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Morley Robbins on Copper Deficiency and Mineral Balance

Morley Robbins on Copper Deficiency and Mineral Balance
how human neurochemistry works

I had the pleasure of speaking with Morley Robbins. Morley is a recovering hospital executive who has become a wellness coach. He has spent the last decade retooling himself and becoming a self-taught mineral expert. Read on to learn about the relationships between magnesium and stress, how iron and copper go hand in hand, the best places to get Vitamin C for your immune support, why you don’t need a high amount of iron in your diet, and ways you can keep iron in check. 

Minerals: Magnesium, Copper, and Iron 

Minerals are VERY important for the function of the body. There are about 9,000 enzymes and they all work just like the cars we drive. So, if there are 9,000 enzymes there are a lot of minerals, right? No, there are only a handful. The key question is when is the last time you drove the car without a key?

It’s very hard to do that. It's also hard to believe that 1 mineral, magnesium, has sway over 42% of our enzymes. When we are under stress, we lose minerals very fast. Excessive coffee consumption is a great way to deplete your body of minerals as well. If you know that, then you know to replace those minerals, but most people don’t know this. I am someone who believes that people deserve to learn how to gain health freedom so they can get medical independence. 

After hearing this, I thought that if you gave people magnesium then they would perk up like a plant, but it doesn’t work like that. My continued research led me to copper, it’s both usable and unusable. This then led me to iron. I specialized in how stress caused magnesium loss. We all have varying levels of magnesium burn rate depending on our stress level. I was reading an article by an iron researcher and in the opening passage of the article he said: “the greatest stress in the human body is iron stress.” So, what is iron, what composition does it have in our body, and what does it do with oxygen?

Understanding the dynamics of oxygen in the human body, there are only two metals that work with oxygen: iron, and copper. Iron is weighted and it carries oxygen, for the mitochondria. We know what waiters are, but every good restaurant has a chef, and what does the chef do? Activates food to be experienced. We want to know what the chef has up its sleeve and who is the chef in the mitochondria? It’s copper. Copper at complex 4 (the terminal destination for electrons that get attached to oxygen that then become water) is the make-or-break enzyme to turn oxygen into 2 molecules of water. And when this happens…

There are 3 precursor energy molecules called ATP>> they go to complex 5, which is a rotor called ATP synthase where the gear heads are. That motor is spinning at 9 thousand rotations per minute and every time it goes around in a cycle, it can complete 3 magnesium hyphen ATP. Every minute we are making 27,000 ATP.

Every beat of our heart requires a billion ATP. If we don't have enough bioavailable copper and we have too much iron, we don't make enough energy. Everyone can relate to feeling fatigue and feeling like they can’t get through the day. Mitochondrial dysfunction comes from iron toxic bodies. Most people think they are anemic and what does that word really mean? “Not in the blood” (iron is not in the blood, it’s in the tissue).

There is a sophisticated iron recycling system in our body. The average male has about 5,000 milligrams of iron and the average female has 4,000 milligrams. That is supporting 25 trillion red blood cells in our body. Every 24 hours, the body loses about 1% of its red blood cells which means 250 billion red blood cells have to be replaced every 24 hours. It only takes 25 milligrams of iron to support that. AND 24 milligrams of that iron come from the recycling system (the reticuloendothelial system). Overall, we need 1 milligram of iron each day and the dietary standard is 26 milligrams a day.

I had a client from Australia that was taking 350 milligrams a day at her doctor's direction. The body doesn’t need the level of iron as long as there is bioavailable copper to allow the iron to get out of the recycling “pac men” that gobble up the dying red blood cells. The doorman that releases that iron is called copper. It allows the iron to hook onto transferrin, which is a transport protein, which takes it back to the bone marrow where the nurse cells hatch the next day's red blood cells. So many people are told they are anemic for the wrong reasons. There are a few ways to measure iron status in the body:

  1. Hemoglobin- Iron carrying the oxygen (there are a lot of them in our body)
  2. Serum iron- The iron that shows up as a result of this recycling program. The amount of serum iron for a woman should be 100 micrograms per deciliter and for a man 120 micrograms per deciliter. Think of that number as miles per gallon. Conventional medicine loves to talk about ranges, but there is a specific number that we need to follow not a range.

