Patients Poisoned by Copper Toxicity Describe Neurological Impacts of IUD
At 23 years old, Sadie* had a copper IUD implanted without any warning about risk factors beyond cramps and bleeding. She experienced adverse mental health conditions in the months that followed, and a year later, in 2017, after being prescribed the highest dose of antidepressants, she decided to have the device removed.
The Copper IUD (intrauterine device) was first marketed to women in the early 1970s and has since been the contraceptive choice for 150 million women worldwide, according to a study published by Contraception journal.
While manufacturers insist that the device is safe for use, recent complaints surrounding the adverse side effects has many questioning just how much is known about the tiny, coiled devices. 15% of users have removed the device within the first year due to increased pain and bleeding. While, others, still, report the emergence of debilitating neurological side effects after the insertion procedure.
Four years later, 27-year-old Sadie reflects on the lack of information given to her before insertion, telling MedTruth that she had no idea that the copper in IUDs erodes and is a trace mineral. Trace minerals influence the body’s enzymatic reactions, and small amounts of them are vital for proper hormone and neurotransmitter function.
Further divulging about the specific nature of her mental health decline while implanted, the California-local says she faced debilitating paranoia, anxiety, tremors, severe depression, and mania while implanted.
Initially, Sadie attributed such conditions to her childhood, migraine medicine, and her relationship. She recalls crying with frequency, repressing panic, and asking irrational questions. Her boyfriend asked why she was acting so weird, but Sadie had not yet identified what it was that set off the behavioral shift. That’s when she turned to healing through daily yoga and meditation.
Unfortunately, mindful practices weren’t enough to eliminate the symptoms of what she didn’t realize was copper toxicity. In search of more conclusive answers, Sadie took an HTMA hair test, which analyzes mineral deficiencies and imbalances and heavy metal toxicity to reveal what may be causing adverse health symptoms and diseases.
Her results revealed high amounts of copper. As a retroactive regimen in tandem with her IUD removal, Sadie took zinc, selenium, vitamin-C and a chelator called Pectasol-C for eight months — all recommended supplements for copper toxicity. Most of her symptoms subsided during the next eight months.
It’s relevant to note that copper deficiency has been known to evoke similar symptoms to copper toxicity, so sufferers should consult with a medical professional if attempting copper detox.
Kirby, a 34-year-old certified soul coach practitioner who runs a healing center and cafe in Portugal, was recommended the copper IUD in 2011 after she gave birth to her first daughter. Her doctor spoke favorably of the copper IUD because it was a “non-hormonal option.” She was implanted shortly thereafter. Prior to IUD insertion, Kirby had already struggled with side effects of copper toxicity, which was passed down by her mother in utero.
As she explains on her blog, her birth in an area of Germany well-known for toxic amounts of heavy metals in its water, high-copper dietary habits in childhood and home with pipes made of copper were the “perfect storm” for copper toxicity. The condition affected her relationships and the way she dealt with stress growing up, but she never realized it was the copper.
Kirby writes, “I had so many odd symptoms that were always blamed on my childhood trauma or maybe some underlying illness yet to be discovered.” Following her IUD insertion, Kirby says her health took a turn for the worst. “My hair had started falling out. I was gaining weight like I had never done before (specifically around my belly) and really just felt like something was off.”
Beyond notable physical changes, Kirby, like Sadie, reports a drastic change in her mood, which affected her marriage and day-to-day life. She recalls crying to her husband about her mental numbness.
“Life had lost its color,” and she felt, “no connection to the world or the people in it, my own child included.” While healthy amounts of copper can help release endorphins, excessive amounts manifest in such a way that the sufferer initially notes high brain activity and creativity; But this is short-lived. The overactivity of the brain caused by the “over-production of the activating neurotransmitters” responding to the high levels of copper will cause the person coping to lose control of their mind, as explained by the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Speaking to how silently debilitating copper toxicity can be, Dr. Rick Malter, Ph.D., says “sometimes [sufferers] don’t realize [the problem is within them] because their feelings are numbed so much by the buildup of excess calcium and copper, they’re not even aware that their feelings are numbed, deadened, and cut off, and they’re basically operating at a cognitive level and not a feeling level. Yet, cognitively, they can convince themselves that they’re thinking their way through their emotional life.”
