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A must-read article about copper toxicity and MTHFR disorder!

genesIn 2003, a genetic study called the Human Genome Project was completed. And via that study, they discovered that an important gene towards your health and well-being, called the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR, and yes most of us end up calling it the dirty word gene–lol), was defective in a lot of folks worldwide! Some state more than 60%.

i.e. this gene when working correctly helps break down excess metals and toxins to be removed from your body. So when it’s not working correctly, you might see a family history of heart problems or cancers, to name a few, because those heavy metals and toxins aren’t being eliminated from the body.

When it’s all working right, the MTHFR gene begins a multi-step chemical breakdown process, aka methylation, which in simplified terms, is like this:

  • The MTHFR gene produces the MTHFR enzyme.
  • The MTHFR enzyme works with the folate vitamins (B9, folic acid), breaking it down from 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate to 5-methyltetrahydrofolate
  • 5-methyltetrahydrofolate helps convert the amino acid homocysteine down to another essential amino acid, methionine, which is used by your body to make proteins, utilize antioxidants, and to assist your liver to process fats. Methionine helps with depression and even inflammation. It also helps convert estradiol (E2) into estriol (E3)!
  • Methionine is converted in your liver into SAM-e (s-adenosylmethionine), which is anti-inflammatory, supports your immune system, helps produce then breakdown of your brain chemicals serotonin, dopamine and melatonin, and is involved in the growth, repair and maintenance of your cells.
  • i.e. a proper methylation pathway like the above is going to mean you will have a better chance in eliminating toxins and heavy metals, which can reduce your risk for cancer, heart disease and other health issues, and put less stress on your adrenals.

What a defective (mutated) MTHFR gene does to you

  • It produces a defective MTHFR enzyme of different varieties i.e. it functions less than optimally, such as performing at only 40% of its capacity, or 70% of its capacity. It can mean you won’t break down toxins or heavy metals well, causing a higher risk for issues like heart problems, cancers, miscarriages, etc.  i.e. you could find yourself with high iron, or high copper, or high lead, or high mercury….etc. Each person with the MTHFR mutation may have different metals which are high.
  • The defective enzyme doesn’t break down folate vitamins properly (of which folic acid is the precursor to), which can cause high homocysteine, which can increase your risk of coronary heart disease (arteriosclerotic vascular disease or venous thrombosis), and related heart and BP conditions, as well as increasing your risk for dementia.
  • Homocysteine is poorly converted to glutathione, which is your body’s chief antioxidant and detoxifier. You are then more susceptible to stress and toxin buildup.
  • Homocysteine is poorly converted to methionine, and less methionine can raise your risk of arteriosclerosis, fatty liver degenerative disease, anemia (see Wiki), increased inflammation, increased free radical damage… and produce less SAM-e
  • Less SAM-e can increase depression
  • And more broadly, an MTHFR defect can increase your risk of a variety of cancers (including breast and prostate cancer), stroke, various heart problems, congenital defects, depression, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), miscarriages, migraines, chemical sensitivities and many conditions.
  • You can find yourself with high folate or high B12 i.e. your body will have problems converting inactive forms of folate and B12 to the active forms. So the inactive folate or B12 will simply build up in your serum, also inhibiting the active forms. Most serum folate tests are actually measuring folic acid, which needed to be converted to methylfolate to be used metabolically.
  • The journal Molecular Psychiatry states that “Schizophrenia-like syndromes, bipolar disorder, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia have all been associated with one or more mutations of the MTHFR gene”.  (2006;11, 352–360)
  • People often notice they have a family history of heart problems or cancers when this mutation is being passed down.

More than one mutation of the MTHFR gene

Genes are passed down by your mother and your father. Most literature states there are a good 40-50 different mutations of this important gene which could be passed down by one, or both or your parents. But only two are particularly problematic: mutations on the points at C677T and A1298C. The numbers refer to their location on the MTHFR gene. You will also sometimes just see them written as just 677 and 1298.

There are many combinations of MTHFR:

  • Homozygous: means you have both copies of either the 677 mutation, or the 1298 mutation, one from from each parent.
  • Heterozygous: means you have one copy of either the 677 mutation, or the 1298 mutation, plus a normal one from the other parent.
  • Compound Heterozygous: means you have one copy of the 677 mutation from one parent and one copy of the 1298 mutation from the other parent.
  • Triple homozygous mutations (more rare): an example would be one C677T, one A1298C, and a P39P or R594Q, for example.

Here are possible combinations:

  • Normal/Normal for both 677 and 1298 🙂
  • Heterozygous 1298 / Normal 677 (i.e. one parent passed down a single 1298 mutation)
  • Homozygous 1298 / Normal 677 (i.e. both parents passed down the 1298 mutation)
  • Heterozygous 677 / Normal 1298 (i.e. one parent passed down a single 677 mutation)
  • Homozygous 677 / Normal 1298 (i.e. both parents passed down the 677 mutation)
  • Heterozygous 677 / Homozygous 1298 (one parent passed down the 677 mutation; both passed down the 1298)
  • Homozygous 677 / Heterozygous 1298 (both parents passed down the 677 mutation; one passed down the 1298)
  • Heterozygous 677 / Heterozygous 1298  (Compound Heterozygous: one parent passed 677; one passed 1298)
  • Homozygous 677 / Homozygous 1298  (Compound Homozygous, meaning you have two 677, two 1298)

Are you overwhelmed yet?

Dr. Ben Lynch states that being homozygous A1298C or compound heterozygous MTHFR means there is a high chance the mutation is being strongly passed down via your your family members who also have the problem.1.

Janie Bowthorpe has noticed that even simply having one mutation with A1298C can eventually start expressing itself, especially as our bodies age.


1. The most definitive way to find out is do genetic testing. And a popular self-ordered test comes from23andme. Plus a bonus: you get a LOT more genetic and ancestry information.

