The Copper Revolution: Ch. 2: The Linus Pauling Article on Copper

Chapter 2: Linus Pauling Institute The Linus Pauling Institute has a paper on copper with 97 citations to scientific research.

It’s a fairly good article, both fairly mainstream, and somewhat pro-copper, and a good place to start.  I’ll summarize the contents here:

Copper is needed for energy production as a copper enzyme is needed to make ATP for the mitochondria in the cell.  ATP gives the cells and body energy. 

Copper is needed to make collagen, necessary for connective tissue formation.  Almost all parts of the body require collagen.  (My edit: Bones are 35% collagen.  Muscles are 30% collagen.  Collagen is often pitched by advertisers as a means to prevent wrinkles in the skin, but it does much more throughout the body.  Copper supplements are  “infinitely” cheaper and more effective than all other collagen treatments, including eating collagen.  Collagen is an incomplete protein, anyway.  Also, when you eat those proteins, you have to both digest them and then re-synthesize them.  Copper helps both digestion and the re-synthesis and formation of new collagen.  Vitamin C, and Silica, along with copper, and meat, also help form collagen.)

Copper is needed for iron metabolism, keeping iron levels in check, lowering iron, and helping turn iron into blood cells, and thus preventing anemia (low red blood cell count).

Copper is needed by the nerves, both for making neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine, and for forming the myelin sheath around the nerves, which speeds up nerve transmission which boosts coordination.  (I have a list of 15 mechanisms of action for why copper is good for the nerves.)

Copper is needed for melanin formation, which helps people tan, and gives color to hair, preventing gray hair. (My edit: Melanin is made up of dopamine, and copper helps make dopamine, a neurotransmitter).

Copper acts as an antioxidant.  Copper is needed to create both superoxide dismutase and ceruloplasmin, both of which act as antioxidants.  And there is no evidence that copper creates oxidative damage, as some have speculated. Copper regulates gene expression.  Many enzymes are made in the genes, and the genes cannot make copper-containing enzymes without copper.  Or, the genes do not make copper-containing enzymes very well without the presence of enough copper.  (Also, often the copper-containing enzymes are more active in the presence of enough copper, whereas with mild copper deficiency, copper enzymes are the same level or amount in the body, but less active.)

Copper is needed to make white blood cells.  Low white blood cell count is a classic and clinical sign of copper deficiency.  Therefore, copper is needed for the immune system.  People with clinically low copper get more infections.

My criticism on the Linus Pauling article:

The article’s 5 authors and reviewers do not seem to be able to get past the controversies over whether copper lowers cholesterol, or whether copper, high or low, is a factor in nerve degeneration diseases such as Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s, or whether copper can cure heart disease.
The article fails to mention that copper increases hormone and thyroid production, and fails to mention cancer.

The article fails to mention fluoride entirely, but does discuss the concept of “copper toxicity” in regards to copper found in “tap water”.  In the USA, 70% of tap water contains fluoride.

Furthermore, while the Linus Pauling article does mention that copper is needed for “connective tissue formation” and creating collagen, it fails to mention the many conditions and symptoms that fall under that description, such as arthritis, Lupus, hemorrhoids, hernias, weak muscles, torn tendons, ruptured and bulging disks in the back, back pain, blood vessel ruptures called aneurysms, bleeding, sagging eyelids, varicose veins, wrinkles in the skin, hair loss, loss of cartilage, thin skin, thin intestinal lining, and many more.

Furthermore, to make collagen, you need vitamin C, copper, zinc, silica, plus proteins.  But there are interaction effects, too.  Vitamin C and Zinc can lower copper, and conversely, copper can lower Vitamin C and lower zinc.

The article does mention nutritional interaction effects, but only 4, as follows. 
1.  Iron: The body needs copper to transport and transform iron into red blood cells. 
2.  Zinc at over 50 mg/day can lower copper. 
3.  Fructose may lower copper, not sure. 
4.  Vitamin C may lower copper, but not sure.  They only discuss low-dose vitamin C studies, of 605 mg and 1500 mg.  A mere 1.5 g of Vitamin C lowered ceruloplasmin, a key copper transport protein.

I have noted over 40 nutrients & drugs that lower copper, and several that boost it.

The article mentions two “intervention” studies, where they give people actual copper and see what happens.  But these were at levels of 2-3 mg and 3-6 mg, and only short term and little happened. 

