By Dr. Lawrence Wilson

© August 2016, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.


    Dr. Leslie Klevay, PhD is one of the world's foremost academic copper researchers.  He published an article in the Journal of Nutrition, 130: 489S-492S, 2000 entitled “Cardiovascular Disease from Copper Deficiency - A History”.

    This article raised a question presented to me by a Dr. Miller, MD.  The question is whether copper excess or copper deficiency causes high cholesterol.  I had said copper excess is associated with high cholesterol, and it had caused confusion because Dr. Klevay says copper deficiency is the cause.  Here is the answer I gave:


    The quick answer is there is no conflict because in fast oxidizers the problem is a copper deficiency, while in slow oxidizers the problem can be biounavailable copper, which also causes a deficiency of copper.  both involve a deficiency of copper, but in slow oxidizers there is actually too much copper, but it is not bioavailable. I am sorry for the confusion.

    Here is a more detailed answer. Overt copper deficiency is always present in fast oxidizers, especially those who have a low sodium/potassium ratio.  You will notice that the Metabolic Pak by Endomet Products used for fast oxidizers (SBF Formula), designed by Dr. Eck, contains a milligram of copper in each tablet.  In addition, Limcomin, another product often used for these individuals, has 0.75 mg of copper in each tablet (and used to have even more).

    You can read in my book on page 329 that atherosclerosis is a symptom associated with copper deficiency.  Aneurysms are also listed there as another symptom of copper deficiency.  I could add the others from the Klevay article - myocardial infarction, aortic fissures, valve problems and perhaps others.

    The reasons why copper is so important for cardiovascular health are given in the Klevay article referred to above.  I will not repeat them except to say that copper is essentially required for connective tissue and smooth muscle integrity.




    As for cholesterol, it is a stress indicator and may be elevated for a variety of reasons.  It is often high in fast oxidizers who have what is now called Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X.  The cause is not just copper deficiency.  The copper imbalance is part of a whole syndrome that often stems from a diet high in carbohydrates, stress, obesity and other factors.

    However, we see the high cholesterol in many slow oxidizers as well.  Slow oxidation, however, is often just a deeper layer of exhaustion and burnout.  With slow oxidizers, one gets biounavailable copper problems.  Here one has a combination of too much free copper floating around, but a deficiency of available or bound copper.  This may be due to adrenal exhaustion causing impairment of ceruloplasmin synthesis in the liver, and perhaps deficiencies of other copper transport proteins such as metallothionein.

             So there is no conflict.  Copper deficiency - in the fast or the slow oxidizer metabolic type (yang or yin) is associated with cholesterol elevation.  The slow oxidizer tends to have deficient available copper.   When I said these people have copper toxicity, it is a situation in which the copper is not bioavailable, so they in essence may have symptoms of both deficiency and excess.

             By the way, Dr. Klevay states at the end of the abstract that our diets must be deficient in copper because the tissue deficiencies exist, at least in heart patients.  What is not mentioned is that the oxidation rate matters here.  It is the fast oxidizers that must have supplementary copper. 

             In fact, copper is in many foods.  It is just that some folks, fast oxidizers, need more of it.  Often, these are the people overeating on carbohydrates, which are low copper foods compared to meats, for example.  The admonition of many doctors to reduce meat may have adverse effects in these people.



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