In this episode, I am speaking with Morley Robbins about his novel hypothesis that chronic fatigue (and most chronic disease) is caused predominantly by copper dysregulation. This is a fascinating idea that I allow him to explore in depth, while also pushing back a bit at times on the idea that health can be reduced to any kind of simple mineral issue. I think Morley is a fascinating guy with a lot of valuable and novel ideas, and I hope you’ll listen in to what he has to say.
Table of Contents
In this podcast, Morley and I discuss:
- Why copper and a compound called ceruloplasmin are the most central and overlooked aspect of human health
- The crucial ways in which copper acts within our bodies to regulate every chemical reaction
- How a lack of copper in your diet can affect your iron levels, your metabolism, and your energy
- What role do copper and ceruloplasmin play in immunity against viruses and keeping oxidative stress at bay?
- How the industry has likely played a part in minimizing the copper levels we attain in our bodies
- Is there strong evidence to place low copper ceruloplasmin and excess iron at the center of the problem of human disease?
- If copper can really be considered “the spark plug” for the human body (and what might be missing from this analogy)?
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Ari: Hey, this is Ari. Welcome back to the Energy Blueprint Podcast. I am very excited to share today’s episode with you. It’s with somebody I’ve wanted to have on the podcast for a very long time. His name is Morley Robbins, and he’s the author of this book called Cu-re: Your Fatigue with the CU boxed off there to show that it’s the element of copper that’s being emphasized. The subtitle is How balancing 3 Minerals and 1 Protein is the solution that you’re looking for.
Now, Morley is a very atypical, unusual guy. He’s self-educated. He’s pulled from a lot of very old research, sometimes 80, 90, 100-year-old research that most people, including myself, have never heard of, and pretty much all doctors, whether natural or conventional, or not receiving any education about this. He’s making a lot of interesting and controversial claims that are very unusual and emphasizing certain compounds and certain physiological mechanisms in the body that most people never talk about or learn about. He’s very convinced that these are very central to human health and to curing disease and curing fatigue. He is a very compelling speaker and presents a very compelling case around that.
This is a very deep dive into a lot of research, sometimes obscure research. Morley’s piecing together a lot of stuff. He’s, to some extent, telling a story of his picture of human health and how he figured it out based on all these researchers. I think that there’s a lot of value in Morley’s work. As you’ll hear in this episode, I don’t necessarily agree with everything that he says, and one thing I’m very, very grateful for, we had a discussion prior to the start of this podcast where he actually invited me when we do record the podcast to challenge him, to play devil’s advocate and to be vocal about the areas that I disagree with him, which I’m immensely grateful for. I think as you’ll see in this episode, creates a more fruitful discussion where you get to see the areas where maybe I think differently than him, or I have difficulty with his version of human health.
I think Morley is a brilliant guy. I think there’s a ton of value in his work and I think we need to hear what he has to say. In fact, I think that so much that after recording this hour-and-a-half-long episode, I’m inviting him on for a part two, and who knows, maybe there’ll be a part three, too. As you’ll see Morley gives very in-depth answers to a lot of my questions. I think there’s a lot there to share and to talk about. With all of that said, I hope you enjoy this very interesting, very novel take on human physiology.
I will say there’s quite a bit of buildup. He has to tell a lot of elements, a lot of pieces of this story to get where he’s trying to take you, so be patient. I think there is fruit here. There’s a lot of value in what he’s trying to teach. I think it’s worth it to sit through the discussion of a lot of this old research that might make some of the non-science types who are listening to this maybe make their eyes glaze over a little bit, but if you sit through that, I really think there’s going to be some gold nuggets here for you. With all of that said, enjoy this episode with Morley Robbins.
Welcome to the show, Morley. Such a pleasure to have you.
Morley: Delighted to be here. You’re another year older. That’s a good thing.
Why copper is at the crux of human health
Ari: Indeed, it is. Since we last talked. We originally scheduled this podcast for four or five days ago. I was having computer dysfunctions, so we had to reschedule till now, which is as you mentioned that my birthday just was a few days ago. Thank you so much for texting me, “Happy birthday.” I want to tell all the listeners a little bit more about that. We tried for about half an hour to make it work. My computer kept freezing on us and then we had to cancel and then we ended up doing a phone call and we had a really beautiful discussion talking about what we would do in this podcast that we’re about to record. One of the things that Morley said to me, which I really loved and appreciated is he invited me to challenge him.
He invited me to play devil’s advocate and put forth ideas and evidence that might contradict some of what his central claims are. Just immediately that increased my respect for him by tenfold. I already really liked his work and appreciated his work a lot. With all of that said, I’m very excited to have this conversation. I also want to mention briefly something I told you Morley at the time, which it’s very much natural for me to want to poke holes in people’s ideas and play devil’s advocate and challenge it. I always try to do that respectfully and politely and never with an attitude of having a got you on somebody. I will say I have had in the past some instances of a few experts that I’ve had on the show where they might have said things that I disagreed with a bit where I was playing devil’s advocate.
I presented some evidence that contradicted their claims. Some of the listeners actually got very upset with me, not even the expert that I was interviewing. They appreciated being challenged, but the listeners who may be followed this expert and admired this expert perceived it as disrespectful that I would dare to challenge any of their claims. Actually, in iTunes, I have a handful of one-star reviews from people who are angry about me doing that with people. Anyway, all of that is to say thank you so much for coming onto the show and really inviting me to challenge you in this way. With all that said, I’m excited to get into this.
Let me start with a quote from your wonderful book, this book right here which is you said, “In the same way that the sun is the center of the universe, I’ve come to regard ceruloplasmin-” which is the compound we’re going to talk more about, “-as the sun of our bodily universe of metabolic activity.” Immediately, in this book, you’re positioning this compound which relates to copper as we’re going to get into, as central to the story of human health and human physiology. Yet in all of my 25-plus years of studying health science, I have never encountered this word prior to your book. How is it that all of health science has been so misguided or so ignorant of this piece of the puzzle that you are talking about is so central to human health, copper, and ceruloplasmin?
