Dear Readers,

The other day I was eating lunch with a friend and colleague and he mentioned that copper can increase the risk of cancer. This was not the first time I had heard something scary about copper. Last year, another friend (a medical doctor) also mentioned copper's association with cancer, especially hormonal types. How could something so integral to our body be so bad I wondered?

I researched it. Just like I suspected, copper is essential to good health. We don't need a lot of copper, but certain healthy amounts are vital and essential to our health and well-being. It's all about balance!

Copper is required for the formation of about 50 enzymes and it's needed for our transporters, which shuttle hormones and neurotransmitters all over your body. Copper protects the lining of blood vessels and myelin. It supports energy production. Did you hear that? Energy! How many of you suffer with chronic fatigue? If you have iron deficiency anemia that doesn't respond to iron supplementation, and your ferritin remains suppressed, you might be copper deficient. You need iron to make hemoglobin, the main component of red blood cells and you cannot absorb iron without copper. Long story short, copper deficiency is sometimes at the heart of resistant iron deficiency anemia. An "RBC copper" blood test can reveal this.

Symptoms of copper deficiency include pale skin, grey hair, skin lesions or dryness, dizziness, weakness, poor immunity, shortness of breath and malabsorption issues. Low copper is associated with low white blood cells, leukemia and other blood irregularities. Here's what else you should know:

  1. Zinc supplements lower copper levels. If you've been consuming zinc supplements for a long time then you might be copper deficient, and vice versa. Ask your doctor about the zinc to copper ratio, but it's about ten to one.
  2. Elevated copper can cause neurological problems, possibly schizophrenia, phobias and panic attacks however the research isn't clear. This is a good time to teach you that some of you make large amounts of "pyrroles." In excess, pyrroles irreversibly latch onto zinc and vitamin B6 and take it out of the body via urine. Once zinc is depleted, copper levels rise. So is it the copper that causes the problem, or the high pyrroles? If you love someone with a mental illness, you can have their pyrroles measured with a simple urine test.
  3. Copper is part of a transport system in your body that protects the inner lining of your blood vessels. Deficiencies will make your vessels lose elasticity and rupture easily.
  4. Copper is needed to make melanin so deficiencies are often seen in people with premature grey hair.
  5. Cardiac arrhythmias can result from low copper status.
  6. Copper helps you make elastin and collagen and these are components of bone and connective tissues. Copper may be useful for osteoporosis.
  7. Resveratrol supplements are drug muggers of copper.
  8. Copper can help you manage cholesterol.

Suzy Cohen

Suzy Cohen, is known as America’s Pharmacist. She has been a licensed pharmacist for 24 years and is a Functional Medicine practitioner. She’s the author of 6 books, including her most recent Amazon #1 best-seller, “Thyroid Healthy: Lose Weight, Look Beautiful and Live the Life You Imagine.”

She was the host of The Thyroid Summit which broadcast worldwide in June 2014. Suzy has been a syndicated columnist for 19 years reaching 20 million in circulation each week. She is a Huffington Post writer, and also hosts her own syndicated medical minute on TV. Suzy has been featured on The Dr OZ Show 6 times, and has appeared on The View, Good Morning America Health, The Doctors and hundreds of other networks. She is a member of The Institute of Functional Medicine, also the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, The American Pharmacists Association and ILADS, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society. You can read free articles and receive your free newsletter by visiting her website, SuzyCohen.com

Books authored by Suzy Cohen include:

  • Thyroid Healthy
  • Headache Free
  • Drug Muggers
  • Diabetes Without Drugs
  • The 24-Hour Pharmacist
  • Eczema: Itchin’ for a Cure (kindle only)
  • Understanding Pancreatitis & Pancreatic Cancer (kindle only)
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