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Fibromyalgia and the Copper Connection

Fibromyalgia patients typically suffer from deep tissue pain, unrelenting fatigue, depression, anxiety, headaches, brain fog and lack of sleep. What causes this whole range of symptoms – which are difficult to treat, much less cure – has long been a mystery.

If you are suffering with fibromyalgia, you may have an excessive build-up of copper or copper imbalance. The common saying, “too much of a good thing,” does have a place in nutrition. The body prefers a happy medium, and too little and too much of many essential vitamins and minerals can lead to imbalances and health problems. Many nutrients also work as antagonists, which means that certain vitamins and minerals can either inhibit or enhance the absorption or function of other vitamins and minerals. This can increase your susceptibility to certain chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia.

No pair better exemplifies this than zinc and copper. When your copper to zinc ratio becomes too high, it can lead to health problems.

Why would someone become copper toxic? First and foremost, copper overload is very common in women because estrogen causes copper retention in the body. Is it just a coincidence that fibromyalgia is much more common in women? Is it just a coincidence that copper toxicity symptoms are identical to fibromyalgia symptoms?

The most common exposure to copper includes copper water pipes (popular in Australia since the late 1960's) and anything that increases estrogen in body such as Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), the oral contraceptive pill and the Mirena IUD and even xeno estrogens that mimic estrogen. Some foods that we commonly eat can also be high in copper, some examples include leafy greens, oysters, crab, avocado and mushrooms. The most devastating and life altering source of copper however, comes from the copper IUD. This medical device has destroyed the health of many formerly healthy and robust women.

A commonly overlooked test, which should be carried out for all patients with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia pain, is a complete copper panel. While copper is an essential mineral that humans require, a deficiency or excess of this mineral can result in common symptoms of fibromyalgia such as chronic pain, fatigue, and depression. Also, copper and zinc balance each other in the body, and it’s said that for optimal health the ratio of zinc to copper should be between 0.7 and 1.0.

A copper/zinc panel should include the following tests:

Copper, serumCeruloplasmin (transport protein for copper)Zinc, plasma

Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Once a diagnosis has been made that a copper imbalance is present there is treatment available. Unfortunately, the vast majority of regular GPs are unaware of this common malady. An integrative GP or naturopath who understands and specialises in heavy metal and copper imbalance will get you on the road to recovery. The recovery process can take a while, so you will need to be patient. You or your loved one will have to put in the hard yards, but the fruit of recovery is oh so delicious.


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