After the 23andme results come back, you’ll get “raw data” that you won’t be able to read. You will upload that data to any of the following, which in turn will give you what you need:

  • Live Wello, which gives a great deal of information to you based on 23and me, plus links to learn more about each gene’s potential problem. Janie Bowthorpe loves this one and highly recommends it.
  • Sterling Hill’s app or you can contact her and pay for a call to help with interpretation of your genetics.
  • Genetic Genie, which will look at your methylation genetics just by reading your 23andMe raw data.
  • Though it doesn’t interpret the raw data the way Live Wello does above, Nutrahacker will tell you what supplements you need to take, and which ones plus more you need to avoid, due to your mutations. It’s very interesting!

2. Another clue is to do hair testing. Direct Labs has a hair test you can order on your own.  Though genetic testing above is a must, it’s always interesting to see what heavy metals are not being broken down because of the MTHFR mutation, plus gives you a baseline to refer to later to see if your treatment is working.

3. Dr. Amy Yasko will test about 30 methylation SNP’s (single nucleotide polymorphisms)here. You may need a doctor’s prescription. It is considered to be a highly accurate test, but can be more expensive than the more popular 23andme test above.

A vast amount of genetic information can be obtained from

Another good test to see which processes may not be doing their job properly: Methylation Pathways Panel. And here is discussion about this.

Another informative test is the NutrEval, which will test your antioxidants, B Vitamins, digestive support, essential fatty acids, and minerals, plus amino acids via a urine collection.

Here’s a good string about testing methyl pathways vs genome testing.

How to treat it

You can’t change a defective gene. But you can help it do its job better and minimize problems.

Some find their ‘folic acid’ lab test levels are high (it’s one of several folate vitamins) since a defect in the gene prevents your body from using it, so it goes high…unused. The simplified recommended solution is avoid supplements and many processed foods with folic acid, especially if you are Homozygous (having a copy of the same defective gene from each parent). Healthy foods that contain folate should be okay, as would be the active form of folate called methylfolate as a supplement, also called 5-MTHF (5-methyltetrahydrofolate).

B12 might also be high, so patients tend to avoid the synthetic supplemental version of B12 called cyanocobalamin and instead favor the more useable hydroxycobalmin (hydroxyB12), either which will help break down those high levels. Some use the methylcobalamin (methylB12), but it can cause problems, so for the majority, the hydroxy is favored as being safer. Most need to start low to avoid detox side effects like fatigue, achiness and more. Again, all the latter is simplified and you will need to seek more detailed information from a qualified practitioner or even some of the excellent website and forums on MTHFR.

Another good B-vitamin is the methyl version of B6, called P-5-P…but again, it’s important to start low and build in low amounts.

Dr. Ben Lynch feels that “repairing the digestive system and optimizing the flora should be one of the first steps in correcting methylation deficiency”2, and that especially includes treating candida because of the toxins it releases, inhibiting proper methylation.

Some experts recommend eating clean, such as Paleo or the GAPS diet.

Avoiding exposure to toxins is important! Look at your household cleaning supplies, for example, or toxic glues you may be using, and more.

If adding methyl B’s cause you to over-methylate, taking time-released Niacin, 50 mg, can slow it down, say some experts. Symptoms of over-methylation can include muscle pain or headaches, fatigue, insomnia, irritability or anxiety.

Minerals play a key role in several enzymatic functions. Vitamin C helps reduce oxidants.  Molybdenum (500 mcg) helps break down excess sulfates and sulfites

This website suggestions on how to treat your defects.

***And here’s an excellent website to upload your 23andme raw data to because it tells you what supplements to take and/or avoid:

Again, all the above is simplified and working with a knowledgeable practitioner will give you the right details.

High Copper/Low zinc

This can be a common finding when you have an MTHFR defect–a high level of copper, which will conversely mean your zinc levels will fall. And since the ratio of these two metals is highly important, correctly the problem is crucial, since high copper can be related to hyperactivity, depression, headaches, acne, frequent colds due to lowered immunity, sensitive skin and/or bruising, worsening hypothyroid, adrenal stress and more.

High copper can also make it difficult to raise iron levels, including your ferritin.

Vitamin C is known to help lower high levels of copper via detoxing, but patients report they need to go low and slow to tolerate the detoxing. Zinc is also used the same way–to encourage the lowering of copper, but the same caution with detoxing applies. Lawrence Wilson, MD recommends a nutritional approach to correcting the imbalance: remove IUD’s, avoid high copper foods like chocolate, seeds and avocados, avoid stress and more. Work with your doctor.

Note: you can have high copper/low zinc without the cause being MTHFR.

Are there other mutations to be aware of?

Yes, and one is called a CBS mutation. When doing its job correctly, the CBS gene will convert homocysteine into cystathionine, and this pathway removes sulfur containing amino acids. When it’s not doing its job correctly, you could have an excess of sulphur, which can cause kidney damage. Experts strongly recommend avoiding processed foods if you have this mutation, since they can have high amounts of sulphur. This mutation can also cause low serotonin and dopamine, and make you sensitive to chemicals.

Conversely, one can have an elevated, “up-regulated” CBS pathway, resulting in excess ammonia, urinary sulfates, and lowered breakdown of glutathione. (Janie has that one)

What does SNP mean??

As you get to reading about all your genes, you may see the acronym SNP used a lot (sounds like snip). It stands for Single Nucleotide Polymorphism. And SNP is basically another word for a mutation in your gene.

NOTE FROM JANIE BOWTHORPE: I have one copy of the 1298 MTHFR mutation. It has suddenly caused my B12 to VERY high. Most people treat this by getting off of any methylcobalamin B12 for at least a common to allow the levels to fall, then only use hydroxycobalamin. In many, getting off to allow it to lower, then only using hydroxy has helped.

Real stories

Read Mary’s story.

Have your own story? Send it to Janie using the Contact below!

More to read

A map of all the possible methylation pathways.

Symptoms of methionine deficiency

Dr. Ben Lynch’s MTHFR website with forums, too.

National Library of Medicine MTHFR information page

Lab paper on MTHFR mutation, especially related to its effect on your heart, and more.

Informative MTHFR Support website— Also has forum.

