How to Manage Your Copper Status | Chris Masterjohn Lite #84

How to Manage Your Copper Status | Chris Masterjohn Lite #84

For everything from anemia, to headaches, to allergies, to having healthy bones, and just feeling great all the time, copper is an incredibly important nutrient. And this is how to know if you’re getting enough. Hi. I’m Dr. Chris Masterjohn of And this is Chris Masterjohn Lite, where the name of the game is “Details? Shmeetails. Just tell me what works!” And today we’re going to talk about how to manage your copper status, make sure that you get enough, not too much, and fix any problems and make sure that whatever your solutions are, they’re working. So copper, when you do not have enough, you can get anemia that looks just like iron deficiency anemia but isn’t, or that looks just like B12 and folate deficiency anemia but isn’t. In fact, you can get malabsorption of iron from copper deficiency that actually causes iron deficiency, and the problem might not be that you don’t have enough iron in your diet, it might be that you’re not getting enough copper in your diet to absorb the iron, so you could have anemia from that as well as the many other problems of iron deficiency itself. You can have low white blood cells, especially neutrophils. You can have high cholesterol, you could get osteoporosis because copper is needed to support your bones. You could get histamine intolerance or a greater burden of allergies than you would otherwise have. You could have poor pigmentation of your skin and hair, and neurotransmitter imbalances, like low adrenaline or high serotonin, that might leave you feeling like you’re not your best. So what do you do about this? Well, the first thing is look at your diet and see whether the dietary pattern that you have is supporting getting enough copper. The absolute best sources of copper are liver, oysters, shiitake mushrooms, pure chocolate, not the stuff watered down with sugar and milk, and spirulina. A tier below that of very good sources of copper are most shellfish besides oysters, remember oysters are the best, whole grains, legumes, and potatoes. Diets that are low in these foods are likely to contribute to a copper deficiency, but soil variation is very large, and all these foods, if they’re grown in low-copper soil, could be much less likely to give you enough copper. And if you’re consuming—if you’re not consuming enough of those foods and you are consuming foods from copper-deficient soils, then that makes you very predisposed to copper deficiency. Zinc supplementation, especially over 45 milligrams a day and with a zinc-to-copper ratio greater than 15-to-1, can be a cause of copper deficiency. Impaired methylation can be a cause of copper deficiency, and I’ll link in the description of this episode to my methylation resources. Other sources of copper deficiency that are not dietary in nature include the use of antacids, proton pump inhibitors, gastric bypass surgery, and any digestive problems that are focused on the upper part of the GI tract, like the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine. And although there’s limited evidence for this, it seems to be the case that high doses of vitamin C can impair copper absorption. On the other hand, there is copper toxicity. In general, from diet I do not believe copper toxicity is a concern. If you are supplementing with copper over 10 milligrams, that could pose a potential risk of copper toxicity. I think it’s best to keep copper supplements under 10 milligrams, preferably under 3 milligrams a day, and it’s always best to get your copper from food, and when you do, you’re benefitting by the fact that the copper is mixed with other minerals, especially zinc, which protects against copper toxicity. So it’s extremely unlikely to get copper toxicity from food. There are high copper levels in certain water systems, but when they get to the point where they can cause copper toxicity, usually drinking that water is going to make you nauseated, and it’s usually leaving blue colors all over the place. If it’s really bad, you can see the blue even coming out in your clothing. And so usually you have a warning sign, and certainly using a water filter will generally protect you against too much copper coming from your water supply. The most important test of copper status is serum copper. This can be supplemented with serum ceruloplasmin. They tend to go together, and so you’re usually not getting additional information by combining them. And serum copper tends to be more sensitive to deficiency, so you always want to at least get serum copper, but it can be helpful to corroborate it with serum ceruloplasmin. But always get serum copper. Give that the priority. In general, low serum copper and low serum ceruloplasmin indicate a copper deficiency most of the time. From what I’ve seen, I think you want to tend to be in the middle of the range because I have seen indications of copper deficiency when people are in the lower 20 or 30 percent of the range. It’s important to