#1: I’d venture to guess that most people have never even heard of copper toxicity. Can you give us a layman’s explanation of what it is?
Copper toxicity also referred to as copper overload is an inability to eliminate excess copper from the body. This is not the same as Wilson’s disease which is a rare genetic disorder that shows up in the body’s tissues. The copper I’m talking about is unbound. It floats freely in the body as a free radical disrupting the reproductive, nervous and glandular systems with devastating effects on mental health. The reason most people are unaware of it is that traditional doctors don’t test copper levels in the blood. If a patient complains of fatigue and mood like symptoms it is common practice for traditional doctors to dispense antidepressants.
#2: Your book is a very personal journey dealing with this condition. What were some of the biggest hurdles you faced?
When a heavy metal like copper roams freely is it leads to high amounts of oxidative stress and attacks the nervous systems. This causes the body to go into a constant fight or flight state making it difficult to calm down. So one of my biggest hurdles was dealing with constant high anxiety. Then as excess copper disrupted my adrenal glands and neurotransmitters depression ensued. The catch 22 for me was I had never been a depressed person nor anxious so I knew there was something causing these behavioral changes. That’s why I kept searching for answers.
Another awful hurdle was dealing with regret, guilt, and shame after I imploded. Losing a pregnancy I wanted was an unfortunate trauma. It was a result of anxiety fears and not understanding the depressive behavior. At times I thought I was going crazy and was afraid for and of myself.
I spent 8 years on antidepressants never getting better because antidepressants actually worsen anxiety in high copper individuals. Estrogen dominant women like myself retain copper. Whether it is the body producing it normally or external sources like birth control pills, prenatal vitamins, daily vitamins or hormone replacement drugs. So all along I had an intolerance to estrogen causing my distress. As I explained my symptoms to doctors, not one linked it to hormonal change nor did they do any tests. So the biggest hurdle of all was getting doctors to hear me.
#3: What made you decide to write a book about it?
The reason I wrote a book is to create awareness about copper toxicity. I hope to prevent other women from suffering unnecessarily.
Also with 16M adults in the US affected by depression and some 40 million by anxiety I knew I wasn’t alone. It was important for me to make sure others suffering don’t feel alone either. So I am very open about my personal moments. Talking about what it feels like to have and hide behind depression. My goal is to spread hope that healing is possible and draw out others to talk rather than hide. It has been very liberating for me to finally talk about what I went through. I feel this is how change and proper treatment will happen.
I believe my book is only the tip of the iceberg. Copper is getting more attention as environmental triggers are prevalent in tap and well water, copper pipes, pesticides, plastics, dry cleaning chemicals, and some household and personal care products. Not to mention the popularity of plant-based diets which are high in copper. I was a vegetarian for years and thought I was eating a “healthy” diet. Never realizing I was adding copper-rich foods that were causing brain fog and low concentration.
#4: If any readers of your book find themselves wondering if they are suffering through the same condition, what would you recommend they do?
It is highly likely that women will find themselves with similar symptoms because 35% of women test as estrogen dominant. This not to say that men cannot have copper toxicity as well. It is just more prevalent in women because of the relationship to estrogen.
I recommend getting tested. Again, most traditional doctors will not test but there are labs that will. Finding a doctor who is open to using nutritional supplementation and is willing to treat the cause rather than the symptom is key.