Why copper toxicity remains silent and misunderstood

This page  discusses the existing environment that suppresses awareness of copper toxicity and in some cases even intentionally blocks the public from receiving information that could truly be helpful.

Most doctors remain unfamiliar with copper toxicity or show little interest in it because treatment here is based on nutrition, not pharmaceuticals; the latter approach provides profits, the former does not, nor is nutrition adequately taught in medical school. Furthermore, when it comes to assessing copper status, almost all doctors and researchers rely on blood test results (and studies based on blood testing). This ignores one of the most fundamental aspects of copper toxicity - excess copper does not get stored in the blood! Blood levels have almost no correlation to stored tissue levels!  Articles strewn across the Internet promoting the one-sided benefits of copper only further muddy the waters of understanding.  Only through properly interpreted HTMA testing (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis) can the public ever truly come to understand the prevalence of copper toxicity, how it’s impacting their health, and how to properly approach the complex rebalancing of minerals in the body.  “ With each successive generation, copper toxicity becomes more pervasive and common.  Until medical doctors and other “health” care practitioners begin to study the mind/body’s mineral system especially as it is reflected in HTMAs, the medical / mineral disconnect will remain.  Without HTMA data, medical doctors will not recognize the epidemic nature of the copper toxicity problem." ~Dr. Malter, Ph.D.
The rest of this site explains, in significant detail, the various causes and effects of copper toxicity.  Hopefully this work will shed clarity on a topic which affects so many, yet which still remains so unknown, and on which so much false information has been relayed by practitioners or continues to be written about online.  The Internet today is flooded with articles that:

  • dismiss the concept of copper "toxicity", instead suggesting that most of the population needs to consume more (when in fact the standard diet of the Western world sufficiently supplies the recommended daily intake for all age groups), and failing to educate the reader that most copper deficiency in the West is a result of excess copper exposure (as explained on the Symptoms page of this site).
  • dismiss the connection to birth control by denying (or failing to mention) that birth control methods like the pill or copper IUD could lead to the presenting symptoms, 
  • espouse only the 'benefits' of copper (such as being healthy or stimulating for the brain, energy, thyroid...), leading the reader to believe we all need to consume more - despite excess copper over time leading to mental illness, adrenal burnout, slowing of the thyroid, and much much more...,
  • promote the Ayurvedic benefits of drinking from copper vessels.  Though such practice served a sterile-water-storage benefit in ancient days (since copper does in fact provide antimicrobial properties), what fails to be mentioned is that our biochemistry today (mineral profile) is very different than it was thousands, or even hundreds, of years ago). We know today that copper being leached from copper piping in homes is harmful and are moving away from such practice; certainly not toward it!  
  • promote their copper-containing products (using copper as a selling feature) using such phrases as 'copper toxicity is rare', 'excess copper is excreted', or in the case of excess, copper can be 'removed by chelating agents or by the consumption of high levels of zinc'.  Ignorant advice that is wrong, wrong, and downright dangerous!
  • sell special copper supplements and, in the case of one product in particular, promotes to their audience that taking their bioavailable copper product will 'fix' copper toxicity! 
  • portray copper to be a 'love mineral' without expanding on the fact that  excess copper is a major cause of emotional shutdown, depression, anxiety, panic, and broken relationships, 
  • promote blood testing as the standard way to determine copper status (despite the fundamental fact as mentioned that excess copper gets stored in tissue and NOT the blood, meaning that blood provides almost NO reliable correlation to the tissue mineral level at the cellular level), 
  • base arguments on studies which use blood (which of course most studies do and therefore are very misleading), or on the two widely publicized studies from 1985 and 2001 on HTMA that intentionally aimed to dismiss the benefits of HTMA through faulty testing and manipulation of results), 
  • refute the benefits or accuracy of HTMA testing - despite thousands of peer reviewed references supporting HTMA and it being the single most important test to determine copper toxicity and provide the guidance necessary for intelligent evidence-based nutritional rebalancing.  [Given the efforts that have gone into suppressing HTMA, could it be that this simple non-invasive 'alternative' test threatens the profits of big-pharma since money is made off drugs and disease rather than health and holistic self care?]

