My 2 Cents About Copper Worth A Million Bucks

The other day I was eating lunch with a friend and colleague and he mentioned that copper can increase the risk of cancer. This was not the first time I had heard something scary about copper. Last year, another friend (a medical doctor) also mentioned copper’s association with cancer, especially hormonal types. How could something so integral to our body be so bad I wondered?

I researched it. Just like I suspected, copper is essential to good health. We don’t need a lot of copper, but certain healthy amounts are vital and essential to our health and well-being. It’s all about balance! 

Copper is required for the formation of about 50 enzymes and it’s needed for our transporters, which shuttle hormones and neurotransmitters all over your body. Copper protects the lining of blood vessels and myelin. It supports energy production.

Did you hear me? Energy!  I think one of the most important facts about copper is how it supports the healthy functioning of two major enzymes in your body, one is SOD and the other is DAO.

SOD = superoxide dismutase: This enzyme repairs cells and keeps them from getting killed by superoxide! SOD protects mitochondria, and has anti-cancer activity. Without adequate levels of the enzyme SOD you will likely get cardiovascular disease. Copper helps increase SOD.

DAO = diamine oxidase: This enzyme breaks down histamine from all the foods you eat. There are hundreds of foods that contain histamine (it can cause migraines by the way). DAO is your body’s natural anthistamine. Copper increases activity and functioning.

Here’s a little known fact that has kept many people dragging all day long, in search of the next cup of coffee or soda. It’s about fatigue. How many of you suffer with chronic fatigue? If you have iron deficiency anemia that doesn’t respond to iron supplementation, and you’re ferritin remains suppressed, you might be copper deficient. You need iron to make hemoglobin, the main component of red blood cells and you cannot absorb iron without copper. Long story short, copper deficiency is sometimes at the heart of resistant iron deficiency anemia. An “RBC copper” blood test can reveal this.  I am a stickler about your test being RBC (or even WBC) because a common mistake is often made by physicians. They often measure “serum” or “plasma” levels. Who cares what is out there? Neither the serum or the plasma portion of your blood contains any clotting factors or red blood cells. Evaluating copper in the plasma or serum doesn’t give you an indication of what’s inside the cell, where the clotting factors are. That’s what you NEED to know. If you’re spending money for your lab test, you have to do it properly, insist if you have to. Blame it on me if you want to, I’ve got your back!

I am trying to teach you how to derive an accurate evaluation of your intracellular copper levels which will prevent misdiagnosis. If you are tested improperly, and you get a clot, it could cost you your life. Let’s pretend for a moment, that you get the serum copper test I told you not to bother with. Let’s say the serum copper is normal or even high. Serum copper reflects an inflammatory condition in the body (which most people have). This inflammation could be due to an autoimmune disease, arthritis, cancer, thyroid imbalances, gastrointestinal disorders, anything. This elevated serum copper could be happening while you have a full-blown deficiency inside your cells. Even your heart cells (heart muscle). You may be deficient in the most important part of your body, your cells but that plasma copper will come back as normal or even high. This is why proper testing matters.

Let me divulge on a tangent about warfarin, the most popular medication used for anti-coagulation (blood thinning) to prevent strokes. Warfarin goes by many popular brand names around the world including Coumadin or Jantoven in the United States, Marevan in Australia, Uniwarfin in India and there may be others. Some people call warfarin “rat poison” because it’s the active agent in some rodenticides. That wouldn’t prevent me from taking it if I had to, you see … you can take any drug and turn it into a rodenticide if you really want to!  Regardless, my article isn’t about weird uses of prescription drugs, it’s about copper, and how a copper deficiency can lead to thicker blood or blood clots. Most doctors don’t test you for that, they go straight to their prescription pad.

Warfarin may be a precursor to Alzheimer’s. We may see this one day come to light with studies. I’m telling you now. I always tell you years before mainstream media because I care. I am telling you this because warfarin is a drug mugger of vitamin K.  That’s why you have to avoid leafy greens and salads while on warfarin, you have to keep vitamin K down. (You must follow these directions from your doctor, I agree that if you’re on a drug, you need to be careful and avoid the drug interactions).  The drug WORKS through this mechanism of depleting K.
But here’s where it all goes awry. Vitamin K is crucial for sphingomyelin and helping you remember things. Before you take warfarin, find out whether or not you have a copper deficiency. Low levels in the cell cause clotting problems. The BIG DEAL NOW is to test properly! Most docs test serum copper levels. Who cares? It is almost always normal causing you to be dismissed.
In comes warfarin to help reduce clot formation!
I’m saying you need to ask your physician to measure copper levels for you, and make sure they are intracellular (either WBC, RBC or look on your CardioION test if you did one).

Symptoms of copper deficiency include:
Grey hair, or loss of color to hair
Pale skin
Skin lesions or dryness
Dizziness or weakness
High blood pressure
High plasma cholesterol
Glucose intolerance or diabetes
Poor immunity
Higher risk of clot formation
Shortness of breath
Malabsorption issues
Low white blood cells, leukemia and other blood irregularities

8 Facts You Should Know About Copper

#1 Zinc supplements lower copper levels. If you’ve been consuming zinc supplements for a long time then you might be copper deficient, and vice versa. Ask your doctor about the zinc to copper ratio, but it’s about ten to one.

