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copper elimination
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copper elimination


By Lawrence Wilson, MD

© Nov. 2007, LD Wilson Consultants, Inc.


                  Many who undertake nutritional balancing programs based on hair mineral analysis at some point begin to eliminate a lot of copper. This can cause symptoms such as headaches, skin rashes, anxiety, fatigue, testicular pain in men, changes in the menstrual cycle in women, irritability, weepiness or emotional sensitivity.

                  These symptoms are temporary, but can be annoying and cause some to discontinue the nutrition program when in fact it is working perfectly well. This bulletin explores what to do when one is eliminating copper.




                  Most people have deficiencies of zinc, manganese and other minerals that contribute to excessive accumulation of copper in the body tissues. As one replenishes the zinc and other vital minerals, the body begins to eliminate excess copper.

                  Free or unbound copper, however, is quite toxic. Copper is a powerful oxidant, meaning it can inflame the tissues and cause oxidant damage. To avoid toxicity, it must be wrapped up or bound to protein molecule. Sulfur amino acids found in eggs and meats are helpful for this. Adequate adrenal glandular activity is also required for the liver to produce enough copper binding proteins.

                  To eliminate copper, it is first mobilized from tissue storage sites and moved into the blood. The blood transports it to the liver and kidneys through which it is eliminated. Symptoms occur because a lot of copper may be dumped into the blood at once, and it is not cleared from the blood rapidly enough by the liver and kidneys. Also, there is often a deficiency of the copper binding proteins, ceruloplasmin and metallothionine, due to sluggish liver production of these proteins. Remaining in the blood, especially in an unbound form, copper may cause headaches and other symptoms.




                  To stop the symptoms of copper elimination one may slow the mobilization of copper from tissue storage sites, assist the binding of copper and speed up the clearing of copper from the blood. The objective is to eliminate as much copper as possible as rapidly as possible without causing annoying symptoms.

                  To slow mobilization of copper from the tissues, the simplest way is to stop the nutritional supplement program for about three days. One may continue taking digestive enzymes such as Hcl-pepsin or GB-3, but discontinue the rest. After three days, resume the program taking only one dose of supplements per day. If one remains symptom-free after five days, increase to two doses of supplements per day. If one remains symptom-free after five more days, increase to three doses per day. This will take care of many copper elimination symptoms.

                  To help clear copper from the blood, eat some eggs or animal protein regularly and get plenty of rest. The protein is helpful and eggs in particular are rich in sulfur-containing amino acids.  Avoid constipation, taking magnesium or extra GB-3 if needed. Drink at least six eight-ounce glasses of water each day. If symptoms persist, the following supplements may be helpful.  These particular product names are from Endomet Laboratories.  Other brands are also available.

                  Moly-Cu. This product contains 100 mcg of molybdenum that binds with copper to reduce its toxic effects. It also helps the liver eliminate copper. The product also contains Russian black radish, an herb high in sulfur. Sulfur also binds with copper, reducing its toxic effects. Sulfur is also important for liver detoxification. The product also contains parsley, an herb helpful for the kidneys. An adult dosage is three to six tablets daily as needed.  Molybdenum is particularly helpful if one’s hair sodium/potassium ratio is low.  Hair must not be washed at the laboratory for accurate readings.

                  L-Taurine. Taurine is an essential amino acid deficient in many people's diets. High in sulfur, it can donate a sulfate molecule that helps bind copper to reduce its toxicity and facilitate its removal. An adult dosage is one gram three times a day with meals.

                  GB-3. This product contains ox bile and dehydrocholic acid that enhance bile flow and contains Russian black radish, a source of sulfur. By enhancing liver activity, it can increase the rate of copper elimination by the liver. An adult dosage is two to three tablets three times a day with meals.

                  ICMN. This product contains 200 mg of methionine, another sulfur containing amino acid that is a precursor for taurine and helpful for liver detoxification. It also contains 200 mg of choline and 200 mg of inositol which are also helpful for liver detoxification.

                  N-acetyl cysteine is another sulfur-containing compound that may help with severe copper elimination symptoms.

                  Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine or pyridoxal-5-phosphate).  This is another copper antagonist that may be helpful during a copper elimination.

                  Products that are less recommended during a copper elimination are vitamin C and zinc.  They are most helpful in some instances, but not in others.  Vitamin C is an excellent copper chelator but by stimulating adrenal activity may cause more copper to be dumped into the blood stream.  Zinc replaces copper in the liver and elsewhere.  It too can force more copper into the blood stream, exacerbating copper elimination symptoms.




                  Other procedures can also assist with copper elimination symptoms. Slow walking and deep breathing calm the nerves and promote activity of the parasympathetic nervous system. This system activates the liver, kidneys and intestines to help remove copper.

                  Coffee enemas stimulate bile flow and enhance liver detoxification. They can be very effective to relieve a headache associated with copper elimination. One may take one or even two of these daily, adding two tablespoons of regular coffee to two cups of boiling water and letting it simmer for five minutes. When the water is body temperature, one places the water in an enema bag. One must retain the enema 15 minutes for maximum effectiveness.

                  Sauna baths or massage therapy enhance circulation and help decongest the internal organs such as the liver and kidneys. The infrared light sauna will give the best results and may be used up to twice a day for 50 minutes at a time. The sauna inhibits the sympathetic nervous system, enhances eliminative organ activity and one can sweat out some copper through the skin.

                  Acupressure or acupuncture can balance the flow of qi or subtle energy through the liver and kidneys. In some cases, this too will be helpful. Chiropractic treatment can clear nerve blockages that may be interfering with the activity of the liver and kidneys.

                  Releasing fear is also a powerful way to assist copper elimination. Fear has a paralyzing effect on the body, affecting the activity of many organs. Also, copper toxicity is associated with negative emotions. Allowing oneself to give up these emotions frees up energy that assists all the organs that are involved with copper metabolism.



                  If tempted to quit a nutrition program due to copper elimination symptoms, recall the benefits of getting rid of excess copper from the body. Copper toxicity is associated with a weakened immune system and the serious diseases that follow.

                  Copper toxicity is associated with mental and emotional symptoms including anxiety, depression, mood swings, panic disorder, crying spells and even a type of schizophrenia. Copper imbalance is also associated with premenstrual tension, endometriosis, tumors, fatigue, many skin diseases, hair loss, graying of the hair, insomnia and liver disease such as hepatitis. Copper toxicity that is passed on to children is associated with attention deficit disorder, infections and impaired growth and development.

                  Copper elimination symptoms are temporary and disappear as the copper level decreases and the organs of elimination function better. Staying on the nutrition program is worth a little temporary discomfort in order to achieve and maintain excellent health.


Revised from: The Eck Institute Bulletin

Vol.  19   January 2003   Number 1


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