Morley: It’s a wonderful question. Great way to start the dialogue. I didn’t believe it at first either. As many people know, I started out as a pre-med retread and I went to business school, went to hospital management consulting, and then 15 years ago, 14 years ago somehow stumbled into mineral metabolism. I started with magnesium and that got me to iron, which got me to oxygen, which got me to copper.
I started digging in on the copper and I was like, “This is unbelievable. This can’t be.” Then along the way, I start to gain a broader and deeper understanding of what copper does. What was particularly important was a conversation I had with, he’s a natural health consultant, Michael Greenberg, very talented guy. We spent a day together.
In the course of that conversation, he was telling me that very often people ask him, “Michael, what’s new? What’s new? I want to know the latest?” He said, “Morley what I’ve learned to do is ask a more important question, what’s enduring? What’s been around for a long time?” That comment sparked my curiosity. I don’t know how it happened, but I went back to the beginning of oxygen on planet of Earth. It hasn’t always been here and I don’t want to offend people who have strong religious feelings. I don’t know how astrobiologists know this. I don’t know how they can prove it. Let’s talk about something that happened 3 billion years ago. Really, how you going to– It’s an accepted body of science and we’ll just accept it with that.
Before oxygen, iron was the dominant metal. It’s still the dominant metal on the planet. [unintelligible]. It was cyanobacteria in the primordial sea that started interacting with the sun and engaged in what’s called photosynthesis. When you get into the details of photosynthesis, the gearhead would know that there’s Photosystem I and Photosystem II. Actually, Photosystem II proceeds Photosystem I. They discovered one before they discovered two. There’s a very important step in between. Copper is what allows the electrons to get from two to one. That’s a big deal. Photosynthesis does not work without copper. Then what happened was, because of that photosynthesis, oxygen started to get released into the atmosphere.
There’s method to my [unintelligible 00:06:55] so I’m going to get back to your question, but I got to create the right context. The thing is when there was only 1/10 of 1%, 1/10 of 1% oxygen in the air, it wiped out 99.9% of life on the planet because it was all anaerobic. What emerged at that point and what evolved from that moment is called The Great Oxygen Event, The Great Oxidation Event. What emerged were some very important chemicals and one of them is this thing called ferroxidase and that’s what allows iron to be regulated by copper. Another one was called melatonin, which hangs out inside our mitochondria. You know that. It’s a very powerful antioxidant, which digs red light by the way. I’m sure at some point we’ll talk more about that.
Then there was a third chemical that emerged, was fascinating. You’ve probably heard of it, cholesterol. Cholesterol goes back to the beginning of time. In that moment, I realized– I knew that cholesterol didn’t cause heart disease. I was way beyond that but suddenly, I had a very deep understanding that there’s way more to the story than we realized and so I decided to dig in. What you find out is that the Achilles’ heel of animal physiology, but certainly human physiology is copper. It is the most important, but the most vulnerable part of our physiology because it’s very, very tiny. In the world of traditional Chinese medicine, they’ll tell you that copper is the general and iron it’s the foot soldier. We don’t have to be in the military to know there’s a difference between a general and a foot soldier and you don’t have as many generals.
Actually, in the US Army, and they’re so curious about this, there’s 242 generals in the US Army by law and there are 440,000 troops by law. It’s like okay, that gives us a good understanding of where copper and iron are because there’s 100 milligrams of copper in our body and there’s allegedly, 5,000 milligrams of iron depending on the author. There’s a big difference between 5,000 and 100. 100 milligrams fits on the head of a one-inch stick pin which is not a lot. Again, we have this incredibly important metal playing very strategic roles in the body. There’s only four things that copper does in our metabolism. Only four. Creates energy, clears exhaust, catalyzes enzymes, and combats all enemies, bacteria, fungus, virus, and parasites.
We’re talking about a very important element, very strategically important element, and who’s funding the education of practitioners today? Big Pharma and it has for many, many years, many decades. What you find is, as you get into the research, again, I’m not as excited about the contemporary research as I am going back to 1910, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s. Amazing discoveries back then by luminary scientists, people that you’ve never heard of, Dr. Hart, LVM, Sachs, David Kylin. Have you ever heard that name? David Kylin?
Morley: Well, David Kylin was Warburg’s nemesis at Cambridge. David Kylin was the guy who figured cytochromes. David Kylin was the guy who figured out that the mitochondria needed copper and Warburg despised David Kylin. Absolutely, with a passion. Then you got to understand that the Nobel Committee is a club. It’s actually a cult and the people who get the awards are part of the club. The people that don’t get the awards, not so much. A guy like David Kylin should have probably gotten four or five Nobels, but because he wasn’t in the club, he didn’t get them. Here’s how he got into the Nobel Committee. When Peter Mitchell won his Nobel and was giving his address, he was the guy who figured out oxidative phosphorylation. The title of his address, “In memory of David Kylin.”
Morley: There’s some very interesting politics and shenanigans that goes on. What I find fascinating is we’ve got someone like Otto Warburg, he was only nominated 52 times for Nobel Prize but he only got one because Hitler said one was enough. Most people don’t know that Warburg was a German Jew. His mother was Jewish and that was not good back in the ’30s and ’40s, as you well know. He was protected by Hitler. In fact, the SS had actually come to take him away, and Hitler found out about it and released him with a personal letter. It’s in a fascinating bit of history but the point is, what was Warburg’s focus? He was all about three things. He only studied three things. Photosynthesis. He was obsessed with photosynthesis. He was obsessed with oxidative phosphorylation and he was obsessed with cancer.
Those were his three dominant areas of interest. He wrote hundreds and hundreds of articles about the mitochondria, about those three subjects. How many times did Otto Warburg use the word copper or Kupfer, as he would’ve said in German? You can count on one hand the number of times he talked about Kupfer, but here’s one that was particularly important. From 1926 to 1930, a guy named Hans Krebs, You’ve heard of him, right?
Ari: Sure. Kreb cycle.
