Copper and zinc balance has everything to do with hormone balance. If one is imbalanced, so is the other. This may be the most important key to correcting hormone imbalance.
Throughout my hormone imbalance recovery process, the one question that haunted me was simply, “WHY?” WHY did I have such severe hypothyroid symptoms, when the doctors said my thyroid was just fine? WHY did I have such severe estrogen dominance symptoms, even when I was slathering myself up with obscene amounts of bioidentical progesterone to alleviate the estrogen dominance? WHY did I have such serious adrenal fatigue and burnout, despite everything I was doing to recover from orthorexia and long term starvation dieting? WHY was nothing helping me? WHY was my progress so slow? WHY did I keep experiencing setbacks? WHY was I so ridiculously exhausted all the time? WHY did my body hurt so much? WHY wouldn’t the weight gain stop, no matter what I did? WHY couldn’t the doctors help me? WHY couldn’t I help myself?
If you’re going through hormone imbalance issues, you likely resonate with at least a couple of these questions. You likely feel frustrated beyond measure, overwhelmed with information from countless hours of research and tens of thousands of dollars spent on supplements, exhausted from experimenting on your own body and feeling worse instead of better, or just glimpses of progress – just enough to get your hopes up, only to come crashing down as your dreams of feeling better dissolve into bitter grief. You’ve been to doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and nobody has been able to tell you what you know is wrong. They want to medicate you, tell you it’s all in your head. You may even have a life coach who tells you that you can just positive-think your way to feeling better, when you know you can’t. Not with this. You have a husband or partner, kids, family members who think you’re just weak and don’t understand why you can’t just tough your way through it and stop pretending you’re sick to get attention. You’ve got judges in your life… and none as critical as the one in your own mind. Know that you’re not alone, and that you CAN recover from this.
The next piece of the healing puzzle I learned about was the importance of the right minerals and vitamins and how, specifically, copper and zinc balance directly affects our hormones. Why? Because the liver needs specific nutrients to do its many jobs – converting thyroid hormone and detoxifying estrogen are just a couple of vital functions your liver needs the nutrients to perform. Your liver can’t do its jobs right if copper and zinc are out of balance.
While it’s ideal to get your minerals and vitamins from foods, it’s important to remember that sick bodies don’t digest properly, and nutrients tend to pass through rather than to be assimilated by what is, in most cases, a very unhealthy gut. You end up having to eat more food than you can even imagine just to get the minimal nutrient requirements, and for a body that can’t digest well, that can be a nightmare in more ways than one. Mineral balance is crucial. While supplementation may be costly, and your body may still not absorb the nutrients properly even with supplementation, there are supplemental minerals and vitamins that are designed to be more digestible and bioavailable for us.
Supplementation has its benefits and its drawbacks. There are schools of thought that say you burden your liver every time you take a nutritional supplement. Yikes! You can’t recover from hormone imbalance if you can’t alleviate your liver’s burdens! There are even those who go so far as to say that it’s better just not to eat, because eating food burdens your liver. (Far as I know, those people are dead now, and the ones that haven’t keeled over yet are having trouble with their bodies and wondering what’s the matter because it hasn’t dawned on them yet that they are starving to death.) OK, snarkiness aside, there are people who are so sick that eating food really does burden their liver. For years, my own mother was one of those people who was too sick with multiple chemical sensitivity to eat at all, except for a handful of foods, all of which you could count on one hand. Everything else made her deathly sick. But that does not apply to the general population. Most of us are giving our livers the fuel they need by eating! For the majority of us, eating healthy, nutritious food does not burden our livers, but rather the opposite – starving ourselves IS a burden on our livers! How would you like to do a trillion different jobs on an empty stomach?
On the other hand, there are schools of thought that say you need to get enough of the right minerals (and vitamins) to your liver in order for it to be able to do its jobs of detoxifying toxins, synthesizing hormones, breaking down fats, metabolizing fats and proteins, regulating blood sugar, converting proteins into amino acids for cellular energy production, converting thyroid hormones, and the trillion or so (OK, so maybe it’s only about 500, but still, it might as well be a trillion) other functions that your liver performs… and that you can’t get enough nutrients without supplementing your food with vitamins and minerals.
Your liver needs fuel (calories, glucose, fats, proteins – macros) and nutrients (minerals, vitamins – micros) to have the energy to do its jobs – it doesn’t just run without gas, so to speak.
Regarding supplementation, you can help yourself or hurt yourself, any way you look at it. You have to decide what’s right for your body. In my case, I supplemented, with the intent to slowly wean off the supplements as my body came back to health and mineral balance was restored. At the time of this posting, I still supplement specific nutrients, in addition to eating healthy food, because my body is still coming back into balance. I have been able to successfully stop taking quite a few supplements; some of them I may need for a while longer. Remember: it’s all about coming into balance: letting go of what you no longer need, keeping what you do until you need it no more.
In this post I’m going to share with you the most important supplements I have taken and still take for my hormone imbalance recovery and restoring copper and zinc balance. Use your own discernment in deciding if any of this is right for you. As with all my posts, take what is useful and helpful for you, and discard the rest. It is my wish to provide insight and information to those who are looking for answers to their health problems, those who have searched, who have cried tears of pain and frustration, who have been turned away, told they’re crazy, and basically abandoned by the mainstream quackwatchers and well-meaning doctors who just don’t have the information they need to truly help their patients to heal.
That said, here is my obligatory disclaimer. Talk with your nutritionist or doctor if that’s helpful for you. The following information is what I did for my own body, my personal healing journey, and is not meant as a recommended protocol. It is informational only, even if only for entertainment. Additionally, none of what I write is vetted or approved by the FDA or its pharmaceutical cohorts or Big Pharma or its FDA minions. Any use of my personal protocols is at your own risk or reward.
Mineral Balance: Estrogen, Copper and Zinc, Oh My!
I’m going to start with the mineral that was the most overlooked, taken-for-granted one for me, personally. Why? Why did I ignore this critical mineral for so long? Because it’s zinc. It’s not some new thing nobody’s ever heard of before, with its new mysteries and promises and things to explore. It’s just zinc. Oh it’s just zinc. It’s not exciting. It’s no big deal, right? Right. Until you’re deficient in it. Then it’s a really big deal.
Zinc was a big part of the answer to my questions about WHY I was having such severe hypothyroid and estrogen dominance symptoms. I was very deficient in zinc. WHY was I so deficient in zinc? Well, because I had starved myself for years, beginning when I was 13 years old, and going on into VLC (very low carb)/Ketogenic starvation diet when I was in my 20s and 30s and early 40s. Zinc comes from all the foods I wasn’t eating – like red meats, pork, chicken and turkey thighs, spinach, oysters (I still don’t eat oysters, but oysters are your #1 food source for zinc!), crab, shrimp, lobster, egg yolks, dark chocolate, peas, mushrooms, cashews, brown rice, sesame seeds, or basically any other kind of high zinc foods. I wasn’t getting the calories I needed, and I wasn’t getting the nutrients I needed.
What happens when your body doesn’t have enough zinc? Well, zinc and copper have this intimate relationship. They have to be kept in balance – specifically, an 8:1 balance, with zinc being at 8 and copper at 1. When you become zinc deficient, your copper levels go too high, and while our bodies need copper, and copper is wonderful in the right amounts – it’s not the enemy here!… without zinc, you become copper toxic (and vice versa, without copper you become zinc toxic). This results in an array of unpleasant symptoms, such as – yep! You guessed it, didn’t you. Estrogen dominance! How does that work?
Copper and estrogen are directly linked – they feed each other. The more estrogen you have in your body, the higher your copper levels go, and vice versa – the more copper in your body, the higher your estrogen levels. There are also cases where low estrogen is observed, but with high biounavailable copper. What is observed as low estrogen can actually be severely high estrogen trapped in tissues with unbound biounavailable copper, rather than showing up in the blood, making it very hard to detect through blood tests, making it appear as though you have low estrogen, when in reality, you may be very severely estrogen dominant. In either scenario, the excess biounavailable copper wreaks havoc on your liver, not to mention your brain, your appetite, and your metabolism in general. When you have too much copper in your body, it prevents your liver from being able to detoxify anything properly – including estrogen. So you end up with more estrogen dominance, which feeds your copper imbalance, raising your copper levels even more. It’s a vicious cycle. And as excess estrogen blocks your body’s ability to convert T4 thyroid hormone to active T3 thyroid hormone, now you start experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism, even if your thyroid tests tell your doctor that your thyroid function is just fine. It’s not!
On the other side of the spectrum, it’s also possible that a person can be copper toxic and copper deficient at the same time. Again, this goes to mineral balance. The copper and zinc balance is really important here. With insufficient zinc, your liver cannot produce sufficient amounts of ceruloplasmin and metallothionein, which are your copper binding proteins. Copper must be bound to these proteins to be delivered to the cells in your body for energy production, metabolism, and all the other functions that copper is so crucial for. Without sufficient copper binding proteins, the excess copper just hangs around in your tissues, unbound, toxic, wreaking havoc in your organs. It can show up as liver dysfunction, yellow sclera (yellow whites of the eyes), jaundiced skin, extreme fatigue, miscarriages, and various other ways. If it gets into your brain it can show up as dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. In this way, you can be both copper toxic and copper deficient at the same time. It is important that you don’t go supplementing with copper without getting tested to find out if you are truly copper deficient and zinc overloaded, or if you are actually copper toxic because of zinc deficiency. You can make your copper toxicity and subsequent hormone imbalance even worse if you supplement with copper without having adequate zinc for your liver to produce the necessary ceruloplasmin and metallothionein for the copper to bind to.
On the other hand, it’s also possible to have too much ceruloplasmin, in which case you would still need zinc and manganese to balance the copper, because too much copper is being delivered to the cells, and your body becomes copper toxic in this way. People with metabolic syndrome tend to have too much ceruloplasmin, and are copper toxic and zinc deficient. Supplementing with copper only makes you more copper toxic in this case, and zinc deficient.
It’s a challenge to know for sure if you have a deficiency in copper or in zinc, because the symptoms are so similar to each other, and both minerals are necessary for the body’s health and metabolic function. There’s just no getting around it. That’s why all the zinc rich foods are also copper rich, because it’s a law of nature that zinc and copper must go hand-in-hand and stay in a very specific balance with each other. It’s important to get an HTMA test so you can know for sure.
