Polly: Zinc is a very important nutrient, but be sure that it is balanced with other minerals. In the book, Wellness Against All Odds by Sherry Rogers, MD, she mentions that zinc can decrease copper, iron, manganese and molybdenum levels. In particular, be careful of balancing zinc with copper. Maureen Salaman, in her book All your Health Questions Answered, warns that both zinc and copper need each other in order to be properly absorbed. Thus if you aren’t getting enough zinc, you can become low in copper. Yet, the opposite is true too. If you take too much zinc, you can become low in copper. It becomes quite a balancing act if you are low in both of these and need to correct such a deficiency.
Harold: For years I suffered off and on with prostatitis and the pill rollers could only stand and go HMMMMMMMM! Then about 25 years ago I heard that zinc was good for said misery, (Adelle Davis’ book, Lets Get Well ) so I got zinc and I took zinc and LO!!!!!! and behold, such blessed relief, not only to yours truly but there was much joy in Dogpatch too, need I elucidate? For a long time I took Saw Palmetto and Pygeum to keep same problem in check when I found zinc to be as effective and safer.
Polly: It just dawned on me how the lack of zinc fits in with the excess estrogen associated with prostatitis. Guess I’ve only been thinking in terms of PMS and how the zinc/copper ratio can be thrown off due to too much estrogen in women. I can be very chauvinistic in my thinking. Hmmm.. Maybe I should apologize to all the men I’ve ever implied were chauvinists? Nah. It’s too much fun to razz them.
Doris: Hi, I had a hair analysis and blood tests three years ago and they showed I had too much copper in my system. What is a good starting dosage of zinc to take? I no longer see any doctors at all and would rather not waste any more time messing around experimenting. Is 50 mg a day of zinc too much?
Polly: Initially, to help correct the problem that may be a good strategy. However, I wouldn’t take that much zinc for any length of time without a blood test or some other means of monitoring your progress. The doses that are usually recommended are about 15 mg per day. According to Joel Wallach in the book Rare Earths – Forbidden Cures, there are 1.4 to 2.3 grams of zinc in the adult human. If you took 50 mg per day, and were able to absorb a third of it, you would be able to supply all the zinc in an adult human body in 90 to 150 days. Therefore, I would guess that 50 mg pills are too strong if you were going to take them for any length of time.
Doris: Anything else I can do to reduce the copper levels?
Carole: I just found this book by Ann Gittleman, Why Am I Always So Tired? It explains how a lot of people have too much copper, and that this can lead to health problems. One of the ways to get rid of this excess copper is sulfur. Another good reason to take MSM! Also, you should take zinc supplements, along with B6 and maganese, and get most of your carbohydrates from veggies. Sounds good to me, I’m adding it to my list of things to try when I can afford it. This may be one of the less expensive ones, since I already have MSM.
Polly: If you are high in copper, then avoid estrogen, since it causes the retention of copper. Vitamin C helps lower copper levels and the sulfur amino cysteine is very effective in reducing copper levels. Dr. Braverman, in his book The Healing Nutrients Within, found that when he treats patients for low cysteine and cystine levels with cysteine, not only do the copper levels go down as expected, but the zinc levels rise to normal also.
Andy: Rats too high in copper die if given cysteine. It is important not to just dump a bunch of cysteine down your throat to start off. It may be helpful later. The way to reduce copper is MODIFY YOUR DIET TO REDUCE INTAKE, then take ZINC and MOLYBDENUM with every meal to reduce absorption (eg 10 mg zinc and 250 mcg molybdenum), and take manganese too in order to help your body deal with the copper. The Pfeiffer Center is experienced in treating copper excess and will consult with your physician.
Henry: When I was taking zinc 20 years ago, on the label (and my doctor stressed it too) it stated not to take zinc within one hour of milk or dairy products, because the zinc will be poorly absorbed.
Jane: Now I’m confused! Copper was one thing low in my hair analysis recently. So it was one of the supplements advised by the environmental allergist. Our bodies need some copper apparently. But Hulda Clark who wrote an odd but possibly true book about parasites said to avoid copper piping, and copper in general, as it feeds or allows parasites to flourish. Who’s to know?
Carole: Jane, this author also said that copper is hard to detect because it’s deeply embedded in the tissues (like mercury?). The fact that some showed up in your hair may indicate an excess. I’ll be doing some more research (at Chapters, my local bookstore/library). I respect this author, she’s written many health books.
Jane: Thanks for the info. So, should I take all the supplements that were low in my hair analysis test?
Carole: Just as Polly said, the book I got my information from said it’s the ratio of copper to zinc and other minerals that matters. Apparently excess copper can cause low thyroid as well. The author recommends 10 to 25 mg zinc, as well as manganese, B6, C, and lipoic acid or black radish for sulfur. Hope this helps. Polly, any advice? Have you studied nutrition, or are you self-educated?
Polly: I’m self-educated. I’ve never taken a formal biology or nutrition class.
Jane, the proper zinc and copper levels seem very important to our immune system. The hair test is pretty unreliable for zinc because many shampoos contain zinc. The blood serum levels can be misleading too. So ask for a red blood cell test. If the hair test shows that a mineral level is low, then that is a pretty good indication that it is low. However, if the hair shows that a mineral level is high, you can’t count on that being the truth. However, if mercury or some other poisonous metal showed high, I’d take the reading seriously.
Zinc and copper supplements aren’t that expensive. If you have reason to believe that you are low on copper or zinc, try taking the one you think you are low on. If it makes you feel worse, or if you don’t notice anything, I’d leave it alone. Get your hormones straightened out, and your digestive pH correct, and let your body do the zinc/copper balancing for you. Perhaps take only a small amount of both zinc and copper as support.
MM: I’m struggling to rebalance my zinc-copper-iron-manganese-magnesium-potassium and so forth. I had LOW copper levels. Then I took copper, but I took it for too long so I ended up with high copper. Then I took zinc and manganese to get the copper down. Of course, I took these for too long, and went back to having too little copper again.
This time, I took copper for only 8 days. I’ve been trying to add zinc and manganese, but I still get hot and sweaty when I do this, so I must not have taken copper for long enough yet. Blood levels for several of these minerals (such as zinc and copper) are totally worthless. So it really becomes a trial and error approach.
Polly: Sounds like you are pretty low on both zinc and copper. That may be why it is such a tricky balancing act for you. For those of us who aren’t as sensitive, it might be simpler to supplement zinc and copper at the same time. I’m reading a book by Pat Lazaus called Healing the Mind the Natural Way. It mentions the correct ratio of zinc to copper supplementation. Psychiatrist Michael Schachter, MD stated: “The ratio of zinc to copper should be 7:1, up to 14:1,” Zinc can lower manganese, so Dr. Pfeiffer regularly includes manganese with any zinc supplementation. (But again, take the correct proportion of manganese. You don’t need a lot of manganese. The RDA is 2.5 to 5 mg per day.) It is important to take your zinc supplement separate from other mineral supplements to avoid competition for absorption. The people on the autism lists are using a specially compounded zinc sulfate skin cream to get around the poor absorption in the intestines. Many of those with mercury poisoning or autism need a lot of zinc.