Could Copper Be Clogging Your Brain?

June 2, 2021
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Why this sneaky mineral may be a root cause of cognitive decline

Copper is absolutely critical when it comes to living long and strong in vibrant health. Too much of a good thing can, well, be too much of a good thing!  Copper can either be out of ratio with zinc, it can be hidden copper, or it can be the wrong kind. 

Let me explain…

You see, copper comes in two forms, food-based and synthetic. Food-based, or monovalent, is found in foods such as avocado, asparagus, liver, mushrooms, nuts, and chocolate. It’s considered an essential nutrient and is used to help form red blood cells as well as perform many other important roles in the body. Food-based copper is bioavailable and it’s critical for your body to build collagen – which we all need for radiant, wrinkle-free skin, among other things.

But synthetic, or divalent, copper is bio-unavailable and is found mainly in environmental sources, like drinking water coming from copper pipes and many multivitamin/mineral supplements. Copper-lined cookware, copper intrauterine devices, dental amalgams, fungicides for swimming pools and copper wiring often found in homes and offices are other common sources.

Why Copper is a Sneaky Saboteur

The problem is that this divalent copper accumulates silently and stealthily over a period of many years. Symptoms associated with copper toxicity include depression, insomnia, anorexia nervosa, anxiety, various skin disorders, hair loss, and allergies. Weight gain as well as food cravings, mood swings, fatigue and yeast infections are also common symptoms. And if that’s not enough, consider that copper overload causes serious neurological damage by switching on an inflammatory response in the brain that begins to fuse beta-amyloid to plaque, eventually leading to the destruction of brain cells.

Copper toxicity alters our brain and changes the way we age because unlike monovalent copper, some divalent copper is absorbed directly into the blood, slowly causing cognitive decline. In fact, there is a very real link between copper toxicity and Alzheimer’s disease. I’ve long noted how the rise of Alzheimer’s seemed to mirror the use of copper plumbing introduced in the 20th century. 

Dr. George Brewer, a professor at the University of Michigan Medical School, agrees. Considered one of the country’s leading experts on copper toxicity, Dr. Brewer explains that “when I educated myself about the history and current status of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), two facts made a huge impression on me. These facts were that while we had an epidemic of AD in developed countries, this epidemic wasn’t occurring in undeveloped countries. Second, the epidemic was new, starting during the 1900s. These facts gave me what I like to call my first epiphany about AD – namely, some environmental cause of the disease had occurred in developed countries during the 1900s.”

Dr. Brewer summarizes his findings in the science communication publication Scientia Global, where he asserts that excess inorganic (divalent) copper (or copper-2) has a direct link to Alzheimer’s. He remarks that, “Ingestion of divalent copper in the form of copper-containing supplement pills has been shown to decrease cognition at six times the normal rate.”

Kick Copper to the Curb

In my new book, Radical Longevity, you’ll find ways to deal with copper toxicity to greatly reduce your chances of developing dementia and other debilitating health problems.  Plus, you’ll discover six targeted copper solutions like how to test your drinking water and how to balance copper with the right foods and supplements.

Best of all, when you’re searching for a copper-free supplement, consider UNI KEY Health’s Advanced Daily Multivitamin. This copper-free plus iron-free formula is truly remarkable! It contains highly absorbable forms of all the essential vitamins and minerals as well as additional research-proven, key nutrients for enhanced immune support. It has the ideal ratio of calcium to magnesium to optimize calcium absorption for strong bones and relaxed muscles, chromium for healthy blood sugar support, iodine to support the thyroid, increased vitamin D for immunity and brain health, as well as plant-based enzymes to assure delivery of these nutrients into your system.

To learn more about staying sharp for the long game, read my blog, The Number 1 Way to Stave Off Cognitive Dysfunction. And, for a fun and informative age-defying boost in the kitchen, listen to my recent podcast A.G.E.-less Chef with Sandra Woodruff.

Advanced Daily Multivitamin - UNI KEY Health

Advanced Daily Multivitamin

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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Tanya

    This connection with cognitive decline and copper is very frightening. I am going to quit using my copperware.

  2. Bob

    Thank you for explaining the different forms of copper. I’m glad I have a good water filter to keep the harmful form out.

  3. Marilyn

    Yikes! I’ve been chronically low in copper and taking a copper supplement for years! I’ll certainly stop now! Thank you for this information.

  4. Linda

    Interesting information. I had no idea that copper could be harmful.

  5. Efrain magana

    What’s the best, safe, and recommended cookware to cook your meals? You mentioned that get rid of iron, aluminum, pans, thanks

  6. Team ALG

    Efrain, Xtrema 100% ceramic cookware is recommended. It doesn’t leach metals into your food.

  7. Jason Earl Hommel

    I refuted both of these “anti copper” studies in my book, “The Copper Revolution”. First 0.12 ppm is the same as 0.12 mg/Liter. It’s not copper to blame, it’s clearly copper deficiency. Not nearly enough copper to be toxic. In the second study, it’s 3 mg of copper. Paired with known neurotoxic bad fats, and a diet very high in those bad fats. Again, not enough copper to be toxic, but the copper does help our bodies turn fats into the myelin sheath around the nerves, which is why I advise to avoid bad toxic fats like margarine, etc. It is not copper that is toxic. It’s coper deficiency, and it’s bad fats that are toxic.



  1. Could Copper Be Clogging Your Brain? – DietMarkets - […] Original Article […]
  2. The Irony of Iron: The Truth About This Double Edged Mineral | Ann Louise Gittleman - […] For a more in-depth discussion on how to address iron overload, including targeted, doable, iron-binding solutions, get your copy…

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