So your liver needs zinc in order to produce the copper binding proteins and to balance copper and prevent copper toxicity. Your body also needs zinc for adequate progesterone and testosterone production. Just as copper is correlated to estrogen, so is zinc to progesterone and testosterone. If you have been diagnosed as having low progesterone or low testosterone, it’s extremely likely that you’re also zinc deficient. Hormone therapy is generally unwarranted when you find you have a problem with your mineral balance. Work to restore your mineral balance, and the hormones will balance themselves naturally. It’s also OK to supplement with bioidentical progesterone, as this will also help to support your body and raise your zinc levels, but it’s best if you can make sure you restore your mineral balance while supplementing with bioidentical progesterone (or testosterone, if you are a gent), if you are choosing to use hormone replacement therapy. Supplementing with bioidentical progesterone also helps to balance out the excess estrogen, as progesterone and estrogen keep each other in check, just the same as zinc and copper do – bioidentical progesterone replacement helps to support the process of restoring mineral balance. I do not personally recommend estrogen replacement at all, not because estrogen is bad – estrogen is wonderful and necessary when in balance! Estrogen is also very tricky to work with and is, in my experience, better left to regulate naturally when your mineral balance is restored.
If you’re tired, and in pain, barely able to function, having foggy brain, chronic low body temperature, depression, weight gain, inability to lose weight even without an appetite and very poor eating habits including starvation, menstrual and fertility irregularities if you are a woman, other sexual problems if you are a man or a woman, PMS/PMDD, chronic exhaustion and fatigue, anemia, pica (eating ice or dirt or other generally inedible non-food things), fibromyalgia symptoms, leaky gut, acid reflux, GERD, digestive issues, puffy face and eyes, insomnia, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, lack of excitement, doom & gloom personality, Alzheimer’s or dementia symptoms, difficulty with exercise and recovery from even the slightest bit of energy exertion… but your doctor tells you that your thyroid is just fine, then it’s important for you to understand that your mineral balance is most likely off, and that it’s causing hormone imbalance and inability of your liver and gut and other cells in your body to properly convert and metabolize thyroid hormones. Your thyroid test panels will not reveal this!
Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency and Copper Toxicity
Copper has a very stimulating effect on the body, and also tends to make a person feel very emotional. When people are not eating properly, not eating enough food, and not buzzing on caffeine, yet they still feel all sorts of energy in their bodies and tend to cry over commercials and touching moments, that’s an indicator that this person may have elevated levels of copper and estrogen. Copper stimulates the nervous system into overproduction of adrenaline/epinephrine and noradrenaline/norepinephrine, which keeps the body in chronic fight-or-flight and is pretty bad news for one’s metabolism in general. Copper excess makes you feel like you can take on the world, because your adrenals are pumping out the adrenaline like there’s no tomorrow. You can also feel pretty high on Love and spiritual communications, which isn’t such a bad thing – but there are better ways to open up your Heart center than to starve your body to the point of extreme imbalance. It’s like taking a drug to induce hallucinations which may or may not be spiritual in nature, as opposed to doing the Self work to really have a good relationship with your Self and your body. One way leads to a serious crash, whereas the other leads to lasting healing. As one who has been down both roads, I definitely do not recommend following the copper brick road to the Emerald City in your Heart.
According to Dr. Lawrence Wilson, MD, there is also a “high copper personality” – meaning there are personality traits that are associated with elevated copper levels. These traits on the “positive” side include “a warm, caring, sensitive, emotional nature, often with artistic orientation and a child-like quality. Often high-copper people are young-looking. Many traditionally feminine traits are associated with copper such as softness, gentleness and intuitiveness”, whereas the “negative” side of a high copper personality includes traits of “spaciness, racing thoughts, living in a dream world and naiveté. Other qualities include childishness, excessive emotions, sentimentality, a tendency to depression, fearfulness, hidden anger and resentments, phobias, psychosis and violence.” I can certainly attest to being living proof to these statements on both levels.
Copper toxicity and hormone imbalance are also very destructive of our relationships because of the changes they produce in our personalities. Friendships are often lost; divorces and longtime partnerships break up; family quarrels turn into grudges held for years or longer – all because people judge each other’s personalities without taking into account how our mineral and hormone balances affect our personalities, our will, our ability to function normally. Of course, there are emotional root causes behind our tendencies to become out of balance in our copper and estrogen levels – one of the biggest emotional root causes of estrogen dominance and copper toxicity will be discussed further in this post. For now, consider failed relationships and betrayals as being on the very long list of symptoms of copper imbalance.
There is a vast array of other symptoms of copper imbalance as well. Here is a comprehensive list that covers many, but not all of the symptoms of zinc deficiency and copper toxicity.
- Decreased sense of smell and taste
- Loss or lack of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unexplained weight gain/inability to lose weight
- Morning sickness/morning nausea unrelated to pregnancy/gagging on toothbrush
- Diarrhea in children
- Wounds that don’t heal
- Foggy brain/lack of alertness
- Weak immunity
- Hair loss
- Leaky gut
- Red nose/cheeks, “Rudolph the Red Nose” appearance, rosacea
- White spots on the fingernails
- Stomach ulcers
- Wilson’s disease
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Celiac disease
- Poor cognitive function
- Hypothyroidism and goiter, reduced metabolism
- Frequent colds and other viral outbreaks
- Cystic fibrosis
- Diabetes and diabetic nerve pain
- Gilbert’s syndrome
- Low libido/loss of sex drive
- Inflamed prostate/prostatitis
- Impaired metabolism
- Blood sugar disregulation
- Liver dysfunction
- Mood disorders
- Kidney dysfunction
- Jaundice of skin and eyes
- Elevated prolactin
- High cholesterol
- Confused thinking due to liver disorders (hepatic encephalopathy)
- Gum disease
- Chronic fatigue
- Eating disorders
- Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other brain related illnesses and cognitive dysfunction
- Herpes simplex virus
- Viral warts
- Adrenal fatigue/burnout
- Poor recovery from exercise/exercise makes fatigue much worse
- Panic attacks
- Chronic anxiety
- Nausea and unexplained morning sickness
- Difficulty/no desire to eat breakfast in the morning
- Racing mind – “tired but wired”
- Graying/whitening of hair
- Trouble concentrating
- General irritability
- Apathy/despondence/emotional numbing
- Personality change
- Suicidal thoughts
- Bipolar disorder
- Joint pains
- Persistent, nonstop negative thoughts/inability to “positive-think” one’s way out
- Chocolate cravings
- Headaches including migraines
- Decreased self awareness
Sources of Excess Copper and Estrogens
Why might we have excess copper or excess estrogens in our body that don’t belong there? Where does it all come from? First, low zinc levels means your copper levels go unchecked. You might have low zinc levels if you are anorexic, orthorexic, or a chronic dieter.
If you are one who engages in regular, chronic fasting, going days without food at a time on a regular basis, only eating once every couple of days or less frequently over an extended period of time (beyond just a simple fast), you may be depleting your zinc levels, living on adrenaline, raising your estrogen and copper levels, thinking you feel good and healthy, when in actuality, you’re only feeling the temporary effect of adrenaline and copper – which feels good, and can even feel very spiritual for a little while. You are very likely putting your body into chronic fight-or-flight without even realizing it, and setting yourself up for adrenal fatigue, liver dysfunction, and cellular hypothyroidism. Oh yes, excess copper feels really good for a while, until your body can no longer function properly. It feels like enlightenment and love and compassion – but it’s not real or sustained. Excess estrogen can feel like the Divine Feminine Goddess cradling you and coming through you to extend to others – but again – it’s not real or sustained. It’s just a hormone in excess. Only TRUE Love and Compassion is the Divine Feminine Goddess coming through you – and starving yourself is not showing yourself Divine Love or compassion, at least not in my experience as one who starved myself because I could not love and accept myself as I was. When you are not showing yourself Love and compassion, you cannot truly extend it to anyone else. Running on adrenaline feels like you’re buzzing all the time, and you fool yourself into thinking you’re full of energy, vitality, and health. But that can only last for so long when your body doesn’t have the minerals and fuel it needs to keep functioning optimally. The subsequent and inevitable crash is not worth the buzz. Adrenaline is for emergencies – it’s not meant to be lived on day after day. What happens when you have an emergency and you’re out of adrenaline? You don’t get to keep your human body anymore, that’s what. That was what almost killed me a few years ago.
If you have read recent articles on alternative health and spiritual websites about the benefits and wonders of copper and decided to start supplementing with copper, without making sure to balance your copper supplements with zinc and manganese, you may have elevated copper and estrogen levels, and zinc and progesterone and/or testosterone deficiencies.
If you are a vegan or a vegetarian, it’s really difficult to get sufficient zinc from your food supply. If you eat a lot of salads, greens, and vegetables that are not organic, and sprayed with pesticides then you’re exposed to xenoestrogens and copper sulfate from spraying.
If you cook with copper pots and pans, you get excess copper that way; same if you drink water or shower with water that comes through copper pipes. If you cook with certain coated cookware with BPA compounds or eat or drink out of certain plastic containers containing BPA, you are ingesting more xenoestrogens which raise your copper levels. If you eat a lot of soy or flaxseed, you’re getting a lot of phytoestrogens, which raise your copper levels.
If you wear copper jewelry every day, this can cause copper overload.
If you take birth control pills, your progesterone is blocked by synthetic progestins and estrogens, which raise your copper levels, and if you use a copper IUD, your copper levels go up, along with your estrogen.
If you take prescription and/or over-the-counter medications, you are very likely to be zinc deficient. Many medications deplete your body’s zinc, including the following:
- Antacids – Aluminum, Calcium, and Magnesium-Containing Preparations – Aluminum Hydroxide and Magnesium Hydroxide, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Carbonate and Magnesium Hydroxide; Amphojel, Basaljel, Gaviscon, Gelusil, Maalox, Mylanta
- Anti-inflammatory medications Beclomethasone, Budesonide, Dexamethasone, Fluticasone, Hydrocortisone, Methylprednisone, Mometasone Furoate, Prednisone, Triamcinolone, Deltasone, Celestone, Cortisone, Cortef, Cortone, Decadron, Hydrocortone, Medrol
- NSAIDS Diclofenac, Diflusinal, Etodolac, Fenoprofen, Ibuprofen, Indomethacin, Ketoprofen, Ketorolac Tromethamine, Meclofenamate, Nabumetone, Naproxen, Oxaprozin, Piroxicam, Sulindac, Tolmetin, Aspirin
- Corticosteroids Flonase, Beclovent, Beconase, QVar, Vancenase, Vancent
- Anticonvulsant Medications Valproic Acid and Derivatives
- Antiretroviral Medications – Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors: Ribavirin, Zidovudine
- Birth Control Medications – Monophasic, Biphasic, and Triphasic Preparations: Ethinyl Estradiol and Desogestrel, Ethinyl Estradiol and Levonorgestrel, Ethinyl Estradiol and Norethindrone, Ethinyl Estradiol and Norgestimate
- Cardiovascular Medications – ACE inhibitors: Benazepril, Captopril, Enalapril, Fosinopril, Lisinopril, Moexipril, Perindopril Erbumine, Quinapril, Ramipril, Spirapril, Trandolapril
- Diuretics – Thiazide Diuretics: Chlorothiazide, Hydrochlorothiazide, Indapamide, Methylclothiazide, Metolazone
- Loop Diuretics Furosemide, Lasix, Ethacrynic Acid, Edecrin, Bumex
- Ulcer Medications – Histamine H2 Antagonists: Cimetidine, Famotidine, Nizatidine, Ranitidine Bismuth Citrate, Ranitidine Hydrochloride
- Proton Pump Inhibitors Omeprazole, Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium, Protonix, Aciphex
- H2 Inhibitors Famotidine, Pepcid, Tagamet, Zantac
- Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics Levaquin, Avelox, Cipro, Floxin, Noroxin, Penetrex, Trovan
Ever wonder what they’re spraying up there in the skies, or what’s in the vaccines? I can’t guarantee that it’s xenoestrogenic or otherwise toxic, but I’ve got a pretty strong feeling about it.