#2 Elevated copper can cause neurological problems, possibly schizophrenia, phobias and panic attacks however the research isn’t clear. This is a good time to teach you that some of you make large amounts of “pyrroles.” In excess, pyrroles irreversibly latch onto zinc and vitamin B6 and take it out of the body via urine. Once zinc is depleted, copper levels rise. So is it the copper that causes the problem, or the high pyrroles? If you love someone with a mental illness, you can have their pyrroles measured with a simple urine test.

#3 Copper is part of a transport system in your body that protects the inner lining of your blood vessels. Deficiencies will make your vessels lose elasticity and rupture easily.

#4 Copper is needed to make melanin so deficiencies are often seen in people with premature grey hair. If you’ve suddenly experienced grey hair and it’s not due to the natural aging process, it may be low copper. Supplementation with copper may be necessary BUT ONLY if you are tested first, and ONLY if you are deficient.  Remember, to test properly, you want an RBC copper level, not a serum level.

#5 Cardiac arrhythmias can result from low copper status.

#6  Copper helps you make elastin and collagen and these are components of bone and connective tissues. Copper may be useful for osteoporosis.

#7 Resveratrol supplements are drug muggers of copper.

#8 Copper can help you manage cholesterol. Deficiencies of copper are known to contribute to high cholesterol. Unfortunately, many people are given cholesterol-reducing medications instead of copper supplements. You have to find the underlying cause, not just drug everything.  It’s a simple blood test.
Feel free to leave me a comment below if you enjoyed this article.

I’ve ADDED  NEW CONTENT 3-7-15
Many of you are asking me what it means if you’re copper is high in your serum, and deficient in your cells (like… your RBC copper is low).
So this means that the copper is present (and maybe high) in your body but you’re not utilizing it well… hence, it’s not going into the cell.  This occurs frequently with people because the copper must be BOUND to a protein and toted around your body. It is bound to a protein that we call a “transporter.”

There are two main copper-binding proteins:
Ceruloplasmin
Metallothionein

Copper must be bound and transported within the body using one of these proteins.  If you are deficient in either, you may have high copper in the plasma or serum, and low copper in your cells.

Now, one more thing to answer some of your questions below in the thread. If your transport proteins are low, the copper will build up in the brain, liver and reproductive organs.  You don’t want to randomly supplement. You want to evaluate levels of these biomarkers, and look at clinical picture. Remember what I said above, high copper is seen in many women with reproductive cancers. Copper toxicity is something to look out for, so don’t go randomly supplementing just because you think you are deficient. Test, it’s not that hard, then you know for sure.  The enzyme SOD is involved too, superoxide dismutase, but that is a whole other article.

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236 Responses to My 2 Cents About Copper Worth A Million Bucks

  1. Johnny Atman April 8, 2016 at 9:05 pm #

    How to raise ceruloplasmin is important but whst is even more important is what lowers ceruloplasmin. Cadmium is one. Citric acid is another.

  2. Tiffany Winn August 19, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

    I recently removed my Paraguard IUD that I had for 5 years. While I had the Paraguard I had many symptoms that I never attributed to the birth control until most recently. I believe I suffered from Copper toxity from the Paraguard IUD based off similar symptoms that othe diagnosed patients had. I personally experience Anemia, restless leg syndrome, anxiety attacks, fast racing thoughts, blurry vision, gray hair, extreme fatigue, rage, panic attacks. These symptoms came to a head when I felt close to a mental break. I removed the IUD and things immediately got better. I went for a copper blood test so I can get the proper diagnoses with the proper treatment. My results came back and all I was told was the normal range is 72-172 and I am 103 so I’m fine. I don’t know what to do with that because what I experienced was so traumatic that it just doesn’t make sense. Where do I go from here if I cannot even get a proper diagnoses of copper toxicity?

  3. Staci August 7, 2015 at 7:29 pm #

    My serum copper has been high for years & I have been on the birth control pill for years.
    I just started to supplement with zinc & other other bloodwork is normal.
    If it’s not an RBC copper should I be alarmed. If I discontinued the birth control pill & supplemented along with copper free diet how long until I correct this…I have been feeling anxious & edgy lately.

    • Suzy Cohen August 7, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

      Careful, copper can make you more anxious and edgy if it gets to the high side. Can also cause heavy periods when too high.
      Let your physician know what you’re doing.