note a couple of limitations to these tests. First of all, estrogen increases serum ceruloplasmin and tends to increase serum copper as well, and that means that there’s going to be some fluctuation of copper levels with the menstrual cycle. And copper levels are generally twice as high during pregnancy as they are for women who are not pregnant. And using hormone replacement therapy, estrogen in HRT can raise copper levels by 30 to 90 percent. And unfortunately, there really isn’t any clear research to develop a separate reference range for women experiencing high estrogen under these conditions, so what we can say is that if your copper levels are running a little high and you can explain it with estrogen, you can probably dismiss it because it’s normal. It’s probably all the more true in women than in men that you want to be at least towards the middle of the range for copper because if you’re at the low end of the range, and that might be close to deficiency, that’s all the more true if you would expect your estrogen levels to be bringing the copper up higher. There are two genetic disorders of copper metabolism: Menkes disease and Wilson’s disease. Both of these can look like copper deficiency because the serum copper levels and ceruloplasmin levels can be low, but you can have copper overload in certain specific tissues, and which tissues those are is different for Menkes disease and Wilson’s disease. But measuring urine copper can be very useful in identifying these diseases because usually the urine copper is elevated in those diseases despite the low serum levels. So, those are the rare caveats to serum copper being the most useful test, but urine copper can often distinguish those diseases from the typical picture. If you identify a copper deficiency, the best thing to do is to solve it at the root of the problem. In some cases, that might be due to an absorption problem, and it might be due to excessive supplementation of zinc or high doses of vitamin C. If so, you want to work on removing those problems. If the problem is a dietary one because you’re not consuming enough copper-rich foods, then the overwhelmingly best thing to do is to work the copper-rich foods into your diet. Again, those are liver, oysters, shiitake mushrooms, chocolate, and spirulina as the very top foods. And the other good sources include most non-oyster shellfish, whole grains, legumes, and potatoes. So eat more of those foods. This is especially important because although there’s not a ton of evidence around it, the copper that you get from foods is a different form than what you get in supplements. Usually the—to be technical about it, the oxidation state is different. And it appears to be the case that the food copper is the ideal form that is utilized much more effectively, and that means that you’re always going to get a better deal from getting copper in foods than you are from supplements. With that said, there are case reports out there making it very clear that 7 milligrams of copper from a supplement over the course of a few months is highly effective at curing the anemia or the low white blood cells that occur in copper deficiency. And so certainly, if you cannot get your copper levels up with food, supplements are an effective means of fixing the deficiency. True copper toxicity is very unlikely outside of extreme over-supplementation, or consuming highly polluted waters, or the genetic diseases that, Menkes and Wilson’s disease that can lead to copper toxicity in certain tissues. In the case of true copper toxicity, working with a health care practitioner through chelation therapy is the necessary course of action. In most cases, if you have a reason to suspect a mild overload of copper from overuse of supplements in the past, I think the best thing to do is to use zinc supplementation to get your zinc levels up along the lines of how I described doing so for toxic heavy metals, and I’ll link to that episode in the description of this one. This episode is brought to you by Ancestral Supplements. Our Native American ancestors believed that eating the organs from a healthy animal would support the health of the corresponding organ of the individual. Ancestral Supplements has a nose-to-tail product line of grass-fed liver, organs, bone marrow, and more. All in the convenience of a capsule. For more information or to buy any of their products, go to This episode is brought to you by Testing Nutritional Status: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet. Everything you could ever need to know to optimize your nutrition all in one place. Easier to find and use than ever before. Get your copy at Use the code LITE5. That’s all capitals LITE, the number 5. Use the code LITE5 to get five dollars off. The audio of this episode was enhanced and post-processed by Bob Davodian of Taurean Mixing. You can find more of his work at All right, I hope you found this useful. Signing off, this is Chris Masterjohn of This has been Chris Masterjohn Lite. And I will see you in the next episode.