If you eat a very low carb diet, your estrogen levels rise, which means your copper levels go up too. Despite the fact that you may be eating plenty of zinc rich foods, the foods that are high in zinc also contain copper. Your liver needs some carbohydrates for thyroid hormone conversion as well as glycogen storage for managing your blood sugar. Very low carb (VLC)/ketogenic diets raise your reverse T3 (rT3) and lower your active T3 levels – meaning that they essentially slow down your metabolic engine so that your cells produce less energy. The point of it is to slow you down so that you rest and reduce physical activity so that your body can handle the stress of its perceived famine. These diets also raise your cortisol levels, which, along with estrogen, block your thyroid hormone conversion pathways. If you live a mostly sedentary lifestyle, some carb restriction – especially of processed carbs – can be a great thing for you. There are also ways that you can successfully cycle when you eat your carbs, which I’ll discuss further in this post. But if you are very active, and especially if you are a very active woman, it’s important that you do not substantially restrict your carbs. Your brain needs a bare minimum of 100 carb grams a day to function properly, and your thyroid, liver, and hormones need even more than that. Drastically restrict your carbs and eat a masculine style ketogenic diet at your own peril. In the very short term, it can be a great boost for your metabolism and weight loss, but when that goes on for more than a couple of weeks at most, your body goes on very high alert, and your copper/zinc levels start to go out of balance as your estrogen and cortisol rise and your progesterone and thyroid hormones plummet. The temptation is, at that point, to restrict carbs and calories even more, or exercise more, and that is exactly the wrong thing to do, because that just makes the problem even worse. Go back and read my personal story with this, in parts 1, 2 and 3 of this series, if you haven’t already read them, and then decide if you still want to try a VLC/Ketogenic diet. Granted, not every body is the same. Again, this was my personal experience and is not indicative of every woman out there. Just the ones with estrogen.
Too much exercise and sweating is another way you deplete your mineral stores and create imbalance. If you work out… EAT!
Drinking too much water can lead to mild hyponatremia (or severe death inducing hyponatremia if you really overdo it with the water), which messes up your electrolytes and your mineral balance. If you are obsessed with drinking a gallon of water a day, especially if you live a mostly sedentary life and are not exercising and sweating out that much water, you’re likely drinking way too much water and giving yourself a copper/zinc imbalance, among other mineral imbalances. Check your urine. Is it clear? Cut down on the water if it is. Is it dark yellow and you’re not taking B vitamins to cause the dark urine? Drink more water. Your urine should be pale yellow, unless you’re taking B vitamins, in which case, your urine turns bright yellow. (Incidentally, if you are detoxing copper and estrogen, your urine and feces turn orange/copper.) Are you thirsty? Have some water. Are you hungry? Try some water 20 minutes before you check in with your stomach again. If you’re still hungry 20 minutes later, eat some food. Best to have your water between meals, rather than with meals, as water with meals can quench your digestive fire, but water between your meals gives your stomach better acid for digesting your food. Another thing to note: zinc is necessary for stomach acid production. If you have chronic indigestion, heartburn, GERD, that’s a pretty clear sign that you’re low in zinc. Low stomach acid is responsible for heartburn, GERD and indigestion, not the other way around. Taking antacids further destroys your mineral balances and wreaks havoc on your whole digestive system. Low zinc is also responsible for inability to digest meats, which happen to be the food that contains the most zinc (well, except for oysters). The importance of digestion and sufficient stomach acid cannot be overstated. Low zinc means high copper and hormone imbalance, thyroid and liver dysfunction, metabolic hell, leaky gut, and all the things you’re here reading about correcting.
If you eat meat or dairy from factory farmed cows that are given hormones, you are getting more estrogen, which raises your copper levels. Same with factory chickens, eggs, turkeys and pork that are given hormones and fed a fully soy based diet (remember, soy is estrogenic) for fast growth for maximum profits. Yes, meat, poultry and eggs are a major source of zinc, however, quality does matter. If the copper/zinc and hormone balance is off in the foods you eat, what do you suppose that does for your body’s copper/zinc and hormone balance?
If you eat a lot of processed foods and excess processed sugar, this can deplete your zinc and other mineral levels. Please note that some sugar is very beneficial for us, and when you have sugar cravings, you need to listen to your body. Not every sugar craving comes from sugar addiction. The body – especially your brain, eyes, and liver – really needs the glucose and fructose that sugars provide – such as raw sugar, unprocessed molasses, raw honey, organic fruits and juice, and maple syrup.
And if you’re like me, you’ve read so much alarmist information about how unsafe it is to eat ANYTHING in this world over the years, that you gave yourself orthorexia or some other eating disorder, or simply just stopped eating at all, for the most part, which takes you back to low zinc levels and hormone imbalance due to starvation and malnourishment.
So how do you find out exactly what’s going on in your body? I recommend an HTMA test. HTMA stands for Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis. This will tell you what your mineral balance is. You can find out more about how to get an HTMA test, and why it’s superior to blood tests here.
Restoring Copper and Zinc Balance
What I did (and am still working on) to restore my copper and zinc balance is not something I recommend for anyone who is not very much in tune with their own body and able to feel and communicate and listen to their body’s needs. It takes training and practice, unless you’ve been a very aware and awakened person for your whole life. I’ve been at this for a few years now and am a trained practitioner of various healing modalities, energy testing, self awareness, and bodily communication, as well as a medical intuitive. I recommend that anyone who isn’t an expert on this works with a qualified practitioner, doctor or coach, and use your HTMA test results to guide you properly. For the record, I am NOT a trained practitioner for HTMA analysis & coaching, so please use the link provided above to find a qualified doctor, practitioner or coach to help you with this, should you decide to work on restoring your own mineral and hormone balances. If you want coaching for emotional and subconscious root causes behind your relationship with your self, your body and others, self Love, acceptance, respect, esteem and compassion, intuitive and psychic guidance, and quantum manifestation, then I’m your gal.
I decided to supplement with zinc picolinate, and a lot of it. Knowing that this would produce a copper detox, I made sure that I was supporting my liver for a while first, before I started. I had been actively working to support and heal my liver for a year before I began the high zinc dosages for copper detox. Yes, a whole year. This is not something you rush or take lightly. Copper detoxing, or copper dumping, can put extra strain on your liver, because even as the excess toxic copper comes out of the liver and other tissues in the body where it’s been stored all this time, as it comes out into the bloodstream, it goes right back to your liver for filtering. Supporting your liver is absolutely critical to getting your copper and zinc balance restored. For the first four weeks, my body was asking for about 115 mg per day of supplemental zinc picolinate, in addition to my healthy, balanced, zinc rich diet. After four weeks, my body asked for less zinc – 95 mg. After two more weeks, my body asked for even less – 80 mg a day, where it held steady for longer before asking for its next reduction. Please note that this was my experience and is not meant to be a template for anyone else. All bodies are different, and each of us needs to know how to be in tune with our own bodies! As zinc lowers cortisol levels, it’s important that you take zinc in the evening, about an hour before bedtime, rather than early in the day, otherwise you can reverse your cortisol diurnal cycle, and end up with low cortisol in the morning when you need it to help you function through the day, and high cortisol at night, which gives you insomnia. That’s a real pain in the ass to correct, once you get stuck in cortisol reversal, so keep this in mind.
Supporting my liver meant that I started eating right for my liver and taking specific supplements to help my liver’s detoxification (especially methylation) processes. For me, this means eating three meals a day. but I had to start out eating much more frequently than that, because my liver had lost its ability to store glycogen due to my starvation and very low carb/ketogenic dieting for so many years of my life. This meant that my blood sugar levels were all over the place, and I was suffering with extreme hypoglycemia if I went even just a couple of hours without anything to eat. I had to eat frequent small meals for about a year before I was able to cut down to three normal sized meals a day. It was also about 2 years after my crash that I had to take off of exercise completely! After two years of an extremely sedentary lifestyle that fattened up my liver – not quite bed rest, but very close to it – I could finally start taking some walks again. They started out short, and I could barely do the grocery shopping, for the agony of the chronic pain, but I am now at the point of being able to take long walks every day, go shopping, and even do short bursts of exercise every hour or two (just two minutes of exercise), and more intense workouts every other evening, though I keep them short too, at just 12 minutes per workout.
Personally, I feel best when I cycle my carbohydrates in such a way as to eat very few carbohydrates with breakfast, a few more grams with lunch, and a lot for dinner. This is what is best for my own personal chemistry and blood sugar levels. It gives me enough carbs to get through the nightly fast we call sleeping, without my blood sugar dropping into adrenaline surge territory. I no longer have hypoglycemic/hypothyroid insomnia like I used to. I no longer have to eat every hour or two to compensate for my liver’s inability to store glycogen, because my liver is now storing glycogen properly. I no longer have blood sugar problems, because I started listening to my body, loving it unconditionally, and giving it what it needs, instead of smashing my head against the wall trying to lose weight.
It also means that during the first half of my monthly cycle, before ovulation, I feel better eating more carbs and can handle more exercise, whereas after ovulation, I have noticed that it’s more difficult to tolerate much exercise, and too much food – especially too many carbs – gives me some bad indigestion, as my copper and zinc levels continue to come back into balance – I’m not quite there yet, but I’m working on it! This goes to the estrogen/progesterone cycle. The more estrogen you have, the more you need carbohydrates. When your estrogen levels are high in the first half of your monthly cycle, your body needs more carbohydrates. It’s part of being a woman. When estrogen levels go down after ovulation, and your progesterone levels are relatively higher, you have less tolerance for carbs. When you eat less carbs, it’s important to exercise less as well – not to exert yourself quite so much. If you eat less carbs and over-exercise, you mess up your cycle by raising estrogen and copper levels during the second half of your cycle, when estrogen levels need to be lower.
