Elevated copper levels threaten human health

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Copper Warning(NaturalHealth365) Copper is a trace element needed to support many functions in the body including nerve function, utilization of iron, energy production, skin color and is important to a number of enzyme systems. The health benefits of copper are crucial for an overall healthy existence and cannot be produced within the body; therefore copper needs to come from our food sources.

But, did you know that if copper is elevated to the ‘toxic’ range this excess copper can pose a real threat to your health? Did you know that copper is known to react with a variety of other nutrient such as iron, zinc, molybdenum, sulfur, selenium and vitamin C? Excess amounts of copper deplete glutathione reserves and can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, headache, dizziness, weakness, diarrhea, and a metallic taste in the mouth.

Excess copper can limit your ability to focus

Zinc and copper are antagonists so if copper is high, zinc is usually low and vice versa. It has been found that some children with ADHD have elevated copper levels which deplete their zinc levels. A zinc deficiency may result in learning impairments, poor memory and emotional and behavioral problems.

Research has demonstrated that zinc treatment can be efficacious for ADHD individuals and that supplementation should be continued for four months to see if it is successful in helping a child with ADHD.

Exposure to heavy metals such as cadmium and lead prevent the absorption of zinc and impact the amount of copper in the body. Excessive consumption of sugar and carbohydrates are also known to reduce zinc. If your or your child test results indicate they are low in zinc, it is imperative to test for cadmium and lead and to eat organic, whole foods.

The connection between copper and autism

The journal Biomarkers published a paper stating that the frequency of zinc deficiency, copper toxicity and low zinc/copper in children with autism spectrum disorders may indicate a reduction in metallothionein system functioning. A review of 230 children on the spectrum demonstrated that children with autism had lower zinc/copper ratios than typically developing peers.

Researchers concluded that plasma zinc/serum copper ratio may be a biomarker of heavy metal – particularly mercury – toxicity in children with ASDs.

Another study published in July of this year confirmed these findings and stated that children with ASD appear to be at risk for zinc deficiency, copper toxicity and a low zinc/copper ratio which disturbs metallothionein.

Resesarchers explained that metallothionein proteins are needed to detoxify free radicals and metals such as mercury from the body.

Recent study shows copper may be a culprit in Alzheimer’s disease

Researchers from the University of Rochester continue to pursue evidence that copper may play a role in triggering Alzheimer’s. Their exploration shows that exposing the brain to copper spurs the production of amyloid beta protein plaques and also slows the brain’s effectiveness to clear the plaques.

The lead researcher of the study states that copper in tap water is much more quickly absorbed than the copper in food and believes that some people may also be more susceptible to the effects of copper on the blood brain barrier.

High copper levels linked to Parkinson’s disease

An increasing amount of evidence is pointing to the significance of metals in Parkinson’s (PD); particularly occupational exposure to manganese, copper, lead, iron, mercury, zinc and aluminum appear to be risk factors. One study found that copper specifically induced ‘misfolding’ of a-synuclein which is noted in all Parkinson’s patients and believe this is a significant factor in the development of PD. Researchers suspect that chelation therapies may represent a promising therapeutic target for Parkinson’s.

Why is there an increase in copper exposure?

Some experts state that the use of copper from our drinking water, cookware, dental materials, fungicides and pesticides is causing this increase. Hot tubs and pools may increase copper hair levels as copper is used to sanitize pools and some hot tubs.

Testing for copper

At Healing 4 Soul, we use Great Plains Laboratory testing for zinc/copper ratios to determine if elevated copper could be impeding your health. Supplementing with zinc for those with elevated copper levels as nutritional changes can really make a difference.

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About the author: Sima Ash of Healing 4 Soul is a clinical and classical homeopath and certified clinical nutritionist who utilizes a unique approach pioneered by Tinus Smits, M.D. called CEASE therapy. The aim of CEASE treatment is systematic detoxification of the causes of illness, leading to step by step improvement and restoration of health in the individual. For additional information, please visit – Healing4Soul.com. You can follow Sima on Facebook at ‘Cease Therapy California’ and through her weekly blog on NaturalHealth365.com


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  • Tom

    We were lucky to discover this when my son was 4. He is now 15 and what was causing a vast majority of his ADHD was a zinc/copper imbalance and a magnesium deficiency. We started on supplements and really cleaned up his diet. No artificial colors was a big one. His levels are fine now. We are not sure what caused them to be off, but glad we didn’t put him on drugs like the teacher and pediatrician mentioned.