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Will methylation chelate copper?

Discussion in 'Detox: Methylation; B12; Glutathione; Chelation' started by antherder, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. antherder

    antherder Senior Member

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    It looks suspiciously like I have too much free/toxic copper in my system. I think it's unlikely that I have Wilson's Disease-the rare genetic disorder that causes copper overload-but my lab results mean it is a possibility. I don't know how long it will take to rule it out, or even if it's possible to rule it out. It might be months before I get to see a specialist, if I get to see one at all.

    So, my question is, will treating a methylation block help get rid of excess copper? Safely? If so, by what mechanism? (I think I have a sulphation pathway problem and probably a methylation problem too, despite my homocysteine level being normal.) But, since there is a chance I might have Wilson's, could the methylation treatment be dangerous-since Wilson's sufferers can't excrete copper normally through the bile? Could it encourage my liver to ship stored copper out to my other organs, like my noggin, for instance? (Pretty sure it's done that already.)

    My health has deteriorated considerably over the past few months. I have had daily pain under my right rib cage, left rib cage, and pain in the kidney and liver region (an ultrasound was normal.) I've also lost over four kilos. Might not sound like much, but I'm now less than 42kg, so can't afford to lose more. Have also had strange heart symptoms on a daily basis. From what I've read, all of these symptoms can be caused by toxic levels of copper. I'm also extremely allergic and have severe gastric trouble, including a stomach ulcer, so there are very few supplements I can tolerate. I took a doctor prescribed course of Vit D four months ago which was such a bad idea. It increased my bile and has made me so much worse. Don't like my chances of tolerating any chelation treatment.

    So, the short version-I'm in a bit of a pickle. It looks like the copper is causing some, if not all of my symptoms, but because of my symptoms, I might not be able to get it out. (Yeah, I have to admit, I do kinda dig the irony. Having said that, I'm convinced that COPPER IS EVIL!)

    Ideas, anyone?

    Hang on, one more question...I know that ceruloplasmin levels can be falsely elevated during infection/inflammation, but does anyone know if they can also be raised by severe emotional stress...given that it's the adrenals that send instructions to the liver to make it?

    Thanks.
  2. Adster

    Adster Senior Member

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    I can't answer your main question, but taking molybdenum, a copper antagonist, might be worth considering.
  3. richvank

    richvank Senior Member

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    Hi, antherder.

    Here's some information on Wilson's disease, which you may already know, but I'm posting it just in case you haven't found it. Most of this information is from Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 17th edition, 2008:

    Wilson's disease occurs in about 1 in 30,000 people. This makes it a relatively rare disease, perhaps one likely to be missed by doctors. It is caused by certain inherited homozygous genetic mutations. Symptoms usually appear before the age of 40.

    In Wilson's disease, the liver cells are not able to export copper to the bile as well as they should. The result is that copper builds up, and eventually diffuses out of the liver into the bloodstream. The protein in the blood that normally binds copper (ceruloplasmin) goes low, and free copper is carried in the blood. This is picked up by various organs and tissues. Those most affected in Wilson's disease are the liver, the brain, the kidneys, the corneas of the eyes, the reproductive organs, the red blood cells, the bones, and the skin. Because of elevation of copper in the blood, it is excreted in the urine in higher than normal amounts.

    The elevated copper in the liver damages it by oxidative stress. Elevated copper also damages the basal ganglia in the brain, which can cause symptoms such as deterioration of the handwriting, loss of coordination, tremor, contraction of the muscles, difficulty in swallowing, and eventually, paralysis. Wilson's disease can also cause depression, moodiness, and cognitive problems. The damage to the kidneys can cause wasting of amino acids into the urine. Wilson's disease can affect the levels of the reproductive hormones. In Wilson's disease, the elevated free copper in the blood plasma damages the red blood cells and causes hemolysis and thus, anemia. Wilson's disease is known to cause loss of calcium and phosphorus from the bones. In Wilson's disease, the skin can become bronze in color. Hypotension, abdominal distress, and fatigue can be present.

    The elevated copper will continue to produce oxidative stress, which I believe would be likely to keep glutathione depleted, and that would produce a partial methylation cycle block, immune dysfunction, and dysfunction of the detox system.

