Getting Healthier Now

A Blog About Digestive Health

Tag: histamine intolerance

Uh-oh… Copper Deficiency Mimics Low B-12

It’s been quite a health adventure the last year or more, and you can read a quick update here. I had thought correcting a B-12 deficiency was all I needed to reclaim my health, but things got a bit more complicated.

It turns out copper deficiency can mimic low B-12, with many of the same symptoms of neurodegeneration, fatigue, skin inflammation and joint pain, due to disruption of collagen. I’ve been losing bone mass and developing arthritis – these are also signs of low copper. Here’s a full list of symptoms I’ve had during the last year.

The prevailing naturopathic attitude is we’re all copper toxic, so few of us would believe we could be deficient. Compounding the likelihood in an otherwise healthy population are corporate farming practices. Copper-rich foods simply can’t be grown in depleted soil. And sadly, few doctors ever think of copper deficiency when doing differential diagnosis. I’ve never once had copper levels tested by a physician, despite years of GI problems.

What’s most unsettling – unlike B-12 where there’s a fair amount of lag-time between low serum levels and permanent harm – copper deficiency neurodegeneration often cannot be reversed with supplementation. What does get repaired, eventually, may take months – or even years – of repletion. You can imagine my shock after reading this.

wake-up

Next, I looked up dietary sources of copper. Due to my food intolerances I wasn’t eating any copper-rich foods. Couple this with years of gut inflammation, malabsorption, and regardless of any testing I might do with my doctor, it was clear I needed to supplement with a modest 2 mg of copper soon, just based on my symptoms and diet.

The proper way to take it is in combination with zinc. Too much zinc will deplete copper, so a proper balance is important. Also worth noting is colloidal silver, if taken orally or by IV, can deplete copper, sometimes with dramatic results. This may have happened with me a few years ago after taking colloidal silver for SIBO.

The good news is a few short days after I started taking 2 mg copper my eyesight was much sharper, mood and cognition improved a bit, and I got a noticeable reduction in fatigue. A week later I increased my dose to 4 mg, plus 30 mg zinc, and noticed less joint pain and stiffness. Shortly thereafter, my skin began feeling less fragile. Perhaps my collagen synthesis has been improving, and I may be correcting an anemia due to this deficiency.

Copper is also essential to keep blood vessels and arteries flexible and strong, which could explain my increased vericose veins and petechiae in the last year. It’s thought most cases of aortic rupture are preventable if people get adequate copper in food.

My face has had a red glow for the last couple of years, in recent months my chest and abdomen, and sometimes even my whole body has, too. This flushing could be due to histamine intolerance, and it’s important to note copper (along with B-6 and vitamin C) is required to create DAO enzyme to break down histamine. Sure enough, one thing I noticed after a few weeks supplementation is I’m no longer flushed from head to toe most of the day. Perhaps eventually I’ll be able to tolerate some higher histamine foods.

Given the risk of nervous system damage from long term deficiency, I decided not to wait for testing before supplementing with safe amounts. My plan is to stay at 4 mg copper daily with 30 mg zinc (which is what healthy people get in a copper-rich diet) until I can schedule hair analysis and serum tests to determine the correct protocol for repletion.

Where I’m still hoping to see improvement is more subtle, which appears to be low dopamine. Given its effect on brain health, copper is required to generate important neurotransmitters. Among other things, low dopamine (key to reward and accomplishment) was probably making it tough to update this blog for the last 16 months. With that said, onward and upward.

How many of us diagnosed and treated for B-12 deficiency are also copper deficient? If any of this sounds familiar, please join us in the comments section, and share your own story.

Eat, to avoid allergies.

Overall, my progress has been quite good with helminthic therapy, but tonight (day 58 post-inoculation) I had another allergic episode. It wasn’t as bad as some have been in the past, but I did need to shovel down a fair amount of vitamin C, maybe ten 1,000 mg tablets, though the course of it. This was unpleasant, as always, but I was able to gather what seems like really important information from the event.trailer movie Tomorrow Everything Starts

It occurred to me these attacks always happen around the same time — mid afternoon to early evening. I wondered if maybe the helminths tend to be more active during those hours. Then another conclusion presented itself: low blood sugar. Most of the recent “worm flu” events I’ve had are consistent with getting caught up in work and skipping meals. On the days where I’ve been less focused on tasks, and eating solid meals, I seem to do just fine. So I quickly fixed a bowl of yogurt, added fresh blueberries, a dash of stevia, and a shot of whipping cream, for some extra calories. Not ten minutes later, my allergic response (congested nose, tinnitis and tightening throat) disappeared.

That got me wondering if there might be a connection between low blood sugar, histamines, and generalized allergic reactions. Lo and behold, there seems to be a solid correlation. In fact, the more I looked, the more it appeared to be the case — autoimmune issues, histamine intolerance, food and seasonal allergies, may be exacerbated by a lack of “fuel” — even conditions as far-ranging as narcolepsy. So next time you feel that “worm flu” coming on, take some time out and feed yourself. And if you want to steer clear of it all day long, eat frequent small meals with plenty of protein, as this is the best way of coping with hypoglycemia, from what I’ve read.