Morley Robbins is back on the blog for a highly requested part two! The first conversation was a lot about copper, iron, and minerals. And this one is a lot more practical! Read on to learn about why copper toxicity is deeper than what doctors are telling us, the chemicals that impact copper, why copper and iron need each other to work properly, vitamin D, C, and zinc’s impact on copper, and all about ceruloplasmin and how to boost it in your body!
A Recap of The Last Interview
You can read the blog on that interview here! I was introduced to minerals 12 years ago when I hurt my shoulder. My wife commented about the “innate healer “and I didn't know what it was. So I started researching and landed on magnesium first. What I discovered is that every condition on the planet correlates with magnesium loss. Then I wondered why we were losing magnesium. And it took me 5 years to connect the dots. When we have stress in our world, we have oxidative stress in our bodies. The way our system is set up is that we have enzymes that clean off phosphate groups and in that process, magnesium gets released and it goes right into our urine. This is a constant process in dealing with the stress in our lives.
But when you are in a constant state of stress, it starts to affect other minerals. And when you are in a state of chronic stress, you start to fear that the stress will never go away. That fear activates 2 key hormones that have an impact on iron and copper:
- Cortisol- can bind up copper a thousandfold stronger than it binds up zinc.
- Adrenaline- ramps up iron and changes its presence in the tissue.
So basically what you’ve done is shut down the ability to make energy. When we are under stress, we want to be able to respond to it to think our way through. The best definition of stress that I've heard of is by Mark Hyman, who is a functional guru at Cleveland Clinic, he said “stress is the body's inability to make energy for the mind to respond to its environment.” When we are in a state of chronic stress, we lose magnesium constantly. Which is then binding up our copper and once it’s not bioavailable > iron takes off like a rocket. And when iron mixes with the oxygen in our body, that’s what creates oxidative stress and we burn even more magnesium. That's how all these minerals interact.
What's supposed to be our savior is an antioxidant protein called ceruloplasmin. It does so many different functions in the body and doctors don’t know what it is. No test allows us to understand its activity. And in the USA, it's difficult to get your functional copper status which is the most important marker in our body. Copper is the only element on the planet that regulates oxygen and iron and keeps them from creating rust.
The Truth About Copper Toxicity
I want to walk through some numbers because people need to have context. In the average human body, there are 5,000 milligrams of iron and about 100 milligrams of copper so it’s a 50 to 1 ratio. In the world of traditional Chinese medicine, they refer to copper as the general and iron as the footsoldier. I'm not a military guy, but I do know that generals have a lot more say than foot soldiers.
What we learn is that 70% of the iron is actually in the hemoglobin of the blood. That is 3,500 mg and there is only 1 mg of copper. And of that 1 mg, 95% of it is supposed to be complexed in this master antioxidant protein, ceruloplasmin. So in the blood, it’s 3500 to 1 and when we go into the bone marrow that's where the action is. A lot of people don’t know that there is an iron recycling program called the RES (reticuloendothelial system) in the bone marrow. And a decision has to be made: are we making blood or bone?
We have to make 2.5 million blood cells every second in 24 hours. It takes a lot of energy to support that but it only takes 25 milligrams of iron. You have 5,000 milligrams and you only need 25 for the blood cells. You don’t need a lot of it despite what people say. There are 25 milligrams of iron in the bone marrow and 47 milligrams of copper. Suddenly the ratios are very different. You cannot mature red blood cells unless you have copper. You can't let out the iron that needs to get out of the red blood cell so it can become a full-fledged red blood cell unless you have a copper doorman.
In 1932, through an experiment with grass, doctors figured out that you cannot make hemoglobin without copper. So we go from 5000 to 100 > 3500 to 1 > 24 to 47. So where it really matters, we have to have significant levels of bioavailable copper. Everyone loves to race to the term “copper toxicity” (this was the brainchild of Carl Pfeiffer, an MD PhD in the 60s) but when people talk about copper toxicity, how often do they talk about ceruloplasmin? How often do they talk about iron status?