    Wilson's disease is not always easy to detect, but here are some tests that can help to determine if it's present:

    a. Examination of the corneas of the eyes to see if Kayser-Fleischer rings are present. These are brownish or gray-green rings around the outsides of the irises of the eyes. Sometimes they are visible to the naked eye, but other times it requires a slit-lamp examination to see them.

    b. Analysis of the blood for ceruloplasmin. This is low in Wilson's disease.

    c. Measurement of copper in a natural (non-chelator-provoked) 24-hour urine sample. This is elevated in Wilson's disease. (I recommend that you see a physician who understands and can diagnose Wilson's disease as soon as possible in view of the symptoms you have reported, but if this is not possible for you, then the Doctor's Data Lab urine essential elements test (without chelator provocation) offered by www.directlabs.com does not require a doctor's order, and the sample can be collected at home and shipped to the lab, with the results sent directly back to you. It is available as part of the "Toxic and Essential Elements" test at www.directlabs. It's important to do the 24-hour, non-chelator-provoked version. The normal range for 24-hour urinary copper excretion is 20 to 50 micrograms (or 0.3 to 0.8 micromoles). A symptomatic Wilson's disease patient will have a value greater than 100 micrograms (or greater than 1.6 micromoles). A presymptomatic Wilson's disease patient can have a value of 60 to greater than 100 micrograms (or 0.9 to greater than 1.6 micromoles).

    d. The most definitive test is a liver biopsy for copper, but this is not necessary if other markers are present.

    There are treatments for Wilson's disease, including limitation of foods containing copper, treatment with zinc acetate (which builds up metallothionine in the gut, which binds copper and carries it out in the stools), and treatment with certain chelating agents that will bind copper (penicillamine and trientine). There can be side effects of the chelating agents, so the treatment should be monitored carefully by a physician.

    I hope this is helpful, and I hope you will be able to see a physician who is familiar with Wilson's disease soon.

    Best regards,

    Rich














    .
  4. richvank

    richvank Senior Member

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    Hi, antherder.

    Sorry, I just saw your other, long thread going back to October, as well as another more recent one. I see now that you have already had a 24-hour urine test, and that copper came out very high. Again, I urge you to get to a physician who is familiar with the treatment of Wilson's disease. Is there a university hospital that you can go to? Otago? Someone there should be up to speed on this.

    Best regards,

    Rich
  5. richvank

    richvank Senior Member

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    Hi, antherder.

    Here's contact info for a physician in New Zealand who is knowledgeable about Wilson's disease (from the website of the Wilson Disease Association):

    Edward J. Gane, MBchB, M.D., FRACP
    Associate Professor of Medicine
    New Zealand Liver Transplant Unit
    Auckland Hospital
    Park Road
    Auckland
    New Zealand
    Phone: 00-649-529-4001
    Fax: 00-649-529-4061
    Mobile: 00-64-21-548-371 (LIVER1)

    Rich
  6. Adster

    Adster Senior Member

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    It is my understanding that people with copper issues also need to be wary of copper plumbing in the home leeching copper into the water supply.
  7. Joopiter76

    Joopiter76 Senior Member

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    if zinc is low copper can show up higher than normal. It probably has something to do with the CFS problem itself. I can confirm that copper makes you weak if you have CFS. pI think it inhibits energy production I think because it inhibits G6PDH which generates NADPH and pyruvate. But in this case Im convinced that the loss of NADPH is the critical point because you need this to regenerate GSSG to GSH. and you need ist to do several reactions in the methylation Cycle especially MTR/MTRR without NADPH the methylations cycle ca not run and the red blood cells will also die. this is why I often heard that PWCs have "low ion" or "low red blood cell" or "low ferritin" but its not because of the ion, its because of the die off of the red blood cells because they have not enough NADPH.
    Molybdenum is a good idea especially because of the sulfites but take enough zinc this will oust the copper. (but careful zinc is often not tolerated very good at the beginning)
  8. antherder

    antherder Senior Member

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    Hi Adster and Joopiter76,

    I did try some molybdenum, and zinc when I first suspected copper. I only took very small amounts, for about 4 or 5 days and I crashed. Very badly. Took six weeks to claw my way back up to the surface. Will probably have to try them again though, as my options appear limited. And yes, copper water pipes are definitely an issue. One so many people are not aware of. I've been using a water filter jug for seven months. Have tried to go back to drinking the tap water three times, but it just increases my nausea.
  9. antherder

    antherder Senior Member

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    Hi Richvank,

    Thanks for your input. I'm not sure what to do yet. My doctor wants me to repeat the tests again before she will refer me to a specialist. A delay I can do without. The lab did recommend a doctor who has a patient with Wilson's, but I rang them and she's not taking on any new patients.

