catalyzes paramount organ damage – it doesn’t take an inquisitive mind to understand that this is not OK for a variety of very obvious reasons. I have come to look at that avenue of “healthcare”, which in my opinion is undeserving of even being referred to as such, with a proceed with caution perspective. Meaning, always, and I mean always, one should investigate the possible adverse implications of a drug before they consider taking it, and never assume that they will be one of the “lucky ones” that won’t exhibit any side effects.) Gallbladder dysfunction can often masquerade itself as solely intestinal imbalance, therefore I was putting most of my focus toward healing my intestines. Once I came to this realization, however, I administered specific gallbladder enhancing supplements, incorporated beet juice and carrots (both of which improve bile flow) into my diet, performed two gallbladder flushes, and successfully, my abdominal bloating nearly disappeared! This was so very welcomed and wonderful, as anyone whom has experienced chronic, never ending abdominal distention can attest to.
Furthermore, upon my administration of a Comprehensive Stool Analysis/Parasitology test (mentioned above), I came to discover that the low level of yeast that was present in my GI tract was not Candida Albicans! This was truly surprising to me, as all of the gut health and gut pathogen research that I had performed had basically firmly implanted the notion that Candida was the one and only pathogenic yeast that we are all susceptible to. Turns out, my strain is that of a yeast that there is hardly any current research on – go figure. Also, using my CSA as a clear guide, I incorporated two specific strains of “good” bacteria that I was lacking (via an enteric coated probiotic) and the amount of unbelievable positive effects that I have experienced are endless. Gut imbalance is said to be the root cause of many many maladies for good reason – because it is.
Referring to the gut as ‘our second brain’ is oh so true, as there is a subdivision of the autonomic nervous system called the enteric nervous system that is found in our gastrointestinal tract. When there is chronic upset and imbalance in this area, we are often left with intensified feelings of frustration, hopelessness, and anxiety which are greatly lessened if not completely eliminated once the gut is healed. Given this, taking a personalized approach to healing this incredibly important area is of the utmost importance. I believe it necessary to highlight the clear existence of bio-individuality on a larger scale, especially regrading gut healing – approaching the treatment protocol from many different angles with the inherent realization that all may not be as it seems with an individual’s presenting symptoms. This reminds me of one of “the four agreements” from Miguel Ruiz’s book “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” being “never make assumptions” (what a fabulous book that is! I highly recommend it!)
Another exceptionally important area regarding bio-individuality is epigenetics and nutrigenomics, as outlined and described above. Each of us comprises a unique and highly individual genetic blueprint that, in many ways, sculpts how our individual biochemistry and overall physiology will operate. In honoring this unique blueprint – also referred to as one’s genotype – we are able to truly respect bio-individualtity, and design healing protocols that adhere to each unique set of genetic idiosyncrasies, therefore ensuring the most comprehensive, conscientious, and core root-cause focused healing methodologies.
There are incessant examples of how bio-individuality is one of, if not the most important element to consider when designing relevant and effective healing protocols, indeed.
All in all, bio-individuality is extremely important and I believe it highly necessary to take into consideration when analyzing and defining what will truly heal the individual and their physiological idiosyncrasy, as I like to call it. What might be considered helpful for one person may be harmful for the next, as we are all unique beings. Time, respect, and thorough investigation into one’s exclusive circumstances and health status must be implemented in order to honor each case appropriately, regardless of the particular imbalances and maladies being treated.
For true and lasting health to be attained and sustained, a consciousness must be implemented deeply into one’s being that allows their health to remain the most important priority of their life always. This means that the tokens that you develop and implement while following your healing protocol must be adhered to upon your attainment of wellness, as maintaining the balance that you have worked so hard to achieve is equally as important. The lifestyle that you maintain will not have as strict or intense components to abide by, however, your health and its maintenance must always remain peacefully in the forefront of your consciousness.
The complete, liberating, and amaranthine transformations that I have made have now become solidified within me to the point that they are my new way of life, for which I embrace with true reverence and candor. Some of our most abundant life’s gifts are born and bestowed as a result of tremendous struggle – as my deep-rooted, cherished passion and calling in this arena has now been solidified.
While there is still a long way to go, I have unwavering hope and have a solid vision for the future, as I am sincerely dedicated to this cause in all ways. If you have found yourself afflicted with the profound malady that is Copper Toxicity, or suspect that it may be the underlying cause of your health struggles, please know that you are not alone, and many are working to bring you increased resources in order to aid you in your journey of achieving lasting health.