Copper is regulating the amount of iron in the body. There are 94 minerals in the ocean and there are 18 essential minerals. Within the 18 there is a hierarchy. We have to have clarity that the minerals that are working with oxygen are extremely important (copper and iron) and magnesium has a relationship with oxygen but not in a reactive sense. When magnesium is not present, the chance for oxidative stress rises. Copper and iron have a very supreme role in moving oxygen and activating oxygen. Copper is the only metal on the planet that can activate oxygen and turn it into water.

A lot of people are familiar with antioxidants (Vitamin A, C, E). There are antioxidant enzymes that play an extremely important role in maintaining a degree of regulation of the oxidative stress in the body. When we have reactive oxygen species, this is where the oxidized stress comes from, oxygen is being turned into oxidants. They are powered by bioavailable copper. Copper is activating oxygen to make energy and its deactivating oxidants to lower exhaust. If the reactive oxygen species start to build, and we don't have a rise in the enzymes, the production exceeds the elimination. If that production rises higher it's called inflammation.

Inflammation is stage 2 of oxidative stress and stage 3 is cell death. That hierarchy of oxidative stress was studied by 2 world-renown iron biologists in England, Gutteridge, and Halliwell. Once you understand there is a hierarchy, you start to appreciate these enzymes. And to make more of these enzymes you need more bioavailable copper.

Reactive oxygen species play a function, but these enzymes are balancing it out at a healthy level. The mitochondria are the source of 90% of the energy and 90% of the exhaust. They produce a great number of oxidants in a healthy cell and healthy mitochondria. They keep things in balance as long as the minerals are being sustained. The minute you go under stress, you know when your stomach knots up, that is when we start to lose minerals at a significant rate. 

I don’t believe in medical disease; I believe in stress-induced mineral dysregulation that creates metabolic dysfunction. And then that becomes symptoms like headaches, joint aches, and we take those symptoms to the doctor’s office and the doctor looks it up in the manual and says you have XYZ syndrome. Once you understand redox chemistry and understand copper and iron and that accidents do happen there is no disease, there is metabolic dysfunction.

metabolic dysfunction

Why Do You Think The Body Consumes So Much Magnesium When It’s Stressed? 

There are enzymes called kinase enzymes and they are reacting to oxidative stress. They are poised with phosphate groups. When the group gets activated by some stressor, the kinase enzyme changes its structure, and magnesium is lost in that transaction. Phosphate is given off as a source of energy to respond to that stress. We have a central nervous system and an autonomic nervous system, that autonomic system is ruled by electrolytes 

We have a sympathetic and a parasympathetic nervous system. As a species, we are designed to be 90% parasympathetic (RELAXED) and that is not modern society. We are 90% sympathetic. How do you turn the sympathetic nervous system on? You have to have calcium. Then to turn it off you have to have magnesium. How do you turn on parasympathetic? Potassium and then sodium will stop potassium. 

Most people eat a very calcium-rich and a sodium-rich diet. They have this dominant sympathetic system where the parasympathetic is blocked. We don’t take the time to relax, allowing the food to digest. The reason why magnesium is so important is that it has a relationship with the other electrolytes. 3 hormones regulate calcium levels: 



-Hormone D = Vitamin D (oldest hormone on the planet) 

These hormones regulate calcium levels and respond to magnesium status. And if the magnesium isn’t right then the calcium isn't right. If their calcium level shows high or low in their blood work, it’s a sign that there is not enough magnesium. Magnesium has sway over sodium and influences potassium. It has a magical position as it relates to managing the autonomic nervous system and that's why it's so important to manage stress in general.  

-Stress Management so we aren’t depleting magnesium

-And have enough magnesium through your diet or supplement. 

The best definition of stress by Mark Hyman is “The body's inability to make energy for the mind to perceive its environment.” It connects the body, mind, and energy. If we aren't able to make energy, we get stressed out. If there is too much iron in our mitochondria, we can't make energy. The impact could be 20% loss of energy up to 96% loss of energy. The iron that's being added to the food system (paper written back in 1941) is iron filings, this goes right to the mitochondria. The mitochondria are the terminal destination for oxygen and iron. 

If the mitochondria can't manage both of them, then that is the origin of metabolic dysfunction. When the pH level is at 7 you have optimal energy production. If you come off it on either side of acid or base, the energy production goes down, the frequency of the cell goes down, there goes the electric fence keeping the pathogens out. This is the work of Jerry Tennant “Healing is voltage” if we can't make optimal energy, we can't have optimal health and it requires minerals.  

Whenever you are producing energy, there is going to be an energy to that vibration. There is going to be a hum and if there is a minor change in that vibration in our tissue, pathogens wake up. There are different vibrations for every level of pH.