Without mentioning site names as their further promotion is not deserved, it is important for people to understand the caution necessary when researching this topic. By far the majority of websites and blog articles out there writing on copper are presenting blatantly false or misleading information, a huge disservice to women's health and those seeking real answers. A few examples: 

  • A popular medical website widely used for diagnosis of various conditions makes no mention of HTMA but instead promotes urine and blood testing as the best ways of diagnosing copper toxicity (the reasons why such advice is dangerously flawed are addressed on the Testing page of this site). The same medical website also makes the incorrect claim that constant fatigue has a weak or unproven link to copper toxicity. Again, this is a reflection of a complete lack of understanding behind how excess copper directly affects and weakens the adrenals, leading to fatigue.  
  • One of the world's leading providers of online medical health information states the primary cause of copper toxicity to be the consumption of illicit drugs or prescription, over-the-counter, alternative medications or drug overdoses. They fail entirely to make any mention of the MUCH more prevalent and important causes of copper toxicity, nor do they make any mention in their discussion of the key symptoms of fatigue, adrenal issues, or influences on mood and mental health. Quite frankly, their explanation of copper toxicity is misleading at best and void of any substance or truth on the topic whatsoever.  How can the public ever be properly informed when such mainstream medical sites purport such astonishingly false information?!
  • A doctor-authored 'science based' site promotes copper as the protective, anti-aging, love mineral. The site suggests people do not need to worry about copper excess because the body does a fantastic job regulating levels, citing "with amazement" how numerous studies show that copper "magically" disappears out of the blood. It completely fails to make mention of where this excess copper goes (ie: into tissue and accumulating in the body)!! Furthermore, copper toxicity can have a powerful impact on the emotions - though not always good.  Whereas the article hypes copper as the mineral of love, the fact (which the article misrepresents) is that copper at high levels can eradicate feelings of love and cause depression. In fact, we know, anyone who becomes highly copper toxic will experience a deadening of their emotions! Misleadingly, the article goes on to imply  that  copper is  great for  mental health, completely ignoring the EXTREMELY significant negative psychological symptoms that present with high levels of copper stored in the brain (including Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, ADD, depression, anxiety, the list goes on!)  The article then goes on further to make such false claims as "the only dietary source of copper that a person should worry about is in contaminated water" (implying that diet plays no role in copper toxicity and adjusting one’s diet therefore would not make any difference!), and that "copper provides preventative benefits for ALL conditions except one (Wilson's Disease)".  The amount of blatantly false information in this one article alone is astonishing, yet tragically people read and trust this kind of literature because it’s authored by a doctor, and as a result the public continues to be dangerously misled.
  • A national public service information site from the U.S. that claims to offer "objective science based" information, states "The human body adjusts its internal environment to maintain copper equilibrium" and that copper rarely gets stored in the body. Hundreds of thousands of HTMA profiles very clearly disprove that! Once again though, people believe such falsehoods because it comes from a so-called 'trusted' source. 
  • Sexual health and official birth control option websites make little to zero mention of the ‘copper connection’ to the common symptoms of copper toxicity that arise from the birth control Pilll and copper IUD. Young women go to these sites (and to their doctor’s) expecting reliable information, yet without receiving full disclosure to symptoms, their physical and mental health is being put at risk.  Women so often realize something is wrong but they simply can't get their doctors to listen, and information (or lack thereof) being relayed from sexual health officials sure doesn’t help the matter.
  • a copper-based health product, in their sleek marketing, uses misleading attribution from a random selected article that claims copper to be a new 'gold standard in saving lives', without disclosing copper's negative effects, and attributing the quote as coming from one of North America's leading healthcare research and publishing services. 
  • Another one of the ‘world’s leading online independent health platforms with over half a million members and millions of visitors each month offers a discussion group for women complaining of negative symptoms that started after inserting their IUD. These women are looking for answers, trying to understand what’s causing their symptoms. Yet, when copper toxicity was brought up and a link provided where people could learn more, publication was denied by the site administrators. To this day, people continue to post, seeking answers, but the public is effectively blocked from receiving this information. 
  • The same is true for one of Facebook’s largest health ‘advocacy’ groups - mention of copper toxicity has been repeatedly attacked over the years and dismissed by the administrators who call copper toxicity a myth. Not knowing the history of the group, its followers are led astray by dangerous protocols that ignore consideration of copper toxicity and go on to further spread the 'myth' message.
  • Countless more websites (including one of the world's top 10 most visited natural health websites) talk about all the benefits of copper (it helps increase energy, is good for healthy brain function, assists emotional health, supports healthy metabolism, helps thyroid activity...) ... and lead the public to believe most of us are deficient in copper and therefore should be increasing our intake! They do not understand that most deficiency is caused by a toxicity issue, NOT by a lack of copper in the diet. Second, the benefits mentioned are only true at a normal, healthy level of copper. As copper builds up and becomes bio-unavailable in large quantities, those aforementioned benefits REVERSE!!!   Copper increases energy? At a basic level, yes...but too much copper leads to adrenal exhaustion!  Healthy brain function? It's a marker in over half of schizophrenics, and a key factor leading to Alzheimer's!  Emotional health? Too much copper leads to the numbing of emotions and damaged relationships, as well as being a leading cause of depression and anxiety. Supports metabolism? It leads to a slowing of metabolism! Helps thyroid activity? Copper raises calcium and lowers potassium, leading directly to a slowing of thyroid activity!  And again we see even more websites claiming that the body is able to self-regulate the level of copper.  Anyone who studies the interrelationship of minerals and uses the hard evidence provided by HTMA testing knows how absurd such claims are.

