"The continued use of oral contraceptives has been, and will continue to be, an important factor in influencing copper homeostasis in women."   ~Karl E. Mason, PhD, [17]

(This warning was given to us back in 1979. Is anyone listening?) 

Copper's Connection with Estrogen / Hormones & Birth Control

For some women, the copper IUD experience is without any significant symptoms, at least initially.  However, for the countless women who do exhibit symptoms, especially psychological, the default position of most OB/GYN's is to insist there could be no possible connection to the IUD, or that a copper IUD isn't going to increase the body's copper level.  The copper IUD is promoted as a safe option because it's "non-hormonal". However,  the full extent of copper IUD risks are not even remotely being disclosed to patients, and the product is certainly not as innocuous as those promoting it make it sound.   As far back as 1975, Dr. Carl Pfeiffer in his book Mental and Elemental Nutrients made the connection between the increasing prevalence of copper 'toxicity' and use of the pill and IUD.  After copper IUD insertion there is an increased copper release into the body, and both blood tests and hair tissue mineral tests may likely show this increase in copper levels. These studies (61, 62, 63, 65) support that evidence, while hundreds of thousands of HTMA profiles (including the sample profile shown on the Testing page of this site) verify this connection.  Of course, some blood elevation in of itself does not necessarily lead to problems (initially), as for many women their diet contains enough zinc to balance the increase in copper, while their detox systems are strong enough (for a while) to maintain proper regulation.  That said, it will not take much searching online to find forums filled with thousands of women who's lives and health have been utterly ruined after having their IUD put in (some stories included here), and numerous class action law suits have been filed as a result (that alone should be a clue as to the dangers).  Copper builds up slowly in the body. For many women symptoms first begin appearing 2 or 6 months after insertion, for others though the time period may be much longer, years to decades before they notice anything, or connect the dots. Side effects of copper IUD as copper accumulates usually begin with increasing brain fog and fatigue, often paired with a racing mind.  Eventually, once the liver is overloaded, copper will then start accumulating in the brain, and severe shifts in personality can occur as a result of increasing bio-unavailable copper and calcium and changes in neurotransmitter production. The period 2 to 5 months post-insertion is a common time for many when metabolism begins slowing and energy, behaviour, and reactions begin changing, especially with increasing depression and irritability. For some people, the simple decision to use a copper IUD can change their entire life trajectory, destroying important relationships, and beginning a cascade of health issues that can take many years to rectify. 

"TMA studies frequently reveal elevated tissue copper in women taking oral contraceptive agents which has been confirmed by others, as well in women with copper intrauterine devices." [18]

"Birth control pills & copper IUDs - these two birth control methods definitely affect copper metabolism in the body.  While some women can handle them, others experience depression, anxiety, personality shifts and many horrible side effects from them, either acute or chronic."   ~Dr. Lawrence Wilson

"In a fair number of these women [on the Pill]...problems are often stated by other members of the family who have observed a total change of personality.”  ~Dr. Philip Ball testifying in 1970 on the side effects of birth control at the Nelson Pill Hearings

The stories here provide a glimpse of the damage resulting from the copper IUD/ Copper accumulation.

The copper problem has significantly worsened in the years since the birth control pill was introduced. Since that time, more and more females have become copper toxic (and we see this with the evidence provided through HTMA data). The mother's excess then gets transferred in utero via the placenta to the fetus during pregnancy, leading to elevated levels in the male population as well. Young girls entering adolescence are especially at risk since their own estrogen build-up will further increase the vulnerability to the problem - this is why it's so important to acknowledge this issue and proactively test female children early.  The birth control pill affects copper by way of estrogen. Anything that raises estrogen (as the pill does) increases copper retention, and in turn, many of the direct psychological effects of copper (especially depression and anxiety). In fact, the 'science researchers' seem to finally be catching up to this connection with a study published in 2016 (something the pioneers of HTMA and copper toxicity research have already known about for 40 years, trying for decades to get the medical community and public to listen). This study[33,34], the largest of its kind withover a million women tracked over 13 years, showed the direct link between hormonal contraceptive use and significantly increased rates of depression.   Most people however just think of the Pill's connection to estrogen, without making the copper connection. When the copper connection is made, considering excess copper's direct link to increased rates of depression and copper's effect on raising tissue calcium and lowering magnesium (which in turn increases the risk of blood clots [54]), questions raised by cases examined in articles such as this one would certainly find clearer answers, and those researching why youth mental health cases are exploding in schools (example) might stop scratching their heads. How many more have to suffer before this nutrient connection is made!?