Other studies I know of suggest that even 6 mg of copper supplementation is not enough to correct a copper deficiency, so of course, little will happen.

The article discusses copper as a possible cure for osteoporosis, but I believe contains classic disinformation studies.  The first more optimistic study showed people taking calcium, 2.5 mg copper, and trace minerals were able to prevent bone mineral density loss.  The second study showed people taking calcium, 2 mg of copper, and 12 mg of zinc, was ineffective.  It’s a classic trick to use “not enough to be effective” in a study and then slander the substance.  And the Linus Pauling article concludes, oh well, we need to learn more.  Absolutely, they do! Quote a study that uses enough copper!

As their article shows, zinc lowers copper.  The second study also removed the trace minerals, which were also part of the original study’s effectiveness.  And they used less copper, 2 mg, instead of 2.5 mg.  As I understand it, copper, as indicated, helps the body make collagen, which forms the basis of the bone matrix.  You just have to take enough to work, and with the other things that also help it work, such as Vitamin C, Zinc, silica, protein, etc.  Furthermore, there are many things that increase bone mineral density, and copper is only one of them. 

Why study one in isolation, without adding in the other things, such as silica, boron, magnesium, Vitamin K, and Niacin?  All of those 5 things, including copper, all help take calcium out of the soft tissues where it does not belong and put it into the bones.

Also, there are many toxins that cause bone mineral loss, such as aluminum, mercury, fluoride, lead, and possibly more.  Why not also try chelating out and detoxing those substances when trying to heal someone, or at least, run a study on the subject.  And copper, at high doses, increases metallothionein, which detoxes other heavy metals, and acts to protect against copper toxicity, showing that copper is very very safe up to extremely high levels, such as over 1000 mg in animals, as long as an adjustment time is given.
Giving people “clearly not enough” of only 1 substance that increases bone mineral density, such as copper, while neglecting at least 5 other substances that increase bone mineral density, while ignoring the removal of 4 key poisons that have been identified that cause bone mineral loss, does not prove that copper does not work to fix osteoporosis.  It only proved that 2 mg in that context did not work, and tends to show that anything less than 2 mg is a deficiency level.  Other people say copper is well recognized to fix osteoporosis.  On the other hand, it is far easier for a person in my position to be “the quarterback after the play”. 

As I wrote in my first book, “Beyond the Arthritis Fix: Protocols for Strong Joints,” copper is one of the best minerals for my arthritis and bone pain.  Taking up to 30 mg of copper daily, along with all the other good minerals and vitamins, really strengthens my bones in my feet, and all over, and significantly reduces my bone pain, to the point where I can sprint and lift heavy weights with no pain.

There are little gems in the Linus Pauling article.  This one is good: 

“Drug interactions
Relatively little is known about the interaction of copper with drugs. Penicillamine is used to bind copper and enhance its elimination in Wilson’s disease, a genetic disorder resulting in hepatic (liver) copper overload. Because penicillamine dramatically increases the urinary excretion of copper, individuals taking the medication for reasons other than copper overload may have an increased copper requirement.”

My first comment is that all over-the-counter pain killers lower copper, these are Tylenol, Ibuprofin, and Aspirin.  All three of them cause bleeding, and cause death through bleeding.  All three of them cause bleeding ulcers.  The mechanism of action of causing bleeding ulcers is copper depletion of the stomach lining where the ulcer takes place. 

I know these things from my studies years ago, because I have a very rare type II bleeding disorder, only about 150 people in the USA have it. 

Copper also stops bleeding, which they also neglect to mention, except in the context of “connective tissue disorders from lack of collagen”.  Well, copper increases collagen which strengthens blood vessels so they don’t bleed.  Copper helps the body make stronger and longer-lasting red blood cells, which clot better.  Copper also increases good clotting factors, while reducing a bad clotting factor.

Cortisol also lowers copper, as do many other medications, most of which will cause bleeding, or other copper deficiency symptoms.  As you learn of copper deficiency symptoms, you will recognize that a lot of health problems are due to copper deficiency.

About half of all psych drugs contain fluoride, which blocks copper and disrupts copper metabolism.  About 20-30% of all medications contain fluoride.  Some antibiotics contain fluoride.

