Are you Copper Toxic?

First, I’ll answer the question that just popped into your brain: WHAT IS COPPER TOXICITY?

Copper toxicity is a build-up of bio-unavailable copper in the body that gets stored primarily in the liver (initially) and then subsequently in the brain and other organs. As copper accumulates it initially gets stored in the liver, causing the main symptoms of brain fog and fatigue. At high levels of accumulation, however, the mind start racing and the adrenals may ‘burn out’. Following adrenal burnout copper levels then spike even further as ceruloplasmin production declines.  Copper is now being deposited in the brain and other organs, and this, in turn, leads to neurotransmitter imbalances causing brain function and perception to become altered, and schizophrenia, paranoia, depression, anxiety, and pseudo-bipolar conditions can result.

Whew, that’s intense!

I recently met a certified HTMA (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis) practitioner who started explaining how much the medical system is missing when they just review our blood tests and especially the harmful and often undetected effects of copper toxicity.  It piqued my interest, especially in my endeavor to learn and share as much as I can on women’s hormone health so I decided to get the details and put them in terms meaningful to me and the women I talk to. Rick Fischer is extremely passionate about his research and sharing this information, as it was initially sparked by the loss of his girlfriend to copper toxicity.

HTMA is a screening test (using hair from the scalp) which accurately indicates mineral toxicities and imbalances and provides the evidence required to design the most effective nutritional programs to bring back balance.


List of Conditions Affected by Mineral Imbalance

* This list is not is not everything, it doesn’t include toxic metals – an additional source of many physical and mental problems. HTMA data provides detailed information on over 30 essential minerals and toxic metals.


Adrenal Health & Energy – the balance between sodium and magnesium indicates the strength or insufficiency of the adrenal glands. When the adrenals are activated, sodium rises.  High sodium and potassium, especially relative to calcium and magnesium, indicate high adrenal activity. A low sodium level, together with low potassium, indicates exhausted adrenals.  High accumulations of bio-unavailable copper are one major cause of exhausted adrenals. With exhausted adrenals, the body will constantly feel fatigued and, in turn, leads to many other physical and psychological conditions.  Adrenal performance can be improved through the balancing of key minerals.

Anemia – iron deficient anemia can develop as a result of bio-unavailable copper. With a deficiency in available copper, iron will build up in storage areas and also become bio-unavailable, leading to anemia.

Anxiety – a high level of copper is a major contributor to anxiety.

Bi-Polar – a mineral pattern showing a high level of calcium to potassium along with a high sodium to potassium ratio, a low calcium to magnesium ratio, and a high level of copper often creates a “pseudo-bipolar” condition that can be ameliorated through the adjustment of minerals.

Blood Sugar – a high level of calcium relative to magnesium leads to increased insulin secretion and a tendency of for hypoglycemia.

Brain Fog – a common occurrence with liver toxicity (and as copper builds up in the liver)…among other factors.

Cardiovascular disorders – low copper relative to zinc allows an increase in LDL and a decrease in HDL.  This imbalance can lead to hardening of the arteries, regardless of the total serum cholesterol or triglyceride levels.  A low level of magnesium is also a major contributor to heart attacks.

Chronic Fatigue  (see adrenal health and energy)

Depression – a high level of copper and calcium, along with the natural effect of depleted adrenals, are all contributing factors to depression.

Digestive Issues / Candida / Yeast – a high level of copper can impair digestion and bowel motility resulting in gas and bloating.  Furthermore, copper is a natural fungicide.  When the copper level becomes too high it becomes bio-unavailable  (creating a deficiency condition), and with this deficiency in bio-available copper, yeast and candida are allowed to flourish.  Meanwhile copper lowers zinc. When zinc is low, digestive enzyme and bile production become impaired.   When protein synthesis is low (a result of low phosphorus), digestion is further impaired.