Morley: Well, he worked for Warburg for four years in the beginning of his career and what’s really entertaining is to read the articles that they wrote trying to one-up each other, who had the idea first, and they’re just beating all the time. In any event, in 1927, they did a very, very, very, very important study and they took birds, pigeons, and geese, they bled them almost to the point of death. That was a true state of anemia. I would argue it is the only true state of iron deficiency meaning on planet earth. Everything else is a scam. Well, I’m sure we’ll talk about that but they bled the birds almost to the point of death. They wanted to see how are these birds going to respond to that metabolic threat.
What blew them away and it’s in this article, it was published in ’27, there was a threefold increase in copper enzymes in the pigeons and a sixfold increase in copper enzymes in the geese. It was an explosive finding in 1927, and the reason why it’s important is that a year later, in 1928 in Madison, Wisconsin, Hart [unintelligible 00:15:30] and LVM at the University of Wisconsin were denying rodents copper in their diet because they were just curious to see what would happen if you took copper out of the diet, how does the body respond? The rodents all developed iron toxicity in the liver. ’27, we’ve got if we take iron out and man, the body responds with copper. That means the copper regulates iron. That’s what that research revealed and they knew it.
What did they do with that research? They buried it under the rugs. Then ’28 a year later, we’ve got this massive discovery about copper deficiency causing iron accumulation and then in 2021, Kim and Gonzalez were studying 13 genes that expressed in the liver to see if any of those 13 genes would have greater expression under a state of copper efficiency and there was only one gene that fired up. It’s called ferritin light chain and ferritin light changing is the gene that causes iron accumulation in the liver and it does not require ferroxidase enzyme function to work. It took a century to prove that they were right in Wisconsin. The point being that there were amazing discoveries from 1920s up through the present day that have never gotten scientific recognition.
In ’48 when Warburg and Laurel discovered the ceruloplasmin protein that we’re talking about, we’re talking about one of the biggest proteins in the body, Harry. This is not hepcidin. We’re not talking about insulin, we’re talking about 1,160 amino acids. It’s not the biggest protein, it’s one of the biggest proteins and it’s a tank because it’s got eight coppers inside it. If you’ve ever seen the movie Fury, you know what I’m referring to. There are five soldiers inside a tank and they all got to do their job. All eight coppers are needed to run ceruloplasmin. What’s absolutely amazing though is that from 1948 to the early ’70s, mid-’70s, actually, there were 8 copper atoms in the ceruloplasmin protein. From the ’70s to about 2000 it dropped to 7. Then from the 2000 to the present day, it’s 6 copper atoms.
I’ve talked to five different copper experts around the world and no one can tell me what happened to those two copper atoms. That alone should make a real curious gearheads in your community really set up and say, “Wait a minute, what’s going on here?” It wasn’t that the testing got better or that the optics are better. We’re talking about impeccable science in the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s and they knew there were 8 copper atoms in there. Then suddenly one disappeared and then [unintelligible 00:18:48] another [unintelligible 00:18:49] disappeared. The real problem with ceruloplasmin is it has [unintelligible 00:19:00], it has 20 copper binding sets. Do you even know what that means? It means that it can express 20 different functions.
We’re not talking about a VW bug here. We’re talking about a Rolls-Royce that can be a boat and a plane and a rocket and yet, the average person doesn’t know what we’re talking about. The average practitioner’s yawning right now because they never heard that word before. I think the mistake that’s made in a lot of practitioner circles is they’ve confused their training with the truth and they’re not the same. The education that practitioners get is amazingly scripted. Who’s running the show? Big Pharma. What’s the engine? Sell drugs. See, the thing is what copper brings to our physiology and our immune system is sovereignty. Is Big Pharma about independence or dependence?
When you’re talking about a protein that can express many different enzyme functions, that regulates iron and oxygen, that prevents oxidative stress, which is the very harbinger of all chronic disease when you’ve got a metal that runs the shell, that’s the general, what are you going to do? You’re going to flip it. You’re going to tell people, “You’re anemic, and you’re copper toxic. Be careful that retinol thing because it’s going to cause vitamin A toxicity.” If people believe that copper is toxic, and vitamin A is toxic, then they got a long way to go in their research to understand what’s really going on. What I think the last two and a half years have taught us is that there’s way more to the story than what appears on mainstream circles.
People need to know that I’ve renamed what COVID stands for. COV stands for copper is damaged. ID stands for irons dysregulated. That’s it. When you understand what COVID does to our blood, and to our immune system, hits all copper-iron dysregulation and the jab is COVID on steroids. If you don’t understand minerals, you don’t understand what I just said. I think there’s been a century-long campaign to downplay, to narrowcast the role of copper in the human body. The changes that have been made in agriculture and food processing, and pharmaceuticals is undeniable. What’s the biggest change in farming? Well, first it was fertilizers, right? NPK. Well, NPK is a great way to block copper absorption but glyphosate is a perfect way to block copper absorption because it key lights copper down to a pH of one.
What does that mean? Nothing stops it. It’s a perfect copper key that key lights other things too but copper, I would argue it’s the target. Within food processing, who are the two big assaults? The biggest assaults were high fructose corn syrup. What is high fructose corn syrup? The work of Myra Fields and her colleagues at the USDA ’70s to the ’90s is high fructose corn syrup blocks copper uptake in the front door. CTR 1, copper transporter one. The added assault within food processing is tyrosinase inhibitors. Tyrosinase? What is that? Well, it’s the enzyme that’s in the center of whole-food vitamin C. Oh, you mean ascorbic acid? No, we’re not talking about ascorbic acid. We’re talking about the real natural form of vitamin C that has rutin and all sorts of bioflavonoids and things.
It has a tyrosinase enzyme at its core and it has two copper atoms. Why would the food industry want to have tyrosinase inhibitors? Oh, is to stop the browning so that the food doesn’t spoil. It gets more complicated about do you think the tyrosinase inhibitors stop at the food and don’t affect our body? Then we get to Big Pharma. One of my favorites is [unintelligible 00:24:13]. She was a physician. Got her degree back in the ’60s. Started working in Big Pharma Research and discovered that all the drugs she was working on were causing magnesium deficiency. She quit her job at Big Pharma and went on a 40-year campaign to educate the world and medicine about the importance of magnesium. That’s just one example.
