Copper Deficiency or Copper Toxicity? Need some expertise...

Hoosierfans

Senior Member
Messages
265
Likes
672
Hey all,

Could use some expertise from the folks here who are MUCH smarter than me (@Hip, @Freddd , @Learner1 ) or anyone else who wants to weigh in! I've got two practitioners telling me very contrary opinions and I can't tell who is right!

In the late fall, I was tested for Wilson's disease. My copper serum was below range, ceruloplasmin was below range, and 24 hour urine copper was low (the latter ruled out Wilsons). My integrative doc / internist opined that I have a straight copper deficiency and need to supplement with copper (copper gluconate working up to 16 mg per day in order to give 2 mg elemental copper). (Haven't started it yet as we've been working on other things). The last time I tried copper supplementation was 3-4 years ago and it made my nerve burning and anxiety worse.

Today I had a consult with a metals and minerals specialist who, based on a Hair Metals and Minerals test, and my previous copper tests, opined that I had a copper toxicity...and that the LAST thing I should do is supplement with copper. That test is attached. She mentioned that "of the 12 markers we look for for copper deficiency, you have 8" (but the only one I caught was my low potassium level.

The only other clue is my reaction to molybdenum -- higher doses REALLY increase my symptoms (each practitioner points to this as justifying their conclusion as it chelates copper)

My symptoms are severe anxiety and depression, nerve burning / neuropathy all over my arms, legs, face and brain, fatigue, cognitive issues, dizziness and lightheaded. Mostly bed and housebound.

Her plan of treatment would include building up my ceruloplasmin through Boron (I am low), taurine, Vitamin A which should, in turn, get copper to where it needs to be. And, we would correct an iodine deficiency which I have.

Can anyone weigh in? It's frustrating to have two opposed conclusions seemingly come from the same data. Thanks!!
 

Attachments

overtheedge

Senior Member
Messages
250
Likes
292
I had high copper on hair mineral analysis for years, maybe 7 tests in a row came up extremely high in copper and none low, then i tried staying at our familys other house for a few months, no symptom changes but the copper was normal on hair mineral analysis i sent out before returning to my regular house.
after a time a my regular house again i sent out another test which came back high in copper.
then i tried only using water that i had delivered to drink and wash my hair with for 3months, tho i did still wash my hands with the house water, while staying at my regular house, copper levels came back normal, no elevation. it was all just the water of the particular house i live in causing that elevation, no improvement in symptoms tho and any point.
 

Hoosierfans

Senior Member
Messages
265
Likes
672
I had high copper on hair mineral analysis for years, maybe 7 tests in a row came up extremely high in copper and none low, then i tried staying at our familys other house for a few months, no symptom changes but the copper was normal on hair mineral analysis i sent out before returning to my regular house.
after a time a my regular house again i sent out another test which came back high in copper.
then i tried only using water that i had delivered to drink and wash my hair with for 3months, tho i did still wash my hands with the house water, while staying at my regular house, copper levels came back normal, no elevation. it was all just the water of the particular house i live in causing that elevation, no improvement in symptoms tho and any point.
Good to know, but did you ever have blood work for copper? It seems my blood work is saying one thing, my HTMA something else.
 

Hoosierfans

Senior Member
Messages
265
Likes
672
I'm afraid I can't be much help on this. I'm somewhat skeptical of HTMA, but maybe someone here had more experience.

Boron, if you need it, taurine, and Vitamin A may be worth trying. Too much boron and vitamin A can be toxic, though, so be careful.
Thank you Learner! Yeah we may make a run at getting my ceruloplasmin up and see if that makes a difference to my symptoms. If it doesn’t make a dent, I may try a baby dose of copper just to see how I react. Obviously, if it makes me feel better that would be the tell tale sign that this is a deficiency and not toxicity.
 

Swim15

Senior Member
Messages
362
Likes
529
I just got diagnosed with Wilson’s recently actually. My urine copper was totally normal though so I wouldn’t rely on that - I’d do a liver biopsy to confirm it’s not Wilson’s because it isn’t something you want to take a risk waiting on.