      • Staci August 10, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

        My physician told me to stay on the low dose pill as I am right in the middle of perimenopause & increase zinc & some other supplements. When my symptoms started to flare I had started consuming tons of greens, drinking them all day, coffee, coconut oil, chocolate protein bars, avocados not consuming meat & have been under a lot of stress. So I am removing all of these items from my diet & doing much more stress mgmt techniques.
        All of my other full cbc labs are very optimal & she only did a serum copper not an RBC. Zinc is in a healthy range.
        I feel like my huge diet change I started several mos ago may have contributed to this high level. Once I remove all high copper foods & use the various supplementation like zinc vit c reservatrol etc & am retested in a month & am still high~does that mean I need to stop the low dose oral contraception or are their stronger chelators that I might consider while I get through perimenopause. I have never had heavy periods & my hair went grey when I was in my 20’s 🙁
        I have been using lots of supplements & doing a more rigid cleansing diet to help with the stress & in hopes it would help my fatigue but virtually everything I was consuming was high in copper…
        All of my vitamins & minerals are all in range except for copper & I wonder if I am doing more harm by being too aggressive about restoring my normally vibrant health!!!

        I appreciate any advice you can offer~
        Thank you 😉

        • Suzy Cohen August 11, 2015 at 5:52 am #

          There’s nothing one can deduce from serum, I wouldn’t change my life based upon serum testing, says nothing about what’s inside the cell.

  4. Nina July 24, 2015 at 1:04 am #

    My serum zinc and copper are high but lie in hair and 24 hour anylsis. Please help me as its million dollar question?
    Regards,

  5. Laura French July 1, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

    Suzy, I am so hoping you can answer this for me.

    BTW, you Drug Mugger info about Cipro has saved me in so many ways!

    I am trying to find info on what Humira makes me deficient in. I haven’t found that info and would love to know what it mugs! I have Crohn’s Disease.

    I kind of freaked out when I had my ceruloplasmin test and it was 10! Very low. I had the serum copper test and it was low, but I will do the RBC. Where can I find the reference range for what it should be?

    I’ve had a few HTMA’s. The last one showed copper at 1.7 with ideal at 2.5. I am wondering if Humira is mugging my copper. Can it rob ceruloplasmin? Maybe it is just my Crohn’s doing it, but wondered if you had any info on this. I have been searching and can’t find.

    I talked about my low ceruloplasmin and copper with my GI doc and he said ” we don’t worry about that being low. We only worry about it being high.” Well I am worried about it being low. Thanks for any help with this!

    • Suzy Cohen July 1, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

      There aren’t studies that I can find about Humira to see what it depletes.
      Yes your copper appears to be slightly low, maybe supplementation at low doses for a few weeks would help.

  6. Greg July 1, 2015 at 3:49 am #

    Hi,

    So why manganese is a serum blood test good enough? Mine came up as low. Most of the supps are 15mg which is much more then RDI.

    SOD supps, I thought they just get destroyed on eating them?

    And Ceruloplasmin is the key really, increase it with Mag and Vitamin A. The Red Cell Copper would mid range be really optimal in the range?

    • Suzy Cohen July 1, 2015 at 4:52 pm #

      You can pull apart the capsule and dump half or 75% of the contents OUT if you want less.
      I still take SOD, I feel better on them so must be getting something.

  7. Stacia June 21, 2015 at 10:54 pm #

    Hi Suzy,

    I found it really interesting in your article that low copper also can affect SOD and DAO and all three of these are problematic (RA folks can be low in all of these) from articles I have read in pubmed with folks with my condition RA. My RBC copper test shows low so I’ve been taking it and also SOD and DAO from seeking health versions.

    I’d like to learn more about the actual cell transport though as it seems this is crux of the matter and might be beneficial to ask my alternative med doc about it and test me. Do you have any other specific links regarding the how copper supports DAO and SOD for my further research and understanding and learning? thank you for this article!

    • Suzy Cohen June 22, 2015 at 4:38 am #

      I don’t have other links, as it is not my specialty.
      I have a DAO and SOD snp myself. I’ve used Histame before.
      I’ve used manganese and SOD supplements myself. I don’t take copper anymore, I did for a week but reacted badly.

  8. e shaye June 11, 2015 at 10:06 pm #

    thanks for your wonderful info
    re copper–if you transporters are low, what could cause that, and how is it tested, and how to rectify?
    many thanks.

  9. Remy May 8, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

    What do you consider an optimal RBC copper level?

  10. Heath April 14, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

    After doing some research, I have discovered at least one easy way to heal myself of the issues I described earlier while also stabilising the copper levels in my body: boron as found in everyday household borax. This well referenced article on borax was very helpful to me and perhaps it can help others.

    http://health-science-spirit.com/borax.htm?hc_location=ufi

  11. Heath April 10, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

    I seem to have too much copper and high levels of estrogen. It manifests as heavy, frequent periods, pain and anger. How does one safely deplete copper in the body? I already take zinc daily, yet I continue to experience these problems. (I live in the UK so it may not be possible to obtain an American product.)

  12. kay putty April 9, 2015 at 10:27 am #

    wondering if you had a suggestion for a supplement with the enzymes you felt were necessary to digestion?? I have looked and found it very hard to get all 4 that you recommended in one pill.
    thanks.

  13. Martine April 1, 2015 at 7:37 pm #

    Thanks for all the info on the Diabetes Summit. Enjoyed it tremendously. Started taking Armour again this morning. May call the MD to change to a non-cornstarch thyroid. I have been taking LDN instead, even though the webinar stated we needed to continue the thyroid medicine. Eyes still puffed up. Cold extremities after teaching a lot. Eating a lot to keep the energy.