Chemicals That Impact Copper
I found a study from 2016 about Schizophrenia. They were commenting on the fact that people with Schizophrenia have high copper levels in their blood. So that would imply that the copper has been unbound from the ceruloplasmin protein. But what was particularly important was someone in the group of scientists who were studying this asked the question > “I wonder if the medications that we’re giving these patients are destabilizing the ceruloplasmin and causing the copper to become unbound.” That was a powerful insight that I think is playing in the background.
Many chemicals have that ability. The most notorious is ascorbic acid. From the very beginning, when Holmberg and Laurel (Swedish psychologists) discovered ceruloplasmin, they commented in their first article in 1948 that:
> The property of ascorbic acid to denature ceruloplasmin would cause the copper to come out. And they don’t come out one at a time, they come out like diarrhea.
We have been trained like circus bears to view that as a negative event and that copper is the bad guy but iron is hiding behind the curtain. It’s actually iron toxicity. But they put the spotlight on copper to demonize it because they don’t want us to have healthy ceruloplasmin.
I came across an article about a study that was done by the International Copper Research Association in 1991. This study was about the years 1988 and 1989. They were talking about:
During this time was the rollout of glyphosate. And what people need to understand is that one of its most toxic properties is that it will chelate copper down to a pH of 1. Nothing stops glyphosate from chelating copper. That’s a very significant event. Practitioners have been trained that we are all anemic and all copper toxic and it’s a bold-faced lie.
We have to go back to the last 2 years when the world was flipped in 2020. We know that all of those conditions are because of iron overload and copper deprivation. The missing piece of the puzzle with copper toxicity is the way it’s tested. It’s a hair test and it can be misleading. They don’t take the steps to measure in the blood. A lot of people have gone to practitioners that are trained by William Walsh. He's an electrical engineer and was influenced by Pfeiffer.
He's measuring the impact that this so-called copper has on zinc and b6. But when you go into the literature you find out that what causes that is that the loading of iron into the pyro group doesn’t grow right. And that’s done by a particular copper enzyme called ferrochelatase. Which is the 8th enzyme, the last enzyme in the process to make heme. If that last enzyme doesn't work right because the crane operator isn’t working right, copper isn’t present. Then it’s a defective group that causes the zinc and b6 loss. But you don’t solve that problem by drowning people in zinc and b6 you have to go upstream and correct the problem of copper deficiency.
The narrative is usually backward and people need to broaden their field of vision and understand that the dynamics between copper and iron are interconnected. No copper metabolism is independent of iron metabolism. They are joined at the hip of ceruloplasmin. And as you get into the research of iron dynamics and oxygen in the body, you realize copper is why we are on this planet. This is why we can make the energy we can make, think the way we can think, and make these big decisions.
Copper toxicity is misunderstood. We have been “misled and misfed” but not everyone agrees. The most important article I found was from 1958 by Dr. Martens at Tulane university and it was about using ceruloplasmin to treat Schizophrenia. They had 34 patients and gave them one shot of ceruloplasmin. And 30/34 people were cured. Then the natural question asked was “where can I get some of that?” One gram of ceruloplasmin is available for 403 dollars which is expensive but it would solve so many of the world's problems. It's a fascinating journey and what's missing is more practitioners need to understand the simplicity and the elegance and the enormity of the bioavailable copper.
What Impacts Copper?
If you’re familiar with the root cause protocol, there’s a series of stops and starts. The whole concept of creating a diet to build ceruloplasmin was sparked by Ray Peat. In his article about iron toxicity, he commented “to my knowledge no one has created a diet to increase the production of ceruloplasmin.” And I thought, that’s a great idea.
What is important to understand is the word “fear”. If we spell it differently within the root cause protocol, it’s FE A R, you can see the symbol for iron. It means iron attracts rust and if the state of fear attracts iron to our psychology we are back to adrenaline. And what's Schizophrenia? It’s adrenaline getting rusty from the unbound iron because the copper got destabilized. If you understand the dynamics of copper and iron, all of these conditions make sense.