The medications that scare me the most are the fourth-generation antibiotics, all the benzos of cardiac drugs. Again, they totally disrupt copper. What a coincidence. Isn’t that interesting? That this lowly little metal that causes toxicity, well, we’re going to get rid of it. What’s the target in oncology treatment? Oh, well, that copper thing causes angiogenesis, and we’ve got to get rid of it. They go to great lengths to use tetra molybdate and other agents to suck copper out of the tissue and ignore the rats and all deficiency in the iron that’s causing the cancer. That by gosh, we’re going to get that copper thing. Your cure questions is a valid one. It’s a vexing one because there’s no proof of an agenda.
There’s just you get these snippets from the study in 1927, up to the present day and you see the clever way they talk about copper and iron. The fact that people on this planet actually believe that there is such a thing as iron deficiency anemia. It doesn’t make any sense at all. Let’s deal with the facts. The number one element on planet Earth 34% is iron. Prior to COVID, I would have argued that humans were the most evolved species. Now, I’m not so sure. In order to accept iron deficiency anemia as the number one nutrient deficiency on planet Earth, current with the WHO, and they’ve lost a little luster. There are multiple publications that reinforces in order to accept that.
It means that the most evolved species on the planet has lost the natural ability to metabolize the number one element on the planet is absolutely fallacious in its face. What is buried in the research 1935, ’43, ’55, ’75 all the way up to 2021 is every facet of iron metabolism is copper-dependent. You can’t make [unintelligible 00:27:05], you can’t make hemoglobin, you can’t make red blood cells, you can’t recycle red blood cells. It’s absurd that these connections have not been made but they’ve been very artfully written up in scientific journals to keep the reader in the dark, keep the truth behind the curtain. How do we spell curtain? C-U-R-T-A-I-N? We don’t know the curtain is running the show.
I know I sound a little bit like a conspiracist but it’s actually not a conspiracy when you can prove the methodical treatment of this metal through the ages. I think it’s a really important question. To me, it makes perfect sense if the business model of medicine is to sell drugs, the last thing I want in patients is enough copper to keep oxidative stress at bay. Because then the symptoms don’t show up. That’s a very long-winded response to a very simple question. Hopefully, that gives you some things to reflect on and gives you additional fodder to pepper me with other questions.
Why copper trumps other minerals
Ari: [chuckles] Indeed. There’s a lot in there. I feel we need three or four hours to adequately discuss every facet of that. Let me ask a question. It’s central obviously to your book and the work that you do that copper is very important as you just outlined. You argue that this information and the importance of copper and human health has been, not only systematically suppressed, but treatments have been developed with the idea that it further depletes copper in the body.
Leaving that aside for a second, you’ve certainly made a compelling case for copper being central to health. Couldn’t a similar case be made for let’s say magnesium, which is involved in hundreds of reactions at the cell level and deficiencies are common? Couldn’t it be made for something like selenium or manganese or zinc or maybe vitamin D is a big one which regulates or influences the regulation of over 2000 genes and plays important roles in musculoskeletal health and immune health and many aspects of human health. Couldn’t one make a similarly compelling explanation for why vitamin D is the big driver of disease? What is the evidence that has led you to focus on copper dysregulation specifically as the big driver of chronic disease?
Morley: No, it’s a great follow-up question. I think what’s missing in healing is understanding of metabolism, and that what runs the immune system is energy and intelligence. It’s undeniable the role that copper plays in producing energy. When you begin to piece apart mitochondrias, I’m sure you have, it’s an inescapable discovery that copper plays a pivotal role in countless parts of the mitochondria. They’ll tell you that the old complex wars requires copper. The only one that I can’t find connections to copper is in Complex II. One, three, four, and five are absolutely undeniably copper-dependent. It’s ANT, at any transporter. It’s got a relationship with copper. The fact that Paul Cobine at Auburn University was able to prove using a yeast model and yeast cells and human cells are–
Yeast is a model for the human cell. I don’t know whether people know that or not. Basically, the way they described yeast is [unintelligible 00:31:25] mammals. The mitochondria inside the yeast is very representative of our mitochondria. What Paul Cobine was able to prove in 2004 and 2006 is that there’s 50,000 atoms of copper in the matrix of the mitochondria. That begins to open up some new avenues. Again, I think it really revolves around energy. If you were to ask the average doctor or average practitioner how is energy made in the body, it would be a very uncomfortable conversation. Because I don’t think they could really explain how the electrons move down the complexes or the role that copper plays in Complex IV to turn oxygen into water.
Which to me is the most important enzyme transaction on the planet, turning O2 into 2H2O. When that happens, it happens because the pH is seven. That’s really important. It releases three ADP so they can go over to Complex V to become three ATP. Let’s be technical, it’s actually three magnesium ATP. The magnesium is what stabilizes the ATP, and it’s between the second and third phosphate group. What a lot of people don’t know is that Complex V, ATP synthase, it’s spending at 9,000 RPMs. That’s 150 cycles a second. The mechanics of this are incredibly dependent on sustainable energy production, and we’ve got 40 quadrillion mitochondria in our body, and the image that we have from our high school biology class of the cell, that drawing of the cell and what had one or two mitochondria.
What people don’t know is that that was drawn by Walt Disney. It has nothing to do with reality. It’s a complete farcical representation because the average cell has 500 mitochondria, average liver cell 2,000 mitochondria, kidney cell 4,000, heart cell, 10,000 mitochondria. The myocarditis that people are having, they don’t have the mitochondria and they don’t have the copper inside the mitochondria to run their heart. It’s very simple what’s going on. We get to the mature egg in a woman’s body, 600,000 mitochondria in a mature egg. Their brain cells especially in the substantial [unintelligible 00:34:23] very much involved in Parkinson’s disease that have 2 million mitochondria. All of these mitochondria have a primary focus, let’s make energy.