  1. 12 minutes is not lite – furthermore who gives a gooses ass about copper – the only reason you charlatans exist is because people can’t get a diagnosis from the conventional MD so you folks are only too happy to keep these people in a endless loop doing stupid blood and saliva and hair tests and buying supplements but preferably your supplements from your website – shame on you and your cherry picked testimonials.

  2. For more Infos about copper
    read the book
    Eat right for life by Raymond Schep an expert on copper .
    He is taking 8mg everyday.
    I take 2mg.

  3. What do you think of the MitoSynergy copper, which has the food form of copper known as copper1, as opposed to copper2 which is the inorganic form found in copper water pipes?Check out Charles Barker explain it all: . Or go to MitoSynergy dot com.

  4. Chris is so wrong in this copper topic it's not even funny… Serum copper is useless number. What is important is ceruloplasmin and ceruloplasmin can be low for many reasons. Copper deficiency is just one of them. Many woman who have issues with bile flow have copper acumulation in the liver, because they can't eliminate excess of copper via bile. In my worst point I had low serum copper with low ceruloplasmin so I started with beef liver and other copper rich foods and my health was worse and worse. IF you have a lot of oxidative stress, fried adrenals, low amino acids your body can't make systemic proteins like ceruloplasmin. Therefore copper can be used without taxi driver ceruloplasmin. So it will just stay in the live. Chris can do some research on this. Your point of view on copper metabolism is the same like ordinary doctor have which is completely wrong… People are not deficient in copper. Copper is in everything. But people are deficient in other micronutrients needed for ceruloplasmin production…

  5. Thank you for the information, Chris. Why does a methylation problem cause a copper deficiency? I apologize if this is explained elsewhere. I have your cheat sheet and have listened to the (very informative!) more lengthy version of this and I am trying to understand why methylation problems could cause a deficiency. It's quite possible it's just above my head. Thanks for the great content.

  6. Good Information! Zinc and copper status is something we need more information on. People don't give these minerals enough credit in how important they are to the brain!!! The frontal lobe needs them desperately!!! It is a very personal topic for me because my step-daughter has severe ADHD. I have used a natural approach to minimize her symptoms that has included zinc supplementation along with bio-available copper. It has been a game changer.

  7. How do you think copper carafe or vesels used on ayurveda in india are as source of copper, do they provide enaught copper or are they a risk of overdose ? line let 1 luter of water stay 12h or 24h before drinking ?

  8. vitamin k1 dos not help the absorption of iron but it prevent us from losing the bite of blood we have,
    the signs of vitamin k1 deficiency are:
    1. Easy bruising.
    2. Oozing from nose or gum.
    3. Excessive Bleeding from wounds.
    4. Heavy menstrual periods.
    5. Bleeding from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
    6.Blood in the urine and/or stool.

    so if we have low k1 we Bleeding from all over the body and thats cause anemia, also if for example you have some food sensitivity or intolerance it will also make you bleed internally, and if also you dont have k1 you get severe anemia. it dost mather if you have adequate iron, copper, manganese, vitamins b12, b9, b6 and vitamin C, if you have low k1 you loss the blood you try to build with those vitamin and minerals

  9. Dr. Masterjohn, on a camera technical note; the black background is forcing the camera to increase the ISO in an effort to brighten the black. This is giving you hot spots on your face and making the quality of the video suboptimal. You can either change the background or adjust the camera settings to underexpose.

  10. I had issues with a copper and zinc dietary imbalance. Perhaps it's not accurate to say that it was a copper toxicity, but I definitely was suffering from copper excess. I didn't realize the problem until I took a multivitamin that had more zinc than copper. Other multivitamins that I've tried have never contained more than the RDA of copper. A month or two after I began balancing copper and zinc in my diet, I actually gained ten pounds. I believe the imbalance was causing undernourishment.

  11. also for absorbing all minerals we need adequate stomach acid, if we have low stomach acid its because we are deficient in salt, calcium and zinc.
    in this video it is explained

  12. Chris do you think low serum copper and out of range low ceruloplasmin could be a cause of an year long abuse of Iron supplements contributing to somekind of Iron overload?

