Excessive copper, iron & lead

In the article entitled Concerns about heavy metals we discussed the difference between heavy metal “poisoning” and being heavy metal “toxic”.  Here we will discuss toxicity related to specific heavy metals: copper, iron & lead. For information on other metals see Common heavy metals & their effects.

To get a feel for the impact that heavy metal toxic accumulation might be playing on your health, read this article in its entirety. When you are done, print out the sections for each heavy metal and re-read them. Highlight all sources of exposure that pertain to you and all symptoms or conditions for each heavy metal that pertain to you. Then sit back and take a look at the span of symptoms that heavy metal toxicity could be playing in your life in terms of sources of exposure.

Make a plan of action to eliminate or minimize those sources of continuing exposure. Take a look at the symptoms and conditions you highlighted and get a feeling for how heavy metal toxicity could be accelerating, contributing or causing your symptoms. This will give you new insight on causes for your symptoms that your average medical practitioner may have never discussed with you that are worth addressing now. Future articles will address the complex subject of heavy metal chelation and how it can be safely done and effectively monitored.


We need copper in the body to act with other key minerals to fuel metabolic processes. However, when the ratio of copper is elevated to zinc, we have to take action to rebalance our mineral ratios and eliminate excessive copper. How do we get too much copper?

1)                   birth control pills, copper IUDs!

2)                   copper cookware!

3)                   copper pipes

4)                   dental alloys

5)                   ice makers!

6)                   Swimming pools

7)                   City and well water

8)                   Welding

9)                   Avocado, beer, chocolate, corn oil, crab, gelatin, grain, lamb, liver, lobster, margarine, milk, mushrooms, nuts, organ meats, oysters, perch, shellfish, soybeans, tofu, wheat germ and yeast.

10)   fungicides, insecticides

Excessive copper wrecks havoc on our metabolism, especially for those suffering from allergies, chronic inflammation, immune disorders such as autism, ADD, ADHD, Asberger’s, OCD, arthritis, thyroid disorders, skin disorders such as eczema, and adrenal insufficiency. Where excessive copper may not be the sole causative agent in disorders, it certainly does play a significant part in delaying the progress of any therapeutic program as well as aggravating and complicating symptoms.

The following conditions should have copper levels checked by hair and serum testing, along with serum zinc levels: Acne, adrenal fatigue, low cortisol or high cortisol values, allergies of any kind, alopecia, anemia, anorexia, anxiety, arthritis of any kind, autism, Asberger’s, ADD, ADHD, OCD, cancer, cystic fibrosis, depression, diabetes, estrogen dominance, chronic fatigue, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Hodgkin’s disease, hyperactivity, hypertension, chronic infections, insomnia, kidney disorders, decreased libido, lymphoma, migraines, mood swings, multiple sclerosis, lyme disease, nervousness, osteoporosis, panic attacks, paranoia, PMS, schizophrenia, senility, facial tics, twitches, Alzheimer’s, sexual dysfunction, feeling spacey, brain fog, stuttering, toxemia of pregnancy, urinary infections, yeast infections, stroke.

Hair test kits are available online at www.immunematrix.com.


Most patients will ask “Is excessive iron a problem?” since the common concern is for iron deficiency. Excessive build up of iron in our tissues can cause a big problem. It can lead to heart failure, heart damage, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, irritability, hyperactivity, hostility, joint pain, mental problems, metallic taste in mouth, schizophrenia, shortness of breath, nausea, pancreas damage, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, constipation, cancer, bleeding gums, birth defects, arthritis, agitation, anger and stubbornness (all issues involving the liver) and amenorrhea.

Sources of Iron Exposure:

1)       drinking water

2)       cast iron cookware, especially when we cook with a tomato base leaches out more iron)

3)       iron plumbing pipes

4)       welding

5)       blackstrap molasses, bone meal, bran, chives, clams, organ meats, legumes, nuts, oysters, parsley, refined foods, shellfish, soybeans, wheat germ, whole grain.

6)       Red wine

Do women need to worry about excessive iron?

Women, once they stop menstruating, begin to increase their iron stores. This is a major reason that their cardiovascular risk begins to look similar to a man’s once they reach menopause. They no longer have the benefit of purging heavy metal toxins and excess iron through their menstrual blood. This is another reason why pre-menopausal and menopausal women may begin to develop thinning hair and hair loss. The scalp is highly vascularized and sweats easily, assisting the body to excrete toxins. Unfortunately, metals excreted through scalp sweat also irritate hair root follicles. With increased scalp toxicity the hair can begin to fall out easily. Once these women begin a course of heavy metal detoxification the hair loss stops if it is due to toxic accumulation.

