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Why Ceruloplasmin is So Important for Copper Balancing
What in the world is ceruloplasmin anyway? Ceruloplasmin is a blood marker that gets talked about a lot lately, and I had a request to make a full on post about its importance.
In a nutshell, ceruloplasmin is crucial for balancing copper and iron correctly, and testing for it can help give insight to your liver and adrenal health. It is often overlooked and never tested for, or it is only used to determine “toxic” unbound copper. We tend to view it in a different light, although it is still just one piece to a very large puzzle.
Ceruloplasmin is the copper binding protein but it also plays a huge part in iron metabolism. According to this study, ceruloplasmin is essential to get iron to moves from the cells to plasma. Ceruloplasmin doesn’t bind iron but it enable iron to be absorbed in the gut, allows it to bind with transferrin (another protein made in the liver), helps red blood cells form, and just allows proper iron metabolism. It is also needed for neurotransmitter health, amine activation, management of pathogens, and it is important for ATP regulation (aka energy production!).
Ceruloplasmin as a blood marker is actually used in some liver function panels- so if your number is not in a good range it can give us decent insight on how well your liver is working. Want to read more about ceruloplasmin?
Check out this 100 page study that has nearly everything you’d ever want to know about it!
How to Raise or Fix Ceruloplasmin Levels
Ceruloplasmin production depends on a few things. Sufficient adrenal and liver function is required to help make this protein. Please read that sentence again! This is why we usually work on adrenal and liver health FIRST for those dealing with copper issues. Ceruloplasmin is also dependent on animal-based retinol (source), whole food vitamin C, and copper itself (95% of the copper in the body is found in ceruloplasmin- this is why not everyone needs to decrease or eliminate copper from their diet even if they have high unbound copper).
The biggest steps to take to fix this issue would be to get an HTMA to determine your oxidation rate and adrenal status, and blood panels for copper and iron (this would include copper serum, ceruloplasmin, zinc plasma/serum, iron serum, ferritin, TIBC, and saturation rate %. We have a file in our group Mineral Mavens on Facebook to help determine ideal levels for these blood tests as well.
Depending on what your HTMA shows, you’ll likely be started first on adrenal healing and mineral support, and then we add in liver support as you get stronger. Loving your liver is one of the KEY things to do to heal from a copper imbalance, as well as healing your adrenals. When a person is ready, then we look at adding things like desiccated beef liver or cod liver oil for the vitamin A.
So what happens when we focus on ceruloplasmin instead of individual nutrients? Since we have to focus on strengthening the adrenals and liver, the body gets stronger in the process. As ceruloplasmin rises, unbound copper falls and we make copper and iron more bioavailable. Iron is allowed to be activated to be utilized properly. Zinc, molybdenum and manganese are given a chance to re-balance once unbound copper decreases. The body can finally heal from underlying infections (whether bacterial, viral or parasitic) because copper is now becoming bioavailable. The body can also get a handle on oxidative stress once copper can become bioavaiable- whether it is from heavy metals, excess iron, or just general toxin buildup.
What Happens When Ceruloplasmin is low?
- Calcium can be elevated- lack of vitamin A (as retinol) makes us unable to hold onto potassium, which is needed to keep calcium in check
- High UNbound copper and low bound copper
- Iron Imbalance (think of it just like copper- it needs to be managed and regulated by Cp)
- Low Potassium
- You are more prone to oxidative stress since ceruloplasmin is a potent antioxidant, as well as bioavailable copper
- Because of the link between copper, iron and ceruloplasmin: “Copper deficiency generates cellular iron deficiency, which in humans results in diminished work capacity, reduced intellectual capacity, diminished growth, alterations in bone mineralization, and diminished immune response which can be associated to several diseases and syndromes” (Source, page 27)
- From one source on page 30 “When there is copper deficiency the iron uptake and transport within the body is affected, and iron tends to accumulate in several tissues. Thus, copper deficiency results in an anemia similar to that observed in iron deficiency.”
Ceruloplasmin and Transmitters (Basically everything you’d ever want to know about this subject! About 100 pages!)