Emotional Apathy & Relationship Withdrawal  – with depleted adrenals (low sodium and potassium) comes to a natural withdrawal from romantic relationships. Physiologically, sex and romance are forced to be put on hold for the survival of the body.  As stress increases, so too does calcium. A high level of calcium creates a ‘calcium shell’, which effectively blocks emotions and deadens feelings.  This is often in turn a result of copper toxicity, which raises calcium.  Without an understanding of this effect, and left feeling very little for their partner, many people simply walk away from their relationship, believing the relationship to be the problem, rather than a mineral imbalance.

Immune Function – a low zinc level will impair the body’s immune system

Inflammation – high sodium to potassium over a long time leads to chronic inflammation.  The potassium level reflects glucocorticoid activity, and so a low potassium level may be a warning of an inflammatory process in the body.

Kidney & Liver Function – a high sodium to potassium ratio can lead to kidney and liver dysfunction. A high level of copper (or any toxic metal for that matter) can also overload the liver.

Muscle Mass Loss-Any bodybuilder knows the importance of protein for building muscle. A high phosphorus level indicates rapid protein breakdown, while a low phosphorus level indicates inadequate protein synthesis and tissue breakdown.

Muscle Twitches – often a sign of magnesium deficiency

Osteoporosis – though most people understand that calcium is important for preventing osteoporosis, what many aren’t told is that too much calcium, relative to magnesium, will actually increase the risk for osteoporosis. Adequate magnesium is required for calcium to deposited in the bone.  This is why it is imperative that you understand your magnesium level before supplementing with calcium.

PMS type symptoms – one of the many negative effects of excess copper are PMS type symptoms

Schizophrenia & Paranoia – numerous studies show that 1/2 to 2/3 of schizophrenics have high levels of copper.  Combined with copper’s effect on neurotransmitter imbalances and impairing neocortex functioning, paranoia is also a common side effect of copper toxicity. It is the time the mental health community starts acknowledging this important mineral connection rather than simply treating patients with dangerous psychotropic drugs!

Stress tolerance– During the alarm stage of stress, sodium rises relative to potassium. With high Na/K, the person is easily overwhelmed by the slightest stress or irritation and can over-react.  This response by-passes the higher cortical intellectual functions, so you can’t verbally counsel a person out of this.  Instead, you need to balance the Na/K, and this will allow the person to better control their emotions and awareness.  If left uncorrected, eventually the body’s adrenals will exhaust themselves from the stressor and low sodium together with low potassium will result, an indicator of adrenal exhaustion.

Thyroid Health & Weight -Calcium slows down the thyroid while potassium speeds it up. The balance between calcium and potassium is a great indicator of the efficiency of the thyroid gland, which can, in turn, lead to both energy and weight challenges.


Why should I use HTMA testing rather than blood tests?  Why doesn’t my doctor recommend them?

Blood testing isn’t an accurate indicator of mineral levels because the blood works quickly to remove excess minerals, and this excess gets stored in tissues, which is then evidenced in our soft tissue, such as hair. Medical Doctors seem to have a lack of acceptance of HTMA because they simply have not received any proper training on assessing HTMA charts. Understanding HTMA charts is not as simple as just looking at a mineral level. An advanced understanding of mineral ratios and their various effects on physical and personality changes is required.


HTMA offers the following key benefits:

  • Sampling is simple and non-invasive
  • Mineral levels are much more accurately detected in hair than in blood* Blood serum tests are misleading because excess minerals are not stored in the blood, they are stored in tissue!
  • Since hair is a non-essential, excretory, storage, soft tissue of the body, the body tends to deposit more excess minerals and dangerous metals here than in many other tissue areas of the body.
  • HTMA provides key ratios & indicators which can detect imbalances that individual mineral ‘levels’ don’t show.
  • Hair remains stable for biopsy for months or even years
  • It is extremely cost effective, accurate, and reliable.