Nutritional Supplements and Superfoods for Copper & Zinc Balance, Metabolism, Thyroid and Liver Function
Supplements and superfoods that are vital for me to support my liver’s processes include:
- P5P (Active Vitamin B6) I take P5P predominantly for helping with my liver methylation function. Turns out, my body can’t seem to get enough of this stuff. It laps it up like a camel who found a desert oasis, so much so, that I can’t help but wonder if I’ve had an undiagnosed case of pyroluria all this time, especially considering the alcoholism that runs through my family line on both sides, the chronic infections and antibiotics I had to take as a kid, and the heartbreaking stress and CPTSD that broke me a few years ago. My body seems to think so, based on all the active B6 and zinc it keeps asking for. I’m kind of like a different person since starting to take it. I feel better, have more energy, less affected by stress, less pain in my body, less allergic reactions to things that used to really bother me, like tar from road paving and driveway sealing, and leaf mold. I’d lost my personality for a long time, and since adding these supplements into my diet, especially the zinc, SAMe, and P5P, I feel like I can actually recognize myself again. P5P is essential for the liver’s methylation process. The human body cannot make its own vitamin B6; it must come exogenously, preferably from food, and also from supplements when necessary. It can be toxic in dosages that are too high, so always be mindful of this. Dosages over 120 mg per day are getting up into the red zone for toxicity for most people. For more detailed information about how B6 can help us, as well as information about toxicity, check out the post about it on selfhacked.com. Foods rich in vitamin B6 include seafood, including salmon and canned tuna, beef and beef liver, poultry, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), sunflower and sesame seeds, avocados, and pistachios.
- Zinc picolinate Zinc is an essential trace mineral. It’s important for growth and development, thyroid function, liver function, the immune system, reproductive system, and the nervous system. Zinc also protects the liver against damage from alcohol, free radicals, malnutrition, all kinds of stress, and over-exercise/excess sweating. Zinc is a critical co-factor for thyroid hormone production and conversion, as well. It helps to produce thyroid stimulating hormone – TSH – and is a necessary component for the body’s ability to convert T4 hormone into T3 hormone, which is what helps your cells to produce ATP energy, raise basal body temperature, keep your weight at its ideal place, burn calories, and lose weight if you need to. Zinc is at the center of your entire metabolic process. As it happens, so is copper, but your body requires a whole lot more zinc than it does copper. The two minerals need to be kept in balance, along with manganese. I chose to supplement with zinc picolinate to bring my zinc and copper levels back into balance because zinc picolinate is easily absorbed by the body. Having been malnourished for many years, my body was not absorbing sufficient nutrients from food, once I began eating for recovery, so it was important for me to find the kind of zinc that is easy to absorb, and in a form that I would easily and readily take. For me, that’s zinc picolinate. Other forms of zinc that are easily absorbed by the body include zinc acetate, zinc citrate, zinc glycerate, and zinc monomethionine. Zinc rich foods include meat, poultry, seafood, especially oysters, spinach, cashews, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), cheese, oatmeal, almonds, dark chocolate, and kidney beans.
- Stress-B Complex When I first started working to heal my body, I believed that I had full blown adrenal fatigue. While that may indeed have been the case, what I didn’t realize at the time is that starvation and adrenal fatigue are basically interchangeable. They both produce the same symptoms in the body. In fact, in many cases, adrenal fatigue can be directly caused by nothing other than starvation and malnutrition! Either way, stress needs to be relieved, and your adrenals and your liver need B vitamins to work right and to deal with stress. You get B vitamins from foods, especially from meats, but again – if you have been malnourished for years, you likely need additional help to absorb the B vitamins, so I turned to supplements to help my body. Thorne Research Stress-B formula is the best I have found for my body. All of the B vitamins are bioavailable and the compatible forms of B vitamins, including the ever important folate as L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate from L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolic Acid, Glucosamine Salt for proper methylation and liver detoxification processes.
- Active Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) Again, one of the B vitamins that is vital for thyroid hormone conversion, thyroid and liver function. I stay away from synthetic versions of B vitamins like the less expensive cyanocobalamin because it’s not already bioavailable, but rather has to be converted by the liver to the active form that can be properly utilized by the body. For those who cannot tolerate methylcobalamin due to impaired MTHFR genetic mutations, other forms of active B12 include adenosylcobalamin and hydroxocobalamin, as well as formulations that combine these together. Vitamin B12 deficiencies are found behind some forms of anemia, metabolic disorders, and liver dysfunction, to name a few. Vitamin B deficiencies are generally caused by vegan/vegetarian diets, starvation diets, gluten intolerance – your basic dietary nutrient deletions. Foods that are high in vitamin B12 include eggs, milk and dairy products, fish, meat, and poultry.
- Thyroid glandular, containing both T4 and active T3 If you are not able to convert thyroid hormone properly due to impaired liver function, it’s important to get T3 into your body any way you can, until your body CAN convert thyroid hormone properly. As my thyroid panel tests did not show my former nurse practitioner a problem with TSH, she refused to prescribe me any thyroid hormone medication at all, even despite my TSH level being slightly elevated (it still fell within the so-called “normal” range), elevated aldosterone levels, slightly elevated rT3 levels, and high creatinine. Why these levels didn’t scream out to her that something was seriously wrong with my metabolism, I don’t know. I even gave her the scientific studies to read, so that she’d understand my body was in big trouble, but she still refused to prescribe thyroid hormone for me. I was left to my own devices to find out how to get the T3 my body so desperately needed. Natural desiccated thyroid in the form of thyroid glandular supplements was my answer. Low thyroid function and poor liver function are intertwined – with low thyroid function, you increase your risk of developing NAFLD – non alcoholic fatty liver disease (which is often caused by metabolic disorders, insulin resistance, malnutrition, sudden sedentary lifestyle following an overactive lifestyle, and rapid weight loss); while on the other hand, if your liver isn’t functioning properly (because maybe you have NAFLD, for example, from being malnourished from starving yourself for years or decades), your liver can’t adequately convert T4 to T3 hormone. It’s another one of those vicious cycles that happens. So it’s pretty important to get T3 from wherever you can to support your liver while your body is healing. Please be aware that if your T3 is low because of calorie restriction, and your liver is converting your T4 hormone to higher rT3 that taking natural desiccated thyroid also adds more T4 to your system that will be converted to more rT3 by the liver until your body is no longer in famine mode for some time. You may not notice any significant results from from taking thyroid glandulars in this case. When your body is in chronic fight-or-flight stress mode, excess cortisol is being produced, and high cortisol (as well as very low cortisol, like in cases of stage 4 adrenal fatigue) signals your liver decrease T4 to T3 conversion in favor of T4 to rT3 conversion. Thyroid glandulars – natural desiccated thyroid – are considered to be a whole food, and not so much a nutritional supplement, though it looks and feels like a supplement because it’s sold in capsules that come in vitamin-like bottles… but how many of us are going to find bovine or porcine thyroid glands and cook them up and eat them? If that’s your way, and you can do that, that’s great! If not, I definitely recommend the little capsules in the vitamin-like bottles.
- SAMe While I was going through my suicidal depression, as a coach, author, and practitioner of more than half a dozen different energy healing modalities, I thought I was the biggest failure on the planet because I could not simply energy heal and positive-think my way back to my happy place. I had to stop practicing as a healer and coach for a number of years because of this. What I didn’t realize at the time was how important the mind-body connection is – and how it’s not just the mind that affects the body, but also the body that affects the mind. When your liver function – your methylation and detoxification processes – are severely impaired, as mine were, this really messes with your mind and emotions! You literally cannot use your brain to get to a sustained place of joy. The negativity is overwhelming. I used every method known to me and sought out therapy as well, at one point seeing three different therapists at the same time, to try to work out my mental and emotional distress. I’m not going to say that wasn’t helpful, because it most definitely was! However, I could not make great progress until I understood better the methylation and detoxification pathways and processes in the liver, and how that affects your moods, emotions, and thoughts. Once I understood this, I added SAMe and the B vitamins (P5P, Stress B formula, and B12) to my daily supplements, and that was when I noticed the huge shift in my thoughts and emotions. It happened very quickly, as well. It’s important to know, if you take SAMe, that you need to take the B vitamins with it, as SAMe chews up B vitamins, and without enough B vitamins, you can be left with high homocysteine levels – inflammation. SAMe is helpful for depression, but be careful if you suffer from anxiety, as SAMe without adequate B vitamins can increase anxiety levels. I had both depression and anxiety as CPTSD, but I chose to add SAMe to my supplementation anyway, because I understood that my liver detox pathway II – the conjugation pathway – was sluggish, and how important SAMe is for your liver detox functions. The only time I ever noticed increased anxiety while taking SAMe was when I didn’t take the B vitamins with it. SAMe is a form of methionine – a sulfur based amino acid found in meats, dairy, fish, poultry, seafood, garlic, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, asparagus, bamboo shoots, peas, mustard greens, okra, and butter lettuce, however methionine and SAMe aren’t exactly the same. Methionine has to be converted to SAMe during the methylation cycle in the liver, and if your liver is having trouble methylating properly, for example because of MTHFR genetic defects and folate deficiencies, then it’s helpful to supplement with SAMe until your liver doesn’t need the extra help anymore, as your body heals and comes back into balance.
- L-Tyrosine There is so much benefit that tyrosine provides, I would need to write another series of posts to cover it all. It helps with stress, dopamine production, mood support, liver function, and is a necessary component of thyroid hormone production. For a very in-depth article on why tyrosine is so important, I recommend this article for further study, along with this one. Tyrosine rich foods include poultry, red meats like beef and lamb, fish, cheese and dairy, nuts, legumes, bananas, pumpkin and sesame seeds, and avocados.