Detailed notes this mother took about MTHFR and methylation from a Dr. Ben Lynch lecture.

Other gene mutations like CBS that need to be addressed before getting too serious with MTHFR



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Thyroid Madness Definition according to many reported patient experiences:

  1. Treating most hypothyroid patients with T4-only meds; offering no options.
  2. Dosing solely by the TSH and the total T4, or using the outdated “Thyroid Panel”.
  3. Prescribing anti-depressants in lieu of evaluating and treating the free T3.
  4. Telling thyroid patients that desiccated natural thyroid is “unreliable”, “inconsistent”, “dangerous” or “outdated”.
  5. Making labwork more important than the hypo symptoms which scream their presence.
  6. Failing to see the OBVIOUS symptoms of poorly treated thyroid, and instead, recommending a slew of other tests and diagnoses.

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A must-read article on copper toxicity and MTHFR disorder!!

MTHFR genetic mutation – what it is and how it can affect you

*Simple Copper Balance Article

Do you know anyone who suffers from headaches, fatigue, insomnia, depression, spaciness, learning disorders or premenstrual syndrome? These can be symptoms of a copper imbalance.

Copper, an essential trace mineral, is vitally important for both physical and mental health. It has been studied for years, including at government laboratories. However, its importance for health is still largely unappreciated. The following is but an introduction. The author is deeply indebted to Dr. Paul C. Eck, an avid copper researcher.

Copper’s Role in the Body

Copper is critical for energy production in the cells. It is also involved in nerve conduction, connective tissue, the cardiovascular system and the immune system. Copper is closely related to estrogen metabolism, and is required for women’s fertility and to maintain pregnancy. Copper stimulates production of the neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine. It is also required for monoamine oxidase, an enzyme related to serotonin production.

It is possible to become copper-toxic or copper-deficient, and there is a condition called biounavailable copper. In the latter, copper is present, but cannot be utilized. Toxicity and biounavailability are seen most often. This article uses the words copper imbalance when more than one situation is possible.

Physical conditions associated with copper imbalance include arthritis, fatigue, adrenal burnout, insomnia, scoliosis, osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, migraine headaches, seizures, fungal and bacterial infections including yeast infection, gum disease, tooth decay, skin and hair problems and female organ conditions including uterine fibroids, endometriosis and others.

Mental and emotional disorders related to copper imbalance include spaciness, depression, mood swings, fears, anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, violence, autism, schizophrenia, and attention deficit disorder. Copper deficiency is associated with aneurysms, gout, anemia and osteoporosis. Interestingly, the symptoms of premenstrual tension are identical to the symptoms of copper imbalance.

Copper Sources

Today, many children are born with excessive tissue copper. It is passed from high-copper mothers to their children through the placenta.

Stress from any cause contributes to copper imbalance. Stress depletes the adrenal glands and lowers the zinc level in the body. Whenever zinc becomes deficient, copper tends to accumulate. Our soil is low in zinc. Refined sugar, white rice and white flour have been stripped of their zinc. The trend toward vegetarianism reduces zinc in the diet, since red meat is the best dietary source of zinc.

Copper is found in many foods, particularly vegetarian proteins such as nuts, beans, seeds and grains. Meats contain copper, but it is balanced by zinc which competes for its absorption. Chocolate is high in copper. A desire for copper may help explain chocolate cravings.

Another source of copper is drinking water that remained in copper water pipes, or copper added to your water supply. During a recent dry summer, several Oregon cities added copper sulfate to their reservoirs to reduce algae growth. Accident and disease rates increased.

Other sources of copper are copper cookware, dental materials, vitamin pills, fungicides and pesticides residues on food, copper intra-uterine devices and birth control pills. Mrs. Robinson and her 6-month-old, breast-fed baby both began to experience hair loss. The cause was a daily prenatal vitamin containing 4 milligrams of copper, far too much for this high-copper mother.

Deficiencies of manganese, iron, B-vitamins and vitamin C can cause copper to accumulate. Adrenal hormones cause the liver to produce ceruloplasmin, the main copper binding protein in the body. Therefore, sluggish liver or weak adrenal glands may cause copper to build up in the tissues.

The Copper Personality

There is a high copper personality. Positive traits include a warm, caring, sensitive, emotional nature, often with artistic orientation and a child-like quality. Often high-copper people are young-looking. Many traditional feminine traits are associated with copper, such as softness, gentleness and intuitiveness.

When the personality is not fully integrated or the copper becomes too high, negative traits show up. These include spaciness, racing thoughts, living in a dream world, childishness, excessive emotions, sentimentality, a tendency to depression, fearfulness, hidden anger and resentments, phobias, psychosis and violence. Artists, inventors and other high-copper types often “live on the edge”, in part due to their high copper level.

The copper personality tends to accumulate copper easily. Copper functions as a psychological defense mechanism. It causes one to detach slightly from reality. This provides relief from stress for the sensitive individual. It works well as long as the copper does not become too high. Very high copper can cause a psychotic break from reality, a type of schizophrenia.

An 18-year old schizophrenic patient had a hair copper level of 40 mg% (normal is 2.5 mg %). She hallucinated and attempted suicide twice while in the Scottsdale Camelback Mental Hospital. When her copper decreased to normal through a diet and supplement program, her symptoms disappeared and she has remained well.

Copper and Society

Is it possible that our mineral balance affects our attitudes? Copper is called the ‘psychic’ mineral, the ‘intuitive’ mineral, and a ‘feminine’ mineral because it is so important for the female reproductive system. Its level generally parallels that of estrogen. While many factors influence our attitudes and values, the rise in tissue copper levels in both men and women in the past twenty years parallels renewed interest in feminism, in psychic and intuitive knowledge, and ‘nurturing’ movements such as environmentalism.

Copper and Sexuality

Women tend to have higher levels of copper than men. Women also have more symptoms related to copper imbalance. These include yeast infections, migraine headaches, adult acne, various menstrual symptoms and depression.