It isn’t just energy. They are making theme. They’re recycling calcium, they’re recycling urea. They’re involved– It’s an absolute exciting process that they’re engaged in and we’ve got 40 quadrillion involved in this. When they begin to wobble and we start to have fatigue which is why the book is called Cu-RE Your Fatigue, again when we put things in an energy paradigm, our body is really designed to stay in balance based upon its ability to make energy. If you’ve ever been on a boogie board and tried to stay in balance, takes a lot of energy to do that. Your legs are constantly working to stay in balance. Go this way, that way, there’s no energy required. We’re out of balance. When we get sick, we’re out of balance. Energy production is down.
To me, what I did was I flipped the paradigm and I said, “Let’s ignore the enemies and let’s ignite the energy.” I have looked, Harry, I cannot find a metabolic role for vitamin D to make energy. Vitamin D is a very important nutrient storage form, active form, but all of the attributes of vitamin D are really misplaced because it’s not storage D that’s doing it. It’s active D and active D doesn’t work by itself. It works in concert with the vitamin D receptor which is magnesium-independent. It works with a very important nuclear receptor called RXR, which is critically important retinoid made from retinal. The worldwide obsession that people have with vitamin D function is based on a triad that’s based on an active molecule of D BDR and RXR that nobody likes to talk about that.
There’s a wide difference between the fluctuating presence of storage D in our body based upon where the sun is in the sky and the active D which is constant. What I think it’s important for the listeners to understand is that as important as vitamin D is, I would argue that vitamin A retinol is probably 100 times more important because it serves roles not just in our immune system, but for making copper bioavailable, what’s action with the ion pumps ATP7A and ATP7B through its actions to really prevent inflammation and the work of Dr. Hammering in 2016 where he was able to prove that the signalosome that’s part of the respirasome that’s within the mitochondria is absolutely dependent on retinol because the electron rise down the backbone of the retinal tail, which I think is absolutely amazing.
These other nutrients that you’re bringing up are important. There’s no question they’re important, but in the same way that I’ve got a triangle adorning my head, I think the nutrients are set up that same way. I would argue pretty strongly that at the very top, very tippy top of the pyramid this copper, why? Because it is the only element on the planet that regulates iron and oxygen cleanly and consistently in our body. Yes, these other nutrients are very important. It’s like trying to decide what part of your car is the most important. It’s like when you get a flat tire, suddenly the tire’s the most important, or spark plug goes out.
Suddenly the spark plug’s the most important. We all understand that.
To me, if we’re trying to minimize oxidative stress and we’re trying to optimize energy production, the conversion of oxygen into water, so we can release energy, then all roads come back to copper status. It’s absolutely arresting when you think about how many functions depend upon energy production and no one realizes the role the copper plays in that process and all the optics. It is like if we were to go into your kitchen right now, we could put a spotlight on the stove and the refrigerator, and the microwave. Those are the three most important parts of your kitchen aside from the plumbing. What are those three appliances made of? Steel. They’re all made of steel, iron. What modern medicine wants us to believe, is that the stove knows what’s for dinner. The stove knows what pot to get out, stove knows what temperature to put the flame up, and stove knows that I’ve got to get the food out of the refrigerator. There is not one word about the chef. About the cuisine artist. When you get into the bowels of mitochondrial research, it is amazing how they will pontificate about iron and not tell you about the elegance of when we get into complex IV. What is the cytochrome c oxidase enzyme actually doing? It’s fascinating. There’s Hema and Hema 3 and where’s their job? They are the stove and they’re holding oxygen.
That cytochrome c oxidase can slice and dice it and turn it into water in one fell swoop, add four electrons, boom, oxygen becomes two molecules of water. Voila. That’s the magic and the majesty of copper metabolism, but it’s very rare to find scientists who will tell you that and go into the description so you understand what’s really happening because everything is iron this and iron that. “Yes, let’s talk about the steel gutters and the Sears Tower and look at all the things that steel does.” What’s the most important part of the Sears Tower? Electricity and plumbing. What’s providing the electricity and plumbing? Copper, but no one likes to talk about that.
I don’t know. It’s a societal scotoma that we have about what’s really running the show. We’re led to believe that we need more iron and I got to get rid of this copper because it’s going to cause cancer. It’s like, now that’s demonic. In my world, that is a complete reversal of reality that you only find in books like 1984. It’s just a fascinating dynamic that’s taking place in the scientific circles.
Ari: Let’s say I have no disagreement whatsoever with all of the important roles that copper plays in human physiology. In general, I would say that I have some aversion to this, looking at health purely through this biochemical mechanistic lens and I’ll tell you why I do. I have seen over many years, 25 plus years of studying health science, many, many people make all kinds of extremely compelling arguments. Extrapolating from the biochemical sort of mechanistic level, at the cellular level. “Oh, this thing does this, therefore this thing is the thing that controls human physiology.” If we were looking at a car, one could say, “Well, if the spark plugs don’t work, then the whole car shuts down, and therefore spark plugs control everything.”
One could probably make a compelling case based on this kind of logic. Now that’s not to say that spark plugs aren’t very important. They clearly are very important, but are they the thing that is controlling and regulating the functioning of the car? No, they’re not. There’s another example of this, a very well-known example, which is insulin. For many, many years, we had lots of dietary gurus and we still do have many dietary gurus making these arguments, even though we have the science to disprove it. That insulin is the thing that controls and regulates body fatness and that if you eat a diet and therefore based on this idea, which is called the carbohydrate hypothesis of obesity popularized mainly by Gary Taubes.
If you eat lots of carbohydrates, carbohydrates cause the secretion of insulin, and therefore by having higher insulin levels, you have higher levels of this fat-storing hormone. Therefore this leads to increased body fatness. It actually sounds very compelling and logical and to the point where I was convinced of it for many years and I taught it to my clients for many years. Then we had metabolic ward studies come out and there are now many of those studies and Kevin Hall has been a lead researcher of that. Ironically working for Gary Taubes’ Institute, NuSI, conducting these studies, which Gary Taubes wanted to prove his insulin carbohydrate hypothesis of fat gain.
