Food for Thought: Copper Toxicity
It’s a heavy metal that is toxic in its unbound form. It’s a powerful oxidant that causes inflammation and free radical damage to your tissues when it is in excess in your body. It’s copper. When your body has too much of it, it can contribute to a multitude of problems from psychological issues, to headaches, to hair loss.
The symptoms are many and often go undiagnosed. But certain conditions like infertility and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) could be reversed with diet and lifestyle changes.
Copper build up interferes with the proper conversion of thyroid hormone, disturbs the balance of zinc in your system, and interferes with adrenal hormone production.
How Copper Enters the System
Eating too much food containing copper can be to blame. Seeds, grains, nuts and beans are all high in copper. Though meat is as well, the zinc in meat offsets the copper and is first to be absorbed. Chocolate also contains a lot of copper.
Copper can enter the body through more than just the diet, however. It may be found in water coming from copper pipes. Some water supplies, like local reservoirs, add copper to the water to fight algae.
Certain dental materials are also made of copper, as is some cookware. Many multivitamins, pesticides and fungicides also contain copper — and so do birth control pills and some intrauterine devices (IUDs).
Public pools and hot tubs contain certain microorganisms that are unaffected by chlorine and other chemicals used for cleaning. Home pools and hot tubs should use hydrogen peroxide for sterilization. Copper can form a residue on the hair from using pools and hot tubs and enter the system in this way.
Copper and Stress
With all of the potentially frightening onformation on the toxicity of copper in the system, it’s important to note that copper does indeed serve a purpose in the body. it coats nerve endings and helps both the heart and circulatory systems perform their functions correctly. It also works in tandem with iron to make hemoglobin, which produces healthy red blood cells.
Another function of copper, and the reason it is stored in the body, is to defend against stress. The problem lies in chronic stress, where a copper overload results in the body depleting its stores of zinc.
This, in turn, takes the adrenal glands. When they are unable to recharge and work well, we can become prone to anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, mood swings, poor memory, and fatigue.
Zinc is important to the body for a number of reasons. It helps wounds heal, keeps the immune system strong, and helps regulate appetite, as well as the senses of smell and taste. When zinc stores drop too low, the body has a more difficult time ridding itself of the excess copper.
Signs and Symptoms of Too Much Copper in the System
There are a few signs and symptoms to monitor if you think you might have copper toxicity. Memory loss is associated with a copper imbalance, as are other emotional and psychological conditions like depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
These conditions, along with migraines, hair loss, brain fog, and insomnia can be associated with copper toxicity. Copper toxicity can also be connected with violent behaviors.
In women, too much copper can cause fibroids and ovarian cysts. Some other copper toxicity symptoms in women are yeast infections, acne, and menstrual symptoms. Women that have high levels of copper tend to have high estrogen levels as well.
If you are constantly suffering ear infections, rashes and dandruff, the cause may be too much copper in the system. As these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, a proper diagnosis is key. How can you tell if you have high levels of copper in your system?
The methods used to detect how much copper is in the body are blood, feces, urine, or hair tests. The blood, urine, and feces tests are not very reliable, as they do not detect all of the copper in the body. This is because copper can remain deep in the tissues of the brain and liver. This leaves hair analysis.
Hair analysis gives the most accurate result as it can detect copper deficiency and excess as well as copper’s lack of bioavailability. It is a fast and simple method and, save the plucking of a hair, painless and non-invasive.
Ways to Reduce Copper in the System
Once copper begins to reduce in the organs, tissues and blood, the symptoms of copper toxicity will begin to reverse. This can take weeks or months, if not years, depending on the status of the condition. Patience is necessary, so be persistent.
For the best results, complete all of the following steps together for total restoration and balance. The first thing to do is support the adrenal glands. Avoid sugar and sweets, and be sure to add protein to each meal. For a time support your system by eating foods high in Vitamins A, B, C, and E, as well as zinc.
Asparagus is the best way to implement these vitamins, as are beet root, broccoli, green beans, kale, parsley, tomatoes and squash. Meat is a great way to add zinc to your diet. Aside from oysters, red meat has the most zinc. Eggs also have good amounts of zinc without copper as well. Zinc is vital to balance the copper and unlock any that may be bound.
It may be necessary to stop using intrauterine devices that contain copper and avoid cooking with copper pots and pans. You should also monitor your sugar intake and resist public pools and hot tubs, and see if you notice an improvement.
Dr. Paul Eck, of Analytical Research Laboratories, has studied copper toxicity intently. He teaches physicians and nutrition consultants in depth concerning nutritional balancing science.
In his article, “Copper Toxicity Syndrome”, published in April, 2007, he states, “Copper is an essential trace mineral that is vitally important for both physical and mental health. It has been studied for years, including at government laboratories. However, its importance for health is still largely unappreciated.”
Copper toxicity may or may not be causing any one of these symptoms in your life, but it is worth looking into. If you suspect you may be suffering from copper toxicity, it is best to contact your physician about being tested.
While it is still a very much overlooked condition, more and more research is being done to substantiate the claims of its validity. With minor adjustments to your life, you may see some dramatic improvements in your symptoms and overall health.