Copper-toxic women are often estrogen dominant. They may benefit from progesterone therapy to help balance their hormones. Women with biounavailable copper are often low in estrogen. Their bodies are often more linear in shape. Of course, copper is not the only factor affecting hormones. Some pesticides, for example, mimic the effects of estrogen and can affect the hormone balance.

Men, by contrast, should be zinc-dominant. Zinc, a ‘masculine’ element, balances copper in the body, and is essential for male reproductive activity. Today, however, many men have symptoms of copper toxicity including depression, anxiety and other symptoms.

Copper and Children

Children are often born with high copper levels. Young children are very sensitive and intuitive. They often lose some of their sensitivity and ‘psychic abilities’ as their copper levels diminish around age four.

Persistent elevated copper levels in children are common today. The problem often begins during gestation, when high-copper mothers pass on excessive copper (and often low zinc) to the fetus through the placenta. This is called congenital, rather than genetic high copper. It can be prevented by correcting one’s copper metabolism before becoming pregnant. After birth, poor nutrition, stress in the home, and overuse of prescription drugs can aggravate a child’s copper imbalance.

Copper imbalance in children is associated with delayed development, attention deficit disorder, anti-social and hyperactive behavior, autism, learning difficulties and infections such as ear infections.

Vegetarian Diets

Excess copper interferes with zinc, a mineral needed to make digestive enzymes. Too much copper also impairs thyroid activity and the functioning of the liver. If severe enough, a person will become an obligatory vegetarian. This means they are no longer able to digest meat very well. Conversely, if one becomes a vegetarian for other reasons, most likely one’s copper level will increase. Vegetarian proteins are higher in copper, and lower in zinc.

At times, the vegetarian orientation is health-producing. In many people, however, restricted diets do not work well. Fatigue, spaciness and other symptoms begin to appear. Many people, including the author, felt they were becoming more spiritual on a vegetarian diet, when in fact it was just copper poisoning! The taste for meat often returns when copper is brought into better balance.

Some people with high copper dislike all protein. They crave high-carbohydrate diets. Protein feels heavy or causes other symptoms. Eating protein stimulates glandular activity. This releases stored copper which causes the symptoms. However, these individuals usually need to eat protein. The symptoms will eventually disappear.

Copper-toxic individuals may also be drawn to sweets or salty foods due to adrenal insufficiency. Some sea salt is often beneficial. Sweets, including fruit juices, provide a temporary lift but may worsen the condition.

Adrenal Burnout

Adrenal burnout, characterized by chronic fatigue and other symptoms, is often related to fear and copper imbalance. Although correcting emotional and other factors are necessary, improving the copper imbalance, supporting the adrenals and releasing fearful thoughts go hand in hand to restore optimum health.

Copper and Addiction

Compulsive behavior may be related to copper and the adrenals. Exercise, for example, stimulates the adrenals. This helps keep copper available and makes one feel better. If one stops exercising, unbound copper builds up and one may feel fatigue, mood swings and depression. In some people, this can create a compulsive need to exercise. Other ways to temporarily control copper toxicity include the use of caffeine or other stimulants.

Part of the appeal of cocaine, Ritalin and amphetamines may be their ability to help lower copper temporarily by stimulating the adrenals. Cadmium found in marijuana and cigarettes drives copper back into storage. These drugs may make one feel better by affecting the copper balance.

Copper and Yeast Infections

Our bodies use copper to help control the growth of yeast. This may be because copper favors aerobic metabolism. Copper is required for the electron transport system, where most of our cellular energy is produced. Yeast organisms use anaerobic metabolism.

Copper sulfate is often sprayed on crops to kill yeast and fungus. Copper is also used in some swimming pools and hot tubs to control yeast and bacterial growth.

When copper is out of balance, our bodies cannot control yeast overgrowth. This often led to chronic Candida albicans infections that are resistant to treatment.

Detecting Copper Imbalance

Blood, urine and even hair analysis may not reveal copper toxicity directly. Copper is stored mainly in the brain, liver and other organs, not in the blood or urine.

Challenge tests with a chelating agent such as EDTA may be used to detect excess copper. Several indirect indicators on a hair mineral test are also excellent to detect copper imbalance. These include a hair calcium level greater than about 100 mg%, a potassium level less than about 3 mg%, a sodium/potassium ratio less than 2.5:1, a zinc/copper ratio less than 6:1, an elevated mercury level or a copper level less than 1.0 mg%.

Balancing Copper

The author dealt with severe copper imbalance in himself and with many others for the past 18 years. Six methods are used to reduce copper in the tissues:

Reduce exposure to sources of copper.
Antagonists such as zinc, manganese and iron compete with copper for absorption and utilization. Vitamins B6 and folic acid may also be helpful. Selenium and cysteine may be helpful. Research indicates copper may be excreted by binding with glutathione and metallothionine which require these nutrients.
Chelators of copper include vitamin C, molybdenum and sulfur-containing amino acids. These bind and remove copper. More powerful chelators may be used, but can have side effects.
Enhance the eliminative organs, such as the liver, skin and colon.
Balance body chemistry, enhance energy production and improve adrenal gland activity. To support the adrenal glands, avoid sweets, eat protein with each meal, and supplement your diet with vitamins A, C and E, manganese, zinc and B-complex vitamins. Animal protein is very helpful due to its higher content of zinc, B-vitamins and sulfur amino acids including cysteine and taurine. Adrenal glandular substance is also frequently helpful.
Reduce fear and stress. Methods range from a change in location or work to meditation, therapy, more rest and other changes.

Copper Detoxification Symptoms

One of the difficulties in reducing excess copper are symptoms that arise during the process of elimination. As the body begins to mobilize excess copper from tissue storage sites, it enters the bloodstream on its way to the liver and kidneys for elimination. While in the bloodstream, the copper can cause headaches, skin rashes, racing thoughts, strange odors, digestive upset, mood swings and energy fluctuations. In men, testicular pain is not uncommon. Women s periods may be affected. If one knows what is occurring, it is possible to take measures to minimize these temporary elimination symptoms. Enemas, sweating, and drinking more water can help promote copper elimination. Reducing the nutrition program for a few days may also help slow the reactions and reduce symptoms if they are severe. Supplements particularly molybdenum, bile acids, laxative herbs and vitamin B6 may also mitigate elimination symptoms.

