** Originally posted by GitOverIt **
I found this article on a google psoriasis group
on copper zinc imbalance
(if you take zinc make sure it has copper added in the ingredients)
Causes and Corrections of Psoriasis
By Dr. Paul C. Eck
Dr. Larry Wilson
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that affects over 5 million
Americans each year. It is characterized by lesions over pressure
points such as the elbows, knees, bra line, and belt buckle. Large
amounts of the epidermis become scaly and are continually shed.
Psoriasis is unusual in children but can occur at any time after
puberty. It is not at all unusual for psoriasis to disappear with
exposure to sunlight and to reappear in the winter. -Adapted from
Psoriasis: Not A Single Disease But A Syndrome
Psoriasis is not a single disease. In many cases psoriasis is
concurrent with arthritis. Psoriasis is also intimately associated
with diabetes. Often, the correction of one will result in the
correction of the other.
"Severe psoriasis may be accompanied by arthritic changes in the
joints which leads us and others to suspect that excess copper and
deficient zinc and sulfur may be one metabolic factor psoriasis
patients require more than the usual amount of zinc to restore their
serum levels to a normal of 1000 mcg percent..."(2)
While the conventional treatment of psoriasis consists of the use
of cortisone creams and other topical remedies, modern nutritional
research has yielded much safer and often more permanent ways to
control and correct this common condition.
Mineral Deficiencies Associated With Psoriasis
Zinc Deficiency and Psoriasis
Several thousand hair mineral tests conducted at our laboratory
indicate that zinc levels are consistently low in individuals
suffering from psoriasis. This has been confirmed by other sources.
As early as 1956 Braun-Falco and Rathjens found that zinc was
markedly decreased in the outer layers of the skin of patients with
psoriasis. This was confirmed in 1966 by Ponomareva, who found high
levels of zinc in the scales. Plasma zinc levels were low in psoriasis
according to a 1967 report by Greaves and Boyde, and this was
confirmed by Vorhees et al. in 1969. Pfeiffer(3) also found that
psoriasis patients require more than the usual amounts of zinc to
restore their serum levels to a normal of 1000 mcg%.
Reasons for Zinc Deficiency
A zinc deficiency is extremely common today. Dr. Pfeiffer has
stated that the entire American population is borderline deficient in
zinc. There are several reasons for this:
* Stress of any kind causes increased excretion of zinc.
* A high sugar and carbohydrate diet lower tissue zinc levels.
* Vegetarian diets are lower in zinc, since a main source of zinc in
the diet is meat protein, particularly red meat.
* Low levels of zinc in the soil result in lowered zinc levels in
* Refining of food removes zinc.
* Many children today are born deficient in zinc because their mothers
We know that a zinc deficiency is involved in many skin eruptions
including eczema, neurodermatitis and other non-specific skin rashes.
Zinc is required for adrenal hormone production. Cortisol, an anti-
inflammatory adrenal hormone, is commonly used to treat psoriasis.
Zinc is depleted during stress, and it has been noted that a stress
can trigger or aggravate a case of psoriasis.
Hydrochloric Acid Deficiency
Zinc is also needed for digestive enzyme production, and it was
noted by Dr. Carl Pfeiffer that sufferers from psoriasis often had low
levels of gastric hydrochloric acid. Low levels of hydrochloric acid
are commonly associated with low levels of cortisol production or
In some cases, psoriasis will respond to topical zinc ointment and
to oral administration of zinc.
Excessive Tissue Copper and Psoriasis
A review of several thousand mineral tests reveals a very high
percentage of psoriasis sufferers have a copper imbalance. This
finding is confirmed by research reported in Acta Vitaminol Enzymol
2:9-16, 1980 in which the author found that; "compared to healthy
controls, plasma copper levels in psoriatic patients were
significantly higher as measured by atomic absorption
In 1962, Lipkin et al. found serum copper levels to be increased
while ceruloplasmin was not proportionally increased and red-cell
copper might be decreased. Molokhia and Portnoy in 1970 found
significantly higher serum copper levels in psoriasis patients.
Zackheim and Wolf in 1972 found much the same. In 1973 Zlatkov et al.
found elevated serum copper which decreased with effective therapy -
in this case, ultraviolet tanning of the skin.(4)
Copper imbalance is known to be involved in other skin conditions
such as acne and some types of dermatitis. Copper is involved in
protein and collagen synthesis.
A confusing aspect is that in some studies copper was found to be
elevated, while in others it was found to be low. However, this
dilemma is resolved when we understand the dynamics of copper
metabolism. Copper may be present in body tissues; yet be biologically
unavailable. This would account for an elevation in copper levels,
however, in reality there is a deficiency of available copper.
Copper Availability is Controlled by the Adrenal Glands
Copper availability is controlled by the adrenal glands, which
stimulate production of ceruloplasmin by the liver. Weak adrenal
glands result in deficient ceruloplasmin synthesis, which in turn
leads to unavailability of copper.
Copper imbalance is very common today for the following reasons:
* environmental copper exposure.
* adrenal gland insufficiency or exhaustion.
* zinc deficiency.
* congenital copper toxicity.
* the copper personality.
Let us briefly examine each of these in more detail:
Cause of an Adrenal Insufficiency
Adrenal insufficiency can be due to chronic stress, nutritional
deficiencies, or congenitally weak adrenal glands. About 70% of those
tested by our laboratory show weak adrenal glands to some degree.
