Copper Zinc Ratio and Phytate

We all have our “issues”. Sometimes they are a big deal and long lasting. Sometimes only a minor annoyance. Occasionally they overlap with friends and family, sometimes they are ours alone.

One friend has had an ongoing issue with wheat allergies. At first we thought it was hypoglycemia, then a gluten intolerance; finally shown to be a direct allergic response to wheat. Another friend had a heck of a time of things. All sorts of mysterious reactions to a variety of foods, sometimes odd reactions to environmental exposures that varied with the foods eaten. It’s been years. At one time reduced to eating largely a very narrow range of grain based foods with a small amount of milk, some fruits and not a lot else. A fairly extreme vegetarian diet, but most other foods were “causing issues”.

Now this isn’t some flaky pseudo-science cult worshiping of vegetarian as some kind of panacea. They were under the care of a couple of M.D.s at a large ordinary medical facility known for being mainstream. We all have degrees from good schools and everybody can think straight in our group. We would regularly be talking about the biochemistry of things and what were ‘challenges’ for the vegetarian in keeping a proper supply of nutrients that are widely (mostly?) found in meats. The simple fact is that eating particular foods “caused issues”. From G.I. discomfort to wide spread somatic discomforts to very low energy levels. So they were run though a battery of tests. Allergies. Endocrine. Etc. One clear problem food was anything with soy in it. Yet avoidance of soy was not sufficient, even while necessary.

Then one day it stopped.

After several years, the problem just “went away” mostly. One food group at a time, things are being tried again. Soy is still off limits, but lots of other foods are no longer triggers. Dairy is back “in”. Cheeses and yogurt. Wider range of grains and legumes. Not yet back to meat, but last I heard the occasional egg and potentially even fish were being considered for trial.

It’s been a big puzzling mystery, made only less clear by the sudden end. (One hopes it’s not just a ‘remission’…)

To me, this argues for one of two “most likely” causes.

1) Some underlying pathogen and the immune system finally beat it; or finally stopped attacking what was long gone.

2) A nutritional status issue that was finally resolved, perhaps accidentally.

There are other potentials. Not ruled out, just not “top tier”. She might have had an allergy issue, undetected in testing and wide spread in activity, that resolved. Potentially some environmental toxin of widespread use was removed from service, and as one of a very few folks sensitive to it, most folks didn’t notice. That kind of thing.

But my “best bet” would not be on an environmental issue. The nature of the problems and their easy modulation with food status strongly implied “something about the foods”. The broad range implies “not a protein allergy”. It all tends to point toward “basic nutrients needed in many metabolic systems”. I’d tended to believe they might just have a genetic mutation that fouled up some key enzymes needed for transport and use of a key element. Then it suddenly ended. Genetics don’t just suddenly stop being a problem. That pushing more toward “dietary”, IMHO.

At this point we may never know, and may never get a clear answer. That doesn’t stop me “keeping an eye out”, though.

Looking at one thing, finding another, often is a pattern for me. I was looking at something else, ran into some odd pages on something else. Down the rabbit hole… I’d generally been in the camp that just says “get enough minerals, you are done.” There’s been increasing snippets I’ve seen where “ratios of minerals matter”. Things like the nature of boron, arsenic, and aluminum biochemistry and how are they really used in the body that we’ve seen in prior postings. Where a minor element, above or below a major nutrient in the periodic chart, looks to have a needed ‘ratio’ to keep the enzyme systems working right. (i.e. we evolved in a soup of of elements that get placed in organic carriers, not just reagent purity of one particular element). Along the way I ran into discussions of copper / zinc ratios as “important”.

How important? I don’t know.

Frankly, while I’m willing to explore “fringe ideas”, I’m generally of the opinion that “Western Medicine” has it pretty well worked out for a lot of things. From surgery to antibiotics to ‘miracle drugs’; there are life saving miracles performed every single day by Western Medicine. My family has benefited from many of them. So mostly I look at the “fringe stuff” with a bit of skepticism.

OTOH, I’ve seen it clearly demonstrated that some of those “fringe” ideas have it right. There are medicines inside “herbals”. Looking into the history of many ‘modern’ drugs shows them originally found in plants. Last time I looked, the majority of drugs were that way. From aspirin in the willow tree to digitalis from foxglove, plants work. Similarly, the mind has a strong influence on the body. Many “visioning” and ritual behaviours can direct that internal control. And most particularly, just the point that each of us is genetically unique, and that we will respond uniquely to what we eat; that it is not enough to just say “take a vitamin pill” and call it done. Western Medicine is very deficient in their view of how the body interacts with the foods we eat. It’s not just a raw material mining operation…

At my core, though, I find most things that wander off to yin / yang and balancing energies and all just a touch daft. So it’s hard for me to fully “embrace” some of the links I’m going to put here. Just F.Y.I…. They may have something, and some of this does look to have M.D.s involved and proper clinical work being done. Much of it, though, is anecdotal and poorly controlled. Placebo effects and self confirmation bias are rampant in medicine, and off the chart rampant in “alternative medicine”. When I’ve “had an issue” (often with food allergies), the spouse gives me that “Are you crazy?” look when I say I’m going to do a “challenge” again with the “bad thing” once I’m feeling better. The reason is simple. If I don’t do that challenge, we’ll never know if that was correctly identified, or if it was a statistical artifact or accidental correlation. I usually repeat such tests at least twice… Yes, I’m that concerned about ‘getting it right’.

So I run into this theory that the ratio of copper to zinc in the diet is very important, and widely out of whack in the modern diet. That phytates are also wound up in it (they are metal binding compounds in plants). The whole thing couched in Chinese Medicine terms of “heat” and “cooling” and such (that set my ‘suspect’ flag high…) Yet while eating Tiger Bones to cure arthritis is clearly “crazy talk”, there are many things that do work in that thousands of years old system. Especially the herbals. So it’s a good place to “mine”, just with a lot of fools gold in the ore… Plus there are other articles not so ‘encumbered’ by the “alternative feel good” phrases. So is there some “there there” in this idea? Again, I don’t know.

But the list of “symptoms” is mighty close (though starting to be so large that with that many free terms ‘you could fit an elephant and get him to wiggle his trunk’…) The major saving grace, IMHO, being that there are a couple of lab tests that can be done; so if this is “flaky talk” you can show a non-correlate with actual lab work.

For simple excess copper toxicity, this page is pretty good:

by Lawrence Wilson, MD

Do you know anyone who suffers from headaches, fatigue, insomnia, depression, skin rashes, spaciness or detachment, learning disorders or premenstrual syndrome? These can be symptoms of a copper imbalance. It is an extremely common nutritional imbalance. It is often overlooked, in part because it is not always simple to detect.

Copper is an essential trace mineral that is vitally important for both physical and mental health. It has been studied for years, including at government laboratories. However, its importance for health is still largely unappreciated. The following article is an introduction to the large subject of copper imbalance. The author is deeply indebted to Dr. Paul C. Eck, an avid copper researcher.


Copper has a number of important functions in the human body. The problem usually occurs when there is too much of it in the soft tissues of the body. Here are some of the important roles of copper:

1. Bones and connective tissue. Copper is required to fix calcium in the bones and to build and repair all connective tissue. This includes the tendons, ligaments, skin, hair, nails, arteries, veins and a few other tissues.

Imbalances can contribute to osteoporosis, bone spurs, and almost all conditions of the skin, hair and nails. Others symptoms related to connective tissue include most cardiovascular problems, tendon and ligament conditions, scoliosis, and other skeletal and structural imbalances as well.

2. Energy production in the cells. Copper is needed in the final steps of the Krebs energy cycle called the electron transport system. This is where most of our cellular energy is produced. Any problem here causes fatigue, depression and other imbalances related to low energy.

3. Immune Response. b>Copper must remain in balance with zinc. When imbalances occur, one is more prone to all infections, in particular fungal and yeast infections that are so common today. For example, most people have some intestinal yeast if they eat sugars and most people have chronic sinus infections if they have common symptoms such as post-nasal drip and others.

4. The glandular system, particularly the thyroid and adrenal glands. The thyroid gland is extremely sensitive to copper. In part this is due to its nature and how easily it is influenced by the sympathetic nervous system. Common conditions seen with copper imbalance include hypothyroidism and even hyperthyroidism of a particular type that is very common that I all secondary hyperthyroidism. Grave’s disease usually due to stress, copper

imbalance and often mercury as well. Anyone with a diagnosis of Grave’s disease or hyperthyroidism should have a hair analysis performed at a lab that does not wash the hair and properly interpreted.

Most often, the problem goes away with a properly designed nutritional balancing program. Reducing all stress and balancing the body chemistry are both required to resolve the condition naturally in my experience. Drugs may be needed temporarily to control the symptoms. Surgery or radioactive iodine treatment and too drastic and not needed, in my experience so far.

5. Reproductive system. Copper is closely related to estrogen metabolism, and is required for women’s fertility and to maintain pregnancy. Imbalance can cause every conceivable female organ-related difficulty such as premenstrual syndrome, ovarian cysts, infertility, miscarriages, sexual dysfunctions and more. It affects men less than women in this area, but it may affect men’s potency and sexual drive as well as that of women.

6. Nervous system. Copper stimulates production of the neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine. It is also required for monoamine oxidase, an enzyme related to serotonin production. As a result, copper is involved deeply with all aspects of the central nervous system. Copper imbalances are highly associated with most psychological, emotional and often neurological conditions. These include memory loss, especially in young people, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and others discussed below.

It goes on from there at some length. Worth reading. But clearly both copper and zinc are important to how we function, and their ratio is likely to matter.

With that (too long?) preamble, into the fray…

Phytate and Phytic Acid

Phytic acid (known as inositol hexakisphosphate (IP6), or phytate when in salt form), discovered in 1903, is the principal storage form of phosphorus in many plant tissues, especially bran and seeds. Phytate is not digestible to humans or nonruminant animals, so it is not a source of either inositol or phosphate if eaten directly. Moreover, it chelates and thus makes unabsorbable certain important minor minerals such as zinc and iron, and to a lesser extent, also macro minerals such as calcium and magnesium; phytin refers specifically to the calcium or magnesium salt form of phytic acid.

Catabolites of phytic acid are called lower inositol polyphosphates. Examples are inositol penta- (IP5), tetra- (IP4), and triphosphate (IP3).

It is an interesting compound, with a load of phosphates around a central ring. You can look at the picture here:

(Unfortunately, it is n SVG file so wordpress doesn’t like it; while the PNG versions of it are dark)

It has been implicated in cancer prevention in the way Rice Bran acts to suppress cancer (thought the details are still sketchy) and has been shown to chelate minerals and make them unavailable or reduced availability in both human and animal feeding. If there is a low zinc diet, having high phytic acid levels would make things worse.

One of the more common “issues” in mixing large farm animal feed is getting the right mix of “stuff” so that the phytate and and other large compounds do not interfere with nutrient availability. Ruminants can generally break down phytates, but pigs and chickens (and humans) can’t.

Phytate-bound phosphorous is digestible by ruminant animals such as cows, sheep, and goats, but it cannot be digested by single-stomached animals, such as pigs and chickens. Phytate consists of a carbon ring structure with balanced phosphate groups surrounding the ring. Since horses are a hind gut fermenter, they are able to process the phosphorus much like ruminant animals.
Reducing the proportion of cereal grains in the diet will usually reduce the amount of phosphorus fed. However, for pigs and chickens, and there are few economic alternatives to cereal grains. Plant breeders are working to develop feed grains lower in phytate content and higher in available phosphorus.

Phytase in the Feed

An enzyme called phytase can be included with the diet. Phytase will break down phytate and release digestible phosphorus. Mixing phytase (commercially available) in the diet will reduce the phosphorus required in supplements.

Interactions Between Nutrients

Another factor affecting phosphorus availability is the presence of other nutrients in the diet. Overfeeding calcium can limit the availability of phosphorus. Calcium and other nutrients should be fed in balance so as not to disrupt the availability of phosphorus.

Calcium:Phosphorus Ratio for Horses

Horses are a bit unique; they require calcium and phosphorus to be in a specific ratio in the diet. Young growing horses, as well as lactating mares, should receive a Ca:P ratio of 2:1, while mature horses not reproducing can get by with a 1:1 ratio. Calcium should never be fed at a level lower than phosphorus because phosphorus will tend to interfere with calcium absorption into bone. Horses at maintenance require .17% phosphorus in the diet and .24% Ca. The highest levels of phosphorus are needed in reproducing mares (.34%). Typical horse diets approach 2 to 3 times the required level of phosphorus, which can be detrimental to the environment. This high phosphorus level is partially due to the estimated Ca:P ratio in alfalfa hay being 6:1. Many horse owners try to counteract this by adding more phosphorus to the diets. Many equine supplements already contain more phosphorus than is necessary. There are also phosphorus concerns for ruminant animals such as cows, sheep, goats, and etc.

Now I bring this up just to point out something that’s very clear to folks raised on farms, not so clear to folks who spent their lives in cities and going to universities: We are all different in how we process food, and all those “flaky” ideas about different foods interacting and different nutrients interacting are common knowledge in animal feeding. Notice that special concern for horse Ca:P ratios? Horses are not like cows. Cows are not like chickens. Pigs are not like horses. Humans vary too. You can’t just feed extra Ca and expect it is just going to be excreted without issue. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. It depends on what else you are eating and on your particular genetics. For most of us, it’s not a problem. For those who make kidney stones, well… So “what’s in the feed” is not a “flaky idea”. Even in humans, rice bran is shown to be cancer antagonistic. Potentially due to, in part, phytates.

Elizabeth P. Ryan, PhD, CU Cancer Center investigator, assistant professor in the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences at the CSU Animal Cancer Center, and the review’s senior author. “There’s a delicate balance of bioactive components in rice bran that together show anti-cancer activity including the ability to inhibit cell proliferation, alter cell cycle progression and initiate the programmed cell death known as apoptosis in malignant cells,” Ryan says.

Ryan and colleagues show that bioactive rice bran derived small molecules include, but are not limited to polyphenolics, ferulic acid, tricin, β-sitosterol, γ-oryzanol, tocotrienols/tocopherols, and phytic acid.

“We’re working now to tease apart the ratios of these active molecules required for bioactivity and mechanisms. Previous attempts to isolate one or another compound have been largely unsuccessful and so it looks now as if rather than any one compound giving rice bran its chemopreventive powers, it’s the synergistic activity of multiple components in the whole food that should be studied.”

It’s not clear which parts matter, but phenolic compounds (tannins) and phytate / phytic acid in feeds are known to have both good and bad “issues” for various animals. We are no different…

Why bring up this point? Just to show that in farm production it is common to do R&D into just how much phenolics, tannins, phytic compounds, minerals and mineral ratios, et. al. can be fed to particular breeds of animals for maximum production. It is common and accepted science. Yet somehow when we come to human Western Medicine, the notion mutates. We are all seen as 100% interchangeable standardized digestive units for food, and it doesn’t matter how the “feed” is mixed or what all is in it as long as the gross numbers are right for the particular list of identified essential nutrients. Just “crazy talk” in animal husbandry, but “consensus” in Medical School…

So that’s why I mention this. Just to point out that there IS foundational science for “feed mixing” making a difference, for paying attention to those “non-nutrient” parts like tannins and phytic acid, and for making sure the minerals are in the right ratios to prevent disease. As near as I can tell, the work in this area on farm animals is far far more advanced than that for humans… So there’s room for some of those “flaky ideas” from the granola bunch to have a foundation…

Mostly people stick any old junk down their throats and other than insisting the total quantity of “essential nutrients” is in the feed mix somewhere, don’t worry about it much. Lately (decades scale – lately in historical context) we’ve started to demonize fats, cholesterol and sugars. Never mind that your body makes cholesterol and it is an essential component. Never mind that high fat foods were essential to survival in cold and harsh conditions. (Look at a traditional Amish meal and it’s loaded with fats and cholesterol. My Farmer Grandad lived to 90 something on such a diet… we’re talking bacon and eggs piled with cheese and a side of toast dripping butter…) But modern medicine ask if the copper / zinc ratio is right? Never…

Copper and Zinc

So what’s this fuss with copper and zinc? Sure, too much ‘bran’ and those phytates might be preventing effective absorption (but somehow reducing colon cancer risk…) and sure we have to get “enough” in the diet. There is a recommended minimum and if you are over that, what’s the worry?

Zinc is a very important mineral. It is used in all sorts of metabolic pathways. Enzymes all over the place need it. If you are short on zinc, a wide array of illnesses crop up. Just depends on which enzymes are needed and which are being shorted of their zinc at the time. Cadmium is one of THE most horrific toxins on the planet. You die with your bones dissolving into mush and just breaking under the weight of your flesh as you lie in bed. It replaces zinc in key enzymes and then they don’t work… You do not want to be short of zinc.

Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency
Deficiencies of zinc have been linked to:

Delayed skeletal maturation and defective mineralization of bone (monkeys)
Weight loss
Intercurrent infections
Hypogonadism in males
Lack of sexual development in females
Growth retardation
Delayed puberty in adolescents
Rough skin
Poor appetite
Mental lethargy
Delayed wound healing
Short stature
Stretch marks (striae)
White spots on fingernails
Reduction in collagen turnover and synthesis (in chicks)
Reduction in collagen (in humans)
Poor Immune system
Cross-linking of collagen
Hyaluronic acid abnormalities (in swine)
Defective connective tissue
Macular degeneration
Cataracts (in salmon)
Teeth with black plaque like deposits (rats)

Abnormal levels of zinc have been found in the eyes of people with:

cataracts or glaucoma
macular degeneration, myopia or retinal detachment

Zinc has been found useful in treating myopia (nearsightedness).

It is one of the foundation minerals on which our metabolism is based. You do not want to be deficient in zinc.

How about copper? Well, it is important too, but widely available in foods. As you read this next quote, notice that it is often an abnormality that lets us see what copper does in the body (when it stops doing it…)

Copper deficiency is a very rare hematological and neurological disorder. The neurodegenerative syndrome of copper deficiency has been recognized for some time in ruminant animals, in which it is commonly known as “swayback” The disease involves a nutritional deficiency in the trace element copper. Copper is ubiquitous and daily requirement is low making acquired copper deficiency very rare. Copper deficiency can manifest in parallel with vitamin B12 and other nutritional deficiencies . The most common cause of copper deficiency is a remote gastrointestinal surgery, such as gastric bypass surgery, due to malabsorption of copper, or zinc toxicity. On the other hand, Menkes disease is a genetic disorder of copper deficiency involving a wide variety of symptoms that is often fatal. Copper is involved in normalized function of many enzymes, such as cytochrome c oxidase, which is complex IV in mitochondrial electron transport chain, ceruloplasmin, Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase, and in amine oxidases. These enzyme catalyze reactions for oxidative phosphorylation, iron transportation, antioxidant and free radical scavenging and neutralization, and neurotransmitter synthesis, respectively.[3] A regular diet contains a variable amount of copper, but may provide 5 mg/day, of which only 20-50% is absorbed. The diet of the elderly may contain a lower copper content than the recommended daily intake. Dietary copper can be found in whole grain cereals, legumes, oysters, organ meats (particularly liver), cherries, dark chocolate, fruits, leafy green vegetables, nuts, poultry, prunes, and soybeans products like tofu. The deficiency in copper can cause many hematological manifestations, such as myelodysplasia, anemia, leukopenia (low white blood cell count) and neutropenia (low count of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that is often called “the first line of defense” for the immune system). Copper deficiency has long been known for as a cause of myelodysplasia (when a blood profile has indicators of possible future leukemia development), but it was not until recently in 2001 that copper deficiency was associated with neurological manifestations. Some neurological manifestations can be sensory ataxia (irregular coordination due to proprioceptive loss), spasticity, muscle weakness, and more rarely visual loss due to peripheral neuropathy (damage in the peripheral nerves), myelopathy (disease of the spinal cord), and rarely optic neuropathy.

So we need it, but unless you have had stomach surgery or have a genetic disease, odds are you get plenty. I note in passing that food rich in copper include chocolate and soy, two foods that are headache triggers for some family members; and that excess copper / short zinc lists headaches as a symptom.

This article is the one that seems to have some good stuff in it, but then wraps it up in Chinese Traditional and “Alternative” language that makes me cringe…

Copper-Zinc Imbalance: Unrecognized Consequence of Plant-Based Diets and a Contributor to Chronic Fatigue

Written by Laurie Warner, MA, CNC
Thursday, 14 February 2008 14:38

Yet the parallels with the friend are rather notable. The list of fatigues, pains, and other issues is clearly similar. The push into a vegetarian diet (and the way it can cause sensitivities to other foods to increase, causing even more push into more extreme diets) are all too familiar. For better or worse, 1/2 my family is vegetarian as are some of the friends, including the one “with issues”, and I’m well versed in the “benefits”. I’ve also seen the same trend to increasing food “pickyness” and “issues” as the vegetarian ramp happens. (People can be remarkably unaware of how they are choosing a feedback loop that can have negative outcomes, just every step seems reasonable…)

I’ll leave it for you all to read that article. Quotes of it out of context are unlikely to have the whole effect. I’ll just quote the “lead in” where things are not quite as “alternative”…

A commonly reported consequence of vegetarian or vegan diets, or even diets that rely too heavily on plant foods, is chronic fatigue. Many sufferers subsequently embrace the principles enumerated by Weston Price, adopting a diet containing more nutrient-dense animal foods and fat; however, the fatigue often persists, even after considerable time on the new diet.

While Americans have been receiving a broad education on the nutritional value of plant foods, evidence has accumulated to indicate that diets that rely too heavily on plant food sources have special problems of their own. Those of us interested in traditional nutrition have become familiar with some of these, including fatty acid imbalances, B6 and B12 deficiencies, and untreated phytates in whole grains, legumes and nuts. As we continue to delve into these areas, the seriousness of these dietary imbalances continues to emerge.

Disruption of the copper-zinc ratio is an overlooked contributor to intractable fatigue that follows excessive reliance on a plant-based diet. The result is toxic accumulation of copper in tissues and critical depletion of zinc through excretion. This condition usually goes unrecognized because copper levels in the blood can remain normal. Also, most doctors are unprepared to meet with extreme zinc deficiency and its baffling effects on many systems of the body. Hair mineral analysis, competently used, is the tool which can unravel the complexities of this growing problem.

In particular, it is becoming clear that plant-based diets, and lighter diets generally, cause serious nutrient imbalances and long-term damage to digestion and cellular metabolism that are not easily corrected. This is of consequence for us in the traditional foods movement because we are asking people to return to higher density foods they may not have eaten for many years. Proper physiologic balance can be restored, but the period of transition in some cases may be longer and more difficult than we have anticipated.
An Unrecognized Danger

This article explores a major hurdle to dietary recovery, which has remained little-known, although an accessible book by Ann Louise Gittleman, MS, introduced the topic in 1999.1 The fact is that the micronutrient copper is widely available in unrefined foods,2 but the mineral zinc, needed in larger amounts to balance copper, can only reliably be obtained in optimum amounts from land-based animal foods, in particular eggs and red meats.3 These of course are among the foods that have been most stubbornly attacked by mainstream nutrition authorities. They are also among the foods lacto-vegetarians and others who have conscientiously adopted light diets have the most difficulty in reintroducing.

It is tragic that Americans who have been inspired to adopt healthier diets have been so harmfully misled by the anti-animal foods dogma, often against their better instincts. I myself was led into this trap in the mid 1970s, and have only found my way out of it in the last few years. Although I found the Weston A. Price Foundation material when it first appeared, and benefited from many of its suggestions, I was unable to consistently expand my diet, or even tolerate any fat, until I learned to recognize and apply the lessons of the copper-zinc imbalance. In fact, this imbalance could very well have killed me.
Controlling Copper

A brief survey of copper/zinc imbalance will show why this condition can be so serious. Copper is an essential trace mineral, but it is needed only in minute amounts. It works in a paired relationship with zinc, sometimes in complement and sometimes opposing. Copper is present in most foods, and is also absorbed from the environment.4,5 When zinc is present in abundance, and when there is enough quality protein available to bind it,6 copper can be handled freely, and the excess can be readily excreted trough the bile.7,8

When the diet is lacking in zinc and protein, however—and in fats to promote bile production —use of high-copper foods, and environmental copper, primarily ingested through our water, promote buildup of copper in our tissues.9 The late Carl C. Pfeiffer PhD, MD, formerly of the Brain-Bio Center in Princeton, New Jersey, has provided us with the most comprehensive overview of nutritional problems associated with copper and zinc in his classic study Mental and Elemental Nutrients.10 As he succinctly puts it, “Deficiency of zinc accentuates copper excess.”11

Here we have a classic dilemma of the medical flight from traditional diets. In lighter diets generally, and in heavily plant-based diets in particular, zinc is sharply reduced relative to copper,12 protein is curtailed, and fat is provided scantily at best. The excess copper that builds up in tissues is in unbound, inorganic form,13 highly immobile and creates a low-level toxicity that interferes with many body systems. Particularly affected are the liver and digestion,14 which are already hampered by increasing deficiency of zinc. As bile function and digestive vigor decline, difficulty with meat and fat develops. Legions of light-diet and vegetarian adherents feel justified in their choices because heavier food becomes unpalatable to them.15

When you back up stream from this article, to other places in the ‘search stream’, there’s a large body of “alternative medicine” wrapped around the name “Pyroluria”

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D.


Pyroluria (or malvaria from the term mauve factor) is a controversial diagnosis in the branch of orthomolecular medicine, a branch of alternative medicine and is alleged to be caused by the presence of excessive levels of a pyrrole in the body.

Pyroluria was initially described by Abram Hoffer, a pioneer in alternative medicine such as orthomolecular medicine and orthomolecular psychiatry. Proponents claim that pyroluria is relatively common, but few, if any, mainstream medical experts regard the condition as genuine, with few or no articles on pyroluria found in modern medical literature, and the approach is described as “snake oil” by critics, such as the pediatrician and author Julian Haber.


According to proponents, one of the pyrroles (kryptopyrrole or mauve factor) is a by-product of improper hemoglobin synthesis. However, other pyrroles have been implicated, and what literature exists on this topic is unclear. These pyrroles are then said to bind to vitamin B6, and zinc and are eliminated through urine, potentially causing deficiencies of these compounds. Pyrolurics are also said to become deficient in omega-6 fatty acids (specifically arachidonic acid). However, other studies have either failed to detect hemopyrrole and kryptopyrrole in the urine of either normal controls or schizophrenics, or found no correlation between these chemicals and mental illness.

The pyroluria hypothesis was advocated by Carl Pfeiffer of Emory University, the Princeton Brain-Bio Center, a precursor of the Pfeiffer Treatment Center. According to Pfeiffer, pyroluria is a form of schizophrenic porphyria, similar to acute intermittent porphyria where both pyrroles and porphyrins are excreted in the human urine to an excessive degree. Pfeiffer described the histories of patients of his who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, whose urine contained extraordinarily high levels of kryptopyroles, who returned to health within a week after he prescribed the appropriate amounts of vitamin B6 and zinc.

The Center claims an 85% success rate for treating ADHD, autism, and schizophrenia, but other scientists say their methods have not been rigorously tested.

Pyroluria is sometimes claimed to affect people with ADHD, alcoholism, autism, depression, down syndrome, manic-depression, and schizophrenia. However, pyroluria is not considered related to schizophrenia in conventional medicine.

Individuals who are assessed as having pyroluria may be diagnosed with coeliac disease, epilepsy, or psychosis; proponents say these may be mis-diagnoses, actually representing symptoms of the underlying pyroluria. Pyroluria is sometimes claimed to have a genetic origin, with proponents saying the condition runs in families. The elevated kryptopyrroles that are said to be found in pyrolurics are claimed to increase dramatically when these people experience stress.

SO that ADHD / Autism link caught my eye. Along with advocating for ever less meat in diets, ever lower fat levels, and largely increasing the consumption of copper containing foods, our current food fads are advocating for ever more “bran” in the diet and higher levels of things like phytic acid that bind to zinc. Add in even a minor genetic predisposition, and you could get a food fad driven “epidemic”. (IFF there is any currency to the theory…)

BUT: It’s very easy to test. There is a urine test for the metabolite. Hair tests for the degree to which the body is trying to dump excess copper. The “treatment” is readily available for trial being mostly B6 and some zinc pills. (With some likely diet modification). And there is a clinic claiming success, so there ought to be some published work on it.

A quick web searched turned up a load of links. Just skim down the list, it’s long:

Pyroluria was initially described by Abram Hoffer, a pioneer in alternative medicine such as orthomolecular medicine and orthomolecular psychiatry.
More at The Free Dictionary

Pyroluria – Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Information
Complete information about Pyroluria, including signs and symptoms; conditions that suggest it; contributing risk factors; what else it can lead to; what has similar symptoms; recommendations. More from

Pyroluria – Jeremy E. Kaslow, M.D.
PYROLURIA. Pyroluria is a genetically determined chemical imbalance involving an abnormality in hemoglobin synthesis. Hemoglobin is the protein that holds iron in the red blood cell. More from

Pyroluria: How Pyrroles Affect Physical and Mental Health
Pyroluria is a genetically acquired chemical imbalance in which the body produces an abnormally large number of chemicals known as pyrroles. Learn more about this condition and the testing available to detect it. More from

Pyroluria is a genetic deficiency in zinc and B6. It has been found in high rates is psychiatric populations.… More from

Pyroluria – A Hidden Disorder – Natural Insight on HubPages
“Many great people in history have shown the signs of pyroluria. Among them are the poet Emily Dickinson and the scientific philosopher and discoverer Charles Darwin. More from
pyroluria supps…my experience…it’s WORKING !!! | Psycho …
i just decided days ago to try the regimin for pyroluria and it seems to have helped a lot so far…i had discounted the… More from

Do You Have Pyroluria? | Primal Body Primal Mind Diet and …
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Pyroluria, also know as Pyrrole Disorder, Kryptopyrrole, Mauve factor or Kryptopyrroluria inhibits the body from utilising Zinc & B6 which may result in Depression, Autism, ADD/ADHD, Bi-Polar Disorder, Learning Difficulties, Schizophrenia….. More from

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Many more than I can read, so a “Dig Here!”… Often from the “alternative” side of medicine, but some from M.D.s and with good analytical approach. It looks like there is someting to it; though exactly what is a bit muddied by the usual piling on of everyone and their cousin who doesn’t feel good saying “Look! ONE out of my 15 symptoms match, so I’ve got that!”… which is just wrong….

This page is fairly typical, and has a ‘checklist’ I’ve seen elsewhere.

The following includes the most common symptoms associated with the condition Pyroluria. If you answer “yes” to 15 or more of these then further testing may be worthwhile:


1. Little or no dream recall

2. White spots on finger nails

3. Poor morning appetite +/- tendency to skip breakfast

4. Morning nausea

5. Pale skin +/- poor tanning +/- burn easy in sun

6. Sensitivity to bright light

7. Hypersensitive to loud noises

8. Reading difficulties (e.g. dyslexia)

9. Poor ability to cope with stress

10.Mood swings or temper outbursts

11.Histrionic (dramatic) tendency

12.Argumentative/enjoy argument

13.New situations or changes in routine (i.e., traveling) particularly stressful

14.Much higher capability and alertness in the evening, compared to mornings

15.Poor short term memory

16.Abnormal body fat distribution

17.Belong to an all-girl family with look-alike sisters

18.Dry skin


20.Reaching puberty later than normal

21.Difficulty digesting, a dislike of protein or a history of vegetarianism

22.Tendency toward being a loner and/or avoiding larger groups of people

23.Stretch marks on skin

24.Poor sense of smell or taste

25.Feel very uncomfortable with strangers

26.Frequently experience fatigue

27.A tendency to overreact to tranquilizers, barbiturates, alcohol or other drugs (in other words, a little produces a powerful response)

28.A tendency toward anemia

29.History of mental illness or alcoholism in family

30.Easily upset by criticism

31.Sweet smell (fruity odor) to breath or sweat when ill or stressed

32.Prone to acne, eczema or psoriasis

33.A tendency toward feeling anxious, fearful and carrying lifelong inner tension

34.Difficulty recalling past events or people

35.Bouts of depression or nervous exhaustion

36.Prone to frequent colds or infections

Again, if you have answered yes to 15 or more of these then consider testing further using a urinary screening test for the presence of elevated kryptopyrroles via Bio Center Lab in Wichita, Kansas (Phone: 316-684-7784 or 1-800-494-7785). Here is their website for more information.

Testing for this condition is simple, relatively inexpensive and readily accessible to anyone without a prescription.

NOTE: It’s important that a clear laboratory diagnosis is determined before attempting high dose supplementation with zinc and/or B6. Working closely with a qualified health care provider knowledgeable about this condition is strongly suggested.

Well first off, 36 items? Many of them “repeats” of various kinds of anxiety? Heck, I can get to 17 on that list without a whole lot of trying. ( I have very pale skin thanks to the redhead gene, so don’t do well in the sun either… I reached puberty “later than others”, but then again, my whole family is ‘late bloomers’ and tend to live into their 80s and 90s if not subject to cancer causing agents. Essentially, normal variation can cause several ‘hits’.)

So I’ve got some “suspect flags” up on the whole thing. Yet… It is quite possible that a copper / zinc imbalance can cause a whole lot of those ‘symptoms’ and could explain many trends, both in our society at large, and in individual lives of people I know. So what’s it cost to get a few zinc pills and cut back at on the copper & phytate rich grains and nuts? Just to see?