Tragically, the Internet and social media has become a breeding ground of erroneous information, much of it influenced by a small number of individuals (including doctors) who have the power and a platform to convince large trusting audiences, and this is the unfortunate environment the public is left to navigate through.  It's becoming increasingly difficult for people to know what to believe, especially when some of these so-called 'experts' flat-out deny the concept of 'copper toxicity'.  Not only does such ongoing ignorance deny what so many have painfully struggled through, it also suppresses greater awareness of the condition and the chance to address the sources of exposure. How many more people have to painfully lose their health or a loved one because of ignorance surrounding copper toxicity, or their practitioner not understanding that the blood copper level is a fluctuating and highly unreliable marker, or not understanding the effect birth control pills, copper IUDs, copper sulfates, estrogens, copper piping and high copper diets have on people, physically and psychologically. How many more stories do we have to hear of young women being prescribed anti-depressants, without even an investigation into her copper level and associated mineral imbalances? To deny copper toxicity is to deny an individual's right to possibly finding the one answer that could save their life or transform their health.   Too many lives have already been hurt or destroyed as a result of medical ignorance, and the health of our future generations, especially our young women, is most at risk. Those of us in the health care and holistic healing communities have a duty and owe it to the people we serve to promote proper understanding of this epidemic.  It's time we move into a new paradigm of health, recognizing the interconnection between our environment, food choices, and minerals levels, and how those interrelated minerals influence, and indeed control, our health, even our personality.  The science, research, and hard evidence has existed for over 40 years; it's time we recognize the toxic nature of copper on the body resulting not from mere internal 'dysregulation' but from the large number of sources from which we are receiving over-exposure (copper sulfates, copper IUDs, copper piping, xenoestrogens as examples). Leaving outdated medical and nutritional beliefs behind, let's open ourselves to knowledge which can truly serve the greater good of people. When women receive fully informed consent to birth control, when nutritionists understand the essentiality of program design based on a client's individual mineral profile and not fad dietary beliefs, and when the medical system allows for greater conversation on the role mineral imbalance plays in disease, what are the possibilities for our world in terms of reducing illness, increasing human energy, and saving relationships and lives?

The research on this site is the summation of 40+ years of research specific to mineral balances and copper toxicity.  There is no longer a lack of research, or evidence. The evidence is clear and factual, especially through HTMA data. The hope is that through this website and furthering the life's work of pioneers in this field including Drs Eck, Watts, Pfeiffer, Malter, Wilson, and others, the tide will eventually be turned in favor of awareness and proper understanding for the benefit and healing of all those affected.  

"It's not too difficult to think of a conspiracy behind the copper toxicity epidemic. This is especially so when we note that, in 1975, Carl Pfeiffer, MD, PhD wrote his book Mental and Elemental Nutrients with a chapter on copper toxicity related to contraceptives. The vital information about copper toxicity was clearly there in Dr. Pfeiffer's book. 

Then, the hair analysis research of Drs Paul Eck and David Watts showed the epidemic levels of copper toxicity, but in August, 1985, JAMA published their first article attacking hair analysis, claiming it was inaccurate and a "commercial" scam. Ironically, this 1985 JAMA article was based on shoulder length hair samples from two 17 year-old girls who were both copper toxic! The article's author and the editors of JAMA obviously had no idea that their own data validated copper toxicity as revealed in HTMAs. 

In my view, ignoring the significance of Dr. Pfeiffer's work on copper toxicity as well as JAMA attacking the best lab test (HTMA) for detecting copper toxicity made sure that medical doctors and psychiatrists remained ignorant of the real problem of copper toxicity. 

Therefore, millions of teen girls and young women have struggled with the effects of copper toxicity. They have had little or no chance of getting adequate help from most medical doctors or psychiatrists and other "mental health" practitioners. Essentially, the "standard of care" for decades has been based on continued ignorance of copper toxicity and the nutritional interventions that can really be helpful" 

~ Dr. Malter, PhD

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