    I think it's almost irrelevant to me now whether I have Wilson's or not (not irrelevant to those who share my gene pool though), as the only prescription copper chelating treatment available here is penicillamine. I don't think I would even go there as it's known to make 1 in 4 people with neurological symptoms permanently worse. And can just kill you outright, of course. No trientine to be seen. Can't even get zinc acetate in this backwater country! Will have to try some zinc gluconate, I guess. Or maybe some DMSA.

    If only I could suck all the evil copper out of me with a giant magnet...
  10. Adster

    Adster Senior Member

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  11. antherder

    antherder Senior Member

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    Thanks, Adster.

    I found this page from Cutler too which is quite helpful;

    http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=ZG9glNfif5YC&pg=PA66&lpg=PA66&dq=chronic+copper+poisoning+urinary+copper&source=bl&ots=15DaWrVlTU&sig=rCIDmbRdcydRH7mqvQkLh8FVOfA&hl=en&ei=HjhNTY2SCI6YvAO8kLgM&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCQQ6AEwAjgK#v=onepage&q=chronic%20copper%20poisoning%20urinary%20copper&f=false

    I got my blood test results today; ceruloplasmin .17 (was .18 in August) and serum copper 8.4 (11-22umol). I can't repeat the 24hr urine test till next week and I've just started taking some molybdenum (got a bit panicky) which will probably skew the results of that test. Just have to wait and see if my doc will refer me to a specialist based on the blood tests...

    Thanks again for everyone's input.
  12. pken

    pken

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    Hello antherder, I'm new here, though not new to CFS sadly.

    I've been reading through some posts and thought I would mention my experience with copper in case it's helpful to you. I'm actually now a "fan" of copper - but was in a similar position to you a year or so ago. I had been taking large amounts of vitamin C and zinc and started to experience quite severe sensitivities to foods. And then I got a stomach ulcer. And I noticed a few white hairs on my head.

    I started to wonder if my experimental protocol (suggested by the mercury-free dentist who removed my four amalgams) had caused these new issues by chelating out things I needed as well as things I didn't. Actually the tracking down was far more complex than that but you get the idea.

    So I read about copper deficiency and started to supplement copper. And things started to get better. Even white hairs changed back to brown mid growth (I kept a couple because it was so strange). My digestive problems got rapidly better and my energy improved, though I'm not cured. Since copper is vital for tissue formation (the stomach lining for example), as well as for the enzyme that breaks down histamine, and skin/hair pigmentation I would be very wary of starting any kind of chelation based on a hunch - even if it might be a good one.

    One last thing, if you were copper deficient to begin with it makes sense that you would feel worse as soon as you supplemented zinc, and you did.
  13. Lotus97

    Lotus97 Senior Member

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    I was just wondering how reliable these urine/hair tests are for figuring out how to balance minerals in foods and supplements. As with a lot of members here, I've already spent a lot of money on various tests and treatments so I'm a little bit hesitant to fork out any more money. So far I found that I'm getting a lot of copper (1-2mg) and manganese (6-8mg) from my food so I'm wondering if I need to supplement with these. I am taking relatively high doses of zinc and molybdenum so I also don't want to deplete my body of copper either. Also, I've read that too much non bioavailable iron can cause an iron deficiency so I'm wondering if it's the same thing with copper. Do you try to chelate/remove the unbioavailable minerals first before you start adding the bioavailable kind? Also, if you test high in a mineral how do you know if you are high because of the unbioavailble kind or are high from minerals from food and/or supplements.

