A copper epidemic is sweeping America in much the same way that influenza swept through Europe and America during World War I. The results are just as devastating.
So common is copper toxicity today, that a special word has been coined to indicate that an individual suffers from this particular affliction. Many years ago, those individuals who suffered from mercury poisoning were referred to as mad hatters. Today, we refer to those suffering from copper-poisoning as copperheads.
A copperhead is an individual who has stored a toxic amount of copper in various body tissues. Copper tends to accumulate in the liver, brain and kidneys, which are in essence, storage organs to prevent excessive amounts of copper from accumulating in the blood. Copper, in excess, stimulates excessive brain activity, hence the term copperhead.
A copperhead is a distinctive type of individual, unique unto themselves. Only a copperhead ever truly understands another copperhead. A major problem in the life of a copper-toxic individual is the feeling that no one else understands them. What makes a copperhead so different from others?
Individuals suffering from copper toxicity have, as a rule, super-active minds; however their bodies are exhausted. Getting out of bed in the morning is a real chore. They frequently manage to arise by first convincing themselves that they will lie down and rest during their first break at work, or go to sleep instead of eating lunch or go to bed as soon as they get home from work.
Through years of research on copper toxicity, I have met so many copperheads and have become so familiar with their symptoms and personality characteristics, that I can pick them out of a crowd with my eyes closed. For example, the majority (approximately 62%) of copperheads have either red or auburn hair or have a red tint to their blonde or brunette hair. Many, but not all, have freckles, and are very sensitive to exposure to the sun.
A few weeks ago I went to lunch with a doctor friend and his girlfriend, who was an aspiring actress from New York. Before I had looked at the menu I had already determined that this girl had a high copper level. A first clue, you guessed it, was her red hair. I waited about fifteen minutes before bringing this observation of mine into the general conversation. During those fifteen minutes I was brainstorming on ways to inquire if she had any copper-related symptoms without offending her. With as much tact as I could muster, I simply asked her if she had problems with insomnia. Not surprisingly, she readily admitted that she had trouble sleeping.
There are a vast number of clues, which readily identify a copper-toxic individual. Following are a few of the major clues:
From experience, I knew that copper-toxic people do experience insomnia quite often, especially so when under acute stress. When a copper person does NOT have insomnia it is because temporarily they are not being exposed to acute stress or are not presently dumping copper.
As one's copper level increases, all-prevailing anxieties of various types appear like magic. To prevent anxiety from overwhelming the individual, one's calcium level will frequently increase precipitously. A rise in calcium levels provides a copper-toxic person with varying degrees of numbed symptom relief. In other words, a rise in the calcium level has a tendency to minimize or relieve the anxieties produced by a copper-dump or an acute stress. In as much as copperheads suffer from so many distressing symptoms, I had more questions that I wanted to ask her, so I shot the next one across the table. I asked her if she ever experienced anxiety attacks. Although she denied that very strongly, she displayed anxiety at that very moment even though she claimed to be free of anxiety.
The physical appearance of a copperhead is indicative of a copper burden. Her physical appearance contributed greatly to my original deduction. Her extremely gaunt appearance was indicative of anorexia; a condition commonly associated with copper toxicity.
My friend told me that the last time he saw her in New York a few months previous, that her appetite had been very poor and she had looked very thin. A poor appetite is also commonly associated with copper toxicity. He added that on this trip, however, she was eating him out of house and home. It was evident that she was showing inconsistent eating habits, another sure sign of anorexia, or bulimia (an unappeasable appetite stemming from a metabolic disorder, depression or anorexia.) or both.
Individuals with copper toxicity suffer greatly from digestive problems. A loss of desire or a distaste for red meat (principally beef) is a sure-fire indicator of copper toxicity. Knowing this from past experiences, I asked her if she had a desire to eat red meat. She replied that she had not eaten beef for three years. A distaste for red meat is typical for a copperhead. She was beginning to suspect that something was up so I told her that many of the symptoms that she suffered from, anxiety, depression, weight loss, physical exhaustion, acne, migraine headache and loss of appetite, were due to her being copper-toxic. When she lost her taste for red meat three years ago she had substituted eating poultry (chicken, turkey) for meat. She may not have been consciously aware of it at the time but her adrenal gland activity was being diminished (adrenal exhaustion) and so consequently, was the production of sufficient quantities of hydrochloric acid necessary for the proper digestion of meat. Poultry is much easier for a copper-toxic individual to digest than red meat. As her ability to digest protein further decreased, she lost her taste for poultry and began eating fish. Because fish contains less fat than poultry or meat, it was much easier to digest. As her adrenal glands approached the burnout stage, the only foods her system could handle without excessive distress (bloating, indigestion, constipation, etc.), were fruits and vegetables. Over a period of three years she had become a vegetarian and not necessarily by choice. Convinced that I knew a lot about her, she finally opened up and talked about her symptoms freely. I was amply rewarded for my inquisitions.