    My question is about copper. I have MTFHR mutation and take active folate, and B12 in a methyl form. B12 is diluted in an iodine copper solutuion. I have been taking Zn [zinc] faithfully and read in one of the responses that we can not overdose on zinc.

    I am more concerned about the ionic copper solution. It comes from vrp. Thanks.

    • Suzy Cohen April 2, 2015 at 5:44 am #

      You can overdose on zinc, I’m not sure who said that you cannot. Ask vrp (?) about it, and why it is in their formula. I wouldn’t get too much copper, it’s easy to become toxic on that, especially for women. Isn’t it simpler to just buy a new B12 formula that is not suspended in iodine/copper solution?

  14. Rita DeCarlo March 31, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

    Thank you so much for the wonderful article. It seemed to describe my husband’s problems. In 2008 he was diagnosed with two embedded blood clots in his legs and was put on Coumadin. About 2 years ago, I learned about MTHFR gene mutations and because of his blood clots and high homocysteine levels, had him checked. He was found to have a single mutation (C677T).
    In the last few years, he has begun to have memory problems (maybe related to the Coumadin).
    He went off of the coumadin in December and in January developed A-fib. He did not want to go back on blood thinners, as recommended by his Doctor, but he did begin to take Energy Boost 70 fulvic minerals and his A-fib has gone away. Seems like the minerals may have been what he needed. It appears like you were “right on” in this article. I would like more info on how to get copper into the cells. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge.

  15. Shasha March 31, 2015 at 2:39 am #

    EDTA/DMPS took out zinc which raised Cu. I needed Mo to remove excess Cu.
    Too much Cu can cause Wilson’s Disease…can see Cu ring round white of eye and it hurts brain/body.
    People can buy vitamins without iron or Cu if needed.
    What is a good way to get S.O.D if a person can’t have gluten/wheat?

    • Suzy Cohen March 31, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

      Source Naturals SOD brand is gluten free I believe.
      Juicing wheatgrass shots! Seeking Health brand makes a brand out of “limonene” that is good too.

  16. Shasha March 31, 2015 at 2:32 am #

    Affect copper level:
    Antibiotics lower B vitamins which detox estrogen in the liver. Cu raises estrogen.
    EDTA and DMPS IV chelations remove minerals
    Gluten may lower nutrients/minerals absorbed in intestines
    Estrogen/testosterone affect Cu/Zn level
    Vitamins affect levels of Cu/Zn
    Stress may lower Zn so Cu may increase
    Zn competes with Cu for absorption
    Taking Cu without Zinc may hurt the eyes…make them dimmer. It is ok to take Zinc without Cu.
    When I was too low in Cu and Zn my ear started to ring.
    Zn helps T4 change to T3 for thyroid hormone.
    Low zinc may make white marks are finger nails.
    Low Copper due to taking too much Vit C may make skin looser…less elastic.
    Hair tests show Cu/Zn and other good minerals and heavy metals. Hair tests show what is in the tissues and not just the blood.
    Cu may raise estrogen which may block thyroid which may raise cholesterol. I get clots when my thyroid is too low due to a clotting disorder that only kicks in when thyroid is too low.
    Cu/Zn balance is very important for the body.
    Zinc helps heal wounds and help the immune system.
    Cu gives color to hair/freckles.
    High Cu may cause hallucinations and mind to race. Schizophrenics maybe Celiac with high Cu.
    Low Cu may cause blood vessels to break.

  17. Molly March 25, 2015 at 3:36 pm #

    I actually just had my blood checked “cellular” via SpectraCell, looking for any nutrientional deficiencies and all that came up was Cooper. I am a plant based eater (vegan). I have not added a cooper supplement, do you think it’s necessary? I don’t want to over supplement.

  18. Mary March 20, 2015 at 2:19 am #

    What is the amount of copper needed?

  19. Sue March 19, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    I know you do not make diagnosis. But my son has been suffering from schizophrenia for last 5t years. He had a test related to copper. The results were the following:

    ceruloplasmin 20.8 [20-60]

    copper serum 75 [ 70-140]

    My question is do you think that further tests are warranted given that he so close to lower range of normal on both these tests?

    I have wondered if this indicates a problem with copper or even possibly Wilson’s disease.

    Thank you

    • Suzy Cohen March 19, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

      Hi Sue
      The transport protein is low.
      Copper in the serum is not really valuable. Read my article, it should be measured differently. See above.
      To have Wilson’s disease, there would be a mutation is his ATP7B gene, and he would have high copper in the tissues.