The studies that they funded with millions of dollars of funding actually disproved the hypothesis. They found that on equal levels of calories, high carbohydrate diets and low-fat diets that were again, calorie equal to very high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diets, that caused radically different amounts of insulin, caused precisely equal or virtually equal amounts of fat loss. Actually, they showed that fat loss was slightly increased in the high-carb group, but we’ll call it equal just because it was a very small difference. Since then, there have been many other studies that have consistently shown and replicated this finding. We know that in fact, insulin does not regulate body fatness.
Yet we had literally people writing books and books and hundreds, thousands of dietary gurus out there preaching this hypothesis as if it’s fact and talking about insulin-regulating body fatness and this is the big thing. If by lowering your carbs, you lower insulin and therefore you lose fat, yada, yada, yada. It’s simply not true. We have the science to show it’s not true, yet people can present this logic in a compelling way that makes it sound logical and makes it sound like it is physiological truth. I’m a rubber meets the road guy. I need to see more than just the mechanistic logic. I need to see the actual evidence that, in the big-picture level, okay, we know that copper deficiency or copper dysregulation is clearly the driver of cancer or the driver of neurological disease or the driver of chronic fatigue, and so on. What is that evidence from your perspective?
Morley: No, several things. Let’s deal with a couple of different conditions. Schizophrenia, it’s pretty, pretty severe form of behavioral health issues. I think you would agree with that. Well, in 1959, group of scientists at Tulane University led by Dr. Martens, M-A-R-T-E-N-S, 1959. He used one shot of ceruloplasmin and he injected it into 34 patients with schizophrenia. What happened? 34 were cured. When you get into the bowels of schizophreniacs, people who are schizophrenic are afraid. They’re paranoid and a lot of adrenaline coercing through their body and their blood.
It gets rusty from too much iron that’s not being regulated. It creates what’s called adrenochrome, a very contemporary chemical that we’re all well aware of, but the thing is, ceruloplasmin changed the biochemistry of these patients. In India, they studied people who get malaria and people who don’t get malaria. The people who don’t get malaria have proper levels of ceruloplasmin and phenoloxidase enzyme expression. The people who have low levels of phenoloxidase expression take hydroxychloroquine for the rest of their life because their copper status is compromised. I came across another Indian study just the other day. Fascinating. You may have heard of dysfunctional uterine bleeding. I’d never heard of it, DUB. Apparently, it’s–
Ari: I’ve never heard of it either.
Morley: Well, it’s only a third of the women around the world who have a dysfunctional uterine bleeding.
Morley: Only a third. [laughs] What these doctors discovered is, and I would just love to go into the minds of the team that came up with this, someone had the creativity to say, well, why don’t we measure the thickness of the endometrial lining of the uterus using ultrasound and contrast it with ceruloplasmin status in the women. What did they find? An inverse relationship. The lower the ceruloplasmin, the thicker the endometrium, the heavier the bleeding, and here’s the catch. Why would there be heavy bleeding? Because there’s low ceruloplasmin. Go back to 1928. Low copper creates iron accumulation and the endometrium is accumulating iron. There’s only one way to get rid of excess iron in the human body and that’s through blood loss. How do we regulate iron status in our body with our mouth? That got violated. That’s the work of McCanns and [unintelligible 00:50:30] preeminent.
Ari: What do you mean by through the mouth, you mean how much we eat?
Morley: How much we eat.
Morley: Keep your mouth shut and you won’t get as much iron. No, seriously. What did they do? In ’41 they violated that by adding iron filings to the flower and then they increased it 50% in 69. Now we have nine different forms of iron coming into the food system. All of them are carcinogenic by the way, proven carcinogenic but people don’t know that.
How to prevent low iron levels
Ari: If I can add one layer to this just so it doesn’t get lost in this discussion, you mentioned blood loss being the only way to lower iron levels. There’s a large body of evidence now that most people are unaware of, including most practitioners, that giving blood is actually a reliable way to extend lifespan and help prevent disease, to the point of your logic there.
Morley: In fact, Leo Zacharski, world-renowned cardiologist at Dartmouth Medical Center published an article, I think it was in 2015. He was contrasting statin use to phlebotomy and phlebotomy won hands-down, it was pretty funny. I’ve used very controversial figures as you can imagine but there are other studies that are very important to think about. We’ve got the schizophrenia. We’ve got the TB and malaria. We’ve got this hard study. One of the great findings is that, I’m blanking- my mind’s drawing a blank on his name right now.
I’m kind of embarrassed. The point is, he was an MD Ph.D. cardiologist. What he studied was the correlation between copper status and heart events. What he identified, and it’s a very important article he wrote in 2016, I’m going crazy trying to think of his name right now.
Ari: Don’t worry about it. If you think of it later, we’ll link to it in the show notes.
Morley: That’s right. The thing is, he was able to identify 80, eight zero anatomical, chemical, and physiological defects in a copper division heart. Let’s come back to Gary Taubes because one of my favorite books of all time is Good Calories, Bad Calories. I thought that was one of the best books I’d ever read.
Ari: It’s one of my least favorite. [laughs]
Morley: All right. Well, that gives us something, even more to talk about. The thing is, in the forties, they knew how glucose got in the cell, had nothing to do with insulin, and everything to do with copper. When do hormones show up? When there’s a mineral deficiency, when we got to correct a problem. Hormones don’t run the body, that’s modern jujitsu in a world of convention. Again—
Can diseases of lifestyle be attributed to only mineral deficiency
Ari: I agree with you on that point. Actually, I’d like to ask you something related to that. The way that I like to understand human health and the generation of disease or the generation of dysfunctional physiology in the body is I think a bit different than you. I understand things. I like to look at things through layers and on one– If we’re looking at, let’s say the last hundred years or 200 years, we’ve seen in modern Western societies in North America and Europe, the emergence of all kinds of disease epidemics, the emergence of obesity and diabetes, the emergence of neurological disease, cancer has skyrocketed.
