How can I be copper toxic when my test shows that I’m low in copper?
Sometimes, a patient may present with almost all of the symptoms of copper toxicity:
—yet their first hair test shows that they actually have a low level of copper.
When I tell this patient that we may still be looking at a case of copper toxicity, they often ask why?
Well, this low copper is often paired with a low Na/K stress ratio (lower than the ideal of 2.5) and low adrenal ratio Na/Mg (lower than the ideal of 4.2), meaning that the adrenals are tanked.
Once I have this patient start on a nutritional balancing program that supports the adrenals, the next test will often reveal a hidden copper toxicity shown by a now elevated copper level.
This reading would be what Dr. Rick Malter refers to this as “latent” copper toxicity because the elevated copper is not immediately present in the first test but is likely to appear in a second or third test.
This is due to the fact that when proper nutrition is given to the adrenals, ceruloplasmin (copper-carrying protein) production increases in the liver.
The ceruloplasmin then binds to copper, making it bioavailable.
Only when the copper binds to ceruloplasmin can it become bioavailable and used for the important functions of copper i.e. energy production in the Krebs cycle, killing off yeast, and fertility/maintaining pregnancy.
Otherwise, when the copper doesn’t bind to ceruloplasmin, it becomes biounavailable and begins to store in the soft tissues of the body.
Remember, copper is vital to your health when bio-available.
It is the buildup of bio–unavailable copper hiding in tissues of the body that then cause the classic copper toxic symptoms and wreak havoc on the adrenals.
So even if you have a high level of copper appear on a test, this actually means that you are deficient in copper.
To visualize this better, I’ll use an example from Dr. Rick Malter Ph.D. who compares copper toxicity to being stranded in the ocean: