Women tend to have higher levels of copper than men. Women also have more symptoms related to copper imbalance.
Premenstrual syndrome. The symptoms of PMS mimic the symptoms of copper imbalance. This occurs because estrogen levels and copper levels correlate well and both increase before the menstrual period. For this reason, taking extra zinc and vitamin B6 before the menstrual period can often lower copper enough to reduce the symptoms of premenstrual tension for this reason. At times, however, the cause of PMS is more complex.
Other symptoms related to the sexual organs include amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, fibroid tumors, ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease.
Miscarriages and infertility. Copper is required to hold onto a pregnancy. Studies indicate that women with low estrogen and often low copper have more miscarriages. This is important for some women to know. Correcting the copper imbalance can help immensely with normal pregnancy. Infertility, on the other hand, is more common among women with elevated or bio-unavailable copper. This may be due, in part, to weak adrenals that, in turn, give rise to copper imbalance. Fertility problems, however, can be due to many factors.
Low libido in women and men. This is also linked to copper imbalance. Since copper raises the hair and tissue calcium level, women, in particular, with very high copper levels or hidden copper on their hair analyses, often lose interest in sex. Their energy declines and the body can become a bit “numb” because excessive tissue calcium tends to render the nervous system less sensitive.
Low sexual interest in men is also related to copper, which interferes with zinc metabolism in many instances. Man’s sperm and fluids are very rich in zinc. If they become depleted, male fertility and male sexual performance will always suffer. Most of the time, these problems are easy to overcome by correcting the levels of zinc and copper in the body using nutritional balancing methods.
Estrogen dominance and copper. Copper-toxic women are often estrogen dominant. This means they have more estrogen in their bodies, proportionately, than they have progesterone. However, we rarely use progesterone therapy. In fact, even natural or bio-identical progesterone therapy may be poorly tolerated in copper-toxic women and even men.
It also tends to be a little toxic, so we avoid it if at all possible. Instead, if we balance the copper, the symptoms of estrogen dominance such as premenstrual tension, vanish quickly and completely. Bio-unavailable copper and progesterone and body shape. Other women, usually those with bio-unavailable copper are low in estrogen. Their bodies are often more linear in shape and less “curvy”. Of course, copper is not the only factor affecting hormones. Some pesticides, for example, mimic the effects of estrogen and can affect the hormone balance.
Men and copper imbalance. Boys and men are far more affected when copper is out of balance than are women in many cases. Men should be zinc dominance. While most women have more copper in their bodies, men, by contrast, should be zinc dominant. Zinc, a “masculine” element, balances copper in the body and is essential for male reproductive activity.
Among the boys, symptoms that are most prominent are growth and developmental delay, ADD, ADHD, autism and related brain disorders. Among men, symptoms of copper toxicity, usually, include prostate enlargement, prostate infections and to some degree prostate cancer. Others include ED or erectile dysfunction that used to be called impotence, depression, anxiety and even violence. Others are testicular pains and testicular cancer in some cases.
Secondary sex characteristics and copper. Secondary sex characteristics are aspects of sexuality that are more mental and emotional than they are physical. For example, some men just love sex and women, while others are less sexual. The differences have to do with hormone levels, and often with the copper imbalance.
Birth control pills and copper IUDs (intra-uterine devices for birth control). These two birth control methods definitely affect copper metabolism in the body. While some women can handle them, others experience depression, anxiety, personality shifts and many horrible side effects from them, either acute or chronic.
This aspect of women’s “sexual revolution” has probably caused more disasters in women’s health than any other. Developing cancer, for example, can take years so women do not understand the dangers. The truth is, even if a woman quits taking the pill, for example, the risk of cancer remains high her entire lifetime.
Excessive sexual desire or sexual dysfunctions in women. Another curious effect of copper excess in women can be excessive sexual interest. This has something to do with the estrogen levels and liver toxicity due to the copper imbalance. Other sexual difficulties in both men and women such as pain on intercourse, vaginal dryness and others may have to do with copper imbalance as well.
By Lawrence Wilson, MD, Revised July 2011, The Center for Development.