What Is the Problem With Too Much Iron? 

It will get stuck in the recycling macrophages and 80% of the macrophages are in our liver. They start in circulation and are called monocytes; they take up resistance in tissue and then they are called macrophages. They have awareness in their environment, and they are the first responders to infection. They respond to inflammation and can go from M1 function (inflammatory response) they can flip to M2 response (wound repair). When you understand the chemistry of both of these, they are completely different. Only intelligent cells can manage that. AND they depend on copper for their work.  

When iron gets stuck, it creates oxidized stress. When we are in complex 4 of mitochondria, we are turning oxygen into water. It's a 2-step process: 

  1. The first step turns oxygen into hydrogen peroxide from O2 to H2O2
  2. The second step is to turn H2O2 into 2 molecules of water. We have 4 hydrogens and 2 oxygens.

If that mitochondria can’t complete the cycle, it will produce too much hydrogen peroxide and that's called inflammation. Hydrogen peroxide is synonymous with inflammation and hypoxia (lack of available molecular oxygen). If it keeps turning into hydrogen peroxide because the cycle is stuck >> that is inflammation. 

Ways we create hydrogen peroxide:

  • Ascorbic acid
  • Vitamin D supplements
  • Sugar 

They are so destructive in our daily diet. Those are common food additives and supplements. AND hydrogen peroxide is one of the most popular antibiotic agents used in the food industry. If the body is under inflammation producing all of this hydrogen peroxide, that is killing off microbes in the gut as well. If your body is spitting out these antimicrobial agents, it's going to knock out a lot of bacteria in the gut. - Kriben Govender 

We live on a planet that has been around for billions of years. The earth had no oxygen when it started. And then mysteriously, phytoplankton in the ocean started creating oxygen. It's called the great oxygen event. When this happened, 2.45 billion years ago, 99% of life disappeared because it was anaerobic living on iron. Iron was the source of electrons and when that did happen, 3 things emerged simultaneously: 

  1. Copper- had to work with oxygen
  2. The Enzyme family is called multicopper oxidases. These are the class of enzymes that turn oxygen into water. Complex 4 in our mitochondria is part of that class of enzymes
  3. Cholesterol. It takes 11 molecules of oxygen to make 1 molecule of cholesterol 

In our gut, there are over 1000 different bacteria that express multicopper oxidases. They turn oxygen into water and allow our gut flora to work properly. That is an important part of our digestive system. All these bacteria express this critical enzyme to give us energy.  

Jim Al-Khalili in the quantum biology field hypothesizes that enzymes are the precursors of life. -Kriben Govender 

I am trying to bring people back to the very essence of what it is like to have life on this planet. If we can't properly manage oxygen, then we have a problem. We need to be able to activate or deactivate it. What happens with hydrogen peroxide is that it is a very long-lasting oxidant that can go anywhere in the body it wants to go and across any membrane. When it comes in contact with iron, we have an explosion. And then what gets created is the hydroxyl radical. Which is a Oh group, and it's the most destructive biomolecule on the planet. It only happens when you have iron and hydrogen peroxide together. It causes: 

Damage to DNA

Proteins to be changed

The defect of function in the cells

copper and brain health

Why Don’t We Have Enough Copper to Keep Iron in Check? 

Farming practices have gotten in the way with the introduction of roundup and GMO practices. Something I learned from Stephanie Seneff, is that round up will chelate copper down to a pH of 1 and our stomach acid is 2. So that means that the round-up can take copper out of any living organism without any resistance. It is taking copper out of the plants, animals, soil, and humans. It's becoming a threat to our survival. There was a group of scientists that discovered the Ceruloplasmin protein in 1948 and they talked about how ascorbic acid is very destructive to this copper protein. The difficulty we are going to have is that most people have never heard of this protein and don't know how important it is. It is the biggest protein in the human body and has 8 copper groups inside of it.  

There are over 25 different functions that this protein can express. One gene produces 1 protein, but it can do 25 different things. Most of them prevent iron oxidative stress. Ascorbic acid, sugar, antibiotics, and birth control bills are a major destroyer of ceruloplasmin. Then you have unbound copper which is “toxic” to as purported by most medical professionals. In reality, is not toxic, it is just unbound and it can be REBOUND.  

