“Holy Sh*t I’m toxic! My body is poisoning me! Is this the end!? Have I reached the point of no return?! Am I destined for hormonal swings, PMS and crazy thoughts?”
There’s a pretty good chance this is what you’ve thought in the recent months, as it’s a common struggle among women who have “Copper Toxicity”.
An alarming 80% + of women are estimated to suffer from this condition, yet most will never know.
Copper is a mineral, needed for human function, and is not innately a problem, until and unless it increases to toxic levels.
If you’ve never heard of this condition, don’t worry, you may find out you’re copper toxic so go ahead, treat yourself to a little freak out! Isn’t it funny how our minds do that? We hear the word “TOXIC” and we just lose it! I’m here to tell you that it’s a totally NORMAL reaction to have. Just breathe. It’s going to be ok. And if you take a minute to learn about this mineral called Copper, then I promise you’ll feel a little bit better about becoming proactive to rid your body of this TOXIC metal.
Ok, so I’m stating the obvious when I say, excess copper = bad. But here’s how it affects our bodies without us even realizing the damage being done. Let’s start from the beginning…
Excess copper can wreak a HAVOC on your body
Top 5 Signs of Copper Toxicity
- Reproductive Issues- Copper is responsible for almost 40% of our energy production and it’s vital for women when it comes to fertility and maintaining pregnancy. BUT, of course too much copper can actually cause miscarriages, infertility, ovarian cysts, low sex drive and estrogen imbalances. Plus, who hasn’t had PMS? But is that what it really is? The symptoms of PMS can copy those of copper toxicity. So pay attention to such symptoms when you’re premenstrual because it may be more than just that.
- Nervous System Issues- Effects of copper on the nervous system can make us an emotional wreck! I’m sure none of you women know what I’m talking about (wink, wink) but I know from experience that it can make you super anxious and fearful. Did I mention depression and bipolar disorder? Yeah, that too. Oh and…migraines and insomnia and brain fog and nervousness and irritability. Yeah, all those too.
- Immune System Issues- Here’s some good news…the right amount of copper can be the body’s natural yeast fighter. But the bad news is…excess copper can actually make the yeast and fungus build up in your body therefore making you more prone to infection. So your immune system is basically shot and you end up with sinus and ear problems, vaginal yeast (we know they’re no fun) and digestive problems. Speaking of the immune system, copper in excess can interfere with the metabolism of zinc. Zinc is needed for immune response, from helping digestion to protecting the skin from infections and even some skin cancers.
- Thyroid & Adrenal Issues- I can’t forget the thyroid and adrenal issues you face when too much copper flows through your body. The thyroid gland is extremely sensitive to copper causing hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease. And the adrenal fatigue that comes with excess copper can debilitate your adrenalin and cortisol levels making it hard to even function on a day to day basis.
- The Big C- Yeah, you guessed it, Cancer. Excess copper causes liver toxicity and with a toxic liver your body is unable to protect, avoid and control cancer. And for women (ladies listen up!), when suffering from copper toxicity your body can’t detoxify estrogen properly. This is dangerous because estrogen is a potent carcinogen. So as your body tries to detoxify estrogen, excess copper is getting in the way and then carcinogens are just hanging out in your body making your body a breeding ground for cancer.
And if 5 weren’t enough, here are more:
Psychologically, there are a lot more as well: from racing thoughts, panic attacks and heart palpitations to feelings of despair, depression and eating disorders. Watch the video at the bottom to learn how Copper can negatively affect us in a multitude of ways.
Whew! After all that information, you might need to let that marinate in your brain a little bit. Don’t worry, I totally get it. This is a lot of stuff to process but that’s what I’m here for. I’m here to break it down for you. So after you let all that information settle, let’s get into detail about what causes copper toxicity.