The important principle is that fear attracts iron but iron activates fear. And it does this through a very important pathway called NLRP3. Which is called “inflammasome” and it's the nuclear origin of inflammation that’s activated by iron. What the root cause protocol is trying to do is cut through that cycle of “fear attracts iron, iron activates fear.” And what we recommend people to do is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) which releases the energetic hold that these emotions have on our being. Emotions are very important because emotional becomes physical & physical becomes emotional. There is a symbiotic relationship.
I'm sure people have had their dance with vitamin D. But what I've come to realize is that vitamin D affects vitamin A. The work of Mawson & Conaway in 2013 pointed out that vitamin D blocks vitamin A absorption. That’s a problem because vitamin A is important for making copper bioavailable. And we know that bioavailable copper is essential for managing oxygen and iron in our bodies. In 1925 a physician named Dr. Burroughs was working at the Rockefeller Institute and he was able to prove that vitamin A deficiency causes cancer. So now people are drowning themselves in vitamin D not knowing that it’s causing vitamin A deficiency. I think what we will see in 3-5 years is a massive uptake of cancer. I tell people to take cod liver oil and not vitamin D supplements.
We know that vitamin D synthesis is activated by sunlight which is very important. It’s acting on a folate molecule that has copper in it so that's starting the whole process of creating vitamin D. But sunlight also activates the breakdown of retinol and they turn into retinoids. There are 4 retinoic acids (hormones) that stand out:
They’re powerful chemicals that are instrumental in our day-to-day physiology. If you want to make t4, the thyroxine receptor needs to be attached to RXR to transcribe the thyroxine molecule. That's really important. If you don't have RXR present, you can’t make the thyroid hormone.
People think vitamin D is the cure-all. This is all about active vitamin d, the active hormone vitamin d3. But that active substrate needs to be attached to the VDR vitamin D receptor and RXR. This triad is what makes things happen in the nucleus. If this triad isn’t together, it won't have the same benefits. So the cod liver oil might be beneficial after all because it has retinol and vitamin D.
A lot of vitamin D isn’t your friend, a lot of ascorbic acid isn’t your friend, there are a lot of medications out there that aren’t your friend either. Antibiotics such as (Amoxicillin, Doxycycline, and Azithromycin ) are very hard on ceruloplasmin and copper enzymes. People are looking for easy fixes but it’s simple: you have to be disciplined and careful about what you eat. The desire to have processed food is legendary. You have to be careful of sugars and seed oils. Sugars will block copper uptake and It's a fact that the front door of the cell of copper is CTR1 and high fructose corn syrup locks the door.
J.B Collins, at the University of Florida, did research in 2017 where they were giving mice and rats iron supplements. What they discovered was when rodents were getting iron supplementation through their food and their “one a day vitamin” it was shutting down copper metabolism.
People are triggered into thinking they are anemic and copper toxic. Iron is the source of all rust. The “stops” in the root cause protocol are very meticulous about avoiding these nutrients. You should not be taking something that has molybdenum, cadmium, or manganese in it because they all block copper uptake. A lot of medications affect magnesium or copper status or both. Antidepressants are amazing at flushing the body of magnesium. Cardiac medications are hard on magnesium and copper. With diabetes, metformin chelates copper. The whole cornerstone of cancer is that “copper is causing it”. But Dr. Burroughs found that it was the lack of vitamin A.
They use tetrathiomolybdate to suck the copper out and it leaves us wondering what we are doing about the iron and lack of retinol. The world of oncology is upside down and backward. In March 2020, I realized we were in this surreal moment. And the more you can resign yourself to this reality and relax that it's all backward, it calms you down. Your magnetism burn rate will calm down and you have more energy. We are here to learn our lessons and help each other. We can learn how to improve our energy production and help each other in the process.
The Covid Cocktails Effects on Copper
The covid cocktail was ascorbic acid, vitamin d, and zinc. People thought that was going to be their salvation, but they didn’t realize that was a perfect way to destroy the bioavailability of copper. There's a physician, George Brewer, who was studying the use of zinc for 15 years. He was studying zinc to chelate copper for people with Wilson's disease. Wilson's disease is a genetic condition where there's a buildup of copper in the liver and the brain and it causes death. The problem is that there isn’t proper copper recycling because there isn’t retinol in their body. There are only 7,500 people that have Wilson's disease and here we have Dr. Brewer studying the use of zinc to stop copper for 15 years.