IUD-copper toxic


•    Taking calcium supplementation while you are magnesium deficient (as many people are), could, in fact, be making your bones even more brittle.
•    A very high ratio of calcium to potassium indicates a slow thyroid, with a tendency toward weight gain, fatigue, even constipation.
•    Vitamin D supplementation lowers potassium levels. We hear all the time how healthy Vitamin D is, but this is not the case when it negatively affects certain mineral balances.
•    Toxic levels of copper will weaken the adrenals resulting in fatigue and brain fog, and can eventually alter neurotransmitter levels in the brain, alter perception and lead to schizophrenia.
•    Vitamin D can also cause a deficiency in magnesium.
•    High levels of calcium relative to magnesium lead to calcification, cell death, and increased risk of blood clots.
•    Women with excess estrogen (and consequently copper) generally require more zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese.
•    As stress increases, zinc and magnesium levels drop while copper and calcium levels rise.
•    A high level of sodium to potassium intensifies the fight or flight response, increases the emotions of anger and fear, reduces higher intellect cortical function, and shortens one’s fuse (increasing agitation to the slightest irritation)
•    ADHD stimulant drugs tend to lower magnesium and increase the sodium to potassium ratio.


Are you interested in getting tested?

*Cost for Testing and Full Analysis with Rick Fischer (Certified HTMA Practitioner)  $195 


(*Please note that I am not affiliated or responsible for your results or experiences with Integrative Health coaching, I am purely recommending his services and wishing you the best of experiences in your continual journey to health.)


More reading…


Real women, real stories – Here’s how HTMA saved their lives.


An elderly woman recommended to take calcium to prevent osteoporosis:
A physician recommends to an elderly female to take Calcium supplementation in order to prevent osteoporosis. She has low magnesium levels (as many people do), yet the doctor has not verified this through testing.  By increasing her calcium supplementation, this increases the ratio of calcium to magnesium in the body.  A high calcium to magnesium ratio results in the calcium not being properly deposited in the bone, and instead it gets stored in cells and tissues, leading to a hardening of the arteries (calcium plaque) – leading to possible stroke or heart attack – and a further weakening of the bone.  This vital calcium to magnesium ratio can only be properly determined through an HTMA test, and the magnesium level should first be known before given any calcium supplementation is given.

A young healthy female given a copper IUD:
A young, healthy female has a copper IUD inserted. A few months later her adrenals burn out, her personality changes, and she becomes numb to her relationship. Her physician recommends a blood test, which shows elevated copper, and subsequently her IUD is removed. A second blood test later then shows a ‘normal’ copper level; she is advised she’s now fine, and subsequently divorces her husband because she realizes she no longer ‘feels anything’. This not uncommon scenario plays out all too often with physicians failing to recognize that excess bio-unavailable copper is stored in tissues (primarily the liver and the brain), and not the blood. After the IUD is removed, blood levels quickly return to normal, and subsequent blood testing completely ignores stored bio-unavailable copper in the tissues which can lead to severe psychological changes, compounded with the already severe symptoms and changes that occur after adrenal burnout. This stored copper increases calcium levels (creating a calcium shell effect that numbs feelings leaving a person dead emotionally), lowers magnesium and increases sodium (both of which in turn increases the stress response and negative aspects of ones personality, along with anxiety, anger, and panic), and can lead to wide range of psychological problems, many of which are easily recognizable through HTMA results. Had an HTMA test been done, the patient would have understood that, contrary to what the blood test showed, her copper levels were still high, and a proper, corrective detox and nutritional balancing protocol could have been advised based on her specific mineral levels as determined by the HTMA.

->Here’s where you can order your HTMA Lab Analysis

*Cost for Testing and Full Analysis with Rick Fischer (Registered HTMA Practitioner) is $195 (subject to change)


(*Please note that I am not affiliated or responsible for your results or experiences with Integrative Health coaching, I am purely recommending his services and wishing you the best of experiences in your continual journey to health.)