Individuals suffering from copper toxicity have quite specific food cravings. It is ironic but true, that individuals crave foods, which are high in the very minerals they are deficient in (bio-unavailability). A mineral is bio-unavailable when there is a deficiency of essential nutrients necessary to utilize the mineral. A cardinal indicator of a copper toxic individual is an inordinate craving for chocolate, a food which is extremely high in copper.
I asked this girl if she craved chocolate. She said she loved chocolate because eating chocolate made her feel like a million dollars for a few hours. She confessed to having been known to eat an entire chocolate cake in a single day.
People generally crave the foods that they are allergic to. If you ask a person to write down all of their favorite foods, you could discover that all the foods on their preferred food list would make them feel better, if only temporarily. In other words, initially they would physically and emotionally feel a positive response. Whether you are craving chocolate or avocados, or any other foods high in copper content, if you persist in eating these foods day after day, there is an underlying reason why you are eating them.
Many individuals have an intense craving for beef (particularly hamburger) and for a good reason. These individuals are usually deficient in zinc, usually due to constant acute stress. Aside from oysters, herring, oatmeal, wheat bran, and brewers yeast, foods which are not generally eaten in large quantities, hamburger is one of the richest sources of dietary zinc. Individuals who are capable of enduring acute stress crave meat and various seafoods, which are high in zinc, such as oysters and herring. There is a definite link between food cravings, mineral and vitamin deficiencies and disease. You can learn a great deal about a person by the foods that they eat, and more specifically, by the foods they have an intense craving for. Most Americans eat only twelve to sixteen foods consistently, compared to primitive tribes who eat a diet that frequently consists of sixty to sixty-five foods consistently. If you write down what you eat all week you will more likely than not; note that you have repeatedly eaten much the same foods over and over again.
Back to this girl I met at lunch, she claimed that the eating of chocolate, in any form, temporarily made her feel terrific, but is feeling temporarily good any indication that that food is contributing to your general good health and welfare? Recreational drugs make people feel terrific too. Certain foods (sugar, coffee, etc.) will enable you to feel great for a while, but what comes later? All too often you end up falling on your face! You begin to live and breathe for another. Some people refrain from eating chocolate because they do not want to feel lousy afterwards. Smoking cigarettes or drinking coffee, anything that is a stimulatory, will temporarily make an individual feel better. Stimulants serve to whip-up exhausted adrenal glands and perk-up an individual for a short time.
One of the most common symptoms of copper toxicity, adrenal burnout, is extreme fatigue, caused by depression of adrenal gland activity. Weak or exhausted adrenal glands are the major cause of hypoglycemia and hypoglycemia is the major cause of the fatigue suffered by a copper-toxic individual.
It is important to recognize the various types of fatigue. For example, a common type of fatigue is experienced when an individual is overworked. However, once that person gets some rest, his fatigue will vanish. Another type of fatigue is when an individual feels drained and feels like sleeping forever. He could sleep twenty hours and still wake up feeling exhausted. The difference between these two types of fatigue is one of simply being tired and the other is being burned out.
Burnout cannot be cured by the simple prescription of rest. The adrenal glands are exhausted. They simply fail to respond to stimuli, whether painful or pleasurable. Excessive copper toxicity is the most single common cause of adrenal burnout. Another factor responsible for adrenal burnout or adrenal exhaustion is chronic stress, such as being the type of person who is a compulsive stress-seeker for various reasons. We will be discussing stress-seekers in a forthcoming article. In other words, someone who likes to argue, or who gravitates towards negative situations consistently.
The two most common causes of a copper dump are acute stress or an excessive amount of copper in a storage depot, which can no longer be contained.
Copperheads frequently experience unpleasant symptoms when copper is released from storage sites, such as the brain, liver or kidneys and dumped into the blood. If the dumped copper is insufficiently, or tardily cleared from the blood, the copper is then recirculated to the trouble spots. This creates symptomatology such as mental depression, anxiety, acne, insomnia, premenstrual tension, migraine headaches, arthritic pain, loss or gain of appetite, etc. Copper is released when a crisis occurs, when zinc, calcium, etc., are deficient in the blood serum and before a woman's menstrual cycle, due to an increase in her estrogen levels. An increase in estrogen levels results in an increase in copper levels in the blood serum.
If an individual has a high copper level and they lose zinc, due to stress, then the ratio differential between zinc and copper becomes greater. If copper isn't backed up with sufficient amounts of zinc (which functions to keep copper in check), then one's copper level increases even more. Copperheads should never be caught without a good zinc storage reserve. Maintaining an adequate zinc storage reserve will do much to prevent copper accumulation and a resultant copper-dump with its distressing symptoms.