This M.D. pegs it as genetic; but is there room for a non-genetic variation? (or marginal case where your genetics predispose a little, but without a complete failure of the enzymes?…)


Pyroluria is a genetically determined chemical imbalance involving an abnormality in hemoglobin synthesis. Hemoglobin is the protein that holds iron in the red blood cell. Individuals with this disorder produce too much of a byproduct of hemoglobin synthesis called “kryptopyrrole” (KP) or “hemepyrrole.” Kryptopyrrole has no known function in the body and is excreted in urine.

Kryptopyrrole binds to pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and zinc and makes them unavailable for their important roles as co-factors in enzymes and metabolism.
These essential nutrients when bound to kryptopyrrole are removed from the bloodstream and excreted into the urine as pyrroles. Arachidonic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) also becomes deficient.

The effect of pyroluria can have a mild, moderate, or severe depending on the severity of the imbalance.
Most individuals show symptoms of zinc and/or B6 deficiencies, which include poor stress control, nervousness, anxiety, mood swings, severe inner tension, episodic anger (an explosive temper), poor short-term memory and depression. Most pyrolurics exhibit at least two of these problems. These individuals cannot efficiently create serotonin (a neurotransmitter that reduces anxiety and depression) since vitamin B6 is an important factor in the last step of its synthesis. Many of these persons appear to benefit from SSRI medications such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, etc. However, as with all mind-altering drugs, side effects occur and the true cause of the mental difficulties remains uncorrected. In addition these individuals often have frequent infections and are often identified by their inability to tan, poor dream recall, abnormal fat distribution, and sensitivity to light and sound. As you can imagine an SSRI will not correct these metabolic effects. More healthful benefits may be achieved by giving the appropriate supporting nutrients.

Pyroluria is detected by chemical analysis of the abnormal pyroles in urine detectable as a purple (on testing paper) metabolite in called “the mauve factor.” Most persons have less than 10mcg of KP per deciliter. Persons with 10-20 mcg/dl are considered “borderline” pyroluric and may benefit from treatment. Persons with levels above 20 mcg/dl are considered to have pyroluria, especially if the above symptoms are present.
The chemical analysis for KP is difficult due to the tendency for this chemical to decompose. Sometimes it is necessary to repeat the urine test to properly determine the level of KP being excreted. To make the initial diagnosis, no vitamins or minerals should be taken for two days before the urine is collected (This is to avoid false negative results). The specimen should be handled properly as well – collected and frozen immediately and protected from any light by being placed in aluminum foil.

So there’s a large range of “outcomes” from the test, which would seem to indicate both that the test is tricky, and that there are plenty of opportunities for ‘borderline’ cases and / or folks with variations of the genetics that are not “broken” and full on disease, but might have ‘increased levels and risks’. Those, then, could be triggered by diet and environmental factors.

There would even be the potential to get many of the same symptoms via a diet only approach that drove available zinc levels ‘crazy low’ though perhaps without the pyroles in the urine.

In Conclusion

So there’s enough going on with copper / zinc levels and their ratio to be very interesting, and potentially quite important to a lot of folks (both for physical as well as mental health). There’s clearly a genetic component for some (many?) folks.

That kind of complex environment / genetic / dietary interaction is exactly the kind of thing that makes it hard to pin down ADHD, Autism, and food related reaction “diseases”.

Unfortunately, this all also has that “wiggle his trunk” aspect of just too many free variables being “fitted” to the elephant. It has all the makings of a “fad disease in the making”.

So what to do? Well, for me, it’s pretty simple. Tell the friend to check out the pyroluria list and see if it fits their symptoms. Maybe they will decide to take some added zinc and see what happens. I’ll likely add some zinc to my diet as an experiment (just to see if I notice anything, though I doubt it. I’m unlikely to suddenly start remembering dreams and get a tan ;-) For others, it could be a very good thing to know about, or it might be only an interesting side show on human nature and the emotional way people approach diet fads and medicine.

In any case, having a good zinc level is very important, and having too much copper is a bad idea…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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27 Responses to Copper Zinc Ratio and Phytate

  1. Gail Combs says:

    E.M. For what it is worth I have three different bags of mineral salt I use. One for each species of farm animal. The sheep can not tolerate copper so they get a low copper salt. If you feed a goat a ‘sheep diet’ they do not get enough copper and do not have a good ‘immunity’ to parasitic worms and are generally unthrifty. link In cows they use a Copper Bolus and some folks even use them in goats. link

    I found after adding horse minerals to the diet instead of the generic cattle salt lick, my horses developed much more intense colors, my palominos went from pale to a vivid gold and the coats on my blacks did not sunburn as much.

    I seem to be sensitive to the NaCl/KCl ratio and need both types of salts. If I eat too much NaCl, a bit of KCl helps keep the blood pressure from skyrocketing.

    In horses the worst thing you can do is feed straight alfalfa hay. The calcium to phosphorus ratio in alfalfa hay is 3/1 and can be as high a 4/1. A young growing horse requires a ratio between 1/1 or up to 2/1. The ratio in alfalfa hay can lead to developmental bone disease and epiphysitis in growing horses. However since alfalfa is also very high in protein you feed less of the grain that is used to correct the calcium to phosphorus ratio. This was a big problem in futurity horses that were ‘fitted’ for show at a young age. (Fitted means too fat and not enough exercise)

  2. Petrossa says:

    I eat apositive anti-inflammatory herbals which are just as effective as NSAID’s without the nasty side effects. Although now and again i take a course of prednison if it gets really bad.

    Where you remarked on the ‘power of the mind’ like in placebo i’ve come to the conclusion that most of not all psychotherapy is in itself is a placebo. Just the fact that someone pays attention to you is the driving factor behind the ‘effectiveness’ of therapies. Hence the rather iffy result quality of them.

    About chelation, meh. Lot’s of theory, sounds logical but remarkably few lab standard recorded results.

  3. Graeme No.3 says:

    The formula for phytic acid explains little. Yes, it would react with, and insolubilise, metal ions but those salts would breakdown below 4-4.5 pH. With stomach acid around 2 pH and lots of chloride ions those metal ions should be readily soluble again.
    They may recombine in the upper intestine if something else doesn’t chelate them first, and the phytic acid is still around, rather than hydrolysed as I would expect.
    The allergic reaction to soya might be due to its higher content of lecithin, which is composed of “The three main phosphatides in this complex mixture called “commercial soy lecithin” are phosphatidyl choline (also called “pure” or “chemical” lecithin to distinguish it from the natural mixture), phosphatidyl ethanolamine (popularly called “cephalin”), and PHOSPHATIDYL INOSITOLS (also called inositol phosphatides i.e. phytate)”.

    The choline part is well known as a surface active agent and complexing agent. The sodium salt is more water ‘soluble’ wheres the zinc or copper salts would be more oil soluble and presumably more acceptable to cells. But that salt/complex would be stable at the internal pH of a cell.