Men’s peculiar risk with excessive iron:

Men have unique risks with accumulation of excessive iron. Historically they tend to suffer increased risk for heart attack and cardiovascular disease with excessive iron. It’s an easy thing to have a blood test to rule out excessive iron. Western medicine recommends that such men donate blood regularly. However, better than donating “toxic” blood, is to chelate one’s heavy metal burden properly.


We hear quite a bit in the news about lead toxicity. It causes its own symptoms especially for the young. Immune Matrix has seen however, that adults can suffer “lead poisoning” from the flux on old plumbing that contaminates one’s drinking water in older buildings. Testing one’s water is a good idea if blood work and hair tests show high lead levels. However, you do not need to have lead “poisoning” per se to suffer the damaging effects of lead toxicity.

Sources for lead:

1)       dust from lead paint, and children have been known to eat paint chips containing lead

2)       retaining lead shot gun pellets in the body

3)       swallowing lead weights from fishing supplies

4)       storing acidic foods (fruits, tomatoes, wine, cider) in lead-glazed ceramics

5)       burning lead-painted wood in fireplaces

6)       burning battery casings in fireplaces

7)       storing alcohol in leaded glass containers, using leaded crystal

8)       inhaling leaded gasoline fumes from cars

9)       working with lead soldering, stain glass work

10)mini-blinds have had lead dust

11) coal combustion

12) color inks, some imported toys

13) cosmetics, some lipstick dyes, mascara

14) electroplating

15) household dust

16) hair dyes

17) industrial emissions

18) lead-glazed pottery

19) newsprint!

20) metal polish

21) pencils

22) pvc containers

23) tin cans (think of those holiday cookies store in those quaint tin cans!) with lead solder sealing

24) tobacco, cigarette smoke

25) red wine again!

26) city or well water

Lead Poisoning:

Lead poisoning occurs over time and can cause sudden onset of symptoms with some severe and irreversible symptoms to children such as developmental delay, memory problems, inflammation of the brain, and in adults cause kidney disease. If there was a case of acute lead poisoning in children, the child would suffer vomiting, seizures, alternations in consciousness and even coma. Less severe symptoms are derived from inflammation in the brain and appear as irritability, inability to focus, seizures, and mental regression. In adults, there may be headaches, metallic taste in the mouth, anorexia, vague abdominal symptoms, irritable bowel and/or constipation.

Lead Toxicity

The concern with lead is that it was only recently determined that the presence of lead in the body magnifies the damaging effects of mercury toxicity up to 1000 fold! Therefore, the symptoms coming from lead toxicity can actually be symptoms of mercury toxicity.

Immune Matrix has found that those patients with elevated lead levels are not good candidates for mercury detoxification. The slightest mobilization (release of mercury stored in the body) in response to chelation will cause the patient to have many side effects from the chelation and they usually quit as a result. Most doctors do not then examine whether this patient is in fact extremely lead toxic. By reducing the lead load, the symptomatic and damaging effects of mercury accumulation can be greatly reduced and patients can later resume mild mercury detoxification.

The second and significant problem with lead accumulation is that because our environment is loaded with lead from car exhaust, we all accumulate lead. This slow, gradual, daily accumulation of lead is a primary culprit to the widespread problem of hardening of the arteries, arteriosclerosis, a leading killer in the modern world.

Lead also accumulates and is stored in our bones! What’s wrong with that you say? Isn’t it safely tucked away from harm in our bones? Not at all. With age, with de-calcification of our bone, either from an acid foods, or osteoporosis, as the bone looses calcium, it also releases lead. Suddenly, with bone loss our lead toxicity rises, there can be a sudden burst of oral cavities, gum soreness and inflammation, dementia and neurological problems, kidney disease, anxiety, hypertension, arthritis (inflammation) etc. as the unleashed lead works its damaging effects through the body. Other symptoms include: joint pain, loss of coordination, problems with concentration, constipation, deafness, depression, emotional instability, fatigue, headaches, impotence, suppressed immune system, intestinal candida, leaky gut, memory loss, muscle aches, muscle weakness, irritability, nightmares, numbness, Parkinson’s disease, peripheral neuropathies, psychosis, restlessness, and tingling fingers and limbs.

Look at the above symptoms again. Don’t they look like symptoms of the aged?! How many of these symptoms do we take for granted and presume “It’s the natural process of aging.”, when in fact it could be the increasing threat of lead being unleashed in the body by de-calcification to wreck havoc.

Please note:
Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

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Anna Manayan

Anna Manayan