Why Your Depression, Hypothyroid, and Hyperactivity May Be Copper Imbalance Symptoms
Copper imbalance may be today’s best kept health secret. An escalating public health epidemic, it affects nearly 80% of all men, women, children, and unborn babies.
Copper is accumulated not only through our own lifetime, but is passed from mother to child with increasing prevalence in each generation with an impressive array of copper imbalance symptoms impacting not just the body, but the mind.
In my opinion, copper, like magnesium, is probably one of the most important minerals of our generation affecting the greatest amount of biochemical processes. Although, unlike magnesium, copper has NOT gotten its due “respect.”
We are all at risk for copper related mental and physical ailments. Key factors include our mothers’ copper levels—think copper IUDs and birth control pills; environmental exposure—copper water pipes, copper cookware, high copper dental amalgams (fillings) since 1976; our metabolic type—whether we are fast or slow oxidizers, as well as inherited genetic mutations (like the MTHFr and CBS mutations). With the latter, inadequate enzyme pathways have global effects on detoxification.
Copper Requirements and Benefits
Copper in its bio-available form is an essential trace mineral that is critical to a number of metabolic functions that are dependent upon balanced copper metabolism.
These functions include the formation of the myelin nerve sheaths, synthesis of neurotransmitters, fertility and detoxification.
Properly bound and balanced copper is critical for production of collagen (including the formation of keratin) and melanin, connective tissue health and the maintenance of our natural hair color.
Add that to its role in supporting immune system function and neutralizing free radicals and you’ve really got a powerhouse mineral.
We only require a pinch of copper, which equates to 2 mg per day of this nutrient. But, this tiny amount goes a very long way biochemically.
Think of it this way, bioavailable copper is responsible for activating over 30 plus copper-dependent enzymes in the body. It’s also a primo beauty mineral.
Properly bound and balanced, it is critical for production of collagen (including the formation of keratin) and melanin, connective tissue health and the maintenance of our natural hair color.
The tricky part is in order for copper to become bio-available, it must first be bound with ceruloplasmin and metallothionein, key transport proteins that are manufactured in the liver—the key to efficient copper regulation—at the command of the adrenal glands.
For complete utilization, copper must also be balanced with targeted amounts of zinc, magnesium, boron, manganese, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin C and vitamin A.
Copper gets a bad wrap because too much unbound, bio-unavailable copper is a major source of oxidative damage, leading to tissue destruction, arthritis and premature aging.
Copper Imbalance Symptoms
There are numerous symptoms of copper imbalance. But, I attribute the copper “conundrum” to my clients’ number one complaint—feeling physically exhausted with a mind that simply won’t slow down.
This is a result of copper’s stimulating effect on the nervous system and brain without the calming benefit of minerals like magnesium and zinc—so necessary for balanced neurotransmitters.
This particular issue has been a major player in my own life.
It was the catalyst that prompted me to write my book:
Discover How Correcting Your Body’s Copper Imbalance Can…
- Keep Your Body From Giving Out Before Your Mind Does
- Free You From Those Midday Slump
- Give You The Energy Breakthrough You’ve Been Looking For
Copperhead personality types are distinguished by their highly-charged nervous system, which can cause compulsive and sometimes addictive behavior. These individuals are highly creative and intensely hyperactive.
Many years ago, I worked with a nutritionally-oriented psychiatrist at Deepbrook Associates in Newtown, Connecticut who systematically took hair samples from every new patient.
Almost 100% of the children he was treating who were suffering from learning disabilities and hyperactivity were found to have a copper imbalance.
Once the copper was in check, the hyperactivity symptoms disappeared.
If you identify with any of these seemingly unrelated copper imbalance symptoms, you’ll want to strongly consider assessing your own copper levels with a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis:
- Brain fog
- Mood swings
- Candida overgrowth
- Feeling loss of control
- Poor concentration and memory
- Short attention span
- Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, overeating)
- Panic attacks
- Racing mind
- Obsessive thoughts
Testing for Copper Overload
The Tissue Mineral Analysis Test that I have used for over 25 years clinically diagnoses and monitors signs of copper toxicity and imbalance using a small amount of hair from the back of your head.