    Perhaps the effect is related more to intracellular availability of zinc etc. That is, a poorer ability to breakdown phosphate materials.

  4. E.M.Smith says:


    VERY interesting….

  5. Gail Combs says:

    Petrossa says “…. i’ve come to the conclusion that most of not all psychotherapy is in itself is a placebo….”
    The only stuff I can see that actually works is behavior modification. For example I am scared of heights (Transfered from my Mom) When I started climbing and caving while in college I found I could over come that fear of heights by making myself climb and gradually my fear subsided.

    Chemicals may also work but I rather go with a change in diet first.

    From what I can see ‘Talk Therapy” is just a good way of transferring money and blame to someone besides yourself.

  6. Petrossa says:

    That’s funny because i acquired fear of heights by going higher. Never had fear of heights till a 300 feet bungee crane arrived in town and i decided to take a jump. Once i was hauled up in the cage my hands clamped shut around the bars and just wouldn’t open no matter how hard i tried. I didn’t feel panic or something, my body just refused to obey my orders so i was lowered down. Since then i have fear of heights.

  7. punmaster says:

    What if you simply talk to yourself and put your money in a different pocket?

    The famous freudian slip: when you say one thing but mean your mother.

    Afraid of heights ? I don’t even like being this tall.

  8. Gail Combs says:

    punmaster, I switched from climbing to caving – pit popping – so I couldn’t see how far it was to the bottom….

    Then Rich our resident photographer had to go hanging Press 25 Flashbulbs down the darn pits so he could get a picture. (grumble)

  9. Lynn Clark says:

    Unrelated to copper/zinc, but an example of a surprising (to me) food allergy…

    About 40 years ago I went through about 7 or 8 years of recurring explosive diarrhea. Imagine your bladder function completely shutting down for a day. Everything going out the back side. It turned out to be a mushroom allergy, which really sucked, because I loved mushrooms. The onset of the condition coincided with meeting a couple while I was in college who invited my (ex)wife and me over for dinner. The main dish was a very delicious casserole made with a couple diced potatoes, a pound or two of ground beef, a can of vegetable beef soup and a can of cream of mushroom soup. Combine all the ingredients in a covered pot, put it in an oven for 45-50 minutes or so at around 375 degrees, and voila. Delicious main dish. And very cheap, a key consideration for a broke married couple going to school. That casserole became a monthly, or more frequent, part of our diet. I spent a fair amount of time seeing a doctor at the university student health center to try to figure out what was causing the diarrhea episodes. After about a half-dozen appointments I quit seeing her as it seemed obvious that all the (middle-aged female) doctor was interested in was getting my shirt off so she could “listen to my heart”. What finally made “the light-bulb turn on” was eating side dishes of button mushrooms at two different restaurants in the same week while on a business trip and waking up the next morning with diarrhea. I haven’t knowingly eaten a mushroom in the 30 years since then, and haven’t had any recurrences of the shut-down-the-bladder, explosive diarrhea. Some people have suggested to me over the years that maybe it’s just the button mushrooms that I’m allergic to, and that I could probably eat other types. Unlike you, E.M., I’ve never been willing do the experiment to find out.

    BTW, fixing the casserole problem was easy. Just replacing the cream of mushroom soup with cream of celery soup solved the problem for me, and didn’t noticeably change the taste.

  10. Power Grab says:

    Your approach to analyzing things like this is so thorough….

    I would only want to suggest that, in addition to the zinc-copper balance question, perhaps the condition of gut flora might have changed, leading to reduced allergic reactions.

    Oh, also most chocolate has soy lecithin in it, so maybe that’s connection between the soy allergy and the chocolate allergy. Just sayin’…

    Every time I think it’s a good idea to cut food groups out of my diet, I always end up reversing my opinion.

    I recently experimented with avoiding wheat to reduce my reaction to perhaps a gluten intolerance or wheat allergy (I haven’t tried to get diagnosed because I’m NOT entirely confident that they can really get it right, and I don’t care to become ensnared in the cycle of trying out various kinds of medications, just to end up taking multiple meds).

    OTOH, avoiding wheat is a pain when you work full time and can’t prepare all your own food. So when I read someone’s testimony that they “cured” themselves of their wheat allergy (or gluten intolerance, I forget which) by using a particular probiotic, I found it intriguing. I found the one store in my state that sells the probiotic and decided to experiment on myself for six weeks. I really diligently avoided wheat and took the probiotic every day. Within 2 or 3 days, I saw a significant improvement. But I also noticed that when I drank tap water or ate food prepared with tap water, the improvement went away. So I figured something in the water was killing off the “good bugs” that I was getting from the probiotic.

    I’m afraid of repeating my story in its entirety, let me just say that the bottom line was that avoiding tap water and using spring water or well water is what works for me. (I think the chloramine in the tap water is the culprit.)

    I have decided that I need some grains and starch, and even wheat, to help keep my gut flora in balance. So, back to the original omnivore approach for me!

    P.S. I also know someone whose long-time stomach sensitivity was apparently cured instantly by prayer. ;-)

  11. Pingback: Om Koppar och Zink och andra metaller i vår mat | Larsil2009's Blog

  12. punmaster says:

    @ Lynn Clark:
    After about a half-dozen appointments I quit seeing her as it seemed obvious that all the (middle-aged female) doctor was interested in was getting my shirt off so she could “listen to my heart”.

    I hate when that happens, and it is so common today when there are so many middle-aged female doctors. I have kept a list, though, in case my wife goes first.

    What is really bad is when the 20 something nurse in the room passes out on seeing this chest.

  13. adolfogiurfa says:

    As far as amounts of minerals is considered, the most important are those which participate in our body in bigger quantities, as Iron, Magnesium, Calcium, copper, etc.
    Take also into account that there are some “urban mythologies” concerning the human´s body functioning, like the one which considers bones as a “solid structure”, while in reality, bones (mainly calcium tri-phosphate) are constantly taking in and out Calcium. For example, in certain conditions, as during the sexual act or in relaxation, calcium goes to the blood stream where it displaces magnesium, which in turn goes to the muscular tissue depolarizing muscular fibers where sodium and potassium work for contraction and relaxation. BTW, the promoted lower intake of sodium is really intended to make people low reactive people, being almost at the brink of death, at the brink of suffering a heart attack.
    Take also in consideration that what the IPCC did not achieved, i.e.: a “global governance”, it was achieved many years ago through the WHO, which is a governance body and its “recommendations” are obligatory, through “binding agreements” signed by every country; and we should take into account, also, that the WHO has no independent budget but its budget is provided by the pharmaceutical laboratories.
    Then, to summarize a general health advisory, it would be like this: “Hear you body” and not the information from any media whatsoever and less and NEVER to “your” doctor.
    In these “interesting times”, as it has been for many years, each one of us has to do our own homework or to be willing to drink a poisoned “Kool-Aid”.
    What do you choose, the red pill or the blue pill?