"Blood clots and blockage of blood vessels are one of the most serious side effects of taking oral contraceptives and can cause death or serious disability." 
~Merck (package insert for Desogen tablets) [55]

"It has been shown that women with a history of postpartum depression (PPD) exhibited significantly higher Cu level than those without PPD history." [42]

"I will not treat a woman more than once, if at all, if she is using an IUD because it’s a certainty that it’s causing some, if not all of, her problems. I haven’t seen an exception yet."
~Dr. Stephen Gangemi, DC, DIBAK, DCBCN [40]

"In pregnancy, Henkin, Marshall, and Meret reported the doubling of serum copper from conception to term, explaining frequent mood shifts and psychotic breaks. Estrogens in oral contraceptives resulted in copper levels exceeding those in the ninth month of pregnancy." [64]

The estrogenic effect of the oral contraceptive pill, combined with the fact that the synthetic progesterone does not have a true progesterone effect, means that minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and B6 diminish while copper rises [22].  On that note, consider the unstable (negative) emotions associated with pregnancy, or post-partum, or with PMS.  During pregnancy, estrogen rises, increasing copper retention. The serum copper level almost doubles during pregnancy!  After giving birth, if the mother is not able to detox her copper load (either through natural and healthy liver and bile functioning) or through breast-feeding, much of her elevated copper level remains stored in her body, a contributing factor to depression / PPD, and anxiety.  In fact, women with a history of PPD have significantly higher serum levels of copper[32]. (It would be interesting to see how even more prevalent this connection would surely be if proper HTMA testing had been done for that study).  Many of the emotional symptoms of PMS are also copper induced as estrogen rises during the cycle. Estrogen rises up until ovulation at which point progesterone takes over as the dominant hormone and helps bring down estrogen (and copper).  But when the woman is estrogen dominant (low progesterone) or already copper toxic, the cycle build up of estrogen leads to a further increase of copper along with its correlated emotional symptoms.  Studies have clearly shown that zinc deficiency resulting from increased copper occurs during the luteal phase - when PMS symptoms occur.[27]   Copper increases sodium which aggravates PMS symptoms, while lowering zinc and vitamin B6 - two nutrients which help reduce PMS symptoms and are both also essential for serotonin production (our happy hormone).


Click here for source of above image

The majority of women on the pill have negative side effects [19], but because this all-important mineral connection is so rarely discussed (even denied!) in medical circles and by prescribing physicians, women often don't associate their symptoms with the pill, or even more so with the ‘non-hormonal’ IUD.  Nor are they being given fully informed consent when they are prescribed the pill or the IUD - something (informed consent) every woman surely deserves to have!   This page is not meant in any way to discourage the use of birth control, but rather help women understand the effect it can have on their mineral balances so that they can proactively take steps to maintain a healthy balance and body.

Increased risk of suicide

"Among women who used hormonal contraceptives currently or recently, the risk of attempting suicide was nearly double that of women who had never used contraceptives. The risk was triple for suicide. The patch was linked to the highest risk of suicide attempts, followed by IUD, the vaginal ring and then pills."


HOWEVER, what the media and doctors aren't teaching our women is that the non-hormonal IUD also increases the risk, as the poll on the right (or below on mobile device) shows. Visit these stories and cases to learn more about the potentially damaging emotional effects of excess copper (and the IUD).


"When copper accumulates in the brain, this is the racing mind, the paranoia, the anxiety, the fears, the phobias, tired but wired...when you see women with their PMS, it's the copper accumulating in the brain causing a lot of the depression, anxiety, paranoia" ~ Dr. Robert Selig

"Another troubling discovery we have made during our research is that women are often unable to identify the side effects they are experiencing from hormonal birth control, because they are not fully informed.  Around 60% of women go off the Pill in the first six months due to unwanted side effects. Sometimes these medications are tolerated well, but many times the side effects are insidious, like depression, anxiety, lack of libido, or headaches that can too easily be ascribed to just being a 'teenager' or a 'moody female'. Many women will begin taking an antidepressant without ever realizing that their symptoms were brought on by their birth control." [20] 

"Women recently have been encouraged to substantially increase their dietary intake of calcium in hopes of preventing osteoporosis in their old age. TMA data strongly suggest that most women today are slow oxidizers. Adding significant amounts of calcium to their dietary intake will very likely exacerbate tendencies toward hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency (characteristics of slow oxidizers). Increasing calcium intake will further slow the rate of metabolism of these women and allow for greater accumulation of toxic metals in the body. Increasing calcium intake in a slow oxidizer will especially allow for increased accumulations of excess copper. This phenomenon will be intensified by the use of the birth control pill or by estrogen replacement therapy during and after menopause (Mehta & Eikum, 1989). The accumulation of excess copper will lead to greater storage in the liver and in the brain. The excess copper accumulation will further slow the rate of metabolism with both psychological and physical problems manifesting more frequently (Malter, 1985). This process may be leading to a major iatrogenic health disaster."[21]





Aiming to help 1 million women remove their IUDs by 2023.