Top 4 ways you’re exposed to copper
- Birth Control- Birth control pills increase estrogen in the body. The estrogenic effect of the pill combined with the synthetic progesterone that is manufactured into this little pill AND doesn’t actually have a true progesterone effect, means that minerals such as magnesium, zinc and B6 diminish while copper rises. Essentially, anything that raises estrogen, increases how much copper is retained in the body and in turn exacerbates the emotional, psychological and physical effects like fear, anxiety, depression, PMS, and all those other gross symptoms that just make you feel like sh*t.
- IUDs- The 10 year IUD is made of copper. Need I say more? And the 5 year IUD is made of synthetic estrogen and progesterone which of course raises your copper levels.
- From Mother to Baby- Any sort of synthetic estrogen and progesterone that a mother has been exposed to can be passed to baby. Also, if a mother has a zinc deficiency (zinc is a vital mineral in order to balance out copper in the body), she can pass such a deficiency on to baby who can in turn develop excess copper.
- Diet- Did you know that foods like nuts, beans, seeds, grains, and chocolate are extremely high in copper? And when we’re Copper Toxic, it’s common to crave foods highest in Copper. I’m not saying you should totally avoid these foods because most of them can be healthy but if you think you could be copper toxic, you might want to avoid them temporarily until you understand your copper levels, get tested and bring it into balance.
How do we know you're Copper Toxic?
This is unfortunately not something your Family Doctor has been trained to test, understand nor treat. There is no ‘prescription' that would fix this, rather there are prescriptions that 'cause' this (such as birth control). And even more unfortunately, yet commonly, since Copper Excess/toxicity causes mood related abnormalities (as in you hear yourself frequently saying: dude, I feel like I'm literally going crazy), doctors will put you ON prescriptions to offset the symptoms OF copper excess. These can range from antidepressants, ADD/ADHD meds, birth control, anti-anxiety, bipolar meds, the list goes on and on…and which they prescribe depends on their training, and often times which drugs they receive the biggest bucks from as most are tied to reaching quotas for percentage of their patients being ON medications consistently. The common goal is around 70% of total patient practice on a medication of some kind, for which if they meet this, they are paid out $100-300 per patient, depending on the profits the medications medications buy yield. Doctors ALSO earn more the more screenings and labs being completed.
Are you starting to see the big picture now?
Doctors are not trained to look out for your health, they are trained to look out for their wealth. SOURCE
Instead, in functional nutrition and medicine, we are preventative and alternative (which really used to be primary) in nature with testing and treatment. Here's an example of what we commonly see in approximately 80% of our women client/patient cases.
As you can see from my very first Hair Tissue Analysis, I was extraordinarily Copper Toxic (see 5th from the left, Cu at 9.2) and I had JUST had my Copper IUD removed after having it in for 3 years, with AWFUL symptoms that slowly built up over time. See MY STORY here. Additionally, my zinc was super low (which contributes to making stomach acid for optimal digestion, as well as immune health, energy levels, testosterone and progesterone production, which we also see commonly low on results). This ratio of high Copper/Low Zinc
My TMA copper (Cu) level was 9.2 and was MUCH higher than the ideal TMA copper level (2.5). Since excess copper tends to store in the liver and in the brain – ADD, learning disability, and memory problems often occur with an excess stored copper level. Racing thoughts and sleep disturbances may also occur. A high TMA copper level together with a high Sodium to Potassium (Na/K) ratio may produce reactions that are often given a “diagnosis” of bipolar disorder.
What the? Well, it made sense then…I felt like I was a bit bi-polar…not anymore thanks to this HTMA
As you can see my Sodium was higher than Potassium; my ratio of sodium/potassium was very high (6/1). The ideal ratio is 2.4/1, which indicates very intense and chronic stress.
It may sound a little confusing, but here's the bottom line. I felt like I was going ‘crazy' when this was all happening. I couldn't handle stress for $hit. I had relationship issues, inflammation, pain and chronic fatigue which weren't resolved by even the strongest cups of coffee. Once I saw this, it all made sense. And when I see clients results…those on antidepressants and bipolar meds, anti-spasmatics, anticonvulsants, seizure meds…it all makes sense. These minerals and their ratios, largely copper relative to other minerals create our moods and neurological status. The SAME goes with our children. They are prescribed these same meds in ridiculous, epidemic proportions, at ages as early as 5, with ADD medications being as addicting and with the amount of side effects they cause, should be illegal, but they're not. WHY? Because doctor bonuses!