  14. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Petrossa: Try “Cat´s Claw” the most powerful natural anti inflammatory. Common ones were derived from the known and old fact that kerosene and other hydrocarbons were used by our grandparents to rub joints, so if we take in any anti inflammatory from “Big Oil through the intercession of Big Pharma” is like taking a paint remover in :-)
    During the 60´s a known US lab used as a drug for arthritis,etc. the compound DMSO (Di-methyl-sulphoxide), which, afterwards, was retired from pharmaceutical use to be applied as a chemical weapon!, its solubility was so high that it could visibly cross your hand from one side to the other.

  15. Petrossa says:

    @adolfogiurfa Hey, tnx. I’ll try. I found that “Cat’s claw is thought to have hypotensive effects” which can’t be bad neither. Wouldn’t it’s immune activating effect increase the risk of atherosclerosis?

  16. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Petrossa: Not at all. In fact what happens when you take Cat´s claw is that in a few days YOU FORGET to take it….just because you don´t feel the pain anymore;btw, I have just remember that I have to prepare myself right now a cup of cat´s claw tea…

  17. Petrossa says:

    @adolfogiurfa So commanded capsules, not much of teadrinker. No, i was wondering since arteriosclerosis is an immune response if it’s such a good idea to activate the immune system for the longer duration.

  18. sabretoothed says:

    Because copper content of the average diet is marginal, men are generally able to get enough copper for two reasons: first, their requirement for copper is slightly less; second, most men drink beer. Beer contains reasonably high levels of two critical minerals: copper and selenium. Probably men have a drive to drink beer for its selenium content which is necessary for testosterone production, and as a by-product consume a lot of copper. Because copper slows down the thyroid, this is the probable reason that drinkers of beer put on weight and get a “beer-belly.”

    Women, on the other hand, driven by a desire to stay thin, generally avoid the high copper foods because of the perception (which is correct) that the high copper foods can cause weight gain.

    Tobacco smoking

    Other women start smoking tobacco for a similar reason: because of the perception that smoking makes you stay thin. I believe that there is truth to this perception, because it appears that the cadmium in tobacco smoke is a copper antagonist. This results in low copper levels, and when combined with a high-zinc, meat-based diet, results in higher thyroid output, a higher rate of metabolism, and staying thinner.

    Unfortunately, for women there seems to be an interaction between estrogen and cadmium which results in high cadmium levels which not only depress copper, but depress zinc. Once zinc is depressed, the metabolic rate decreases and obesity sets in. Depending upon dietary intake of copper and zinc, cadmium can either push the woman to hypothyroidism (low zinc) or hyperthyroidism (low copper). The combination of estrogen and cadmium acts as an accelerator which pushes women one way or the other and makes the happy medium difficult to accomplish.

  19. sabretoothed says:

    The other important metabolic system is the RT3 system

    T3 has an isomer molecule, it’s Reverse T3. It shows whether the T3 hormone is being blocked at the receptor by the RT3 molecule, which is an inactive form of T3. It’s how bears hibernate. Stress makes more RT3, which makes its worse, its a vicious cycle. Heavy metals increase RT3. Just because your TSH is “right” does not mean you don’t have a problem as TSH only measures your pituitary gland feedback and doesn’t show you if you have a receptor problem at the cellular level. Eg high Cadmium, will block your Zinc, which will allow high copper and stuff your thyroid. RT3 its signal of high stress, inflammation or disease. You need a 24 hour cortisol test to test the level of cortisol at different times of the day as its produced in the last 4 hours of sleep. So if its low in the morning its a problem. If you do the 24 hour urine test you can’t tell this, you need 4 different time of the day saliva tests to see. Since you might be just not getting enough T3. This can also be triggered by going on a low carb diet, as RT3 used to increase in famines to help your body to survive, why you started to get fat around your abdomen, problems with digestion and overall feeling crap, your T3 output might be ok, but the RT3 is blocking it hitting the cells, so you are low in T3 on the cellular level.

    if Cadmium is high, your Zinc will be displaced . If Zinc is displaced, your testosterone will drop and estrogen increased, and thence you Thyroid will also be affected. When you get run down or sick you can get all tired and put on weight, the RT3 blocks the T3 receptors and makes you save energy. “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is a common autoimmune condition in which one develops an allergy to one’s own thyroid gland. In the early phase when there is destruction of thyroid gland and spillage of thyroid hormone (T4), there is a hyperthyroid effect. In an effort to lower the T4 level in the blood, the pituitary gland decreases the amount of TSH it secretes producing a low TSH. The hyper-metabolic state that occurs usually stresses the adrenal glands and causes adrenal fatigue. When enough destruction has occurred and the thyroid gland can make only a small amount of T4, one goes into a hypothyroid phase. Now one has hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue. Autoimmune antibodies, Anti Thyroglobulin Antibodies (ATA) and Thyroid PerOxidase Antibodies (TPO), are almost always present on blood testing. The body can eventually counter the hyper-metabolic state by reducing the conversion of T4 to T3 (and increasing T4 to RT3 conversion). Thus metabolically, this is like stepping on the brakes in a car that’s going too fast.

    If RT3 is up, you could try taking T3 med to try to reverse feedback it down to get the RT3 off the receptors, this is controversial though. Most people within 3 months recover normally with RT3 high, but some get stuck in high RT3 maybe due to adrenal fatigue (because of the increased adrenaline to keep the body going in its altered state) or chronic stress. There is lots of evidence that these thyroid disorders are caused by heavy metals of viruses. Even flora in the GUT is involved in T3-T4 conversion, why GUT flora is connected to depression and thyroid problems as the gut is important in the conversion of the hormones.

    Check out this Chart, it shows the relationship of thyroid and RT3
    RT3 stuff here

    Thyroid and the GIT connection T3-T4

  20. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Petrossa: I don´t know if arteriosclerosis it is what you say but Cat´s claw works fine.

  21. Petrossa says:

    @adolfogiurfa well it is. I’ll still take cat’s claw,(turning senile in an retirement home is not my idea of fun) expecting delivery in a few days. Wonder what dosage will do the trick. You ever had any dosage related side effects?

  22. sabretoothed says:

    Also, I wouldn’t be taking Zinc supplements. As this will stuff your copper balance. Best to just eat more oysters, red meat and pumpkin seeds, as if you take zinc you need to take copper on a 1:10 ratio. Zinc is also associated with Vit A and also Vit D. Vit D is also associated with Vit A and also K2 Vit D is not as simple as test shows as you can’t see storage, its like Iron, we have 4 tests for iron, but one test (there are 2) for Vit D
    (Has simple test to see zinc)

  23. sabretoothed says:

    Just wondering should check B6 for pyroles, as if you are losing Zinc and B6 should have both a low Zinc and also a low B6?

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