Going back to the Linus Pauling comment, they acknowledge that Penicillamine is used to deplete copper.  That drug’s listed side effects read like a list of copper deficiency.
“Common side effects include rash, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, and low blood white blood cell levels.[1] Other serious side effects include liver problems, obliterative bronchiolitis, and myasthenia gravis.[1] It is not recommended in people with lupus erythematosus.[2] Use during pregnancy may result in harm to the baby.[2] Penicillamine works by binding heavy metals; the resulting penicillamine–metal complexes are then removed from the body in the urine.[1]

“Bone marrow suppression, dysgeusia, anorexia, vomiting, and diarrhea are the most common side effects, occurring in ~20–30% of the patients treated with penicillamine.[10][11]
“Other possible adverse effects include: Nephropathy[7][10] (Kidney disease) Hepatotoxicity[12] (Liver disease) Membranous glomerulonephritis[13]  (Kidney disease) Aplastic anemia (idiosyncratic)[12] (Low red and white blood cells) Antibody-mediated myasthenia gravis[10] and Lambert–Eaton myasthenic syndrome, which may persist even after its withdrawal (muscle weakness)Drug-induced systemic lupus erythematosus14 Elastosis perforans serpiginosa[15] Toxic myopathies[16] (muscle diseases)

So a drug that lowers copper, Penicillamine, creates copper deficiency symptoms.  Sounds reasonable.  Clearly, Wikipedia is not an exhaustive list.  I suspected that the drug would also cause bleeding.  Bingo.  A search for “penicillamine and bleeding” hit:  “It can cause severe kidney damage, and it can affect the body’s blood-clotting function, increasing the risk of bleeding. It can also increase the risk of developing an infection.”
When you know what copper does, and when you know what copper deficiency looks like, it gets easy to know what to search for, to confirm what you know.

“Common side effects include upset stomach, itching skin or a rash, nausea, loss of taste, stomach pain, not feeling hungry, and diarrhea.”

A rash is often a copper deficiency.  Copper helps bind histamine, and zinc does better at that, too.  Histamine causes rashes. 

My strongest complaint about the Linus Pauling article is that their conclusion is so weak and so “mainstream”:

I suspect the Linus Pauling Institute of bias.  The bias is because Linus Pauling was an advocate of high vitamin C consumption, up to 6 to 9 or more grams of vitamin C a day.  That is considerably higher than the 1.5 grams of Vitamin C that lowered ceruloplasmin, the copper transport enzyme, as previously mentioned.  It’s as if they deliberately avoided studying the effects of very high vitamin C on copper.  

And then, the other bias.  If Linus Pauling could advocate high vitamin C, why not high copper, too?

Finally, the Linus Pauling article seems to bash copper a bit, when discussing the upper limit:

At the LP article:
“There is some concern that the UL of 10 mg/day might be too high. In particular, men in a research study consumed 7.8 mg/day of copper for 147 days. They accumulated copper during that time, and some indices of immune function and antioxidant status suggested that these functions were adversely affected by the high intakes of copper (95, 96). However, another study did not report any adverse effects in individuals supplemented with 8 mg/day of copper for six months (88).”

When there is conflicting data, an examination may prove beneficial.

The actual studies cited do not show any adverse effects!  That is only an interpretation.  They used the word, “suggested”.

Nobody died.  Nobody had liver damage.  Nobody had kidney damage.  Nobody got sick.  No reports of nausea.  No reports of being diagnosed as “copper toxic”.

The “immune function” change was minor.  There is evidence that copper increases the immune system, because copper increases white blood cell count, and because copper itself kills germs on contact.  Copper also boosted the antioxidant superoxide dismutase, a very good and useful copper enzyme that protects against oxidative damage, and does many other great things such as detox the body.  No oxidative damage was shown, and nobody got sick.  There were no harmful effects, and no symptoms were noted.  There is no evidence that the researchers even asked any of the study participants how they felt taking the copper, whether they felt better or worse.  Beware of false conclusions conjured up by researchers out of thin air that doesn’t match the data at all.  And beware of people who site studies that do not say what the citer thinks it says.

Unwarranted conclusions, bad citations, and bad restatements of bad opinions are not facts. My warranted conclusion is that there is no valid research that shows the UL of 10 mg/day is too high.  There are only people who are desperately trying to invent reasons why copper is dangerous, and don’t have any evidence.  Copper is dangerous to some corporate profits if it helps sick people get healthy.  And a nation of healthy people is a stronger nation with far greater overall productivity and profits. In the Bible, God tells his people to be strong over 50 times.  Copper certainly helps us fulfill that mandate, and it does so in so many, many ways.