Originally published September 3 2013
Do you have chronic anxiety? Balance your zinc and copper levels: Research
by PF Louis
(NaturalNews) We all get anxious about issues now and then and tend to get over it. But chronic anxiety, or Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), is both chronic and non-specific.
With GAD, there are no isolated situations that warrant worry. The worry and tension are present disproportionately all the time with all situations and possibly often not even focused on any situation. 
It's not unusual for GAD sufferers to be clinically depressed as well. Clinical trials involving GAD or depressed subjects involve several diagnosed with both syndromes.
Fortunately, this is often related to mineral and vitamin issues that can be tested and remedied. Vitamins B6 and B12 are useful for depression, while anxiety and tension issues are often remedied by increasing magnesium.
But recent developments with GAD point to an imbalance of the more obscure trace minerals zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu), which tend to compete with each other for absorption and receptor channels.
The copper/zinc ratio connection to anxiety exploredA study titled "Decreased zinc and increased copper in individuals with anxiety" was conducted at the Research Institute, Pfeiffer Treatment Center of Warrenville, Illinois, and published by Nutrition and Metabolic Insights in 2011.  [2a]
Highly advanced and expensive Inductively Coupled Plasma-mass Spectrometry (ICP) was used to measure trace minerals in the serum of 38 individuals with chronic anxiety and 16 in a control group without anxiety symptoms.
The researchers discovered that the anxiety group had generally lower serum zinc levels compared to copper or elevated copper compared to zinc. They were treated with zinc and antioxidant supplements, according to individual parameters, and their symptoms improved significantly.
Copper piping for water in dwellings has become the norm, and that does contribute to ingesting traces of copper beyond most diets. But raising zinc levels is a more functional factor than lowering copper levels.
Functional medicine practitioner  and acupuncturist Chris Kresser elucidates this topic further by explaining it's the ratio of copper to zinc (Cu/Zn) that determines neurotransmitter health or dysfunction. Ideally, your copper blood level should be 70% of your zinc level, or Cu/Zn at .7/1.
Not everyone has access to ICP technology for measuring trace mineral testing, so Kresser recommends the 24 hour urine sample test, which can be more accurate than most blood tests. 
Kresser explains that copper and zinc are involved with neurotransmitter health, but zinc needs to dominate. If not, all sorts of neurological disorders can emerge, including depression, anxiety and even schizophrenia. 
Copper and zinc tend to be antagonistic to each other. Excess copper can also invite Wilson's Syndrome, first identified by Dr. Denis Wilson, which resembles hypothyroidism and is characterized by low baseline body temperatures and possibly low level depression.
Orthodox medical institutions reject this as a valid medical diagnoses, which doesn't make it less real. With this particular syndrome, the 24 hour urine test is required over any blood testing, according to Chris Kessler, to determine if excess copper is responsible.
Of course, there are inexpensive zinc supplements available. Food sources for zinc include pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, broccoli, legumes and whole grains such as brown rice. Grains and legumes also contain phytic acid that binds to zinc and blocks absorption. 
So it's a good idea to soak brown rice and beans overnight in fluoride free purified water to reduce the phytic acid and free up the zinc (http://www.naturalnews.com).
Unfortunately, chocolate and cacao are high in copper. But the recommended focus is to boost zinc instead of reducing copper. Since zinc is also important for several other health reasons, the more the better.
Besides, it's too expensive to change the piping and why give up chocolate?
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