The Epidemic of Exhausted Women

“Life is exhausting!” This is what one of the moms on my women’s soccer team quietly mentioned while we huddled in a circle, ready for our 10pm game (a perfect time for all the mothers and busy executives on the team so it wouldn’t affect the schedule of anyone else in the family). The full day before the soccer game with work, kids, life, housework, scheduling and volunteering was enough to send any sane person directly to bed, but we were here tonight, needing a little connection, fun, and physical release.  I looked around the circle at each woman.  Each one had a story of strength and perseverance on and off the soccer field, and yet it showed in their faces with an air of plain tiredness.  And it wasn’t because they were tired of life – heck, they were there to play soccer, weren’t they?  Rather, they just needed the permission to recharge and dust off their inner passion.

The amount of work women get done these days is incredible.  Not only are women pushing themselves mentally, but physically, emotionally and spiritually as well.  Just think of some of the incredible women you know who are carrying more weight on their shoulders and holding more responsibility in their hands than you could possible imagine, not to 20%mention doing an amazing job!  The crazy part is that if you asked them honestly how they felt about all their accomplishments, most women will point out all the things they aren’t doing or aren’t doing well enough.

It’s an epidemic of exhaustion.  Everyone has their reasons, and there are millions, between stress, diet, society, illness, single parenting etc. And it’s not just women, I understand, but this book is focused on releasing feminine energy, which is the great balancer.

But what can we do about it?

An exhausted woman has lost touch with her inner life force.  We all are powerful beings, but in our effort to please others, we often get stuck in our heads and left outside our bodies.  A vibrant woman glows with internal passion and joy.  Becoming vibrant isn’t meant to take effort or to be another self-help project. Rather, I see it as a dusting process.

We’re not searching for something new or the “fountain of youth”.  We’re letting go, breathing deep, and practicing the art of living from the inside out, from our internal force instead of our external force.  It’s a life trusted, a life of daring to show our true colors.  It’s a process of re-knowing and re-awakening.  There’s nothing new under the sun, no new knowledge or techniques, but rather the re-learning of everything we already know, but have forgotten.

It’s not tiring to be yourself freely; it’s tiring to try to be somebody else.

 Do you have an ache in your gut, constricted throat, headaches or drained energy? These are all signs that your inner world is not matching your outer world. We can often lose ourselves to what we do rather than who we are.

Have you ever noticed, when you walk into a room full of women—at a conference, meeting, even a dinner party—there’s usually only one of those ten women who looks vibrant and alive?  The aura of exhaustion kind of floats over the room in a haze, into the conversations full of one-upping on busyness, schedules and pressures.  Yes, we live in a day and age where women in the Western world have more freedom and privileges then ever in recorded history, but we also live in a pressure cooker for perfectionism and over-extension.  For women to be successful in careers, relationships, and parenting requires much more brain-muscle power than we realize.

For all the amazing benefits that feminism has brought us, its fruits have not necessarily included personal or spiritual fulfillment. Many women feel subtle, yet persistent, anxiety, depression or exhaustion. This is because we’ve cultivated a masculine version of living. Trying to achieve this masculine version, which means creating things we can control, results in losing our feminine power. This is the power to see and embrace things beyond our control, including those things our hearts most yearn for: intimacy, relatedness, creative expression, authentic community, and meaningful contribution.

The term ‘creative expression’ does not just mean artists or musicians. Our creative energy is exuded into problem solving and establishing good relationships, friendships, and families. It involves organization and connection- building, as well as generating feelings of completeness and nurturing and building communities and families. Creativity is in the small things and in how we express ourselves, and is a key manifestation of vibrant, feminine energy.

Yet, so many women feel pressured, exhausted, and on a treadmill that keeps going and going.

Letter from a “Modern Day Power-Mom”

I am a middle-aged mom (38). I am busy in my career and feel exhausted most of the time. Every day is a rush, from mornings of getting the kids to school, working as much as I can and skipping lunches, and then back to driving my kids around town to their activities, supper rush, trying to exercise, and then laundry dishes and cleaning up. My sex drive is way down, but every once in a while I go out dancing and have fun and realize that I am a sexy goddess, I want to have fun, but I just feel so detached from my body.