  20. Jill March 19, 2015 at 6:31 am #

    Hi Suzy,
    I’m going to a regular MD in one day.
    It might be too late to get a reply on time, but anyways.. I want to ask you what kind of bloodwork should I request he do to check my thyroid and for any types of cancer too. They can test for cancer from a blood test, can’t they?
    I was told by a chiropractor that she said the way it looked so far, was like I was in Adrenal Fatigue.
    But I couldn’t get a proper diagnosis from her, cause I couldn’t give her the $3,500. she was wanting to further diagnose me.
    So I’m left trying to self diagnose for many years and when you have brain fog and IQ not so high, its not that easy.
    Thank you so much for helping people like me, it shows how big a heart you have.!
    God bless you.!

    Jill

  21. Sharo March 12, 2015 at 9:12 pm #

    This information is so helpful! Thank you for sharing. My family has practiced ayurveda for generations and we always drink 1-2 glasses of tamra jal (copperized water) first thing in the morning. This has been a practice of yogis and other Indians for centuries for better digestion, and increased immunity. The ionized water is very hydrating. Over the years copper has gotten such a bad rap because of leeching copper pipes that have made people sick. Glad to see that healthcare providers are again promoting the benefits of copper.

  22. Beth March 12, 2015 at 2:36 pm #

    Copper toxicity is quite common without people realizing it. It’s my understanding that the issue of copper/zinc balance is complex and that people can have copper toxicity and “hidden copper” sequestered deep in the body’s tissues (along with other metals), but that it does not show up on tests until it is successfully being liberated through a therapeutic protocol like Nutritional Balancing. Copper-zinc imbalance can be a result of consuming too much copper (from pipes, copper added to municipal water, etc.) and not enough zinc due to avoidance of zinc-rich foods like red meat.

    These articles might be useful:
    http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/metals-and-the-mind/
    and
    http://www.westonaprice.org/modern-diseases/copper-zinc-imbalance-unrecognized-consequence-of-plant-based-diets-and-a-contributor-to-chronic-fatigue/
    and
    http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/nutritional-balancing-basics/

  23. Vishva March 9, 2015 at 5:21 pm #

    I adore your work, your integrity of heart, and your willingness to share in depth your great
    information 1000 thank u.
    I learn so much from u.

  24. Maria Pache March 9, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    Hi Suzy,
    As always you are snap on the button with your info! Love all your articles and most of all your THYROID HEALTHY book changed my life! I just wish there was ONE of you (copy) over here in South Africa and a lot of us would be able to be sorted. Thanks for REALLY caring.

    • Suzy Cohen March 10, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

      Thank you Maria <3
      PS: If you feel compelled, leave me a review on Amazon, people really use those when debating to buy a book or not. I was in Jo'berg a few years ago. The Jacaranda's were amazing. Next time I come, we'll grab coffee!

  25. Mindy March 9, 2015 at 11:04 am #

    Thanks for all your articles, books, and hard work! I was wondering about the green Chlorophyll drink I like. It lists the amount of copper in it. Just wondered how this plays into your article and if you recommend drinking it.

    • Suzy Cohen March 10, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

      Naturally-derived copper from green drinks is probably a great way to get it. I’m not a huge fan of copper supplements (unless LOW dose, and SHORT term) b/c it is WAY WAY WAY too easy to get too much copper in the bloodstream, and the backlash is bad. It’s estrogenic, it will cause aggression, heavy flow, etc if you get too much copper. So natural sources are better.

  26. Ghislaine M. March 9, 2015 at 1:05 am #

    What’s about copper in Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HMA)? (Analysis by Doctor’s Data Laboratories inc. IL)

    • Bertie March 10, 2015 at 7:51 am #

      Hi Suzie,
      I love receiving your newsletters, your an absolute gem sharing your knowledge with everyone.
      More like ‘The Oracle’ of the medical world.

      My question is about Hydrolised Collagen Powder.
      I use Great Lakes as it’s supposed to be amazing for numerous things but I have also heard some negative feedback as well.
      I would love your opion on this supplement please.
      Kindest Regards
      Bertie

      • Suzy Cohen March 10, 2015 at 9:11 pm #

        I’ve never tried that, I use BioCell myself.

  27. Duane Rosekrans March 8, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

    Hi Suzy,
    Love your book Drug Muggers and your informative columns. I am curious to know, is there an updated version of Drug Muggers available? I haven’t seen any in the bookstores where I live. Thanks for all that you do for all the peoples.

    Duane

    • Suzy Cohen March 9, 2015 at 4:11 am #

      Thank you Duane. They (Rodale… the publishers) haven’t updated it since it was published. I’ve written about drug mugging at this website. You can search my archives with the search box for something in particular or just ask 🙂

  28. Pat March 8, 2015 at 4:50 am #

    Suzie,
    Thank you again. I find your emails so helpful and look forward to the education you provide and the further explorations that result! I’m so glad you’re out there. It is an exciting journey we are on.
    Pat

  29. Breann March 8, 2015 at 3:29 am #

    I started getting lots of gray hair at age 21… now at age 30 I have TONS. I have always had anemia but have never had any other tests done. Would now be a good time to test for copper? Or would there be better tests to start with and then come back to copper?