Are we are anemic and copper toxic? There is a whole class of actions that practitioners recommend. Coffee enemas, ascorbic acid because it will block the absorption of copper, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. They are trying to have you get rid of this unbound copper and it is destructive to our metabolism because then we are faced with oxygen that can't be activated. 

Copper has been demonized; it has been processed out of foods. That is why they have refined wheat because it gets rid of minerals and vitamin E. And then we have high fructose corn syrup which blocks a key import protein in our gut called CTR1. This shuts it down so copper can't get in the body. If it can't get in the body or the gut, you are going to have issues. All we need to have is 90mg of copper! For every copper atom, there are 60 atoms of iron that need to be regulated, that is how intelligent copper is.  

Vitamin C vs Ascorbic Acid 

Ascorbic acid is one of the most common food additives on the planet. If you look at anything that needs an antioxidant it's usually ascorbic acid. And then people say you need more vitamin c for your immune system. The confusion goes back to the 1930s when Albert von Szent-Györgyi Nagyrápolt won the Nobel peace prize. He was studying hyaluronic acids which are involved in wound repair. Then he started studying hexanoic acid. and he received the Nobel prize for hexanoic acid which is another word for ascorbic acid. So, we have whole food Vitamin C and then Ascorbic acid. 

In terms of a car: the whole C complex is like your car, it has an engine, steering wheel, 4 wheels, and a shell covering. Ascorbic acid is the shell of the car with no moving parts. One company makes 90% of all ascorbic acid from GMO corn; you may not be so excited to use it!  

There are sources of vitamin C complexes that you can have. The best are from Kakadu plum and Camu Camu. Stay away from ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbate because they are derivatives of each other.  

That engine inside of that vitamin C complex is an enzyme called tyrosinase. It is a 3-sided pyramid with copper at all points. That vitamin C complex is delivering copper to the body. It is important in its natural and intended state. This is why you should use food sources of Vitamin C! This is a parallel universe of natural healing that conflicts with what people think is conventional. 

One Thing We Can Do to Improve your Gut Health?  

Go back to the basics and use an ancestral diet. A lot of people that have gut issues also have an unresolved emotional issue that they haven't dealt with and there's something they can't stomach. Every physical dynamic in our body starts with unresolved emotional issues. Eat real food, and deal with your emotional issues that are the start of the dysregulation in your gut. At the base of everything EFT, emotion code, and they are proven modalities that can help you bring that dynamic under control. If you have anxiety and gut dysbiosis then you have too much iron and not enough copper.  

Remember to get your vitamin C from real food, consume magnesium and copper when stressed, and limit the amount of iron you are taking and make sure you have enough bioavailable copper. If you have any questions about this information you can call Morley at 01-847-922-8061. Share this article with a friend that could benefit from this information!

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5 thoughts on “Morley Robbins on Copper Deficiency and Mineral Balance

  1. avatar lina says:

    hi, i did blood test and result was my platlets are low and my iron is 13, doctor recommend to take iron supplement. i have watched you video about not taking iron supplemt istead take magnesium and copper. please i need you help any magnesium and copper supplement ok to take? and what time should i take them also do i need to take vitamin c aswell?

  2. avatar Lewys Aungle says:

    So, can you please detail the type of foods that a person on a plant based diet can eat that help to heal the gut? I have had chronic gut issues and sluggishness for many years and am 42. Copper sources? I’m told that I have low iron and it is unfortunate that medical science takes a long time to actuate upon research findings that will help others to be healthy. I am a transgender man and find a bit more energy from testosterone (Reandron) and stuff such as real chocolate. No sugar added or anything else.

  3. avatar John C Paterson says:

    A very interesting read.

    I am heterozygous for the gene ATP7B, ATPase copper transporting beta (rs772383075) which is quite rare and of uncertain clinical significance. It is an inframe deletion (DEL chr13:51957569 GAGA→G) and there are also many other variants in ATP7B which can affect copper transportation in our bodies.

    Given that the genomic approach has revolutionized the biomedical sciences, do you think that full genome sequencing would help us to understand our individual variation with respect to this very important factor?

  4. avatar karina Maher says:

    Thank you for your enlightening article.
    So if I’m taking Magnesium and copper as a supplement, what are the best forms, please and what are there names. And if I’m to take real vitamin C what is the name of this supplement? what is Camu Camu, and where do I get Kakadu Plum ??
    Getting this all from food is an exercise in futility nowadays. I do buy organically when I can and when I can afford it.
    thanks again
    Karina Maher

  5. avatar Julie says:

    Thank you I’ve found this very informative.

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