When I look down at my body I see strange things happening – my skin is sagging, I’ve gained a bit of weight, I always have so much to do, and basically that sexy younger version of myself is gone.

I’d love to have orgasms, to have a sex drive but I just don’t have time to work on that.  I’ve heard it might be hormones. I’ll go to a hormone doctor and maybe get some pills to help balance things out.

I also hate getting my period! It seems to make me a bitch for 5 days, then there’s 5 more days of dealing with blood and then I finally feel good for a week or 2, but my husband and I never seem to be in sync – when I’m feeling good I feel like getting lots done and so sex still doesn’t come as a priority, I’m more likely to do things around the house or go out.  I still want sex with him; it just feels like the stars have to align with my body, energy and his too!

I wish I could feel in tune with my body – it’d be nice not to be “surprised” by my period every month.  I’d love to feel like a sexy feminine woman again but I have so much work to do.  I don’t have lots of money to spend on extras or I would pay for massages and spa appointments….then I’d feel sexy.  What if there was a magic sexy pill to take so I could have easy periods, look irresistible, feel urged to initiate sex and even get that “glow” about me again.  I want to look vibrant.  I want to feel vibrant. I want to feel like a woman again, not just a mom, housewife, boring lady with just tons to do.  I am that fun, adventurous woman my husband fell for years ago.

I’d love to get away for a week and connect with myself, get my sexy back.

I’d love to be reminded about my body and feel more connected (I’d take more yoga classes but I don’t have time) – Can I get an App or a Pill for that?

What about learning how to have better orgasms?  Wow – never thought I’d go there but I do need to do that. Just where do I fit that in?

Take a sex course? My husband would like it but at the same time he’d think it was woo-woo unless I then came home and wanted sex all the time! But I don’t want lame sex! I want goddess sex, where I get to escape, play, giggle and expand, not just do the motions and the same repertoire of tricks that can get a bit boring.  I don’t mind doing it, but if my body responded better and I was more in the “mood” it would be so much better.

It takes me a while to get in the mood these days. I have a hard time letting go of all the thoughts and “to do” list of things, plus we have to be quiet because the kids are in bed (and also have to wait until they are in bed- which is getting later and later and that means we’re more exhausted!!)

tiredmomHow do I get some of that sexy feminine energy back?  How do I make each month cycle better, so the nasty PMS doesn’t surprise me and I realize, 2 days late after crying with anxiety and a husband shaking his head in frustration, that it was just my hormones, it wasn’t me….

North American culture takes the fewest vacations and has the lowest tolerance for leisure in the western hemisphere.  In Dr. Frank Lipman’s book on the subject of exhaustion, “Revive: End Exhaustion And Feel Great Again,” he has found that two-thirds of women are so run-down by life that they are constantly tired. “Trying to juggle the demands of being a wife, mother and career woman has left them permanently exhausted.  The ‘Spent Generation’, as these women have been labeled, relies too much on caffeine and sugar to get them through the day.  This ‘lifestyle disease’ will eventually endanger their health”.

“I am the most tired woman in the world. I am tired when I get up. Life requires an effort I cannot make. Please give me that heavy book. I need to put something heavy like that on top of my head. I have to place my feet under the pillows always, so as to be able to stay on earth. Otherwise I feel myself going away, going away at a tremendous speed, on account of my lightness. I know that I am dead. As soon as I utter a phrase my sincerity dies, becomes a lie whose coldness chills me. Don’t say anything, because I see that you understand me, and I am afraid of your understanding. I have such a fear of finding another like myself, and such a desire to find one! I am so utterly lonely, but I also have such a fear that my isolation be broken through, and I no longer be the head and ruler of my universe. I am in great terror of your understanding by which you penetrate into my world; and then I stand revealed and I have to share my kingdom with you.”Anaïs Nin


OK, we understand there’s an epidemic of exhaustion.  Everyone has their reasons, there’s millions, between life stress, diet, society, not to mention illness, single parenting, etc.

