Copper and the Thyroid
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When you start to learn about mineral balancing, it is nearly impossible to ignore how copper imbalances can be a huge issue for nearly everyone. Those with thyroid disorders are no exception, and they tend to suffer even more when copper is imbalanced.
You’ve probably come across the term ‘copper toxicity’ often, but in reality the issue is a bit more complex than that. Most people suffer from this toxic build up of copper when they are low in the copper binding protein called ceruloplasmin. Ceruloplasmin can be a tough thing to raise because it involves so many different things. When ceruloplasmin is low, copper cannot be properly utilized and it can get stored in organs like the liver, brain, and the thyroid.
How to Raise Ceruloplasmin
Sufficient adrenal and liver function is required to help make Ceruloplasmin and it is also dependent on animal-based retinol (aka REAL vitamin A), whole food vitamin C, and copper.
There are actually many things that inhibit ceruloplasmin production as well. Obviously the biggest problem with creating sufficient ceruloplasmin is our overloaded livers from environmental toxins. Preventing the liver from becoming sluggish is key to making ceruloplasmin available. Other offenders include supplemental iron, calcium, and vitamin D, high fructose corn syrup, ascorbic acid (passed off as Vitamin C but it is generally made from GMO corn!), and too much stress (whether external or internal).
Ceruloplasmin in is the key to regulating copper and iron. CP is also needed for neurotransmitter health, management of yeast, parasites, and other nasty stuff, and it is important for ATP regulation (aka energy production!)
The best tests to get to find out your entire copper status include an HTMA as well as a blood panel for copper serum, zinc plasma, and ceruloplasmin.
When beginning a copper balancing protocol, certain stressful situations or an influx of copper antagonists like zinc or manganese can stimulate the copper to come out of storage and it gets “dumped” into the blood to get excreted which creates all sorts of symptoms like anxiety, OCD, joint or muscle pain, mood swings, and more. If the liver is weak, then there is a likelihood that this copper that is trying to escape can get thrown right back into storage because of low bile flow- bile is crucial to excrete excess copper.
Copper’s Relationship with the thyroid
There are several ways that copper dysregulation plays into thyroid health:
- Bioavailable copper has a relationship with tyrosine, which is needed for the creation of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. Tyrosinase is the copper- containing enzyme at the core of whole food vitamin C, which is why we do NOT want isolated ascorbic acid. Tyrosine also is needed for melanin (skin pigmentation), dopamine and epinephrine- all things that have a relationship with copper!
- Bioavailable copper is crucial to keeping iron regulated, and iron is essential for the thyroid
- Copper dysregulation happens when the adrenals and liver are stressed- both of which are crucial for the functioning of the thyroid.
- Those that are hypothyroid tend to have true copper dysregulation, where as those that are hyperthyroid tend to be deficient in copper.
- Those with copper dysregulation tend to be deficient in zinc, selenium, manganese, and vitamin A because excess copper can interfere with their absorption. These are some crucial nutrients for the thyroid.
- Copper raises calcium and lowers potassium- the balance between calcium and potassium is very important for thyroid health. Calcium is needed for a few thyroid hormones, but it is easy to accumulate too much calcium. Potassium helps to keep calcium under control so these hormones can be properly balanced.
Want to learn more about how minerals affect our health? Check out my Facebook Group Mineral Mavens!
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