Copper Toxicity

August 1, 2013
The House of Healing


Copper Toxicity

Anyone who suffers from headaches, fatigue, insomnia, depression, skin rashes, learning disorders or premenstrual syndrome may have a copper imbalance. 
Copper is an essential trace element that is vital to the proper functioning of organs and metabolic processes.  The human body has complex homeostatic mechanisms which attempt to ensure a constant supply of available copper while eliminating excess copper when it occurs.  Too much or too little ingestion of copper can result in a corresponding condition of excess or deficiency in the body which has its own unique set of adverse health effects.  Copper Toxicity is a condition in which copper is retained and begins to build up in the body tissues.  This condition is quite common however it is also commonly undiagnosed.  Excess copper in the tissues can develop for a variety of reasons, some of us being more prone to a buildup then others. 
High Risk Factors…

   A slower metabolism may contribute to copper accumulation
   Women are found to be more prone to copper accumulation due to the female hormone    
    oestrogen increasing copper retention
   Excessive stress or insufficient adrenal function.  This can occur due to stress

   dramatically decreasing zinc levels, coppers primary antagonist.  Weak adrenals may   
   result in a lack of hormones that stimulate the liver to remove excess copper.
   Exposure to environmental copper on a regular basis
  
The use of oestrogen medications such as the birth control pill
  
Vegetarian Diet or a Zinc Deficient diet
  
Dental Fillings

The circulation and proper utilisation of copper in the body requires good functioning of the liver, gallbladder and adrenal glands.  Impaired function of these organs result in excess copper as your body fails to utilise or excrete copper.  Initially copper can build up in the liver, further impairing its ability to excrete copper.  An increase in copper retention affects the nervous system, female and male reproductive systems and connective tissues including the joints, hair, skin and nails. 
What you should know about the Metabolism of Copper…
   Absorption
Thirty to sixty percent of ingested copper is absorbed through the intestinal tract. Certain minerals and heavy toxic metals compete for absorption with copper, including calcium, iron, zinc, cadmium and mercury.  Zinc is a primary copper antagonist.  Vitamin C inhibits copper absorption. Sulphur and molybdenum may also inhibit absorption of copper.  Absorption of copper is increased by the presence of amino acids. A diet lacking protein intake or impaired protein digestion can inhibits copper absorption. Absorption is also hindered by an alkaline intestinal pH.

   Retention
Normally copper is bound in the blood to ceruloplasmin (95 percent) and albumin.  Organs with a high copper content include the liver, brain, heart and kidneys. However, excess copper can accumulate in almost every organ of the body.

   Excretion
Copper is excreted mainly through the bile. Vitamin C binds or chelates copper and facilitates its removal. Zinc and manganese displace copper from the liver. Molybdenum and sulphur bind to copper and greatly facilitate its excretion.
If you suffer with headaches, fatigue, insomnia, depression, skin rashes, learning disorders or premenstrual syndrome you may have a copper imbalance. 
If you think you have these symptoms you may want to consider the following sources of copper…

   Copper Water Pipes
Copper plumbing was hailed as a great advance in the past. Especially in areas with acidic water, copper can be leached from pipes, leaving in severe cases, a greenish ring on bathroom fixtures.  Water that sits in copper pipes can contain dangerously high levels of copper.

   Copper Cookware
Copper tea kettles and other copper cookware can be a source of copper toxicity if used frequently over a period of time.

   Birth Control Pills and Copper Intrauterine Devices
One of the side effects of the pill is that it tends to raise copper levels in the body. This is due to the close association between the hormone oestrogen and copper levels.  Several hundred milligrams of copper a year can easily be absorbed from a copper IUD. Many women still use the Copper – 7 intrauterine birth control device, although it has been taken off the market. The only intra-uterine birth control device sold today, however, is a copper-T. These devices can be very harmful for women prone to high copper levels.

   Vegetarian Diets and Other High Copper Diets
Many diets today are high in copper. In particular, vegetarian proteins such as soybeans, nuts, seeds, tofu, avocados and grains are high in copper content. Soybean protein is coming into wider usage but can contribute to copper overload.  Other high-copper foods are organ meats, shellfish, wheat germ and bran, yeast, corn oil, margarine and mushrooms. 

   Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
Copper is frequently added to vitamin supplements, particularly prenatal vitamins. Although this is a benefit for some people, it can be harmful for many other women.

   Fungicides for Swimming Pools and Foods
Copper sulphate is added to swimming pools and may be sprayed on fruits and vegetables to retard growth of algae and fungus.

   Dental Appliances
Copper is still used today in some dental alloys, in fillings, crowns and other appliances.


If you suffer any of these symptoms or are at high risk of copper toxicity or even believe you may be exposed to other heavy metals then it is worthwhile considering a full Heavy Metal Vega Test.  New to Clinic are a number of Focus Vega Tests.  A 15 minute Focus Vega Test followed by a 15 minute Naturopathic consultation to discuss your results could be of benefit to you.
Eir – Liver Formula – normally $35.90 – $28.70

Eir Liver Formula is an excellent detoxifier and rejuvenator for the liver.  It contains a powerful combination of herbs that cleanse the liver of accumulated toxins whilst it nourishes and strengthen the liver tissues thereby supporting the healthy production of bile to promote digestion and a healthy metabolism.
A FREE 5 minute Vega Test is available to ensure this product is 100% tolerated, effective and the exact dose your body requires.

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