- Calcium-D-Glucarate This is a supplement that is very beneficial for assisting the liver with estrogen detoxification. Estrogen detoxification happens predominantly in your liver’s detox II (conjugation) pathway. When your liver’s methylation processes are impaired, and you are missing the nutrients that your liver needs to conjugate to the toxins that are to be “marked” for excretion (like glycine, for example), your liver ends up having to recycle the toxins – including estrogen – through its system over and over again. This is how some of us become severely estrogen dominant. Because the liver isn’t able to detoxify it properly, we end up with chronic and perpetual estrogen (and therefore copper) overload. Calcium-D-Glucarate is converted to glucaric acid in your body, which is a chemical in your intestine which supports your liver by inhibiting the activity of an enzyme in your intestine called beta glucuronidase, which is a byproduct of certain bacteria in the gut (E. coli, Bacteroides species, and Clostridium perfringens), which neutralizes conjugated estrogen that’s supposed to be excreted with the feces, to instead de-conjugate and reabsorb back into the intestinal wall, leaving you very estrogen dominant, and more work for your liver to have to detoxify the same estrogen over and over again. Talk about a life sentence from hell. I decided to supplement with calcium-d-glucarate for this reason – because my liver needed help, and I love and appreciate my liver. Until my body is absorbing nutrients optimally from food, I will continue to support my estrogen detoxification process with this wonderful and helpful supplement. Keep in mind: beta glucuronidase is meant to be in your gut and is helpful in a number of ways, including the breakdown of carbohydrates. It is supposed to be there, however it is meant to be in balance with your friendly flora, which I will discuss below. Estrogen de-conjugation and re-circulation only happens in the gut when your flora is out of balance. In my case, my gut bacteria became very imbalanced due to many antibiotics taken over the course of my lifetime, which I never properly addressed until recent years, and due to constipation brought on by low thyroid function from very low carb and starvation dieting. Diets that are too high in meat and also in processed sugars can also cause this gut imbalance to occur. Food sources of calcium-d-glucarate include cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, and mustard greens. Legumes, squashes and melons, citrus and stone fruits are also food sources of calcium-d-glucarate.
- Taurine The amino acid taurine is one that most healthy, young people are able to synthesize in their own bodies, but when liver function is impaired, and as we age, it becomes harder for our bodies to make it on our own. It’s found predominantly in seafood and meats, so those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet may be having a harder time getting enough taurine as well. Taurine is especially helpful for preventing and treating liver diseases, including alcoholic fatty liver disease, NAFLD (non alcoholic fatty liver disease) and hepatitis. Taurine is also very helpful for copper utilization, as it assists with reducing copper toxicity. Additionally, taurine is noted to be very low for people with hypothyroid symptoms, obesity, diabetes, and metabolic disorders, and is demonstrated to be helpful for these conditions when supplemented exogenously. Taurine is provides sulfur to the liver, which is necessary for healthy detoxification function in the liver. For a very comprehensive write-up on the importance and benefits of taurine, read this article. Foods rich in taurine include shellfish, milk and dairy products like cheese and ice cream, dark meat from poultry, eggs, and brewer’s yeast.
- Trace Minerals Liver dysfunction causes impaired metabolism of trace minerals, which is why supplementation is important as your body is going through recovery and healing. Your liver, thyroid, kidneys, gut and other organs need the minerals, which include selenium which is crucial for thyroid function, but it can be hard to get trace minerals from your food if your digestion and liver function are poor. I chose Thorne Trace Minerals, as this blend does not contain copper or iron, which is important for my body as I’m working through the rebalancing of my copper and zinc levels. However, I do have trace minerals with copper on hand, in case I happen to go too far with copper detox, I can quickly get a little bit back into my system. I recommend taking trace minerals with copper, for most people, who do not have the issues I have been working to heal and correct. I’ve found Thorne to be a superior brand, as well as ionic minerals in fulvic acid. Trace minerals include manganese, zinc, selenium, chromium, molybdenum, boron, and vanadium. Copper and iron are also trace minerals included in other formulations you can use. Trace minerals are found in all whole foods – fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, fish, shellfish, poultry, etc. Processed foods that are fortified with vitamins and minerals are typically fortified with the fake, synthetic versions of vitamins and minerals that actually deplete your real vitamins and minerals and cause imbalances in the body. Processed foods are fine in emergencies – better than eating nothing at all, because at least your body is getting caloric fuel rather than starvation. Remember that processed foods have their place too, and if you are recovering from any kind of eating disorder, it’s important that you do not judge your food, but rather welcome it all, appreciate it, bless it, and never starve yourself again, even if that means learning to stop judging processed foods when there’s nothing else in sight to eat, and your body needs food. Again – it’s all about balance. Trace mineral supplementation is very helpful when you’re so sick from disordered eating that processed foods are all your body can handle because real, whole foods make you sick. Yes, that really happens – processed foods were an essential part of my own eating recovery.
- Vitamin C has been shown to protect the liver, prevent fatty buildup and cirrhosis, and can even flush fat out of the liver when high enough dosages are taken. When taken with vitamin E, it also protects the liver against oxidative damage. Vitamin C is water soluble, and your body simply excretes what it doesn’t use. It has been shown to be safe even in very high dosages, though it can give you upset stomach and diarrhea at very high dosages. It can flush out copper, and it can interact with certain medications, so speak with your doctor or do further research if you decide to reach for the high dose vitamin C. I do not personally use high dosages of vitamin C, simply because my body doesn’t ask for it. I don’t know why that is, when it seems like it would be so beneficial, but I’m trusting my body to tell me what it needs, and so far, that’s no more than one serving a day out of the bottle. Foods high in vitamin C include oranges and citrus fruits, papayas, strawberries, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, mustard greens. Fruit and vegetable juices, bell peppers, pineapples, kiwis, and kohlrabi also contain high vitamin C.
- Ox bile extract is a wonderful help for my digestion! I take it with every meal I eat that contains fat, as it helps tremendously with fat digestion, and that’s the only time my body asks for ox bile extract. Ability to digest fats and proteins properly is drastically reduced with chronic dieting, fasting and starvation. Impaired liver function means less of your own bile production, which means less of your own ability to properly break down fats. Ox bile keeps constipation away and is very helpful for my liver and gall bladder as well. Eliminating constipation is a really important part of detoxification, especially when you are detoxifying estrogen and copper, as the longer your waste stays in your intestine, the more time the beta glucuronidase has to de-conjugate the estrogen that the liver sent out for elimination and put it back into the bloodstream instead. Healthy digestion is key, and ox bile extract is tremendously helpful for that. It also assists with the assimilation of your necessary fat soluble vitamins that your liver and metabolic processes need to work right – the vitamins A, D, and K. Ox bile extract is another supplement that’s really a food. Alternatively, you could find bile from a cow and eat it like gravy on your meat, but I don’t think anybody really wants to do that.
- Vitamin A is a necessary component for thyroid hormone utilization. However, vitamin A can be toxic in large doses, and it can build up in the liver and become toxic over a long period of time, so it’s important to keep your dosages on the smaller side, and work on getting more vitamin A from your foods, as much as you can. The form of supplemental vitamin A that you take is also important, because of the potential problems with toxicity in your liver. Vitamin A supplementation, when done right, is actually very beneficial, and in some cases necessary, when you need your thyroid hormone production to work right. Remember also that low thyroid function is also toxic to your liver, and much more so than small doses of bioavailable vitamin A. Beta carotene is a form of vitamin A which should not be used supplementally, as it’s not exactly quite vitamin A yet – it has to be converted to usable vitamin A by your liver. Eating foods rich in beta carotene is a good idea – like carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes, but not to be overdone if you are hypothyroid. If you’re going to supplement with vitamin A, retinyl palmitate is the best option, as it’s usable by the liver, and keep the dosages on the smaller side (typically 10,000 IU and under) unless your doctor/healthcare practitioner is strictly guiding and monitoring your levels and progress. Remember – balance is the key. Important: Vitamins A and D need to be kept in balance. If you choose to supplement, it’s important not to supplement one without the other. If you supplement vitamin D without A, your vitamin A levels go down, and vice versa, when you supplement vitamin A without D, you become deficient in vitamin D. Always keep this in mind when choosing if and what to supplement. Vitamin K2 is also an important part of your vitamin balance, which is why I supplement vitamins A, D3 and K2 together.
- Vitamin D3 Ideally, we get enough from sunlight. But when we don’t live in an environment with a lot of sunshine, or between the months of October and May for folks in the northern hemisphere, or when we spend most of our time indoors and don’t get outside for at least 20-30 minutes of skin-exposed sunlight every day, and if we don’t eat a lot of vitamin D rich foods, like cod liver oil, raw milk, egg yolks, sardines, salmon, mackerel, caviar, mushrooms, tuna, herring, oysters, shrimp, beef liver, or cheese… well then supplementation is warranted. My body still asks for supplemental vitamin D, though it’s much less now than it used to be, and I’m down to 1000 IU per day supplementally of this wonderful pro-hormone we call vitamin D. Sufficient vitamin D is very important to anyone with impaired liver and thyroid function, as it helps to protect from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis – an autoimmune thyroid disease, and helps to protect the liver as well.
- Vitamin K2 is necessary for calcium metabolism. If you have high copper levels, you tend to develop what’s known as a “calcium shell.” A calcium shell is intimately associated with trauma, hypothyroid function and adrenal fatigue and is also tied to copper toxicity. When you have adequate levels of vitamin D and calcium, but low K2, you can easily get calcium buildup in your blood vessels, because vitamin K2 is necessary for transporting the calcium to where it belongs. Vitamin K2 is also liver protective and helpful for the brain and nervous system.
- L-Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea, and is very beneficial for the liver, for balancing brain chemistry, as well as fat and muscle, and is especially useful for regulating the sleep cycle. I started supplementing with l-theanine because I’m not the world’s biggest green tea fan, but I really needed help getting my sleep cycle regulated. Theanine, along with glycine (which you can find in bone broths, gelatin, fish, dairy, eggs and organ meats), are particularly helpful for getting into a relaxed state at night, falling asleep more easily, and staying asleep until it’s actually the right time to wake up. Additionally, l-theanine protects the liver against alcohol-induced toxicity. While I am not an alcohol drinker, myself, except on extremely rare occasions, acetaldehyde, which is a byproduct of alcohol metabolism, is also a byproduct of candida overgrowth. As people with hypothyroid function and low body temperature tend to have candida overgrowth and imbalance (because hypthyroidism – including cellular hypothyroidism and thyroid resistance with normal thyroid panel test results, gut and liver dysfunction are the physical root causes of candidiasis), this means that the liver is constantly having to detoxify acetaldehyde. L-theanine is helpful for this as it helps to boost the digestion of acetaldehyde. This is just another example, incidentally, of how starving your body (including regular extended fasting) is much more of a burden on your liver than feeding it nutritious food on a regular, day-to-day basis.