Environmental Copper Sources
Copper Water Pipes - Copper plumbing was hailed as a great advance in
the 1940's, and today the majority of homes in the United States have
copper plumbing. Especially in areas with acidic water, copper can be
leached from pipes. Water coolers and ice-makers in refrigerators also
use copper tubing. Water that sits in these units can contain
dangerously high levels of copper.
Copper Cookware - Copper tea kettles and other copper cookware can be
a source of copper toxicity if used frequently over a period of time.
Drinking Water - Some areas of the United States have high amounts of
naturally occurring copper in their water supply. Copper sulfate is
also added to some municipal drinking water supplies to kill yeast and
Birth Control Pills and Copper
Intrauterine Devices - One of the side affects of birth control pills
is to raise copper levels in the body. This is due to the close
association between estrogen and copper levels.
Several hundred milligrams of copper a year can easily be absorbed
from a copper IUD. Many women still utilize the Copper-7 intrauterine
birth control device, although it has been taken off the market. The
only intra-uterine birth control device sold today, is a copper-T.
These devices can be harmful for women prone to high copper levels.
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements - Copper is frequently added to
vitamin supplements, particularly prenatal vitamins. Although this is
a benefit for some people, it can be harmful to others.
Fungicides for Swimming Pools and Foods - Copper sulfate is added to
swimming pools and may be sprayed on fruits and vegetables to retard
growth of algae and fungus.
Vegetarianism and Other High-Copper Diets - Many diets today are high
in copper. In particular, vegetarian proteins such as soybean, nuts,
seeds, tofu, avocado and grains are high in copper content. Fast food
hamburgers and other popular foods are frequently soy-based. Soybean
protein is coming into wider usage, due to its low cholesterol level
and lower cost.
Other high-copper foods are chocolate, organ meats, shellfish,
wheat germ, bran, yeast, corn oil, margarine, and mushrooms.
Occupational Exposure - Plumbers, welders, machinists, and others who
work with copper are at risk for copper toxicity.
Dental Appliances - Copper is used in dental alloys in fillings,
crowns and other appliances.
Zinc Deficiency Due to Copper Antagonism
Zinc and copper are antagonists. As zinc levels decrease, copper
levels tend to increase.
Congenital Copper Toxicity
Thousands of children are born today with a copper imbalance that
is passed on from their mothers. This is a very serious problem today.
The Zinc/Copper Ratio and Psoriasis
Zinc and copper metabolism are closely related. Zinc is required
for adrenal gland activity, which in turn controls copper
availability. Zinc is considered a copper antagonist. At times we find
that the zinc/copper ratio is therefore a better indicator of a
tendency for psoriasis than either the copper or zinc level by itself.
The Copper Personality: A Possible Coping Mechanism
Some individuals have a tendency to accumulate copper in their
body tissues as a defense mechanism to cope with fears and pressures
from their environment. This we call the copper personality.
Dietary Aspects Of Psoriasis
Psoriasis Associated with the Faulty Utilization of Fats
"The eczema-like skin condition psoriasis appears to result from
the faulty utilization of fats. People with this abnormality usually
have excessive amounts of cholesterol in their skin and blood, and by
the time their blood cholesterol has been reduced to normal their
psoriasis has cleared up..."(5)
Summary of Nutritional Factors in Psoriasis
Any factor that depletes zinc or causes a copper imbalance may
result in psoriasis. Stress, dietary deficiency, weak adrenal glands
and even a congenital weakness, can all contribute to psoriasis.
Natural Therapy for Psoriasis
Nutritional therapy aims at restoring zinc levels and correcting a
co-existing copper imbalance. Along with supplementing zinc, often
synergistic nutrients such as vitamin B6 and vitamin A are very
helpful. Restoration of adrenal gland activity often requires B-
complex vitamins, manganese, vitamin C and vitamin E. To aid
absorption of nutrients, betaine hydrochloride with pepsin may be
needed. To improve energy levels for more rapid healing, it is
important to balance all the important mineral levels and ratios.
Results may be noted in several weeks or months, but in some cases
more time is required to reverse long standing or severe nutritional
deficiencies. Patience is needed, and will usually produce extremely
gratifying results even in stubborn cases.
Because there are many complicating factors that should be taken
into account, we find that the hair mineral test is an excellent guide
for determining the dosage of nutrients that are required, and to
guide food selection as well.
Stress can be an important factor in psoriasis. Excessive stress
will interfere with any healing approach. Any technique or modality
that enhances one's ability to cope with stress is helpful in the
correction of psoriasis.
As with all health conditions, proper attention to lifestyle and
diet will greatly facilitate progress.
By using a natural healing approach, a rapid and permanent correction
of psoriasis is possible.
Other Interesting Facts Regarding Psoriasis
It has been noted that when a woman becomes pregnant often her
psoriasis will subside, only to return after she delivers a child. We
known that pregnancy causes important alterations in copper
metabolism, and perhaps this is one of the causes of the phenomenon.
Psoriasis is often triggered or aggravated by a stressful episode
or incident. It is known that zinc is lost in varying amounts within
minutes of a stressful event. The result is an excessive amount of
It has also been noted that psoriasis is associated with elevated
cholesterol and triglyceride levels. There is ample medical evidence
that alteration in cholesterol metabolism is associated with a copper
imbalance. Copper is stored in the liver, and, in excess impairs liver
function. This could explain the connection between cholesterol and
Psoriasis may be associated with a specific form of arthritis.
Again, in mineral research there is a close connection between copper
metabolism, adrenal gland activity and arthritis. The same medication
that helps psoriasis, cortisone, is helpful in reducing the
inflammatory process associated with various forms of arthritis.
Cortisone production within the body, as stated earlier, is dependent
upon adequate zinc levels.