In addition to copper, the hair sample is also analyzed to measure the levels of 28 other minerals and 8 toxic heavy metals.
These levels are then interpreted in relationship to each other—evaluating adrenal and thyroid function, blood sugar utilization, tissue degradation, sex hormone balance and metabolic type—with an extensive readout of up to 20 pages detailing dietary suggestions, supplement recommendations, and lifestyle changes.
Copper imbalance will show up on this test in a few different ways:
- First, it may be just an elevated copper level, above 21 mg%.
- The issue could also show up as a relative excess of copper to zinc (the ideal ratio is 8:1 in favor of zinc).
- Even more commonly, excess copper can be ‘hidden’, tightly sequestered in your tissues, and the following criteria would indicate an overload:
- Calcium level above 60 mg%, indicating the ‘calcium shell’, a signature of copper overload
- Potassium level less than 6 mg%
- Mercury level above .02 mg%
- Zinc level below 14 mg%
- Sodium to Potassium ratio less than 2.5:1
How Does Copper Imbalance Affect Your Health?
The Thyroid Connection
Copper can affect our health in so many ways. Similar to mercury, copper can build up in the thyroid and interfere with the conversion of T4 into the activated thyroid hormone T3. The thyroid-copper connection can result in copper imbalance symptoms like cold hands and feet, dry skin, constipation, cysts, low blood pressure and racing heart.
High copper levels are also associated with estrogen dominance when copper accumulates in the liver and inhibits its ability to metabolize estrogen. Hormonal-based conditions like fibroid tumors, endometriosis, PMS, headaches and migraines, hair loss, and yeast infections can result.
Likewise, many male disorders such as sexual impotence and over-aggressiveness can be copper imbalance symptoms.
Immune System Function
Hypersensitivity and immune dysfunction are other hallmarks of copper dysregulation, creating health challenges and symptoms like adverse reactions to vitamins and minerals, arthritis, aching and cramping muscles and allergies.
Many of today’s most commonly prescribed drugs might very well be unnecessary if doctors and psychiatrists recognized the implications of copper—too much or too little, on the human body.
According to the Mayo Clinic, 70% of Americans use prescription medication, and antidepressants are the second most commonly prescribed.
If that figure isn’t staggering enough, consider that copper may play a role in over half of all mental illness.
Who’s at Risk?
People who are most at risk for copper imbalance are…
- Raw food fans, vegans and vegetarians, who typically rely on foods that are naturally higher in copper and lacking in zinc and vitamin A (like nuts, seeds, soy, avocados, and grains.)
- Anyone with amalgam fillings
- Women using birth control pills or the copper IUD
- Anyone exposed to Xenoestrogens in our environment like petroleum products, PCBs, dioxins, pesticides and hormone by-products in waste water. They can also strongly influence our copper levels as well when the liver can’t detoxify due to copper build up that biochemically ties up the major copper-binding ceruloplasmin due to nutrient deficiency (especially zinc).
You may be surprised to know that despite the worrisome implications and symptoms of copper imbalance, many multi vitamins, especially prenatal vitamins, contain nearly twice the amount of copper that is necessary, to the tune of 4 mg!
We only require 2 mg per day, which is easily attainable through a balanced plant-based diet.
This formula does not contain any copper, and it is also available with or without iron (depending on whether or not you are menstruating).
It contains many additional factors that are necessary for copper utilization, as well as the 2:1 ratio of magnesium to calcium, a formulation hard to find in any product.
Unexplained symptoms and mysterious medical conditions may all be related to the copper conundrum.
Testing is probably the most beneficial first step you can take to really know your unique copper profile, and discover what other mineral imbalances may be playing a pivotal role in your physical and mental health status.
From there, you can determine the dietary changes and proper supplementation you need to relieve your copper imbalance symptoms and reset your health for good!