But what can we do about it?


Permission for pleasure.

I met a delightful woman, Jena LeFlamme, on a recent retreat in Mexico who is a weight loss coach with her company Pleasurable Weight Loss (  Her client success rates are incredible! Want to know what the secret is? Retraining women to add pleasure to their lives, simple, eh?  Feeling the sensations and using our senses for life instead of being numb to our surroundings causes our bodies to work FOR us instead of seemingly against us.  What a concept.

The daily practice of pleasure permission has become foreign to women in North America – we’re starting to appreciate it in the European lifestyle (with books like: French Women Don’t Get Fat, etc.), It is a learned art, and will take a lifetime to adapt and a couple generations to really integrate into our society.

There’s something magical about a vibrant woman.  I call it a “bubbling up” from within.  In my ten years of massage therapy work, I often noticed the revitalization process during a treatment.  It arrives through deep relaxation, and the visual image that came to mind while I was working on someone was of a flower blossoming right from the central core (or the womb), our deepest innermost self, where the essence of our femininity is present and waiting to be released.

I believe the greatest untapped resource on this planet is feminine energy.

The vibrant feminine energy of women expands and exceeds when given space to grow.  The nurturing essence that comes from the core expands with love.  When we open ourselves to all aspects of being a woman, and speak bravely about the tests, toils, struggles and hardships we face, we can then start the healing.

Every woman is a universe, a deep, unending story, and a resource powerful enough to heal the world.  Picture a vibrant woman in her seventies, sexy, smiling, exuding joy and confidence.  It’s a rare sight, but oh so precious.  I am always drawn to them, understanding that they have unlocked one of the secrets to life.  To go through the “middle” years and come out on the other side with sexiness and energy means you must have done something right.

What would it mean to be a “Vibrant Woman”?

You know it when you feel it: the effervescent joy that makes you want to kiss strangers, sing an aria, dance in the crosswalk at rush hour. Sometimes these surges of energy are the direct result of external events — a big promotion, a great workout, a fabulous first date or a marvelous hug from your child. More often, happiness floods in unexpectedly, and we chalk it up to that mysterious force known as a good mood.

Perhaps you haven’t felt much of this lately?

What if this bubbly, pure sensation isn’t completely random and left to the winds of chance and the minor few? What if you could tap into it, nurture it?

What if you could truly regain your vibrancy and embrace your life with more energy and passion than you ever imagined?

If millions of women wake up to all their untapped energy and feel their cup starting to fill up, they can then go out and help others.  It’s the eternal essence of what it means to be a woman and help, love, give, be and do.  When we are filled to the brim, we share.

As we go deeper into each part, looking at the practical details and honest insights of women just like you, I urge you to reach inside and connect again with your power.  Find your unique universe and the voice that needs to express itself.

Every woman and every situation is different depending on where we are in our lives, but I’ve created four little profiles to follow along with.  Of course I don’t want to box you in – I totally love and respect the fact that you are perfect just as you are! But for the purposes of this exercise, would you be able to identify with one of these four ladies?

Yasmine: 20-30’s, no kids, busy career, lifestyle & relationship stress.  Life already seems challenging and you haven’t even started yet.

Monica: 30-40s, mom, maybe working from home or at a full-time/part-time job.  Doesn’t matter because your life is so busy with everyone else’s demands there is literally NOTHING left of you for you.

Cheryl: 45-60: Is this all there is?  Still busy, still working and ready for a “second life”. You now have more ideas and time, but no push or passion to get on it.

Jean: 65+: Guess what! You are still very young and vibrant in your core.  Society may tell you you’re over the hill, but I’m here to change your mind about that.  Time to use your wisdom and channel it into passion.  Vibrancy at this age shines brighter and keeps you younger than anything else.

Which one are you?