    • Dr Bruce Jones March 19, 2015 at 10:27 am #

      Dear Breann,
      The premature onset of grey hair is related to two main factors:
      1. Copper deficiency
      2. Oxidative stress – the build-up of hydrogen peroxide in the hair follicle bleaches the hair root, which then continues to result in loss of pigment as the individual strand of hair develops.
      What to do?
      1. Send of a hair sample for analysis, and get your level of ceruloplasmin tested.
      If both hair copper & ceruloplasmin are either low or low-normal, you’ll need to have a high copper diet plus take Chelated copper daily. Repeat the tests after 3-4 months.
      2. Investigate the causes of oxidative stress. This process affects every cell in your brain & body, not just greying hair follicles. Anti-oxidant support is really important here.

      • Candy April 10, 2015 at 11:47 am #

        I have high Copper (serum) & normal/high ceruloplasmin. Within the last 2mths my hair has really turned gray at 33yo. So what exactly does that mean for me? Everyone else seems to have low of 1 or the other but both of mine are high. Zinc is only about mid-range.

        Copper Serum 179 (72-166)
        Ceruloplasmin 41.4 (16-45)

        • Suzy Cohen April 10, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

          This is a good consultation for your physician, I don’t do those.

        • barry March 14, 2016 at 9:46 am #

          whats your RBC magnesium level? u are probably low in magnesium

  30. Rebecca Donnachie March 8, 2015 at 2:51 am #

    Hi Suzy,
    I just had copper levels tested. Can you help me interpret them please. How do I determine if I am toxic, deficient or ok? Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. The copper does not say RBC so I am assuming it is serum. The numbers are
    Copper 105mcg 70-175
    Ceruloplasmin 29mg 18-53
    Copper Urine 11.3 3.6-15.5
    Zinc 97mcg 60-130
    Zinc RBC 10.2mg 9.0-14.7
    Zinc Urine 167 51-857

    • Dr Bruce Jones March 19, 2015 at 10:29 am #

      Dear Rebecca,
      The next step for you is to do a proper Hair Analysis.
      It will tell you your hair copper & zinc, as well as the copper: zinc ratio.
      From your ceruloplasmin level, it looks like your copper stores will be in the low – normal range.

  31. Adriane March 8, 2015 at 2:37 am #

    Thank you Suzy for this very informative article. From what little I know, ceruloplasmin is the transport protein for copper to get into cells, and some people with high serum copper but low ceruloplasmin actually have a deficiency at the cellular level. Is this correct, if so, how do we raise ceruloplasmin? I’ve read that taking preformed vitamin A (retinol) is supposed to help raise it. Thanks for so freely sharing your knowledge.

    • CJ January 29, 2016 at 8:00 pm #

      Yes I interested in how to raise cp levels. When I google it, this question comes near the top of the results but no answer!

  32. Maggie Holt March 8, 2015 at 2:03 am #

    Well, well, well……. Interestingly, I knew a particular vision problem starting up was age-related macular degeneration and was researching online re same and looking for a retina specialist in Phoenix (I live 100 miles north where there are no retina specialists–in fact, no MDs or DOs who are savvy about nutrition). .One day I drove a friend to a local eye clinic 25 miles away for cataract surgery. While there I picked up a 3-fold brochure that turned out to be on AMD. I’ve been taking Lutein, Bilberry, Zeaxanthin, Vitamin E, Flaxseed, Fish oil (among many other things thanks to you and a bunch of nonMDs who understand) for a number of years. Those were all listed as being necessary to eye health, particularly re AMD. The only thing listed that I was not taking was–toot, toot–COPPER OXIDE. I added that to my regimen (now over 35 because I prefer to take almost everything separately for better control), found a retina-vitreous specialist to whom my LPN daughter has been driving (and we both really like her and her staff), and after the initial loading of 3 shots, a visit without a shot, and another shot just yesterday (we’re working toward no more frequently than bi-monthly), my vision is 20/20! So here today I read your article and realize I have or have had most of the symptoms you list. One big one I don’t have at age 77, believe it or not, is gray hair. At any rate after adding copper and astaxanthin suggested by Dr. S, I’ve found that I’m feeling even better than before.. TaDa!

    Dr. Mark Hyman got me onto Dr. Tom O’Bryan and The Gluten Summit, and things mushroomed from there–thank goodness. I talk to everyone about the value of Drug Muggers and refer to it frequently. Here in Central Arizona it should be in every health care provider’s office–but isn’t. And isn’t the “new” cholesterol knowledge amazing! Staying as healthy as possible, I take no prescription meds, and the last doc I saw said, “Lo thyroid? What low thyroid?” All I could say was, “Guess the bovine thyroid glandular is working.”