- Inositol is a very helpful supplement which helps the liver to metabolize fats and assists with bile production. Inositol can also help to reverse fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Inositol is also referred to as vitamin B8, as it is one of the B complex vitamins, though unrecognized officially as a B vitamin because our healthy gut can produce it on its own. I chose to supplement with inositol because, well, my unhealthy gut was not quite making the cut with inositol production. Inositol is important not only for bile production and the metabolism of fats in the liver, but also for cell growth in the bone marrow, eye membranes, intestines, and cell membranes in general. It’s a pretty big deal. You see it often paired with choline, because they work closely together, but as I was not prompted by my body to include choline in my supplementation (probably because I eat plenty of eggs, which are loaded with choline), I did not list it separately as a supplement in this post. Inositol rich foods include citrus fruits, leafy greens, brown rice, brewer’s yeast, cabbage, liver, unrefined molasses, nuts and whole grains.
- DIM, which stands for diindolylmethane is a phytochemical that is produced as cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are digested. DIM helps to metabolize estrogen and break down and remove excess estrogen from the body, which makes it helpful for copper and hormone balance in general, and a very helpful aid to the liver, at least in the short term, until a sick body is healthy enough to properly digest and process the foods that DIM comes from – broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussels sprout – the cruciferous vegetables, and copper / estrogen levels are balanced.
- Magnesium (magnesium glycinate, magnesium chloride lotion for transdermal application, magnesium sulfate – epsom salts – for transdermal application via baths) Magnesium deficiency is very common for anyone with hypothyroid function, regardless of whether the dysfunction exists at the thyroid gland, the pituitary, the hypothalamus or the liver. Copper toxicity is also very often seen with magnesium deficiency. As copper levels go up in response to stress, adrenals produce not only adrenaline, but also cortisol and aldosterone. When aldosterone levels rise, they cause the body to retain sodium and copper in the kidneys as a quick energy source. Aldosterone then causes the body to eliminate both zinc and magnesium. Poor diet, malnutrition, starvation, extended or chronic fasting, low blood sugar – these are all stresses on the body, which turn on the sympathetic nervous system’s fight-or-flight response and stays there until the stress is over. As zinc and magnesium have a calming effect on the nervous system, they are eliminated during times of high and chronic stress to make room for more of the stimulating minerals like copper. When your body is in chronic fight-or-flight, your blood is diverted from your internal organs, instead to your limbs and muscles to prepare for fight or flight. Your blood is diverted away from organ function, like food digestion food and liver function. This is why it’s so important to get yourself back into your parasympathetic nervous system, get out of fight-or-flight, and replace the calming minerals like zinc and magnesium, which are very necessary for cellular metabolism and liver function, just to name a couple of functions of these minerals. Magnesium isn’t particularly easy to assimilate through the digestive tract, which is why I choose to supplement not only with magnesium glycinate, but also magnesium lotion on my skin topically (and I love it, it smells wonderful!) and epsom salt baths. Food sources of magnesium include pumpkin seeds, spinach, swiss chard, sesame seeds, quinoa, black beans, cashews, sunflower seeds, navy beans, beet greens, summer squash, sweet corn, and almonds.
- Artichoke extract comes from the artichoke, of course! It’s extremely helpful for the liver’s bile production and discharge as well as for reversing fatty liver disease. Remember – what helps the liver helps the metabolism, thyroid function, copper balance and hormone balance in general.
- Full spectrum vitamin E I chose to supplement with full spectrum vitamin E to keep the right balance of tocotrienols and tocopherols, so as not to have an imbalance with vitamin E. The reason why vitamin E is an important supplement for me is because it is an estrogen antagonist, very similar to progesterone. It’s also anti-inflammatory, and as my CRP (C-Reactive Protein – inflammation) levels were elevated, I chose to add full spectrum vitamin E to my supplements. To learn more about how vitamin E helps to balance estrogen levels, check out the work of Ray Peat, PhD. Food sources of vitamin E include wheat germ, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, goose, salmon, avocado, rainbow trout, red bell pepper, mangoes, brazil nuts, turnip greens, kiwi fruits, lobster, and cod.
- N-Acetyl Cysteine is so helpful for liver protection that it’s recognized by the mainstream medical community as the standard “drug of choice” to treat acetaminophen overdose and toxicity. Not that I take acetaminophen, ever, for any reason, but that’s not why I chose to supplement with N-Acetyl Cysteine. I chose it because it is extremely protective to the liver, helps to reverse fatty liver disease, and can even be helpful in situations of liver failure. NAC is high in sulfur, which assists with the liver’s detox processes, and is also helpful for copper elimination symptoms. It’s also good for estrogen detoxification. Foods rich in N-Acetyl Cysteine include your cruciferous, sulfur containing vegetables like broccoli, also garlic, onions, pork, chicken, turkey, duck, cheese, yogurt, eggs, red pepper, and wheat germ.
- Biodentical progesterone is to zinc as estrogen is to copper. Did you know that progesterone is so important, that there are even receptors in your brain for it? I could write an entire book on progesterone alone, but for the sake of getting through this very, very long post that you know you’re going to have to come back to tomorrow and the next day and the next just to read it all, because it’s something like twenty THOUSAND words to read, or a trillion, or something like that, (for what it’s worth, it took me days to write all this) I will keep this brief and point you to the works of Ray Peat, Ph.D., William Wong, ND, Ph.D., Dr. Jack Kruse, and John Lee, MD for more extensive research on progesterone and how it relates to hormone balance, thyroid function, and copper balance. Progesterone isn’t found in foods, but it is produced in our own bodies, whether you are male or female. There are, however, food sources that help to boost progesterone production in the body, especially foods that contain vitamin B6. Progesterone boosting foods include oysters, shrimp, red meat, cashews, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, dark chocolate, leafy greens, coconut oil, and quinoa, just to name a few.
- Probiotics – specifically Pro-15 by Hyperbiotics and Saccharomyces Boulardii Getting your gut back in balance is a critical part of restoring hormone balance. As mentioned previously, certain bacteria in your gut produce beta glucuronidase – the enzyme that deconjugates estrogen once the liver has detoxified it and sent it out for excretion. Some beta glucuronidase is vital to carbohydrate breakdown and other healthy functions for digestion and metabolism, but when there is too much beta glucuronidase produced by too many of these lesser friendly bacteria, you end up with estrogen that never goes away and a tired liver. So balancing your flora is pretty important for estrogen (and therefore copper) balance. Pro-15 by Hyperbiotics is a great probiotic supplement that easily survives the stomach acid and gets into the gut where it can colonize the strains of flora that are so needed to balance out the environment. I also supplemented with Saccharomyces Boulardii, as I took some really strong antibiotics earlier in my life, including one which is DNA altering and gave me C. diff. My gut never quite fully recovered from that until recently because I didn’t know about Saccharomyces Boulardii then. Saccharomyces Boulardii may very well be the very best probiotic a person can take after they’ve taken antibiotics, because this is a species that can actually alleviate drug-induced gastrointestinal damage. It’s helpful also for liver function, metabolism, Crohn’s Disease, IBS, relieves inflammation, opposes and decreases candida overgrowth, suppresses colitis, opposes and reduces H. pylori infestation and infection, helps stomach and intestinal ulcers to heal, fights parasitic, fungal and bacterial infections, reduces E. coli numbers (remember E. coli is one of the beta glucuronidase culprits), boosts immune response, and the list goes on and on about how beneficial this probiotic really is. Keep in mind, as with all supplements, they are not meant to be taken indefinitely. Once your flora balance is restored, it’s best to only keep them on hand for occasional use, when your body asks for them, or after illness, diarrhea, or antibiotic use, and occasionally for times when they chlorinate the public water supply, if you drink that. Again – it’s all about the balance. At this point for me it’s quite rare for my body to ask me for probiotics. Food sources of probiotics include yogurt, kefir, and fermented foods like sauerkraut.
- Inulin powder is a prebiotic – a fiber which fosters a favorable environment for probiotics to thrive in. I chose to supplement with inulin powder from chicory root. It’s virtually flavorless, easy to add to my coffee, and provides a hint of sweetness. It’s not something my body wants every day either, but it’s definitely a great thing to have when my body does ask for it. Inulin helps to reduce constipation, which – as mentioned earlier – is really important because the more you’re constipated, the more time beta glucuronidase has to neutralize the estrogen that’s supposed to be excreted, so the estrogen gets reabsorbed back into the bloodstream through the intestinal walls to load your liver back up with more work. Estrogen also blocks your thyroid conversion pathways. Constipation is a big problem – especially for those with hypothyroid function, which inulin helps to alleviate. Inulin is considered to be food, and can be found in ground chicory root, bananas, plantains, garlic, leeks, onions, dandelion root, asparagus, and sprouted wheat.
- Hydrolyzed Collagen is considered to be a superfood. I supplement with it as a protein powder, which I add to my morning coffee and lunchtime smoothie. It’s essentially the same as bone broth, just in another form – flavorless, and easily dissolved in hot or cold liquids. It adds a solid 11 grams of anti-inflammatory, gut healing, liver loving protein to my coffee and smoothies. The benefits are the same as bone broth, which will be discussed next.
- Bone broth – another superfood. Another very critical part of my healing plan for my body. What makes bone broth so special? Bone broth is loaded with gelatine – glycine and proline – which are extremely beneficial for the liver’s detoxification processes. As your liver’s detoxification pathways need to be working properly in order to eliminate excess estrogen and bring copper levels back into proper balance, this is a pretty big reason to sip that bone broth. It’s also very healing for the gut, anti-inflammatory, and beneficial for the immune system, as it’s full of immune boosting minerals like bioavailable magnesium and calcium, phosphorous and potassium. Its nutritional content is good for bone health, connective tissue, gut lining, hair, skin, nails, eyeballs, and even helps to reduce the appearance of cellulite and soothe and relieve arthritic joint pain, due to its anti-inflammatory properties given the glycine and proline content. Because it is such a calming food, it helps to switch the nervous system out of the sympathetic fight-or-flight and into the calm, stable parasympathetic system, which helps to bring our whole body back into balance and health. It is indeed a true comfort food. As copper toxicity can have one stuck in fight-or-flight and unable to relax, bone broth is and has been, for me, a very soothing remedy.
- Grass-fed, organic meats, free range poultry, wild caught fish, shrimp and seafood have all been mentioned above, as being food sources high in the nutrients that the body needs for copper balancing and hormone balancing and liver function, such as zinc, magnesium, N-Acetyl Cysteine, vitamins all necessary for restoring balance in the body. As the body requires food more than supplement pills and powders for healing as well as homeostasis in general, I can’t stress enough the importance of these foods for wellness. They provide the micros and the macros. Fuel for your liver, fuel for your body. (The Delmonico steak from US Wellness Meats was, hands down, the best steak I ever had – try it!)