    For anyone trying to figure out how much minerals they get in food I've found these 2 sites to be useful

    This one you can do a search for each food individually. It tells vitamins (including choline), minerals, fat, protein, sugar, fiber, carbs, caffeine, and breakdown of omega 3 and omega 6 content
    http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-0.html

    This one you can have a list of either alphabetical order or in highest to lowest content. There's also a lot of other lists you can view such as various vitamins, sugar, fat, fiber
    http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/SR18/nutrlist/sr18list.html
  14. fozzaw

    fozzaw

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    Hair tests after supplementing aren't too useful in my experience, but without supplements to skew results, they do show if mineral transport is deranged which is a signature of mercury toxicity. RBC mineral tests are more useful for mineral status.

    If you are sick and have mineral balance problems, cataloging food sources of nutrients is of limited use because its one of those situations where your body is so out of whack, you often need doses of deficient nutrients magnitudes higher than available in reasonable amounts of food.

    For example, think of how impossible it is to get 5mg of biotin, 200mg of magnesium or 1g of vitamin C from food per meal. An exception is calcium, it's easy to get too much calcium.
  15. Lotus97

    Lotus97 Senior Member

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    I'm wondering if we might still need to supplement/eat foods with copper even if we have copper toxicity since the copper in food in supplements is bioavailable while copper from other sources might not be bioavailable.

    http://www.holistic-back-relief.com/copper-toxicity.html

  16. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    If you're copper toxic, it means you have too much copper. In that case, you definitely don't need to take any more of it. The body will utilize existing copper stores for making ATP. At some point in the future, when copper stores are low, you might need to take copper again.
    Lotus97 likes this.
  17. Lotus97

    Lotus97 Senior Member

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    I edited my previous post to make my question more clear, but what I was trying to say is that the type of copper that sometimes causes copper toxicity is non-bioavailable in which case the body can't use it so we might need bioavailable copper from food and/or supplements.
  18. Lotus97

    Lotus97 Senior Member

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    How can we know if our copper pipes are an issue? I asked my dad about it and he said copper pipes are pretty standard. Do water filters remove any copper from the drinking water? Also, is taking baths a problem if there's copper in the water? More copper would leach out with baths rather than drinking water since it's hot.
  19. dbkita

    dbkita Senior Member

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    I would stress reading Rich Vank's post. Yes low ceruloplasminin can be a sign of Wilson's but is not sufficient to diagnose it on its own. A better starting measure is a standard 24 hour urine excretion of copper (non-provoked so no chelating agent). That will tell you if there really is a copper toxicity issue.

    Copper is involved in many things some good some bad for us. It antagonizes GABA production and regulates MAO activity for breaking down key neurotransmitters (not so great). it also is involved in DAO activity for the breakdown of histamine in the gut (good). But it is also a part of cytochrome c oxidase a key part of aerobic respiration (essential). It is also needed for superoxide dismutases for removal of nasty superoxide radicals to spare the mitochondria (really important).

    Ironically my copper serum and ceruloplasminin were both low at the edge of the lab range while over-methylating for 2 years. Taking copper made me feel bad (I get some in my diet anyways) and my zinc was normal but had fallen some. I also determined I was very low in molybdenum (manganese is another copper antagonist btw). When I had a 24 hour urine test done, excretion was bam right in the middle. So my doctors were puzzled.

    But when I lowered methylation, despite jumping to 450 mcg of Mo per day, and taking 30-60 mg of zinc for two months, my ceruloplasminin increased from the bottom to the 25% percentile and my copper serum went from bottom of the range to 30-35% percentile. So despite amping copper antagonists it seems lowering methylation to something more reasonable helped! Also my zinc now is back to a healthy ~90% percentile.

    So there may be indeed some correlation.

    Some people genuinely have serious copper toxicity issues, but for most of us, low copper is a more tangible threat since it affects the ATP cycle and a host of other processes. Copper is something I do not supplement directly but
    I think needs to be part of any diet.
    Adster and Lotus97 like this.
  20. antherder

    antherder Senior Member

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    I've read that they don't allow copper pipes in Japan because of health concerns.

    You might be able to get the copper level in your water tested by your local council. Other than that, if there are green/blue stains around the plug hole in your bathroom sink, or sometimes on the pipes themselves, this suggests the pipes are leaching copper. I was told that you can absorb copper from showers/baths too. Hot water cylinders are often copper lined, I believe. Re filters, you would need to check with the manufacturer to make sure.

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