Attitude for Copper Balance

Adequate rest and sleep are important. Any technique to help handle stress is also helpful. A simple but powerful technique for handling all negative emotions is given in an excellent book, Emissary of Light, by James Twyman. He suggests feeling our negative emotions purely, dissociating them from thoughts. Feel them in the body. Then move the feeling to the heart area, visualize a small door just in front of you, open the door and release the emotion. Realize that all feelings are just energies. They can be transmuted, sent forth and used for good.

High copper people are often sensitive, must acknowledge this and ‘live their own truth’. At the same time, a careful look at one’s attitudes, especially hidden fears, angers and resentments, is very important. Overcoming copper imbalance often involves overcoming deep fears.

Life is not always easy for the copper-toxic person. There is a temptation to become resentful or depressed at times. With understanding, nutritional help and endless compassion for oneself, these obstacles can be overcome. Then the creative, intuitive and loving qualities of the high-copper individual can shine through to the world.


1. Eck, P. and Wilson, L., Toxic Metals in Human Health and Disease, Eck Institute of Applied Nutrition and Bioenergetics, Ltd., Phoenix, AZ, 1989.

2. Gittleman, A.L., Why Am I Always So Tired? Harper San Francisco, 1999.

3. Nolan, K., “Copper Toxicity Syndrome”, J. Orthomolecular Psychiatry, 12:4, p.270-282.

4. Pfeiffer, Carl, MD, PhD, Mental and Elemental Nutrients, Keats Publishing, New Canaan, CT., 1975.

4. Twyman, James F., Emissary of Light, Warner Books, New York, 1996.

By Lawrence Wilson, MD

*Food Analysis Website: Will help you determine which foods are high in copper so you can avoid them!

Hello Folks!

Been awhile since I’ve posted anything. Life gets us side-tracked sometimes. Back on the research wagon and working hard at it. I have been trying to find new ways to feel better. And like most of you know, that can be exhausting and feel like a full-time job. Any little bit of new and good info I find I like to share it to save someone time and the agony of research.

I have gone back to really looking at what I am eating as a means of feeling better. The following website is one of the best I have found so far. Great info and a detailed nutritional analysis of foods. This will help you figure out which copper rich foods to avoid. Since getting copper overload I have been extremely sensitive to most foods. Especially grains, chocolate, nuts, seeds, shellfish, avocados, mushrooms, fruits, and dark meats. These foods tend to be high in copper and not high enough in zinc to do the proper balancing our body needs. Lately, I’ve been checking all my foods on here to see if I have slipped back into casually eating crap that I should be avoiding. I eat alot of sweet potatoes. And recently discovered they are one of the tubers highest in copper. So you see, it’s easy to think you are eating healthy only to find out that certain foods you are consuming may be adding to your symptoms. Follow your intuition and listen to your body. If you get slightly “weird” after eating something it may be worth a look to check it on this website:

It’s difficult to discern sometimes which foods are causing which symptoms. Especially of you are sensitive to everything like me. But overtime and with practice your awareness does get better. I am able to “hear” my body better now than in the previous years. We get beaten into submission by the horrible consequences of eating foods that are copper rich. The side effects of eating copper rich foods for me are: heart palpitations, extreme fatigue, speedy feeling, anxiousness, headaches, spacey feeling, panic, fear, easily angered, and the over-all inability to cope.

I still haven’t found a practitioner that has helped me in quite sometime. This is discouraging to say the least. We are all so different and finding someone that can help us “figure” ourselves out can be difficult. I haven’t given up hope yet. And if any of you folks out there have any new info or health practitioners that have really made a difference in your healing process please DO SHARE this valuable info on my blog for us all! Thank you! And wishing you all optimal health everyday!


Robin Eckert
Certified Personal Trainer
Licensed Aesthetician

*Best Video discussing Copper Overload: Presented by Mensah Medical

Hello Everyone,

I recently discovered a new video discussing copper overload!  It is the best I have seen to date!   Lots of great information and well presented.  Check it out at:

You may have to copy and paste the link.

Great stuff.


*Year Five: Detoxing from copper and understanding MTHFR 1298.

Hello Everyone,

I hope everyone following this blog finds this post in good health.  Please be aware I am not a physician and do not dispense any medical advice on this blog. This is my story of healing and the information here is what I found to help me through copper toxicity.

There has been a lot of commenting lately on my blog.  I am so glad we can all share experiences as this is how we can learn to survive copper problems.  It’s important to keep researching and keep asking questions as well as sharing our experiences with each other.  Thank you all who have been posting comments and showing your support.  I really appreciate it.

Since the onset of my copper toxicity issues I have gone through many changes in symptoms.  The worst of it was of course the super toxic phase for the first few years.   After trying to detox for quite some time I had to take a break.  I found out I have a genetic disorder (MTHFR 1298) that prevents my body from proper methylation  (ie; detoxing or metabolizing correctly).  I always wondered why I couldn’t tolerate many supplements, especially the detox supplements.  Taking a break from all supplements has been very interesting.  I have found that some of my symptoms disappeared all together.  Suggesting that some supplements were actually making me more sick in the first place.  And some of my symptoms have stayed regular for several years.  Currently, I only take Vita D drops and lots of magnesium.  I recently increased my magnesium dosage from 400mg to 800mg  daily and it has made a huge difference in my ability to handle stress.  And. this may be too much info but……too much magnesium will make you “go”.  Which can be helpful for me if the  copper is making me constipated.

My diet has been crazy the last few years. Everything from brothy soups to only veg to gluten free to you name it.  Some of it helpful, some not so much.  But I have decided, for me, the best thing is a mostly veg diet (organic) and chicken and lots of eggs.  Thoroughly cooked vegetables is best for my slow digestion. The less processed foods the better.  I do not consume any sugar, caffeine, chocolate, nuts, shellfish, avocados ,mushrooms, and spirulina.  These things are very high in copper and/or just too stimulating for my poor, drained adrenals.  Of course, once in awhile I do fall off of the food wagon and have some sugar.  I am only human.  And it usually takes me a little while to get back on track because sugar is so very addicting and I am so very sensitive to chemicals.  But once I am back on track things usually start feeling better.  I also stay away from bananas and other high sugar fruits.  Green apples once in a while seems fine for me.