NOTE: We can test HTMA on children and even pets, many of which we unveil these similar patterns, and after treatment, they can focus, have energy and be comfortable in their own skin again (yes, even AUTISM).
OMG, HECK YES..FINALLY SOMETHING THAT WILL HELP YOU UNCOVER THE ROOT CAUSE OF YOUR (soon to be temporary, absolutely reversible) ‘CRAZINESS'
Additionally, my potassium was SUPER low, which gives rise to thyroid disease, a sluggish metabolism, depression and thyroid symptoms such as hair loss, poor digestion, dry/thinning skin, chronic fatigue and infertility to name a few. So, even if your doctor sends you home with a clean bill of thyroid health, it doesn't mean your thyroid hormones are able to be used by the body effectively (as potassium is needed for thyroid hormone use into cells). OR worse yet, they put you on Synthroid (that comes with a TON of side effects) without asking WHY your hormones are off, which we can detect on this test in many ways.
My RATIO between calcium (Ca) and potassium (K) was very high (335/1). The ideal Ca/K ratio = 4.2/1. This very high TMA Ca/K ratio is associated with slower activity of the THYROID function. Energy production diminishes and the drop in energy may manifest as depression and lack of motivation. This is one of the major characteristics of a SLOW METABOLIC TYPE hair TMA with a history that is related to building up a high copper level. Copper and estrogen lower the potassium level and raise the calcium level, resulting in a very high Ca/K ratio. These hormonal and mineral events may have occurred many years ago to produce this hair TMA pattern at the present time. The excess copper may also be built up by the effects of a copper IUD. The excess copper may be stored in brain and liver tissue and the effects of excess copper are plainly evident in the very high Ca/K ratio. This very high Ca/K ratio also puts stress on the adrenals and may eventually bring on adrenal fatigue.
So what’s the solution?
So, you’re probably asking yourself, now what? How can a person reverse copper toxicity or prevent becoming copper toxic?
Here’s what you can do right now!
- Add Zinc- Start with foods that are rich in zinc such as grass-fed beef, chicken, spinach, kefir or yogurt and more. Also, take a break from nuts and seeds (and maybe even chocolate OH NO!) for about a week and see how you feel. If you feel better, you may be copper toxic.
- YOUR BEST BET! HTMA testing- The Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis is the most accurate way to test for copper toxicity. Not to mention, HTMA reveals other mineral imbalances that can indicate why you’re facing the symptoms you have other than copper toxicity, making it easier to treat what’s really going on. Let's talk so we can get you tested. GET TESTED HERE
- Remove birth control and IUDs from your life- There are healthy alternatives to both birth control and IUDs. If you feel like you might be copper toxic and don’t have the time to do the research or simply need guidance on making such life changes, you’re in luck. Our Warrior 4 Life community is filled with so many women who have access to all the information they need to change their lives for the better. These women have taken the steps on their journey to healthy alternatives, detoxification from copper and other heavy metals/chemicals and FINALLY, they’ve taken the steps to feel better for good. And what could be better than feeling better?! CHECK IT OUT HERE
My journey to where I am today, 7 years into my health kick, really exploded when I learned I was copper toxic, mainly due to the Copper IUD I had for years. You can listen to that story HERE. In the meantime, know you’re in good hands, realizing you’re reading an article by a woman who has seen it to the other side and reversed auto immune disease among other diseases, along the way.
So, don’t despair. There is hope for all you awesome ladies out there who happen to be copper toxic. All those crappy symptoms you’ve been having and days of feeling pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression, PMS and frustration because you just aren’t getting the results you want or deserve…THOSE DAYS ARE OVER!
Listen to this Eye Opening, Presentation on the prevalence of Copper Toxicity as well as how it shows up in your life, assembled thanks to my mentor and HTMA teacher, Rick Malter.