My daughter is a copperhead and when she was pregnant, everyone noted that she was in a bad mood. She was so weepy and depressed that I finally got on the phone with her one day and asked her if she wanted to get out of her mental depression. She said, "I'll do anything, Dad...this is just too much." I recommended that she take zinc and vitamin B-6 because when a woman is pregnant, her copper level increases, due to an increase in her estrogen level. My daughter had a high copper level to begin with but with the additional copper burden resulting from pregnancy she was just swimming in copper. If a pregnant woman does not learn to nutritionally control her excessive copper level, she may end-up with post pregnancy depression or psychosis, such as my daughter was experiencing. I could have put my daughter on a more extensive nutritional program, such as vitamin C and molybdenum, but usually when a person is severely depressed, the thought of taking numerous vitamins and minerals is not at all appealing.
Within a few days, my daughter said she was feeling like a million dollars! She was bubbly and enthusiastic over the phone and I was glad to know she was feeling so much better.
As measured by hair analysis, the normal tissue level of copper for a female is 2.5 mg/%. Well, hold on to your hats folks!
Catherine M. is an eight year old girl with a copper level of 126! Her tissue zinc level was 20 mgs/%, which is normal, but in this particular case it is too low to protect her against her phenomenally high copper level. Her case was referred to me because she had suffered from severe behavioral problems. She was born with jaundice, which is always a sign of copper toxicity and she also had a high bilirubin level at birth, which is another sign indicative of copper toxicity.
Bilirubin is a constituent of the bile. When copper accumulates in the liver to the point where it cannot be contained, it will overflow into the blood. The body usually eliminates any excess copper by way of the bile; however individuals who have high copper levels usually have a malfunctioning liver; and therefore copper elimination by way of the bile route is usually impaired.
Among other things, Catherine has suffered earaches and ear infections. These are two very common problems associated with copper toxicity.
As with all infections, the average doctor will prescribe antibiotics for an ear infection. A yeast overgrowth frequently ensues from antibiotic therapy. Believe it or not, the patient is often advised that they are suffering from a candida yeast infection and are more often than not advised to stop eating products that contain yeast in any form. The overgrowth of yeast is due to an internal metabolic dysfunction caused by a copper deficiency or bio-unavailability, and while aggravated by, is not due to external causes, such as yeast in foods and food supplements. Copper is a great infection fighter and if it is not available to an individual, infections can and do take over. Candida yeast infections can usually be corrected or improved by increasing copper availability.
It is this authors opinion that antibiotics are effective against infections largely because they are capable of mobilizing stored copper in the liver.
There is a woman who comes in the office to clean after the staff goes home each day. Normally, this woman could talk you under the carpet, but she came in one night and was having trouble talking and her voice was very weak. I was rather relieved that she wasn't feeling very talkative that night because I had work that I needed to get done. Well, she managed to talk anyway. She told me that she had been on antibiotics for 23 days for a systemic infection, but now she had developed a throat and mouth yeast infection. I asked her where she thought she might have gotten her yeast infection. She shrugged her shoulders and looked blankly. I told her that she now had a yeast infection because of the antibiotics she had been taking. She told me that her doctor had given her something to counteract the yeast infection, along with the antibiotic she was presently taking. A few more weeks of antibiotic therapy and she would be a walking loaf of bread.
L.G. had a very low potassium level. A low potassium level, which remains relative, is frequently indicative of a copper toxicity, exhausted adrenal glands and a decreased ability to digest meat protein. While driving from Denver to Phoenix, L.G. almost lapsed into a coma several times. This woman had lost her desire for eating meat due to adrenal burnout with a concomitant inability to produce significant amounts of hydrochloric acid. The result was the elimination of one of our most important sources of zinc. Without sufficient zinc she was unable to utilize and retain potassium, which was why her potassium level was so low. Her sodium level was also very low, another indicator of poor adrenal function. As a result, she was very fatigued and weak.
Vegetarians who limit their diet to only fruits and vegetables are further endangering their health. If an individual was to eat only meat, he too, would be damaging his health as well. The vegetarian needs and craves potassium in the same sense that the copperhead needs and craves copper. They crave what their body doesn't make available for utilization to them. When they consistently deplete their energy levels, their bodies will crave quick sources of energy, energy that is found at a moments notice in fruits and vegetables. They walk around with a piece of fruit in one hand and a bottle of Gatorade in the other.
Yeast infections commonly occur as a result of antibiotic therapy. Yeast infections develop when the normal intestinal flora is disturbed. Antibiotics kill normal bacteria in the colon creating such an imbalance that yeast bacteria eventually predominate. Yeast infections occur when there is a disturbance in the body chemistry of the colon. Individuals with both high and low copper levels have an increased tendency to develop yeast infections. If a woman's copper level goes up premenstrually, as it normally does, she is inclined to develop vaginal infections.