  33. Aidan Walsh March 8, 2015 at 1:45 am #

    Very informative do you suggest a good copper to take plus what about other multi vitamins/b complexes gluten free ones would you say is best to buy once Copper has been stable again???

    thanks for the great articles…Do most private labs carry WBC OR RBC Copper tests urine or bloods??? :)’s Aidan :)’s

  34. John Crane March 8, 2015 at 1:35 am #

    Hi Suzy, My Grandaughter, Danielle 23 years old has recently been diagnosed with Polycythaemia Vera Rubra. She already has had a clot on her brain and is now on warfarin. They haven’t yet sorted her medication yet.
    I find that it is very strange that usually PV Rubra people have a ruddy complexion, however Danielle has a very pale anaemic complexion. I asked her Mother, my Daughter, if she has had iron deficiency anaemia checked out and apparently she has been told that she is not anaemic. Having just read your piece on copper deficiency I am now concerned about Danielle’ diagnosis. Are you able to throw any light on this scenario. My daughter told me that the doctors were puzzled about her condition and we are most concerned.
    I would appreciate any guidance you are able to give, Suzy.
    Have been a fan of Drug Muggers for some time.
    I guess that you will be able to tell that I am in the UK by my spelling.
    Regards John Crane, Northampton, England.

    • Suzy Cohen March 8, 2015 at 2:12 am #

      Dear John
      I’m sorry that I’m not familiar with that disorder, and I don’t want to pretend. I have approved your comment here because I have a very loving and generous fan base, with many practitioners and I know that if someone knows ANYTHING about Polycythaemia Vera Rubra they will chime in. I wish you well.

      • John Crane March 8, 2015 at 7:20 am #

        Thank you so much Suzy. John

    • Paula Wolfe March 8, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

      Dear John, I am an American who has lived in the UK and I have had Polycythmeia vera for over 10 years and actually know quite a bit about it and would love to share my knowledge. Send me an email and I’m sure I can give you some advice. Paula
      Email: silverlady3@gmail.com

  35. Al Salter March 8, 2015 at 1:24 am #

    Thank you for your informative articles on health from those of us who cannot pay for medical services and must rely of the kind deeds of medically trained knowledgeable people to help us get and try to stay well enough to operate as well as we can daily. Lord’s blessings, Suzy.

  36. Martha March 8, 2015 at 12:56 am #

    Can copper deficiency be determined via hair analysis?

    • Suzy Cohen March 8, 2015 at 1:19 am #

      You can try but I’d correlate it with symptoms and also RBC levels.

      • Martha March 10, 2015 at 2:43 am #

        Thank you!

      • Dr Bruce Jones March 19, 2015 at 10:18 am #

        A properly performed Hair Analysis PLUS a serum Ceruloplasmin are the two best indices of total body copper status. Ceruloplasmin is a copper-bearing iron oxido-reductase enzyme, that can transport up to 6 atoms of copper per molecule. It’s not the only copper transporter in the body, but its levels normally correlate very well with hair copper levels.
        The next confirmatory test is a DMPS / DMSA Challenge test – the ratios of urinary copper concentrations before & after the dose of the chelating agent (both adsorb copper brilliantly) is also very informative in indicating if you’re one of those people who absorb far too much copper from your diet or water supply, and hence build up copper in your extracellular tissues. This can result in serious long-term side effects.
        Serum copper by itself, is of little use, as it only represents the recent ingestion of copper-containing substances.

        • MrTrev01 April 24, 2015 at 11:37 am #

          I have HTMA done showing me as Slow oxidiser with Low available copper- but high unbound possibly lurking in the liver. [as I understand this]
          My serum copper was 100ug/dl which though in range is considered the high limit.
          My Cp was 20mg/dl in the same test take & this is low.
          I have Hypothyroidsm [sub- clinical] which may be due to Liver copper inhibiting T4 conversion. I couldn’t stick at Levothyroxin, either.
          Is this all connected?
          Can boosting Cp with Cod liver Oil [Vit A], Boron and Manganese [all low, btw] -as well as Magnesium, correct this?
          PS: I can’t see any firm reason to discount RBC Copper in your post above though.. Cheers!

  37. Sarah DJ March 8, 2015 at 12:52 am #

    Wow, thanks for putting this info together… What if a person is already on warfarin with a history of several severe blood clot situations? Would the RBC be accurate?

    • Suzy Cohen March 8, 2015 at 1:20 am #

      I would evaluate RBC levels and clinical picture.

  38. Alexandria March 8, 2015 at 12:22 am #

    As a stage 3 estrogen+ progesterone + breast cancer patient should I worry about copper containing foods? I eat lots of nuts, seeds and avocados. Is Femara a drug mugger of copper?

    • Suzy Cohen March 8, 2015 at 1:20 am #

      Copper can drive estrogen-driven cancers, be careful. Not sure about Femara (no studies directly).

  39. Jessica March 8, 2015 at 12:04 am #

    Where do you recommend getting a urine test?

  40. Deb Manz March 7, 2015 at 10:33 pm #

    My father-in-law was never told about the relationship between Vit K and warfarin.
    So he should stay away from all salads and leafy greens otherwise it could make the warfarin less effective?
    Thanks your articles are always so informative.

    • Suzy Cohen March 8, 2015 at 1:22 am #

      You need to ask him, don’t change anything without asking him (doc) because you will shift things and he is stable with whatever he is doing. It’s the tilting (one way or the other) that is bad. Again, ask doc why he wasn’t told and whether he should avoid it at this point or not.