I am still learning about MTHFR abnormalities/symptoms.  It is a very complex genetic issue to say the least.  If you are interested in learning more about MTHFR you can go to  I have recently made an appt with a MTHFR expert/educator in order to get some much needed guidance.  I will keep you all posted on how that goes.

In the meantime, I thought an update on my current symptoms might be useful to some of you.

So,  here goes……I am a 42 year old woman and currently have alot of hormonal fluctuations which are sometimes debilitating.  It is my belief that these hormonal swings are exacerbated by the copper toxicity and the MTHFR disorder.  So every month for about two weeks I get very ill with excessive anxiousness, unclear thinking, extreme weepines, extreme fatigue, lack of memory and concentration, elevated pain levels, dehydration, digestion issues/diarrhea, shortened sleep, noise/light sensitivity, as well as the classic copper symptoms of fear and panic.  The rest of the month I spend recovering from those symptoms just long enough for them to start all over again.  It is a vicious cycle that I am hoping to break soon.

My exercise is almost non existent.  I walk a few days a week if I am up to it.  I do not lift weights or cardio as this seems to cause relapses.  Walking in addition to  the occasional at-home 20 min yoga session is about it for me, for now.  I am really hoping this changes in the future.  As most of you know .I am a personal trainer and it has been extremely difficult accepting this new “level” or lack of level of exercise for me.   It’s been five years since the start of this healing process and the inability to really exercise hasn’t changed much at all.  Walking seems to be it most weeks.

I have had lots of relapses and recently found myself back on the couch and not functioning well at all.  When those adrenals get zapped, that’s it.  They’re done  There’s no quick fix.  It’s a long slow climb back up  that mountain.  Keeping things calm and taking care of the body is all you can do.  Give them rest and eventually they seem to get better.  But it does take time.

I am currently in one of those relapses and hope to learn from whatever mistakes I may have made.  In the meantime, I stay focused on eating healthy, getting lots of rest and keeping my thoughts positive or at least less despair-like.   I look forward to feeling healthier again one day soon  and will certainly let you know what helps get me there.

Wishing you optimal health everyday!



*MTHFR: A GENETIC TEST that may help explain your body’s inability to safely DETOX METALS.

Hello Friends,

Most of you know that I have been dealing with copper and heavy metal toxicity for years now.   Recently my current mode of treatment for this, Nutrition Response Testing, has greatly slowed in helping me.  It seems the same patterns and symptoms reappear every month or two.  So I will feel “ok” ( not great, and certainly not energetic) for a few months and then slowly, symptoms like extreme fatigue, weight loss, anxiety, no appetite, heart palps, sleeplessness, diarrhea,  headaches, mood swings, numbness in arms upon napping, and depression , among others return.  Supplements I was taking seem to stop being helpful.  This happens over and over again.  Each time this happens my NRT Practitioner and I will re-address symptoms  and retest all my supplements.  I may start a new supplement only to find in a month or so the same thing happens again.  This has been going on for some time now.  Clearly there is something I am missing.  And I have been feeling like there is an underlying issue that is not being addressed.   While researching mold and other things I discovered a website that got my attention.


This website focuses on the genetic testing for a mutation in the MTHFR gene MTHFR stands for the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene (methyl-ene-tetra-hydro-folate-reductase).   If this gene is mutated then it doesn’t produce the proper enzyme that assists the body in many many processes.   Some of these processes are:

* The turning on and off of genes.

* Gene regulation.

* Processing Folic Acid. (ps: unmetabolized folic acid can cause cancer.)

* Getting rid of environmental toxins.

* Processing hormones.

*Building immune cells.

* Producing ATP= energy.

* Producing nerve coatings.

*and many others.

I am not an expert and certainly have a lot to learn about this subject.  But as I understand it, no matter what you supplement with  or how many detox diets you do, if you have this mutation and do not address it you can  detox all day long and find yourself just  just getting  sicker and sicker.  If you have it,  your body is having trouble metabolizing many things.  Ultimately, all that is not metabolized properly makes the body toxic.  This bit of information seemed to strike a cord with me.   I recently went to my naturopath and had her test me for the mutation.  It should be covered by my insurance as I have some family history of conditions  such as heart disease and schizophrenia that could be caused by MTHFR.  If you have a family history most insurances will cover the testing.  Ask your doctor about the type of history needed.  (I am still waiting on the test results and will keep you posted. )  I have always felt that  even when I was detoxing metals I just couldn’t tolerate the chelating supplements.  I would have to take it and most other supplements in minute doses.  Such extremely small doses that even my practitioner found it to be strange.  I just don’t tolerate them well.  Not tolerating supplements can be a symptom of MTHFR gene mutation.  Of course there are other symptoms and conditions related to MTHFR.   The following are some of these:  (copied from MTHFR.NET )