What are the values for urine, ceruloplasmin, total copper, and free copper?
 

Hoosierfans

Senior Member
Messages
265
Likes
672
I just got diagnosed with Wilson’s recently actually. My urine copper was totally normal though so I wouldn’t rely on that - I’d do a liver biopsy to confirm it’s not Wilson’s because it isn’t something you want to take a risk waiting on.

What are the values for urine, ceruloplasmin, total copper, and free copper?
Oh geez, Swim I am so sorry (but glad you found a source of what’s going on with you!)

My labs:

copper urine (24 hr collection): < 1.0 ug/dL (they just calculated the concentration, not the total amount since the concentration was so low)

copper serum: 69.7 ug/dL (range 80-155)

ceruloplasmin: 15 mg / dL (range 17-54)

I also had a liver ultrasound done and that was all clear. Because my urine copper was so low, and the ultrasound was clear, my doc said no reason to do a biopsy.
 

overtheedge

Senior Member
Messages
250
Likes
292
Good to know, but did you ever have blood work for copper? It seems my blood work is saying one thing, my HTMA something else.
I did have a test for copper a long time ago before i started really looking after my records, it was either urine or blood, whatever came back showed regular copper, i think i had ceruloplasmin tested as well and that came back normal

My bad, my copper really was high on the hair test rather than being low, never had low copper
 

Swim15

Senior Member
Messages
362
Likes
529
Okay yeah lol you’re definitely deficient. I’d start oral supplementation along with IM injections
 

Hoosierfans

Senior Member
Messages
265
Likes
672
Urine copper is zip. Can’t be toxic if you’re urine copper is that low. Combine that with low serum and borderline ceruloplasmin and there’s no way.

If urine copper was normal or high then it’s probably Wilson’s

Whoever is telling you that you’re copper toxic is a fucking idiot, no offense to them
Lol @Swim15 you crack me up. Thank you for your candor. 😜

Yeah, that’s what I couldn’t ignore either...that my urine was so low. I asked her specifically about that and she said that maybe my body wasn’t ready to release the stored copper and that’s why it wasn’t coming out.

I think I am going to take a kind of hybrid approach — take the next few weeks to get on some glutathione and try and build up my ceruloplasmin, and then try a small dose of copper and see how I react. I HAVE tried copper in the past, and it made my jitters / anxiety and neuropathy worse even in small doses. So that’s the only thing that has me questioning cause you would think I would feel better on it. But when I tried it, I never took it with a balancing dose of zinc, nor glutathione....which I know is necessary to get copper into cells.
 

Hip

Senior Member
Messages
17,170
Likes
38,441
Hey @Hip any thoughts on the above? You are another one of the smartest cookies in this cookie jar! 😃
Not in this case, I don't know anything about Wilson's disease.

Though I can tell you that hair analysis is not considered a reliable method of measuring mineral levels. It works fine to detect heavy metal toxins, but not minerals.
 

Hoosierfans

Senior Member
Messages
265
Likes
672
Not in this case, I don't know anything about Wilson's disease.

Though I can tell you that hair analysis is not considered a reliable method of measuring mineral levels. It works fine to detect heavy metal toxins, but not minerals.
Thanks, Hip. Regarding the hair test, what’s your view on the position that when hair tests show low levels of metals, it’s simply because the body is “holding on” to the metals and not strong enough to detox them yet. I was told that my cells were in a “calcium shell” and therefore couldn’t absorb nutrients but also wouldn’t let go of metals (so that’s why I didn’t have any levels of metals show up).

I just don’t know if I buy the whole “toxicity because it’s stored in the tissues” line. When I have a low blood level and a low urine level of something, how could I have toxic metals (in this case copper) stored up in my tissues???
 