Do you know how many people take birth control pills? 100 million women in the USA. Birth control pills blow up copper. Copper is supposed to be around 100mg and ceruloplasmin is supposed to be at 30mg and it goes up to 75mg. That's a sign of systemic inflammation. The important thing is when you introduce zinc to the body, it triggers an important protein called metallothionein which binds copper a thousandfold. You just lost the ability to make energy because you can't activate oxygen in the mitochondria to become water. The most important enzyme activity on the planet is turning oxygen into water and if you don’t have copper you can’t neutralize the oxidative stress and its copper-based enzymes like:
Are also impacted. There are so many different copper-dependent enzymes and doctors aren’t taught about this. They don’t know what's running the show. They are taught to take zinc because it stops the virus. But in 2008, I found an article that said copper was a recognized agent to stop the SARS-CoV virus. It stops it in its tracks. There is a lot of confusion about copper and people talk about the zinc to copper ratio which was created by Carl Pfeiffer. But zinc is a distraction and it messes up your metabolism. The best way to get it is through your diet by eating shellfish.
I appreciate the controversial comments because I think we are all in the same boat in terms of the immune system. It’s been commonly recommended in the natural health space to take vitamin c and zinc. But it comes back to the simple adage to try and get as many of these nutrients as you can through food. Nature balances everything out. If we can get zinc from oysters or vitamin c from fruit, it's all balanced out by mother nature. If we load ourselves up with supplements it's hard to get the balance right. It’s the same with vitamin D supplements. At one point 5-6 years ago I was taking extremely high doses of vitamin D. And I found that I was starting to develop stones because it was calcifying in my body. I was getting sharp pains in my kidneys. It wasn't until I stopped dosing so high that those symptoms went away. Some of these things might be useful in their natural form but not overdosing and pumping ourselves full of supplements. -Kriben Govender
There was a study done where they had lifeguards who did not take vitamin D supplements but had high exposure to sunlight. The level of storage D in these lifeguards never got above 60. A lot of people are trying to get 80-100 but natural sunlight never gets above 60. But the incidents of kidney stones were 25x higher for them.
People need to ask better questions and they need to demand better answers. We need to be more discerning about what we really need to do. I spent the last 12 years trying to pull back the curtain about what else is going on that we aren’t hearing about. It is controversial but being able to talk about it in conversations allows for more context. That's what is missing in the world. There are polarized positions and it's hard for people to talk about it. But if we agreed on everything we would have nothing to talk about.
How to Boost Ceruloplasmin
The most important thing is to believe in your body's natural ability to heal itself. When Dr. Liz used the phrase about the innate healer, I would argue that it’s bioavailable copper. The immune system is nothing without copper. You can pump it full of vitamin D and zinc and it will do things but if you want to bring it to life you need to feed it energy and intelligence. There are 40 quadrillion mitochondria in our body. They don't work without copper. And the mitochondria aren’t energy furnaces, they are factories. They are intelligent beings that allow us to exist. It’s important to understand that and recognize that we have this natural ability to rebuild, recycle and have resilience. That's important especially when you have a chronic condition. Because what happens when you have a chronic condition? You have a fear that you are broken. And that fear will eat away at you and having the right mindset is very important.
Starting with diet, you need to have an understanding of your ancestral origin. Your genes have been formed by thousands of generations of eating a certain diet. The work of Catherine Shanahan and her book “Deep Nutrition”. If people want to understand the link between food and how it shapes the function of our body it's a great book to read. It's useful to know “are we eating real food? And how is the farmer feeding the soil?” What practices is the farmer engaged in to nourish the microbes that live in that soil so they can work with the minerals and get to the roots of the plants?