You can heal completely and live the fulfilled, happy, healthy life that you are truly deserving of, your answers are out there, you are not alone, and this too shall pass! You are stronger and more powerful than you have ever conceived before, and this will be shown to you ten fold as you actively heal and overcome what I have now come to know as the Gift of Copper Toxicity.
As a whole, let us focus our energy on those elements that we all desire and deserve: connection, love, understanding, relation…and let us hear, value, support and acknowledge one another as a beautifully diversified human community.
- Click here for my most recently added page regarding the Nutrition and Dietary Guidelines that I have followed throughout my healing protocol. This page includes many tips regarding diet that I have developed over the course of the last several years – foods to avoid/focus on, drinking water, cooking techniques, travel advice, eating out, snacking, the social aspect of food, a “typical day” of eating, etc.
- Also, please click here to visit my “Recipes” page which houses some delicious and easy-to-prepare dishes that are copper friendly. I will also be adding to that page as well, as I have come up with a lot of new recipes that I wish to share.
- In addition, I have added a Natural Personal Hygiene & Beauty page to outline a lot of the shifts I have made in this area to promote healing.
- TOOLS, EXERCISES, AFFIRMATIONS, & QUOTES houses a copious array of helpful tools and shifts in perspective that are helpful in your journey of personal growth and transformation.
Thank you for reading!
As I’ve explained, many sources do not present Copper Toxicity and its extreme prevalence accurately, nor is this condition present on many peer-reviewed journals as of yet, however, new official data is gradually emerging. Here are several sources which demonstrate this:
Analytical Research Labs, Inc. Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis reports. Phoenix, AZ. 2013-2016
Beech, Dr. “High Copper Alloys for Dental Amalgam.” International Dental Journal 32.3 (1982) : 240-251
Chatsworth, Colin & Loren, Eck, Dr. Paul C. Energy: How it affects your emotions, your level of achievement, and your entire personal well-being. Sam Biser Press.
Eck, Dr. Paul C., Wilson, Dr. Lawrence. “Copper Toxicity.” Eck Institute of Applied Nutrition and Bioenergetics, Ltd. (1989) : 1-12.
Freedman, Jonathan H., Ciriolo, Maria Rosa, Peisach, Jack. “The Role of Glutathione in Copper Metabolism and Toxicity.” The Journal of Biological Chemistry 264.10 (1989) : 5598-5605
Gittleman, Ann Louise. Why Am I Always So Tired?. HarperCollins Publishers, 1999.
Gittleman, Ann Louise. Guess What Came to Dinner?: Parasites and Your Health. Avery-Penguin Group Inc., 1993, 2001.
Maintz, Laura, Novak, Natalija. “Histamine and Histamine Intolerance.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 85.5 (May 2007) : 1185 – 1196.
Mailloux, Richard, B.S., Pfeiffer, Carl C., Ph.D, MD. “Excess Copper as a Factor in Human Diseases.” Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine 2.3 (1987) : 171-182.
Malter, Rick, Ph.D. The Strands of Health: A Guide to Understanding Hair Mineral Analysis. 2003.
Okano, Kawa, Kimura, Yachie, Wakiguchi, Maeda, Imai, Ohga, Kanegane, Tsuchiya, Morio, Mori, Yokota, and Imashuku. “Proposed Guidelines for Diagnosing Chronic Active Epstein-Barr Virus Infection.” American Journal of Hematology 80 (2005) : 64-69.
Waller, Pip. Holistic Anatomy: An Integrative Guide to the Human Body. North Atlantic Books, 2010.
Warner, Laurie. “Copper-Zinc Imbalance: Unrecognized Consequence of Plant-Based Diets and a Contributor to Chronic Fatigue.” Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts – Weston A. Price Foundation (Spring 2007).
Watts, David L, DC, Ph.D. “The Nutritional Relationships of Copper.” Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine 4.2 (1989) : 99-108.
William, Anthony. Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal. Hay House, Inc. 2015.
Vernon, Theresa. “Metals and the Mind.” Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts – Weston A. Price Foundation (Winter 2008).
Yasko, Amy, Ph.D. Autism: Pathways to Recovery. Neurological Research Institute, 2004, 2007, 2009.
*DISCLAIMER: I am not, and do not claim to be, a medical professional. None of the information included in this blog is intended to serve as medical advice. All content is for informational purposes only. Consult with your qualified healthcare professional for all medical advice and treatment protocols*
Copyright © 2015-2017 Megan Westbrook – Flow Surge Healing