Hip

Senior Member
Messages
17,170
Likes
38,441
Regarding the hair test, what’s your view on the position that when hair tests show low levels of metals, it’s simply because the body is “holding on” to the metals and not strong enough to detox them yet.
I have not heard such a statement before, but if it comes from a nutritionalist or other alternative health practitioner using hair tests, I would take it with a pinch of salt, because hair tests are not considered a scientifically validated test for minerals.
 

Hoosierfans

Senior Member
Messages
265
Likes
672
I have not heard such a statement before, but if it comes from a nutritionalist or other alternative health practitioner using hair tests, I would take it with a pinch of salt, because hair tests are not considered a scientifically validated test for minerals.
Thank you Hip, I will take it with a heaping teaspoon. 😊. Which then I will dump into my adrenal cocktail. 😜.

I think the problem is that my ceruloplasmin is so low, so my copper isn’t available to be used (and I have a low level). I also don’t hold on to iron (I need no monthly infusions), so ceruloplasmin is just wreaking havoc on me. Now I gotta figure out how to correct it.
 

Swim15

Senior Member
Messages
362
Likes
529
I have no idea where they got that statement either but I wouldn’t take much of what they say seriously.

There isn’t a case of true copper toxicity where urine copper is that low. If you’re toxic, you’re going to pee it out. Cells “holding on” to it through some unexplained mechanism is a little absurd...I hope this person doesn’t have a legitimate medical license?

Your ceruloplasmin is low because your copper is low and almost all copper is bound to ceruloplasmin (~10mcg free copper, or non ceruloplasmin bound copper, is about normal). Raise your copper and you’ll raise your ceruloplasmin.


You could take a mild dose of zinc, like 15mg, (several hours away from copper) to keep things in balance but wouldn’t go overboard.

You don’t really need glutathione, unless you’re somehow deficient which is unlikely. I’d just supplement some NAC if anything. Cheap and effective.

Copper is somewhat of a stimulant through NE by dopamine beta hydroxylase and its activity in the basal ganglia. Stimulant effects are normal and if they’re that pronounced it means that your body is soaking it up no problem
 

Hoosierfans

Senior Member
Messages
265
Likes
672
I have no idea where they got that statement either but I wouldn’t take much of what they say seriously.

There isn’t a case of true copper toxicity where urine copper is that low. If you’re toxic, you’re going to pee it out. Cells “holding on” to it through some unexplained mechanism is a little absurd...I hope this person doesn’t have a legitimate medical license?

Your ceruloplasmin is low because your copper is low and almost all copper is bound to ceruloplasmin (~10mcg free copper, or non ceruloplasmin bound copper, is about normal). Raise your copper and you’ll raise your ceruloplasmin.


You could take a mild dose of zinc, like 15mg, (several hours away from copper) to keep things in balance but wouldn’t go overboard.

You don’t really need glutathione, unless you’re somehow deficient which is unlikely. I’d just supplement some NAC if anything. Cheap and effective.

Copper is somewhat of a stimulant through NE by dopamine beta hydroxylase and its activity in the basal ganglia. Stimulant effects are normal and if they’re that pronounced it means that your body is soaking it up no problem
LOL no they don’t have a medical license; I believe they are a nutritionist and then trained in HTMAs.

It’s interesting regarding the glutathione...both my NutraEval and my OAT show I am extremely low (my OAT actually shows 0)...and I read some decent papers regarding how copper needed glutathione to be utilized in the cells. I figure it’s worth it to supplement with some glutathione since I need it anyway, and then try the copper and see if I tolerate it.

That’s good to know that copper can increase NE — my norepi is off the charts high and my severe anxiety (we are talking pacing the house most of the day level) is one of my worst symptoms. Maybe that’s why I haven’t tolerated it in the past. Hmmmm....
 

Swim15

Senior Member
Messages
362
Likes
529
Have you tried anything to bring the NE levels down? Ive heard baking soda can work as well as stuff like 5HTP, theanine, and other anxiolytics. SSRI’s or other meds for more of a punch

For what it’s worth, OAT tests are incredibly useful but they don’t reflect what’s going on in your brain at all so I’d take that with a big grain of salt when it applies to your whole body.