While we're on the subject of infections, individuals with high serum iron levels are also very susceptible to infection. In contrast, it has been noted that a low serum iron level actually decreases a person's susceptibility to infection. It is interesting to note that iron-induced diabetes is associated with a decreased resistance to infections.
Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common nutritional problems the world over despite the fact that many foods are fortified with iron. Many food supplements contain iron in large amounts, yet people who take these products continue to suffer from iron deficient anemia. While iron deficiency anemia is extremely common in Africa, heart disease and infections are uncommon.
It must be obvious that fortifying products with iron is ineffective. For one thing, iron cannot be absorbed without AVAILABLE copper. You can have all the copper in the world stored in your liver, kidneys and brain, etc., but if it is not available in the blood serum, iron cannot be linked to the hemoglobin molecule. Copper is also required to transform iron from the ferric (bio-unavailable) to ferrous (available) form. Vitamin B-12, E and C are also essential in enhancing iron absorption.
Bacteria cannot survive and proliferate in the blood without adequate levels of iron being present. When the body develops an infection, the body will activate its own wonderful defense system. Iron will be pulled into the liver, thus removing it from the blood where the bacteria are thriving. Previously stored copper is then released from the liver into the blood. Copper is an anti-infection mineral. Copperheads have unavailable copper that is stored away. Therefore, they are deficient as far as copper levels in their blood is concerned, unless they are dumping copper due to stress or as a result of being placed on a scientifically designed nutritional therapy program. An inability to mobilize copper explains why copperheads are so susceptible to infections.
Let's animate what happens during infection. Let's go for a moment into the blood stream where an infection is occurring. Imagine that the bad cells or bacteria are actually robbers and iron is really gold. The robbers scavenge at a feverish pace filling their pockets with gold (feeding off iron) and then they run off to weak parts of the body to throw parties and cause even more destruction. Meanwhile, the good healthy cells (white blood cells) are imaginary police officers in copper uniforms with an uncanny sense for hidden gold. Any robber with (iron) gold filled pockets that run across the path of a police officer (healthy cells) will be grabbed by the nape of their neck.
Therefore, our conclusion is that copper unavailability is a major factor in the growth of bacteria and infection.
An infection is normally associated with a loss of appetite. Perhaps there is good reason why.
A high iron diet that is exposing you to chronic infections may result, among other reasons, from eating excessive amounts of rare meat. The eating of excessive quantities of meat will generally improve a person's hemoglobin level significantly. Hemoglobin is necessary to transport oxygen to the cells of the body. Fatigue and decreased resistance to disease are often the result of low hemoglobin levels. Let's animate again. Dracula drank blood. He got plenty of hemoglobin. He had no fatigue whatsoever. In fact, he was up all night. Look how virile he was. Those Hungarians lived to a ripe old age as well. They must have spent many a night at the Dracula Bar and Grill, boozing it up on hemoglobin.
To sum-up, copper unavailability is a major factor in the growth of bacteria and consequent infections.
If your mother took birth control pills, or used a copper IUD, or drank water from copper plumbing or even had many children before you were born, then chances are good that you were born a copperhead. You can inherit more from your parents then good looks.
Every time a woman becomes pregnant, her estrogen and copper levels rise. The more children born, the greater the chance of toxic copper storage. When your body chemistry is out of balance, your body has an increased tendency to store excessive minerals and metals. Some vital functions which are copper-dependent are as follows: copper is necessary for catecholamine hormone synthesis. The most active hormone neurotransmitters are adrenalin, noradrenalin, dopamine and serotonin. These are all copper activated neurotransmitters. Copper bio-unavailability results in a reduction of these vital neuro-hormones. The result of a reduction of these vital neuro-hormones is the dreadful condition of our time - adrenal burnout. Copper enhances the body's immune system and its ability to successfully combat infections, including candida. Copper stimulates brain activity, resulting in bright, creative thinking. Copper is essential for the utilization of iron. Without available copper, anemia is inevitable.
There are numerous ways to eliminate excessive tissue copper. Nutrients such as zinc, manganese, molybdenum, Vitamin B-1, vitamin C and vitamin B-6 have all proven effective in certain cases.
I have met many copperheads in my time, and for the most part they are bright, eager people but with definite dark, sad sides.
Their symptoms and illnesses put a tremendous damper on their colorful spirits. I take great pride in working with copperheads, in lowering their copper levels and making that copper available to them. I have supported them through their copper-dumps and celebrated their major improvements. Removing copper or any toxic metal is a great achievement. Copperheads who have succeeded know just what I am talking about.