Heart disease has skyrocketed. Most of these things and the list goes on, of course, to many other conditions, gut issues, IBS and all, Crohn’s disease, all kinds of things. We could list dozens of things there. Just cancer by itself consists of dozens of types of cancer. If we look at these things a hundred years ago versus today, the incidents, the prevalence has skyrocketed. If we look at hunter-gatherer societies including ones that exist today, still in the world in places like Africa and South America and traditional societies and the South Pacific, most or all of these diseases are non-existent.
We know that these diseases are clearly driven by modernization, the westernization of societies. They’re clearly driven by the introduction of processed western diets. They’re driven by sedentary lifestyles. They’re driven by circadian rhythm dysregulation from artificial light at night. They’re driven by lack of exercise, lack of exposure to hormetic stressors, heat, and cold, food overabundance. There’s many things that we know. environmental toxicants, of course, sun deficiency, not enough sunlight exposure, and so on. These are at the environment and lifestyle level.
Now, I conceptualize these things as causes of physiological dysfunction and disease. We can look at the next layer down which is, what are the mechanisms of what is happening in our body in response to this non-optimal lifestyle and environment? We can talk about, okay, vitamin D deficiency results, or we’ve got magnesium deficiency. We’ve got gut microbiome dysregulation. We’ve got excess fat gain which is increasing low-grade inflammation and driving insulin resistance and so on. There’s dozens of other mechanisms that we could add to that list. I actually really like your work. I don’t want that to get lost in this discussion, but I want to play devil’s advocate here.
Where you lose me a bit is when you talk about mineral dysregulation in the body as the primary cause of disease, where it’s not being grounded in the context of how mineral dysregulation is resulting from those causes at the lifestyle and environmental level. Convince me why mineral dysregulation and copper ceruloplasmin defficiency is the cause of most chronic disease. Do you get what I’m saying?
Morley: Yes, I get it. Again, I come back to the fact that all disease, what is it? 32,000? By the way, it’s Leslie Kleday. It’s a guy. It was the cardiologist I was thinking.
Ari: Ah, thank you. Great.
Morley: Yes. K-L-E-D-A-Y. All disease, and I think it’s 32,000 different conditions in the [unintelligible 00:58:33] manual, they all begin with energy deficiency. Someone has arterial plaque. When does that start? What starts when the epithelial cells- or when the endometrial cells, excuse me, can’t recycle iron properly in the mitochondria because they don’t have enough copper, and then iron starts to build up in the mitochondria, killing energy production, and then that affects the– They’re going to recruit macrophages saying, “We got a crisis here”, and cholesterol starts to come, and then suddenly you’ve got foam cells and it just starts to build on itself. It all started because the energy production dropped. 100% percent of it was triggered by–
Well, I don’t care what condition you’re talking about, it starts within wobbling of energy, and most people don’t know that. Most practitioners don’t know that. Again, the overriding paradigm feeling is, “Let’s kill the bugs. Let’s kill the enemies.” I think that is so over that because it’s all an energy issue and it has been since the beginning of time. I think that what’s critically important is to understand the subtle role these copper enzymes and ceruloplasmin are playing. The thing is, let’s get down into the cell. Let’s get inside a macrophage [unintelligible 01:00:13] that are trying to gobble up the dying, in this case, the dying red blood cells.
They’ve got to break down the heme and get that iron away from the heme. That’s a big deal inside the endo zone. Well, in order to get the pH right, they got to pump hydrogen there. Who do you think’s running that pump? It’s copper. Then we got to get the iron out and it’s called steep three. How do you get iron out of an endo zone? Well, steep three is run by copper. Then we’ve got to get that iron out of the cellular structure. We’ve got to get it into ferritin. We have to store it. We don’t want label iron, took me two years to figure out what label iron meant.
It’s not free and happy. It’s reactive. Oh my God. It’s incredibly reactive and so we’ve got to get it into the ferritin molecule. Well, oh, there’s two different types of ferritin, ferritin heavy chain, ferritin light chain. What’s ferritin heavy chain? It’s got ferroxidase enzyme function and it very easily gets iron into the ferritin cage. That’s a good thing, and it also takes ferroxidase to get the iron back out. A lot of people don’t know that. That’s a really big deal but then I learned something in the last few weeks, which I find absolutely fascinating. There’s actually a chaperone that carries the iron to the ferritin protein and it’s another chaperone. It’s called PCBP1.
Guess what? It has a copper battery and then that when the ferritin is ready to be recycled, because the cell needs to access to the iron. There’s a chaperones, cargo chaperone that picks up the- excuse me, picks up the ferritin and takes it into the lysosome where it gets recycled and the cargo chaperone is called NCLA4. Guess what? It’s copper-dependent and so just in the cycle, within the cell, I’ve identified 10 different mechanisms that are copper-dependent and there’s no literature that expressly says that. This is based upon dozens, sometimes hundreds of studies that I’ve read, piecing a little bit here, a little bit there, and that’s not taught anywhere except in the Root Cause Protocol Institute and that’s part of the excitement of this work is that the information is out there but it’s not in plain sight.
You got to really work to get it and I think that the phrase that’s really helped me define what all this work is about, was developed by a friend of mine who’s a pastor. His name is Joey Foster, brilliant guy and his wife is, has gone through my program. Then Joey and I became friends and he introduced me to a phrase that his mentor taught him, and this is really around biblical studies, but it applies to any field of study that you want to engage in. Missing information equals missing truth. If you don’t know those 10 different mechanisms that are involved in iron recycling in just a single macrophage, then you don’t understand what anemia really is. If you’re going off of the words of the World Health Organization, I would just encourage people to step back from the ledge and say, “There’s way more to the story because again, I’ve got studies from the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and so on that clearly indicate from world-renowned scientists, you cannot make heme without copper, you cannot make hemoglobin without copper.