  13. 1.) Eat at least 100 grams of ruminant liver once a week, and at least 100 grams of oysters also once a week but on a different day. Eat the other copper-rich foods too, but liver and oysters are most important.

    2.) Take 25-50 mg of zinc at bedtime.

    3.) Don't lose sleep over it.

  14. How do I get rid of too much copper in the body? I think I have copper toxicity.
    Also I think my body doesn't absorb zinc from food or supplements at all. Even the zinc from food like beef doesn't seem to make a difference. How can I fix this strong imbalance of zinc and copper in the body? Thank you very much for the answer.

  15. Thanks, Chris, I have taken too much zinc in the past few years to the point where I was extremely depleted from copper which caused anaemia, memory problems and elevated neutrophils. In addition, I had almost all the symptoms that you have described in this video. Thanks for valuable information.

  16. What can be the cause of low serum ceruloplasmin? It is in range low border.

    Serrum copper is normal.
    And serrum Iron is in range high border.

    I'm a man.

  17. What do you think about unbound copper (if ceruloplasmin is low but copper high/normal)?
    Can it lower histamine (as copper is used in DAO enzyme which recycles histamine)?

  18. You did not mention the relation with overload on Iron and Copper deficiency. My daughter is born with severe damage because of a lot of Iron injections given to me by my physician during the pregnancy. Before 1930 they 
    knew about this problem and supplemented the Iron with Copper . After 1930 the knowledge was forgotten? PMCID 4990348

  19. What do you think of hair mineral analysis? I had very high copper on that result, but if I supplement zink (50 mg gluconate) without copper, I get very soft and flexible nails. If I take 15 mg zinc with 1 mg copper, my nails become very strong. I noticed this pattern a lot of times.

  20. Hey Chris!! Really enjoying your videos and the content here.
    I'm learning a lot from you and i'm getting affirmation on lot of these same minerals and topics that ive studied on my own
    So here's my story
    I was taking large doses of Zinc (70-100 mg) for a long periods of time to increase my testosterone levels.
    Slowly what started happening got me in point where i was in a terrible mood always ( which i thought comes with high testosterone levels… )
    i started losing interest and focus in almost all things, I had a terrible brain fog and just felt so stiff and weak like my hands would almost shake,
    even my video game performance on these fast paced FPS games would plummet and id had though time keeping up with the reaction time and fast decisions. Started even losing colour on my hair…
    After sometime i started connecting the dots, taking this much zinc cant be good for me SO eventually i started eating liver and supplementing with copper and it didn't take that long for me to start feeling much better.
    My hand eye coordination got back and even better and i didn't only see it in computer games but with playing basketball.

    Through experience of testing lot of different minerals i know mega dosing on any one mineral cant be good for you since they are all needed in harmonious quantities for the magic of life to happen.

    Can you make an video of your assessment of how the mineral balance should be, and not only the key players but trace elements as well.

  21. What about using water that has been sitting in a copper pot for getting copper in your system? I have seen alot of advertisement about that this past year or so, which makes me weary about it. Presuming levels are being tested to stay within range, are there drawbacks in your purview that you are aware?

  22. Hi Chris. I think I have copper deficiency (will do hair mineral analysis one of these days, but as far as blood is concerned, not sure how accurate it is though, my copper levels are indeed very low), I wonder if one of the best ways to solve this deficiency could be drinking water from a copper bottle?

    I figure the real issue here is malabsorption (who knows why…), so trying to solve it through food probably won't work.

    Thank you in advance for a response.

  23. It seems to me that the symptoms of most mineral deficiencies entail digestive issues and fatigue, making it quite confusing! I just had a copper IUD removed after three years, as was wondering whether excess copper has been contributing to my health issues…

  24. So more than a dozen video's until this one have generally detailed how copper toxicity is rampant. The amounts of estrogen around us and in foods have basically caused this. It's so challenging to understand if we have a higher risk of being deficient or have too much in our system. Especially if much of a person's symptoms are related to being cold and having muscular pain. What would be the most efficient way to have a doctor accurately test this. Thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.