What do anxiety, ADHD, and migraines all have in common? I’ll give you a hint. It has something to do with a nutrient that we need gone bad. Copper overload affects millions of people every year without their knowing. What’s amazing is that many people have symptoms even though their copper is within the so-called normal range. How can this be? Why does this happen? Let’s explore another of the Walsh Protocol Subtypes, copper overload.
Before we jump into overload, let’s look at what copper does in the body. Our bodies need copper. It is an extremely important metal that the body uses for many functions. For one thing, copper helps keep the correct shape of red blood cells. Copper also helps the body absorb iron. A copper deficiency can lead to anemia even if you have enough iron.
Copper plays a role in immune function. Like zinc, it helps create reactive oxygen species that kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Furthermore, it uses the same reactive nature to help with energy production. It helps keep our nerves, connective tissue, and bones healthy. Finally, copper helps with nerve conduction. There are several functions that copper has in the nervous system. One is that it is a cofactor in the conversion of dopamine into norepinephrine. And this is where too much free copper in some people can be a bad thing.
Why Copper Overload is a Problem
When I first started doing the Walsh Protocol, I downplayed the role of elevated copper. In medical school, I learned that it is rare to have elevated copper. It does happen. People are usually very sick when that happens. Acute copper toxicity shows up with symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or abdominal pain. If prolonged, high copper can damage many organs in the body including the brain and the liver. One theory of Parkinson’s disease is that there are copper deposits in the brain. This can affect the brain in many ways.
But a less severe form of elevated copper can occur. This is when there is either too much free copper in the brain or it isn’t balanced with zinc. Let me explain. Copper is a very powerful oxidative species. Left free in the body on its own it will reek havoc on every cell it can touch. So the body binds it in a protein called ceruloplasmin. This reduces the amount of free copper circulating. Zinc will also counteract some of the effects of copper in a myriad of ways. We want less than 20% free copper in the body and a copper-to-zinc ratio of between .8 and 1.0.
In other words, your blood levels of copper can be fine but you can still be having symptoms because of copper overload. And I have seen a lot of cases of this over the years. So what does this look like?
People with copper overload are typically “on fire”. What do I mean about that? They tend towards hyperactivity, anxiety, and explosiveness. Let me give a caveat here first. Testing is necessary to diagnose this. There are other reasons that one can have these problems that arise. Without testing there is no way to track it. And dosages may change as a result of the testing. So find a qualified practitioner who can help with testing.
Copper Overload Symptoms
Below is a list of symptoms that arise from copper overload. It can present as attention deficit disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia, depression, explosive anger and oppositional defiance. But other Walsh sub-types can show with any of those too.
- high anxiety
- Skin intolerance to cheap metals
- Academic underachievement
- Learning disability such as ADHD
- Skin sensitivity to tags or rough fabrics
- Estrogen intolerance (doesn’t do well on birth control pills)
- Problems start with puberty, pregnancy, or menopause
- White spots of fingernails
- Emotional meltdowns
- Ringing in Ears
- Sensitivity to shellfish
- Gets sick a lot
- Joint pains
- Sleep problems
Copper also plays a role in adrenaline production which may lead to these symptoms. Copper can help with the generation of and the defense again react oxygen species. This shows that it can be both pro and anti-inflammatory. This can be why some people have extreme pain issues such as migraines and fibromyalgia as a result of too much copper. High levels of copper could be increasing inflammation in the body.
Getting tested is the first step in getting treated. Even if you or your child doesn’t have a lot of symptoms, knowing the status of copper and zinc balance is an important aspect of health. Many patients of mine have found relief by bringing copper and zinc into balance. Migraines, meneire’s, and fibromyalgia cleared over time with simple treatment. What is the treatment? A specific vitamin therapy can help the body remove the excess copper without side effects. It is important to have this traAnd if you have a child who has sudden explosive outbursts they need to checked. Call my office to find out how you can get help today.