- Eggs – in particular, the yolks – are beneficial for your liver, hormones and copper balance because they are a highly nutritious food, high in zinc, as well as lecithin which converts to choline, and also choline, which is super helpful for clearing fat out of a fatty liver. Without choline, phosphatidylcholine can’t be produced, and phosphatidylcholine is an essential component of the very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) which is what moves fat out of the liver. They are extremely thyroid and metabolism friendly, and not a “high cholesterol food to be avoided,” as they were made out to be the bad guy back in the 80s and 90s.
- Cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts (wait, aren’t hypothyroid people supposed to avoid those like the plague? No, not when you’re hypothyroid because your liver doesn’t work right!) As mentioned numerous times above – the cruciferous vegetables are loaded with liver-loving sulfur! This greatly helps your liver’s detoxification processes, especially the sulfation phase in the liver’s detox pathway II, as long as the person’s liver isn’t malfunctioning somewhere in the conversion from sulfur to sulfate.
- Coconut oil is a medium-chain triglyceride – a certain kind of fat that is very helpful for your liver and thyroid function, as it can help to reduce the liver’s workload, and has been shown to help to reverse fatty liver as well, which, as you know, helps to manage and balance copper and estrogen levels, because the better your liver functions, the better your minerals and hormones are able to be balanced. Coconut oil can actually help to break down the fat stored in the liver, and it is also an energy source for your body – one that cannot be stored as fat in your body. As little as one tablespoon a day of coconut oil is enough to give you all these benefits. Coconut oil is a great friend to your metabolism. I add it to my morning coffee and lunchtime smoothie, as well as for making dressing for my carrot salad. For some reason, the AHA tells us that eating saturated fats like butter, fat from beef, and coconut oil is bad for us, while promoting the use of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs – like margarine and soybean oil), which are extremely unhealthy for us in the high doses that they promote. Why they have this inverted and upside-down view of what’s actually good for the human body’s liver, arteries and heart, I cannot say without diving down into conspiratorial territory. They have access to the same scientific studies that I do, that functional doctors do, that the whole healthy eating and exercise communities at large do. Maybe they just can’t admit that they were wrong and change their stand to that which matches the evidence, or maybe there really is some conspiracy underlying their refusal to face the facts. I really can’t say. The fact of the matter is that saturated fats are extremely good for us, always have been, and always will be. Our bodies – especially our livers – absolutely need saturated fats for hormone production, hormone balance, and mineral balance. There’s no getting around it. My personal experience with coconut oil has been nothing but excellent. Again, I must stress the point that balance is key, and that includes the types of fat that we take in. Our bodies need all of them – even PUFAs to a small degree – which we get from eating fish and poultry and refined processed foods, for anyone eating that. No need to switch out our necessary saturated fats for more PUFAs – all that does is damage our bodies and create more imbalance.
- Butter is one of the very best fats around – especially if it comes from organic, grass-fed cows. Butter from any source is loaded with butyric acid, which is extremely good for your gut and your metabolism. Butyric acid is used by the gut as an energy source. It is a short-chain fatty acid which reduces inflammation and even helps to restore the gut’s lining. It’s helpful even for conditions so severe as Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. It’s been associated in studies with leaner bodies, lower body weight, weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and better metabolic health in general. For more extensive information on the benefits of butyric acid, check out this post on selfhacked.com.
- Carrots are an important part of my estrogen detox because the carrot fiber actually stimulates healing of the intestinal wall while suppressing bacterial growth of the bacteria that are responsible for creating endotoxin, which de-conjugates estrogen and sends it back into the bloodstream. This is helpful for keeping your hormones balanced, as well as your copper and zinc levels in check.
- Orange juice is important because blood sugar balance is an integral part of liver health and having a healthy metabolism. After decades of starvation, extremely low carb dieting, and orthorexia, my liver lost its ability to store glycogen for a while. I suffered with plummeting blood sugar if I did not get something to eat every couple of hours or less. Orange juice, sipped slowly, is extremely helpful for healing during this phase, while your liver re-learns how to store glycogen. I would often nearly faint, experiencing syncope as my blood sugar plummeted and my blood pressure went so low I could barely stand up, much less walk down the hall. Orange juice – especially with a little salt – was incredibly helpful for me through this part of my recovery. It was also very instrumental in helping me to sleep, as I suffered with hypothyroid insomnia for a couple of years, waking up in the night when my blood sugar dropped too low, and the adrenaline and cortisol were dispatched to start the process of muscle and organ catabolism for the purpose of converting protein to glucose for my brain, while I slept, since my liver did not have enough stored glycogen to provide glucose to the brain during the sleeping hours. Sipping a little salted orange juice and keeping it handy throughout the long nights was critical for me. The salt in the orange juice suppressed the adrenaline, which gave me better sleep without waking up, and the fructose/sugar in the juice suppressed the cortisol. Rather than having my body eat its healthy muscle and organ tissue for glucose, I provided that to my body with the orange juice instead. It’s important for your liver to do its heavy processes during the hours of 1AM and 3AM, when we are ideally asleep. When you are waking up during these hours because of hypoglycemia, this puts extra strain on your liver. This means that your liver has a harder time detoxing things that shouldn’t be there, like excess copper and excess estrogen. I do not recommend gulping down orange juice like water, but rather sipping small amounts of it slowly and over time, and with food rather than without, if possible. A great way to have it is with salt, hydrolyzed collagen powder, and a little coconut oil mixed in. Absolutely wonderful.
- Himalayan Pink Salt is loaded with trace minerals, including magnesium. It helps to suppress adrenaline in the night so you sleep better. Salt is also very important for normalizing your blood pressure and retaining potassium, as when salt levels go down, so do potassium levels, as they need to be kept in balance. Both salt and potassium are very important for healthy metabolism. Salt was also helpful for me in raising not only my blood pressure, which meant I was able to start getting up from a seated position without blacking out, but also for warming up my body temperature. At my worst, my regular daily body temperature was a chilly 95.7 degrees. Adding salt to my morning coffee and my evening orange juice helped to raise my body temperature up to 98 degrees. I still have a little way to go, but I’m definitely much warmer now than I was.
- Coffee There’s a lot of controversy about coffee, whether it’s good for you or bad for you, whether it causes estrogen driven cancers or protects you from it… So many different points of view. For my part, coffee has been a beloved companion – but it wasn’t always so. Once upon a time, when I was starving myself, I drank a whole lot of coffee – about 6 cups a day between when I would wake up in the morning and about 3PM when I would stop drinking coffee for the day. That was a very bad situation for me because my blood sugar was all over the place. In that way, I made coffee very unhealthy for myself. But as it turns out, when you get back into balance with what you’re consuming, coffee is a very beneficial and healthful superfood. Coffee protects from thyroid disease, coffee protects from cancer and estrogen, and coffee protects from liver dysfunction. Studies also show that coffee drinkers tend to live longer than those who don’t drink it. And why shouldn’t we? At least for me, coffee gives me great joy and pleasure. I love it. The aroma connects me with my own joy and optimism and hope. In my book, that is never a bad thing.
- Onions and garlic are very helpful foods for your liver and thyroid. Both contain allicin, which is anti-inflammatory and liver-protective, even protecting against AFLD (alcoholic fatty liver disease). Garlic also contains selenium which is an essential trace mineral for thyroid hormone production and conversion. Additionally, onions and garlic are helpful for boosting the liver’s detox pathway II, while the quercetin that onions contain can also inhibit the liver’s detox pathway I. What this means is that when you suffer from allergies, environmental illness, and multiple chemical sensitivity, your liver’s detox pathway I is overactive, while pathway II is underactive. You have a sluggish methylation (or sulfation/glucuronidation/acetylation/conjugation) process. This is responsible for allergies and chemical sensitivities. Eating onions and garlic can help to balance out your liver’s detox pathways, which as you know now, means your liver is better able to detoxify the excess estrogens and copper.
Quantum, Spiritual Support for Your Copper and Estrogen Balance and Healing – Emotional Root Causes
This really deserves an entire series of posts just for this subject alone, but I will briefly cover what is, to me, the most common and important emotional root cause behind high estrogen and copper, because addressing this from a physical perspective without addressing the mind and Spirit connection just keeps you in a perpetual loop of imbalance. There is always an emotional root cause that is behind one’s susceptibility to copper and hormone imbalances. Everything I wrote above covers the physical support I personally needed just to get my mind to the right place to connect more fully with Spirit in order to get to the real root cause of it all. Remember: just as your mind affects your body, so too does your body affect your mind. It’s important to address the physical and the emotional to experience complete healing.
First and foremost, estrogen dominance is correlated with excessive people pleasing and codependency. Being unable to fully love, accept, respect and have genuine compassion for yourself is an actual rejection of your Divine Feminine aspect, whether you are living out this life as a woman or a man. Codependency, in this context, is not limited to empaths, codependents, enablers and victims, but also includes the narcissists, abusers, addicted, and victimizers. Why? Because they are codependent too. Codependency is about self hatred and self rejection – a complete lack of unconditional self Love. Narcissists/abusers/victimizers put on a good show of appearing to love themselves, but the truth of the matter is that they truly hate themselves beyond the shallow facade of false self love. Any person who can abuse another does not truly love him/herself. The victimizer is codependent to the victim – s/he needs the victim as an energy source to drain because s/he cannot connect with his/her own energy. Without the victim, the victimizer cannot feel good about him/herself because this person has no love for him/herself. In this way, both victim and victimizer are crying out for Love at a very deep level.
The core belief behind codependency and excessive people pleasing is “I’m not enough.” The “I’m not enough” belief is tied to the emotion of worthless/unworthy, which is a form of shame. It is an inherent shame in yourself as a human being – the belief that there is something inherently wrong with you. The emotions of worthless/unworthy and shame are held in your sacral and root chakras, and get stored in your reproductive organs – your ovaries and uterus as a woman, your testes and prostate as a man. Self-hatred gets stored in your liver, governed by your solar plexus chakra, along with unresolved anger over abuses and traumas in your past, and self-rejection gets stored in your thyroid, as governed your throat chakra. These stored emotions create energy blockages not only in the energy centers which govern your organs and meridians through which the vital energy flows, but also form as a ‘wall” around your Heart center. These block the flow of Love/Heart/Spirit energy through these parts of your subtle energy bodies. The physical parallel to this shows up as hormone imbalance, vitamin and mineral malabsorption, and as the body perceives itself as being rejected, it is looking for Love. Copper is the Love mineral; estrogen is considered to be a Love hormone. Excess estrogen and copper are produced to compensate for self rejection – the inherent lack of self Love.