  1. Autism
  2. Addictions: smoking, drugs, alcohol
  3. Down’s syndrome
  4. Miscarriages
  5. Pulmonary embolisms
  6. Depression in Post-Menopausal Women
  7. Schizophrenia
  8. Fibromyalgia
  9. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  10. Chemical Sensitivity
  11. Parkinson’s
  12. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  13. Pre-eclampsia
  14. Stroke
  15. Spina bifida
  16. Esophageal Squamous cell carcinoma
  17. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
  18. Vascular Dementia
  19. Bipolar disorder
  20. Colorectal Adenoma
  21. Idiopathic male infertility
  22. Blood clots
  23. Rectal cancer
  24. Meningioma
  25. Glioma
  26. Congenital Heart Defects
  27. Infant depression via epigenetic processes caused by maternal depression
  28. Deficits in childhood cognitive development
  29. Gastric Cancer
  30. Migraines with aura
  31. Low HDL
  32. High homocysteine
  33. Post-menopausal breast cancer
  34. Atherosclerosis
  35. Oral Clefts
  36. Type 1 Diabetes
  37. Epilepsy
  38. Primary Closed Angle Glaucoma
  39. Alzheimer’s
  40. Tetralogy of Fallot
  41. Decreased telomere length
  42. Potential drug toxicities: methotrexate, anti-epileptics
  43. Cervical dysplasia
  44. Increased bone fracture risk in post-menopausal women
  45. Multiple Sclerosis
  46. Essential Hypertension
  47. Differentiated Thyroid Carcinoma
  48. Prostate Cancer
  49. Premature Death
  50. Placental Abruption
  51. Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)
  52. Methotrexate Toxicity
  53. Nitrous Oxide Toxicity
  54. Heart Murmurs
  55. Tight Anal Sphincters
  56. Tongue Tie
  57. Midline Defects (many are listed above)
  58. Behcet’s Disease
  59. Ischemic Stroke in Children
  60. Unexplained Neurologic Disease
  61. Asthma
  62. Shortness of Breath
  63. Bladder Cancer
  64. Anecephaly

I am  curious to say the least.  I have been struggling with detox issues that stem from metal toxicity for the past four years.   Finding an underlying metabolic problem would really explain a lot.  If  you are struggling with metal detox, hormonal toxicity, among others  you may want to research MTHFR.     It’s  a complex subject but worth a look.


Again the website is:


Wishing you optimal health everyday,


Robin Eckert

Certified Personal Trainer

Licensed Aesthetician

*NRT helped this Woman detox Copper and other Heavy Metals

Hello Friends!

I was so happy to find this email this morning! I hope you find it as inspiring as I do!  NRT works to help detox heavy metals in a safe manner.  Read the following email I recently got to hear how one woman is getting her health back after copper toxocity:

Hi Robin,

It’s Evonne!  I am just checking in to find out how you’re doing and also to give you a huge thank you: THANK YOU! 🙂
I decided to go the NRT route as well, and so far all seems to be going very well.
I see the NRT practitioner every week and have been moving my heavy metals fairly quickly.  The copper didn’t show up until last week interestingly enough.  The practitioner said that it is up to my body, and my body seemed to want to tackle some of the other metals first (aluminum, mercury, and a couple of others have been removed).  New stuff has been showing up once I eliminate one thing, but she says that is awesome and typically peoples bodies eliminate one at a time, so it shows that my body is ready to feel better.
One huge issue for me is my thyroid.  In retrospect, I think it might have been malfunctioning for years and then it finally just gave up (for lack of better words lol).  She said when I came in, on a scale of 0-10, my thyroid function was 0!  She said now it is a 3!  I mean  it is not a 10 but it’s only been 6 weeks 🙂
I was curious to ask you exactly how long have you been doing the NRT and do how often do you go now?  Is this a life-long therapy or does our bodies eventually “reboot” and start working properly by being able to detox itself even when “bad/wrong” foods are occasionally eaten or if we want to have a drink once in a while without feeling so awful afterward.
I am particularly interested about the exercising.  I, like you, cannot tolerate exercise very well.  I used to be almost an exercise fanatic, now it makes me feel so awful and drains me instead of energizing me.  I am going to try yoga and see if that will help.  I used to run with a running group, but also can’t do that 😦  Any idea how long does it take to be able to safely workout again?  I miss it 😦
Today I felt like I was going to faint.  I got really really light headed and was definitely feeling very “off”.  Is that a detox symptom?  Did you experience anything like that?  I will go to my regular medical practitioner, but I don’t want to run to her if it is a common symptom.  Also I got a cyst on one of my lymph nodes on my elbow.  The NRT practitioner said that it is due to the detox. She said it will go away.  Did you experience anything similar?
Sorry for so many questions and for such a long email.  I am just extremely extremely happy that I came across your blog when I did and so far your recommendations have been spot on!  Thank you so much for sharing your experience and solution Robin!
I hope to continue to progress more and more and eventually get my life back.  The last 3 years has not been like living at all and although I can’t get those years back, I still feel so much encouragement in the thought that I can and will get better.
Please fill me in with how you when you have time 🙂
Thank you!!


*What I ate while Detoxing from Copper and Heavy Metals

Hello Friends.

I have decided to discuss a little about my diet and certain foods I ate or stayed away from while trying to detox Copper, Mercury, Lead, Iron and other heavy metals.

During my initial copper overload period, I wasn’t sure what foods were causing what symptoms.  But it didn’t take me long to realize that processed foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, grains and wheat flour were the main adrenal stimulators that left me stressed, panicked, and exhausted.  Some of my symptoms that I got from eating pastries and breads, sugar or caffeine were:   heart palpitations, panic attacks, anxiety, constipation, obsessive behavior, light headedness,  lack of concentration, forgetfulness, feeling faint, exhaustion, cravings, pain, fear, among others.

After discovering that my IUD was making me toxic with copper, I immediately discontinued eating any copper-rich foods.  Some of those foods were:  chocolate, coffee, nuts, mushrooms and shellfish.  Many other foods also have high copper content which you can learn about at : .  Go to this website and you can search any food to find out copper, iron and other mineral levels.  I found this website extremely helpful and used it almost daily during my acute stage of toxicity where I was trying to avoid all copper rich foods.

After learning through trial and error, I can to learn that I functioned best from eating a basic chicken soup made with a high quality chicken stock from organic chicken and bones.  I would then add sweet potatoes (which helped stabilize my blood sugar and added fiber to my diet), onions, celery, and sometimes a small amount of garlic.  With heavy metal detox it is common to become constipated and the sweet potatoes really helped with this problem.  This was my staple dish which I ate everyday for years.  Occasionally, I would add Brussel sprouts as well.   Also eating a warm bowl of soup helped greatly with the problem of being cold all the time.

I also stopped eating all dairy for quite some time with the exception of organic butter.  This did not seem to be a problem.  Also butter helped most everything taste better.  This seemed important as my diet was very limited and the desire to eat almost disappeared at times.