  41. Maynard Mast March 7, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

    I did enjoy this material. Very Interesting. mm

  42. Joseph Gonzalez March 7, 2015 at 10:00 pm #

    Thank you so much Suzy Cohen, for being such a Blessing ! Please keep it coming… we need more wonderful human beings like you in this world. Joe.

  43. spring March 7, 2015 at 9:57 pm #

    You are so informative.Thank you so much for all the information you give.You have given me some things to think about.Is this an expensive blood test? Will it offend the Dr.?

  44. Nora Edwards March 7, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

    Thank you Suzy for a great news letter. This was very interesting because although I am an R.N., I was not aware of the testing issues you pointed out.

  45. Katy March 7, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

    Several years ago, when I was about 35 years old, after a long period of extreme psychological pressure, I lost the beautiful redness in my hair. It was dull and lifeless, and lots og grey hair appeared. I started supplementing with copper, and now when I’m 41 and have my beautiful red hair back, and almost no grey hair. Still I suffering from fatigue, but I think I will never have more energy. I’ll have to accept the fact that I have less energy than most other people. But I’m happy for my hair ☺

    • Maureen June 16, 2015 at 3:11 am #

      Maybe take iodine, chlorella, may have low thyroid, selenium. These are things I’ve read from Suzy and others for energy.

    • moringa April 5, 2016 at 10:40 am #

      which brand of coper u take? how much per day? thanks

  46. Katherine Finan March 7, 2015 at 9:36 pm #

    This is great information, thank you! It sounds like in the case of some iron deficiencies or clotting issues, copper may be available in the body but not in the right place – inside the cell. What would be the best way to supplement, or get copper inside the cell in these cases? I wouldn’t want to overload with more copper going to the wrong part of the body by supplementing.

    • Suzy Cohen March 8, 2015 at 1:25 am #

      Exactly, you’re thinking is correct. Support cell membrane health.

      • Samantha McRorie March 8, 2015 at 9:58 pm #

        HI Suzy,

        Great article – thanks!

        You mention supporting cell membrane health to help the copper into the cells.
        Can you elaborate on that….

        • Suzy Cohen March 9, 2015 at 4:08 am #

          Yes one day, it’s an entire column or little ebook, there’s much one can do. I’ll work on that for a future article.

  47. Cheriel Jensen March 7, 2015 at 9:12 pm #

    Thank you so much for this explanation. Now I would like to know why I seem to need so much magnesium to stop leg cramps.

    • Suzy Cohen March 8, 2015 at 1:26 am #

      All the drug muggers of magnesium are listed in my Drug Muggers book. Infections like Lyme will pull it out of you too. Coffee, alcohol and others.

      • Diane March 8, 2015 at 1:54 am #

        Glad you wrote this article, and I’ll look forward to your article about high copper.
        I have tested high copper / low zinc and have Factor V snps as well as being an over-methylator.

        Is there something we can take to bind the excess copper when it starts excreting .. something that will transport it safely out of the body without effecting any organs, etc. adversely .. and not inhibit the copper reduction therapy while it is doing it?
        I have your Drug Mugger book but wasn’t sure if using the copper reduction items will cause problems when the excess copper starts going out into the body.

        • Suzy Cohen March 8, 2015 at 2:10 am #

          Resveratrol chelates copper.

          • Lynne March 11, 2015 at 8:08 pm #

            So, does that mean that resveratrol is beneficial for copper levels?

          • Suzy Cohen March 12, 2015 at 4:53 am #

            Beneficial is a relative term.
            If you’re copper levels are high (above normal and that is a bad thing) then resveratrol would bring it down a beneficial thing.
            If you are deficient in copper, then resveratrol would further reduce it, not beneficial.

        • Karen Fischer March 13, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

          Thank you for your research and this article. I started looking into the values of copper in the body for VEDS 5 years ago. Finding bacis info on copper I brought it to my pcp’s attention a requested a look and time period approach to trying it. He added Magnesium for me to take at same time. 5 years later. Im 51 fewer bleeds more energy quicker healing time of tears, small vessel ruptures, less pain in general…I have copper bracelets for wrists, copper oval 8s made for fingers. I do needlework…less pain more time for neeedlework. I am just a person with VEDS who took an idea to my DO….and heres what is happening…..cool.

          • Suzy Cohen March 15, 2015 at 5:00 am #

            Totally cool! Thank you for sharing 🙂

        • autumn March 28, 2015 at 11:26 pm #

          where to get test

    • Maggie Holt March 9, 2015 at 3:16 am #

      Do you take potassium? I take 99 mg potassium 4x daily and am not bothered with leg cramps as long as I’m on my potassium. I’m on a bunch of other stuff as well, including magnesium, but it seems to be the potassium in particular that I need.

    • barbara April 9, 2015 at 12:07 pm #

      Hi Suzy, I would like to thank your life saving info. I have a thyroid problem and you have helped me greatly, only wish I could get your books and supplements here in Canada, have a great day, thank you !!

      • Suzy Cohen April 9, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

        Thanks Barbara. You’re so sweet 🙂

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