Until we become conscious of this within ourselves, we look to others for Love, overcompensating in every way so as to receive Love from others. We become addicted to people pleasing at our own expense. All the while, our bodies are producing more copper and estrogen to receive the feelings of Love and unconditional acceptance. But it’s false – it’s not True Love and unconditional acceptance until we give that to ourselves. As long as we are rejecting ourselves or our bodies, we keep unconsciously sabotaging ourselves in such ways as chronic starvation, dieting, poor eating habits in general, thrill seeking, giving too much concern to what other people think of us, excessive people pleasing, living out patterns of not being good enough, not being recognized and valued, picking partners, friends, and bosses who are narcissistic abusers, and all sorts of other ways to keep our cortisol and adrenaline levels pumping on overdrive, stress levels through the roof – all ways that keep our bodies raising the estrogen and copper levels.
The “I’m not enough” program, along with unworthiness/worthlessness/shame can begin in early childhood, from something as big as abuse, to something as little as a parent kidding around asking you “what’s wrong with you!?” when you were acting silly and having fun expressing your joyful inner child. The inference that something is wrong with you sticks, and that it’s somehow wrong to express your joyful inner child self, because when you are a child, until you are about 2 years old, your brain is predominantly in Delta brainwaves, after which your brain is in Theta brainwaves until you are about 7 or 8 years old, at which time your brain moves into Alpha brainwaves until about the time you start to hit puberty and develop Beta brainwaves. What this means is that, as a child, your subconscious mind is recording every single thing that is said, and as your parents are your authority figures and teachers, you believe every word they say and take on beliefs about yourself based on the things your parents said to you. This goes also for teachers, other kids at school, television, religious “authorities”, and societal “authorities” in general. This creates the neural pathways in your brain – your filtering system – that shapes the life you live for the rest of your life – your worldview and the way you see yourself, until you become consciously aware of these patterns and beliefs, and choose to let them go.
The “I’m not enough” unworthy/worthless/shame paradigm is one that permeates humanity as part of the victim/victimizer enslavement program that humanity is here to break free from during this Ascension process. As your body is your communicator, when you have hormone and copper imbalance, this is your body telling you that you are stuck in this paradigm, and that it’s time to love and value yourself as a Divine Human Being – a piece of God/Source/Spirit that is sovereign and free from having to live this pattern over and over again, free from self hatred and rejection, free to live and create the joyful lives we deserve, free to express our Divine inner Self. It’s that important.
What I find that so many people struggle with – and I did too! – was understanding HOW to Love yourself. How do you Love yourself unconditionally? What if you were so traumatized, or so abused in your life that you never learned how because nobody ever taught you what it felt like to be unconditionally Loved or accepted for who you are? What if you weren’t even allowed to have a self, much less express your self or Love yourself? How do you get out of self judgment and learn to be your own best friend? How is it possible to accept yourself when your parents or society or someone else abused you and told you in so many ways that you weren’t enough? How do you forgive yourself for the self rejection and abandonment you put yourself through in the past? That’s why I started coaching. If you resonate with any of this, and if you would like for me to guide you through learning how to unconditionally Love, accept, respect, honor, forgive, and have compassion for yourself, please get in touch with me. I would love to hear from you!
Recommended Reading on Copper Balance, Hormone Balance, Metabolic Healing and Self Love
Programs I Love for Metabolic Healing, Copper Balancing and Hormone Balancing
Supplements that Assist with Metabolic Healing, Hormone and Copper Balancing
Congratulate yourself – you have just finished reading the longest post on the whole internet! Just kidding. There are longer ones out there, I know, I’ve read them! And you’ve learned something invaluable to your own health, or that of someone you love. I hope that you have enjoyed my hormone imbalance series and check back, as I will be keeping my readers updated on my own personal progress throughout my healing journey. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading what I’ve shared with you. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have, and I’ll do my best to answer your questions and point you in the right direction if I don’t know the answers myself. Namaste! Bless You.
This is an AMAZING article. Thank you so much for your depth, insight, and wisdom from your personal journey! I completely understand everything you’re saying and have, too, suffered from being a coach without a way to “out-think” my negativity. I, too, suffered abuse. I, too, have suffered from a lack of Self-Love in periods of my life. I too became an energy healer. I fully understand the mindbody connection and how important it is to balance both in relation to the other for full, optimal health. So much is missing from our modern-day healthcare system; it’s really unfathomable how many people are suffering with no hope from their PCP. I had an HTMA test a few months ago before reading this article and found imbalances all over the place. I didn’t give time and attention to the imbalances that they deserved, but after reading this, I’m now on the road to recovery. Your post is so helpful and so well-thought. Thank you for taking the time to outline this information – invaluable!
Peggy, thank you so much for sharing and expressing here. You actually made me cry – and I’m not quite so prone to crying anymore since I’ve gotten my copper levels down, lol. 🙂 Thank you. It means so much to me to hear from you. I’m so grateful to know that this is helpful for you! Bless You!
WoW you captured absolutely everything that happened to me over 6 years!
I feel like someone understands me without having to say a word. That alone, gives me the greatest feeling inside me so thank you so much.
Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to drop me a note here. I’m so sorry for what you must have been through the last six years! It’s a difficult journey, for sure. I’m also so pleased to hear that you feel understood and that it gives you a wonderful feeling inside, and I’m grateful and honored that I can help. Bless You!
Peggy. I have just been diagnosed with a zinc and b6 deficiency and copper overload, without doing any test.. and after the first week of supplement I am still experiencing what they called copper dummies. Did it happen to any of you. My anxiety is bad and I have palpitation and shaking. The doc lower the dose but I still feel weird. For how long does this last? thbaks for your response on this
This is a very informative and educational article on copper, estrogen, and zinc hormone imbalance and its implications to our health. Thank you for sharing this guide and I will definitely learn from this.
Thank you so much Enrique. I’m so pleased that this is helpful information for you. Thank you for taking the time to comment and say so. Enjoy your day!
I have learned so much in here. Amazing. Thanks.
Cool read it is. More power to articles like this one.
Nice content! I so learned a lot from this article! Thank you so much for posting!
Thankyou so much for this! I’m struggeling with acne for almost a year now and this has helped me so much. When i stopped taking the birth control pill in december my acne cleared up. Three months later i decided to get an IUD copper as birthcontrol. I have removed it almost two weeks ago since my acne came back. I’m taking zinc piconolate 50 mg now daily together with vitamin b5 and vitamin A. I was really doubting to also take DIM because i was not sure if i had high esterogen levels, but thanks to your information i’m pretty sure that i have. So i will take DIM aswell! I really hope that my acne will clear up again.
Wow this is such an extensive article, I’m amazed by all the knowledge you have acquired. I have a very very similar story as you are describing. I’m actually on bioidentical progesterone as we speak. I also overlooked zinc it just didnt seem that important to me. Then I read that zinc helps against intestinal permeability and I started to look into it more. Just yesterday I came across an article that mentioned the b6 and zinc deficiency disease. I actually had issues with too much alchohol consumption in the past and I have a lot of the symptoms associated with it, it all just seems to make sense now. Anyway I will add the active b6 and zinc that you mentioned and see what happens. I’m really excited I found your website. Thankyou for sharing this important journey you took. You worded it very well I learned some new things I can use in my path to health.
I am shocked at the myriad of connections that you have been able to make. Your ability seems to be beyond what mainstream doctors are willing to investigate even when you spoon feed them peer- reviewed scientific studies. The interesting thing is I am male and have been having so many of the symptoms discussed. My Estradiol has recently be found to be incredibly high and testosterone supper low partly due to DHEA suppression from life-long overproduction of norepinephrine that has taxed by mind and body with stress and created rapid and extreme cortisol spikes. Adrenal Fatigue leads to lowering cortisol and DHEA. I understand the monoamine pathways and have focused on catecholamine pathways extensively. I know copper is an important key due to it being a cofactor in the breakdown of serotonin and conversion of dopamine into norepinephrine via DBH. I am also not producing PEA which most people don’t realize the significance of. I have discovered that amphetamines (synthetic) work exactly the way phenyl-ethylamine
(PEA) works when people are able to produce it naturally. They both bind to the TARR enzyme in the same exact way enabling both to act as a dopamine reuptake inhibitors in the synapses.
My zinc levels were at the bottom of the reference range and copper was shopping low also. I believe these were plasma levels. I believe using plasma levels to reveal buildup of copper in the brain due to the super high estrogen is not very useful. Vitamin D was quite low. Vitamin D and DHEA supplementation has relatively quickly brought up my testosterone levels and lowered estradiol levels into normal ranges, yet I struggle and meds seem less effective now. I am trying to research the mechanisms of estrogen and copper interaction and build up in the brain. Alzheimer’s is linked to copper binding in synapses of the brain and runs in my family. It would boggle your mind with all my symptoms that match up to your experience. Thins includes crying, to severe ADHD, to trouble thinking and memory issues, severe anxiety, OCD. Even relationship problems that you described and episodic depression fit. I will look in to the test you mentioned as I think plasma levels of Cu are not a good measure. I do supplement with Zinc and want to evaluate the ratio you mentioned.
My research began with the revelation that I am C677T homozygous for the gene. This drove me to start studying and looking at my methylation cycle. My M-cycle has issues but I am waiting on 2nd Lab results from Baylor Institute of Metabolic Diseases to Evaluate my elevated SAM and high SAH levels with normal methionine levels. My Homocysteine that has recently come down nicely. Low-dose methylated Cobalamin and B vitamins might have contributed to some of that. I will hopefully gain some more insight soon. I would get into all of my genetic research but that is too much for this forum as it easy to get overwhelmed.
If you can give me any insight on relevant copper testing and mechanisms moving copper to the brain as well as bound and unbound buildup in brain tissue, I would be greatly indebted to you.
I am also very interested in your background to understand your ability to analyze all aspects discussed and their interconnectedness. Thanks a bunch for allowing me this moment in which I do not “feel” crazy. Running into so many professionals that don’t have enough understanding or willingness to spend the time needed to understand these biological processes and the interconnectedness of them. Thanks a bunch.
Wow, thank you so much for sharing that. Your knowledge and understanding is tremendous. I’m going to skip down to the part where you gave credit to the B vitamins and tell you I agree 100% that the Bs helped to bring down the homocysteine levels. A good thing to research is the correlation between MTHFR issues and B2 (riboflavin) deficiency. Excess estrogen and the metabolism of it in the liver and gut are also very much affected by inadequate dietary intake of the B vitamins. They need to be replenished daily, and if we’re not eating enough or can’t absorb them correctly, we have all sorts of problems – high homocysteine being only one of them. Alzheimer’s/dementia are also correlated with B3 deficiencies, so keep appreciating that B complex! Again, thank you so much for taking the time to share this. Sending you love and blessings.