Eventually, she found a doctor who said she was seeing other patients with similar issues. Kirby tells MedTruth her doctor noted seeing “a difference in her clients after removal.” This prompted Kirby’s research into illness from copper toxicity. It wasn’t long before she had the IUD removed and began her detox journey.
Today, she’s fully healed and strives to educate other women about the dangers of copper toxicity, in addition to running a soul healing platform.
Understanding the Science
For people like Sadie and Kirby who discover the dangers of copper toxicity through the adverse health symptoms it can cause, CopperToxic can be a helpful resource.
Made with the intention of providing people coping with copper (CU) toxicity support and information, the site articulates that excessive copper is an “excitotoxin,” which causes the adrenals to weaken from over-stimulation. Since the liver cannot produce ceruloplasmin, a protein that binds to copper, the copper is stored in soft tissue.
While typically, a protein called “ceruloplasmin” properly stores and carries the mineral copper around the body, ceruloplasmin is unable to bind to all the copper when there are excessive amounts present in the body. Instead, the extra copper builds up in the soft tissue of the liver until it overflows into the bloodstream.
Additionally, when there is an excess of copper in the body, “energy turns to fatigue. Cognitive clarity turns to brain fog. Fungal control turns to candida. Positive emotions turn to depression and apathy.” Racing mind, insomnia, thyroid hypo-function, burnout, depression, hair loss, low libido, insomnia, joint aches, infertility, headaches, brain fog, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and cancer are additional consequences associated with excess copper.
Continued FDA Approval
With dangerous neurocognitive side effects reported by women who have had copper IUDs implanted, online communities are beginning to question the FDA’s approval process for medical devices. Public complaint prompted FDA research, and in September 2019, the administration released a paper explaining that implants commonly have metals such as “copper, zinc, iron, manganese, and cobalt,” which are “essential to our normal biological functions.” However, these metals are “required only in small amounts and are critical to the structure and/or function of many proteins and enzymes.”
The paper states that the copper IUDs have similar side effects to Essure with pain, heavy bleeding, and device expulsion. Prior to this report, the FDA had conducted a study in 2005 which concluded that individuals with copper implants in Mexico — regardless of age of implant length — had blood CU levels above average. Even a copper IUD case study conducted as early as 1996 revealed a link between the device and endometritis and vulvovaginitis.
In response to increasing complaints about metal-containing devices, the Immunology Devices Panel of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health met in November, inviting scientists, industry stakeholders and patients in attendance to share concerns surrounding the body’s response to metal toxicity.
Following November’s panel meeting, the FDA added a warning to their site that “some individuals may be predisposed to develop a local or systemic immune or inflammatory reaction when exposed to certain metals contained in select implantable devices.” Their objective is to better understand how a patient responds to materials used in medical device implants, but such insistence on improving the safety of devices raises the question:
Why is any medical device approved for the market when its safety isn’t already absolutely guaranteed by science?
Copper IUDs can remain implanted in the body without intervention for up to twelve years. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, CU is the third-most-consumed industrial metal in the world. Copper toxicity may be more prone in people with pre-existing conditions limiting the body’s efficacy processing copper.
If you believe you’re experiencing symptoms of copper toxicity, consult with a medical professional about blood, urine or tissue tests as well as treatment options. It’s important to be vigilant about the way medical devices and levels of trace minerals may be affecting your health.
By S. Nicole Lane
S. Nicole Lane is a freelance journalist based in the southside of Chicago where she covers women’s health, the LGBTQ voice, arts, and entertainment. Her byline can be found in Playboy, Rewire News, i-D, Broadly and various other corners of the internet. She is also a visual artist who works with small-scale sculptures.
*Subject’s name has been excluded for anonymity.