I did very much miss breads and pastas.   So soon I discovered  This website gave me recipes and other nutritional options that were gluten (wheat flour) free, sugar-free, and some dairy free.  She mostly uses almond flour but has other great suggestions as well,  such as,  coconut flour,  brown rice flour etc.  I found I liked the almond flour recipes the best.  But almonds are nuts and sometimes my symptoms did not allow me to have them.  They seemed to increase detox symptoms.  So I am careful when consuming them.

I am currently experimenting with adding other vegetables to my diet.  Greens tend to increase my detoxing symptoms , so I am consuming these in moderation and sometimes not at all.  Brussel sprouts, Broccoli, Arugula, Tomatoes (in moderation), Zucchini, and Cabbage seem to be safe and tolerable.

It is very difficult to adhere to a strict diet and inevitably I would stray back to some of the foods like sugar and wheat.  But each time I did I would suffer the consequences.  But also each time I would learn something new about myself and my detox process.  So I don’t consider those moments failures but part of a learning curve that I ultimately greatly benefited from.

Food continues to be something I am very conscious of and am careful when trying new things.  I continue to listen to my intuition and remind myself to pay extra attention on a daily basis.

Wishing you optimal health everyday.


Robin Eckert

Certified Personal Trainer

Licensed Aesthetician

*List of Resources for Copper Detox

Hello again,

My name is Robin.  I am not a doctor and do not dispense any medical advice.  The following information is an account of what worked for me in regards to detoxing copper, etc.  I recently received a comment on my blog that made me  realize I need to create a “Resource” page with a thorough list of all the things that helped me along the way with my copper and heavy metal detox.   Thank you ABBY for that.   🙂  I haven’t quite got my well organized list together, but for now, I at least wanted to post the most basic list of things that were quite helpful for me.

First of all, thank you so much for your comments. It has helped me greatly to talk with others that are also dealing with copper toxicity. I still continue to work through detox symptoms and work towards optimal health everyday. There are several things that helped me with my detox process. I will try to list them in an order of priority.

1. I first had to figure out where the copper was coming from (ie. copper iud, copper in drinking water, birth control pills, food, etc.) and eliminate as much copper consumption as possible until my symptoms settled down. In my case, I had to have my copper IUD  (called Paragard, which incidentally, currently has several women working on getting a class action lawsuit against them)  removed. Then I had to work on not consuming foods that were high in copper. Which is hard because there is copper in ALOT of things. Especially nuts, chocolate, mushrooms and shellfish.

2. I discovered a book called “WHY AM I ALWAYS SO TIRED?” by ANN LOUISE GITTLEMAN . I learned a lot about foods, nutrition, and hair analysis testing through this book. Very helpful. Very inexpensive on  A must read if you are new to copper toxicity!

3. I did a TON of research online to learn as much as possible about copper and detox.

4. I discovered Dr. Larry Wilson online. I took a leap of faith and started Dr. Wilson’s program and continued for about six months. I saw an initial improvement for about two weeks but after that I consistently declined. I did some research and I discovered that the high doses of KELP that is recommended on that program is very stimulating to the thyroid. My thyroid was already over stimulated (as are most people’s who are detoxing copper because copper is a extremely stimulating metal) and I didn’t need to stimulate it more. By taking the KELP I was basically wearing out my thyroid and adrenals and was left feeling extreme fatigue every minute of the day. Also, I didn’t feel that the guidance of Dr. Wilson and his colleagues was very good since they never physically saw me.   I felt I needed support on a weekly basis and I wasn’t able to get that from Dr. Wilson’s people.

4.5  I discontinued Dr. Wilson’s program and started seeing a Nutrition Response Testing (NRT) practitioner.  She reported to me that I had a “Hidden Hyperactive Thyroid”. What was great about her was that she could test me every week for my body’s response to different foods and supplements that may or may not be working. I didn’t have to guess, I had her support and testing to help me figure it out. I have seen this practitioner for a little over a year now and am remarkably better. I have had some rough spots where I was extremely sensitive to certain supplements and had to back off of them for awhile. For example the detoxing supplements. I had to learn to detox very slowly and carefully.  If you need info on how to contact a NRT practitioner in your area please feel free to view my previous posts or contact me.

5. Getting with the right practitioner is key here. If you aren’t seeing some results on a consistent basis then you are with the wrong one. I went through many different doctors and naturopaths before I found the one that worked for me.

6. Learning to trust my intuition about things that just didn’t feel right (IUD, Dr. Wilson) was very important in my learning of how to help myself get the proper support I needed to get well again. It is so scary not knowing what to do sometimes. But I found the more I listened to my body and my feelings, the more the choices I made helped me. If something just didn’t seem right, I looked into it. I researched it (like the kelp) and found the answers I needed.

7. I have discovered that I am an extremely sensitive person both physically and emotionally. Most supplements effect me more so than most people. And I am also very sensitive to other people and their energy, as well as loud noises and smells. In general,  I am very sensitive. I am forced to remember that everyday and honor that by being careful with myself and what I expose myself to.

I hope this has been helpful. If I had to choose one thing that has helped the most it would have to be my NRT practitioner. Without the supplement program and her guidance I don’t think I would be this much better today. But even before that you have to figure out the source of the copper or other heavy metal. I am in the process of creating a page on my blog that is a list of RESOURCES for anyone working through copper detox. I will be posting that sometime in the near future. Please don’t hesitate to contact me again if you need to. And thank you again for your comment. I learn a great deal by hearing from others. Hang in there. It does get better. Give it time and trust yourself.

8.  I have found that detoxing and learning about how to care for my sensitive body is an ongoing process.  Some practitioners may help for awhile and then it may be time to move on.  The same goes for supplements and foods.  I have found that as the chemistry of my body changes so do my physical and emotional needs.  Dont be surprised if the healing process takes much longer that you wish for it to.  It’s all part of the process.

Take care.

Wishing you optimal health everyday.

Robin Eckert
Certified Personal Trainer
Licensed Aesthetician