Update September 2017: The petition above has been started to help women receive fuller disclosure. If this matters to you, please click and sign.

Estrogen Dominance

"Estrogen...has been shown to increase serum copper and ceruloplasmin levels in humans and rats...It may be concluded that estrogen therapy depletes hepatic stores of these elements with abnormal accumulation of copper in the brain." [64]

"One of the effects of Xenoestrogens is to reduce the excretion rate of copper from the body. All estrogens cause copper accumulation, xenoestrogens look like estrogens to our biochemistry and hence also cause copper retention. These patients have very high copper levels." ~Dr. Igor Tabrizian

"The Estrogens in [birth control pills] do have Estrogenic effects, but the progesterone (being synthetic) tends not to have true progesterone effect. Another version of Estrogen dominance. This explains why zinc and magnesium fall and why copper rises while on the OCP (oral contraceptive pill)." [22]

"Excess copper can cause dramatic imbalances in two key neurotransmitters, and may lead to depression or behavioural/learning issues. For example, 68% of all ADHD kids have a tendency for very high levels of copper. Excess copper can cause inattention, anxiety, and hyperactivity. Copper is especially problematic for women because estrogen and copper are proportionately related. If you're high in estrogen, you'll be high in copper."  ~William J. Walsh, PhD

Estrogen dominance is a major issue which really throws off our mineral balance and leads to increased copper retention.  The following are some of the more common symptoms of estrogen dominance:

*cramping  *bleeding and clotting  *Fibroids . *Endometriosis  *PCOS  *Fibrocystic breasts  *breast tenderness  *bloating  *mood swings  *memory loss  *weight gain  *brain fog  *hair loss  *increased irritability  osteoporsis  *hypothyroid  *slow metabolism  *insomnia  *fatigue  *PMS  *headaches  *hypoglycemia

Note the similarity between those symptoms and the symptoms of copper toxicity.  While oral contraceptive use is one contributing factor to estrogen dominance, largely adding to the problem is the increasing prevalence of xenoestrogens in our environment and lifestyle.  Xenoestrogens are manmade chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body. Pesticides are our biggest source of xenoestrogens, both from crops and produce as well as eating meat from animals which previously consumed those crops.  Growth hormones given to much of the (non-organic) livestock and poultry we eat is another source.  PCB's, PVC's and plastic food and drink containers also give chemicals which mimic estrogen in the body.  Even stress contributes to excess estrogen, while estrogen in turn mimics the shock phase of the stress reaction. Dr. Hans Selye, MD (the ‘father of stress research’) explained how estrogen causes the pituitary to secrete hormones which impair the ovaries from producing progesterone while at the same time stimulating cortisol production.  For women as they enter their late-thirties, progesterone levels begin to decline more quickly than estrogen, further contributing to estrogen dominance in women. In fact, between the ages of 35 to 50, while estrogen drops about 35%, progesterone drops by up to 75% [59], leading to more and more to estrogen dominance as menopause approaches.  A zinc deficiency then allows copper to accumulate further, especially with the presence of estrogens and xenoestrogens which impair the body’s ability to excrete the excess copper.  Once again, the more estrogen (regardless of source), in men or women, the higher the rate of copper retention in the body.   We've already seen through scientific studies of wildlife how frogs and fish are switching gender due to this rise in estrogens.  Women are becoming more and more estrogen dominant, especially in the Western world, and some experts link this increase of estrogen to the rise in rates of breast cancer, infertility, autoimmune diseases, etc.  This most definitely further impacts the number of people who currently and who in the future will be diagnosed as copper toxic.    

Click here to learn about excess copper's connection with certain diets and its effects on digestive health

Sex Differences in the HTMA Copper Levels of Youth

This study, available in full here, shows the mean copper increases in females as they enter adolescence. Between the ages of 6 to 18, male copper levels show some fluctuation but largely stay on the lower side.  Females inherently have higher copper, increasing as they enter the teen years.  This underscores the importance of testing young women before their estrogen rises in adolescence in order to correct potential impending copper imbalances before symptoms really start to show.  

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