In a field that has glyphosate, the fungi-to-bacteria ratio (which is supposed to be 6:1) drops to 1:1 and the fungi work off of copper. If you don't have the heavy lifters doing the work, you won’t be eating real food. Farmers need to use so many chemicals because the plants aren’t strong. They don’t generate energy because they don't get the minerals from the soil. You have to eat real food in season and not necessarily food that will be from 1500 miles from where you live. It’s also important that you find good sources of copper. The best we found is:
- Organ meat (an important source of copper, retinol, hyaluronic acid, and choline, the richest source on the planet. They should be grass-fed NOT grain fed. The nutrient properties are very different.)
- Real vitamin C (but making sure that where the berries and cherries are grown, that the soil has copper in it that's allowing the vitamin c molecule to be made by the fruits! You can use this Kakadu Plum Powder, which has the highest levels of vitamin C out of any food in the world!)
95% of our vitamin C is stored in the adrenal glands and vitamin C is the engine. And in it is an enzyme called tyrosine which has two copper atoms in it. What we’ve not known is that there's a whole series of enzymes that run on copper and a whole series that run on iron and they are parallel. This is true in marine life, plant life, and animal life. And early in the earth's existence, it was running off of iron but as copper became more prevalent because oxygen became more prevalent, the enzyme functions flipped over the copper side.
That's a good thing because copper has these amazing properties. There's an enzyme in our liver called the Cytochrome P450 family. And there are 52 enzymes in this family. That's what big pharma relies on to break down medication. What is P450? Well, it’s indicating the absorption band for iron. And what's the corollary to iron? It's tyrosinase and that's the copper side. Well in 1938 when Szent-Györgyi got the Nobel prize for discovering ascorbic acid, suddenly the world stopped having unrestricted access to vitamin C and was given the synthetic form, ascorbic acid. That was a bad thing because it began to limit the amount of copper that was getting into the liver to allow for the natural enzyme process. And in a state of copper deprivation, that's when these enzymes go from a copper function to iron function. I think that what's happening on this planet is we are being regressed to an earlier lifeform.
Real vitamin C and adrenal cocktails are very important. The thyroid makes one hormone and the adrenal glands make 50, so vitamin C is very busy. Mitochondria are designed to be fat-burning machines but they have been turned into sugar factories. I found an article that talks about the role of burning fat in the mitochondria and how it intensifies the production of ATP. So when you ferment sugar you get 2 ATP and when you oxidize fat you get 140 ATP. That extra energy goes a long way and it helps to support the function of the immune system. It's critical to go from:
M1 macrophage function which is an inflammatory response to
M2 function which is wound repair
You have to go to glucose to fat metabolism because you need more energy for wound repair. And you can't burn fat without copper. The beta-oxidation enzymes are essential to break down the fat into the acyl groups to allow acetylcholine to be made which allows for the ramp-up of the ATP.
Another way to boost ceruloplasmin is to abandon stress! We all have it and the stress stops when we die but we have to get coping skills for the stress we are under. One of the best ways to deal with stress is magnesium. It's the chill pill. When we get stressed out the magnesium burn rate kicks in and the world starts to get bigger and brighter than it is. We overreact to our environment. That's why magnesium is so important. The mistake that's commonly made is that people rush in and take a lot of magnesium and it tanks their adrenals. Start slow with it. The root cause protocol helps with the process of rebuilding and recycling. What we encourage people to do is mineralize their water, start drinking adrenal cocktails, bring in the salt, and bring in the potassium that perks up the adrenal glands so that they can bring balance back into the body. Focus on the basics.
One Thing You Can Do to Improve Your Gut Health?
Everyone who has a gut issue has an emotional issue that they cannot resolve. I would encourage them to go to someone that does emotional release work. You don't need to know what happened but you need to let go of the emotional trauma that keeps turning your stomach. That's the strongest advice. Nip the emotional issue that is feeding the metabolic process.
Make sure to grab Morley’s new book “Cu-RE Your Fatigue: The Root Cause and How To Fix It On Your Own” and watch how much better you feel! Copper isn’t the enemy and once you open up your eyes to the research, you can feel so much better. So make sure to get your vitamins from your food that is grown on microbial-rich soil, avoid taking a lot of vitamin C or D supplements, and avoid antibiotics and chemicals as much as possible!