You cannot make red blood cells without copper and they said it boldly back in the day but now they’re afraid to speak the truth. You know what I just heard tonight? If this is true, this is just appalling, that school systems in one county in, I think it was Missouri, in one county in Missouri, they received three-quarters of a billion dollars, three-quarters of a billion dollars to enforce all of the insanity of the last two and a half years. If that’s true in this particular person claims it is, it is such a violation of our integrity and our intelligence.
To me, it’s an extension of what we deal with in conventional medicine because I don’t think that practitioners have been properly educated.
I don’t think they have been fully educated because they don’t know what minerals are. They don’t know what- they don’t know energy metabolism. They don’t understand oxygen metabolism. Every hormone, every neurotransmitter, every complicated chemical in our body responds to one thing, oxygen status in the body. 100%, and if you don’t know that, then you don’t understand how the body works, and then the fourth area of academic defect in the training and practitioners is they don’t know what parasites are. Guess what parasites feed off of? Minerals, oxygen, and energy.
We’ve got these really talented individuals, great hearts, great minds, who’ve been given a scripted education that is missing the four cornerstones of chronic disease, mineral dysregulation, energy dysregulation, oxygen dysregulation, and parasite dysregulation. All the autoimmune diseases, all involve iron-laden, excuse me, not iron-laden. Hemosiderin-laden, so ferritin holds iron, hemosiderin’s 10 times more iron. As hemosiderin-laden macrophages, hanging out with parasites, every autoimmune, every, all 100-plus autoimmune conditions involves excess iron and parasites, and guess what’s missing?
Copper, because if you’ve got parasites, you don’t have enough copper and if you don’t have enough copper, you’re going to get parasites and these basic axioms that run farms, any animal farmer knows the relationship between copper and parasites. It’s very well chronicled in the books by Pat Colby. She’s an Australian farmer. In 2015, she wrote Natural Goat Care, Sheep Care, Cattle Care, Horse Care and she has these mind-numbing facts in her books about what is the mineral truth of animal husbandry. That’s not taught in doctor school because that’s, well, that’s too banal.
We don’t get into animal issues. It’s like, are you kidding me? It was a study in 2012 from NC State, one of the best veterinarian programs in the country and these scientists were studying UTIs. Why were veterinarians studying human UTIs? For those, it’s Dr. Hare, H-A-R-E, 2012, and just put in UTI. When you get to figure 12, it will blow your mind because it explains in excruciating detail how copper and ceruloplasmin stopped the UPEC pathogen put iron in handcuffs and stopped the infection, and it’s a beautifully written article but you got to work to get the figure 12 to find out the truth of what’s causing UTIs.
Then we find out what’s the go-to medication for UTIs today. Cipro. Cipro is one of the most toxic chemicals on the planet, would be right up there with glyphosates, as far as I’m concerned. What does it do? It sucks magnesium and copper out of the body and my wife, Dr. Liz, had a client who was a world-renowned cyclist in the Chicago area many years ago. He was hanging out with a guy named Lance Armstrong. He was in the world tour. This guy was a serious cyclist. He got a UTI. They gave him Cipro. Guess what happened? He ruptured his Achilles tendon and he had to leave the tour, never to ride a bike again.
He could never regain his stature because the doctor did what’s called best practice and best practice is to give Cipro. I don’t care about best practice, I want natural practice. I want the best that nature has to offer and I would argue vehemently and I really am enjoying your intense, sincere and challenging desire to get into the weeds of all this. I really value the exchange and very few–
Ari: Likewise, feeling’s very mutual.
Morley: Well, very few people have taken the time to have this dialogue but the important thing is, if you don’t understand nature and what Mother Nature designed their body to do, if you don’t understand what the phrase innate intelligence is based upon, and you don’t really understand metabolism and physiology and the natural process of energy production in our mind.
Ari: I agree completely with that. Morley, so here’s the practical logistical challenge I’m running into at this moment. I have to get to another podcast in about four minutes so it–
Morley: Sucks to be you.
Ari: Yet I also feel your work is very important and is important enough to warrant a second podcast, so we need to do a part two here.
Ari: We need to get–
Morley: We can get part three. We might even need three. [chuckles]
Ari: We might, and I’m totally open to that actually, because you are- what’s the right word? I was going to say you’re an unusual guy, but I didn’t want that to be taken in the wrong way, I mean it in the best of ways. Meaning you have an unusual body of knowledge that you’re talking about all kinds of things that no one else seems to be talking about. I think we do need to build that out more and I want to have more discussions with you so here’s what I’m thinking, I’ve got three minutes. Why don’t you give a very brief teaser for what we’re going to talk about in the next podcast and why people should tune in?
Morley: I think what would be a really important topic for us to talk about is, when I say there is no such thing as anemia on planet Earth, I’d like to be able to back that up.
Morley: I think it leads to a lot of very bad decisions and a lot of bad disease, and I have a lot of things to say about it so I think that’d be fun. I don’t believe there is such a thing as iron deficiency anemia. I think it’s all anemia of chronic disease.
Ari: Therefore, all these people who are being diagnosed as anemic, which is a huge portion of people, and being prescribed iron, you believe that’s incorrect?
Ari: A counterproductive prescription for those people?
Ari: We’ll talk about that definitely and then that might take up all of part two, Who knows? I also want to make sure that we talk about your root cause protocol, and I want to make sure we talk about fatigue and how you are doing this. The essence of this book, Cure Your Fatigue, which I really enjoyed this book tremendously. I think there’s a huge amount of value here, so the essence of how does one cure one fatigued and why does that revolve around copper? We’ll do at least two and possibly three podcasts to cover all of your work. Morley, thank you so much, I’m very grateful for your time, I’m very grateful again for you inviting me to have this devil’s advocate-driven dialogue with you. I’m really enjoying it and I’m very grateful for your work and for the time you’re dedicating to have this discussion with me.
Morley: This has not been the easiest conversation, but I would say it was one of the most productive.
Ari: Awesome. I love it as well. It’s great for me to learn from you and I’m looking forward to the next one, so I’ll reach out to you via email to get the next one scheduled, and to everybody listening, make sure to tune into part two. We are just getting started with Morley as you can