Is Iron Supplementation The Best Treatment for Anemia? with Morley Robbins

Content By: Ari Whitten & Morley Robbins

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 and iron 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 episode, Morley and I discuss:

  • Why Morley believes copper and ceruloplasmin are so important to consider in respect of good health
  • Why balancing copper, iron and magnesium should be your top priorities when it comes to acquiring the right nutrient levels
  • The two different types of anemia and why knowing the one from the other makes all the difference in the correct treatment of this problem
  • Why you may want to think again before dosing up with zinc to fight against viral infections

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Ari: Hey, there. This is Ari. Welcome back to the Energy Blueprint Podcast, and welcome to part two of the podcast series [laughs] with Morley Robbins, who is the author of this book, Cure Your Fatigue. I strongly recommend you pick this up. Morley is, as you now know from listening to part one, and you should listen to that if you haven’t already, a fascinating guy. He’s basically delved into this whole story of human physiology and human health that seems to be almost untouched. People have not talked about this.

He’s delved very deeply into all kinds of research, including research that’s 50, 70, 80 years old, going back to some of these old Nobel Prize winners and some of this old obscure research that most people haven’t looked at in decades, and most people have never been trained in. He’s piecing together things in a novel way.

Now, I don’t know if I agree with everything Morley is saying, but I am loving having these conversations with him. He is clearly an extremely intelligent, extremely knowledgeable, extremely insightful guy who has very, very interesting takes on human physiology and human health and what’s at the core of it. At the very least, even if I don’t agree with every aspect of what he’s saying, he certainly has a lot of value to share.

I think that there’s a lot of gold nuggets for everyone in this. I think that everyone should start paying more attention to the critical roles of these minerals in their body. Things like copper, in particular, and all the roles that Morley has done such a great job of figuring out, piecing together, and how important they are in human physiology. Magnesium, iron, some of these other aspects of this story of how important minerals are in human health.

In this episode, we talk a lot about anemia. We talk about misconceptions around iron, misconceptions from Morley’s point of view, certainly, and many other aspects of what’s depleting copper in our body. How do we start to correct this situation? There’s a lot here and a lot of value, and we are going to do a part three because Morley has so much to share. With no further ado, I hope you enjoy part two with Morley Robbins.

Welcome back my friend, Morley. It’s such a pleasure to connect with you for part two. I am very much looking forward to this. Part one was received phenomenally well. We’ve had a number of people, many, many people reaching out to us saying how much they have been waiting in some cases for years for us to connect.

I’ve been meaning for years to reach out to you, and I don’t know why it took so long, but we finally made it happen, and we’re going to make a thing of it now. I think we’re probably going to make three episodes of it. This is going to be part two. Just because you have so much to talk about and the uniqueness of what you’re talking about. You’ve built this huge body of knowledge on something that really nobody else is talking about. There’s a lot to talk about [laughs]. With no further ado, I’m excited to get into this one with you. Welcome back to the show, my friend.

Morley: Thank you. What I was just about to say when you said, “No, let’s get this on air.” I’ve talked to a lot of people. People came out of the woodwork saying, “Dude, you talked to Ari Whitten. That’s amazing.” They were just so excited that we had finally connected. I’m really grateful to have this dialogue and have a chance to share these ideas with your audience. You ask very unique questions, so thank you for that. Let’s just keep the dialogue going.

The importance of copper and ceruloplasmin in human physiology and human health

Ari: Absolutely. The feeling is so mutual, my friend. Let’s start with, I’m going to challenge you because I know, like me, you’re very wordy and you give long responses. I want to challenge you to give one, two, three minute high-level, very brief, succinct summary of part one as far as what is the central takeaway that people need to know about your work as far as the importance of copper and ceruloplasmin in human physiology and human health?

Morley: Great question. We live on a planet with oxygen, and it’s 21% of our air that we breathe, can’t live without it, can’t age without it though because that’s the source of the oxidative stress that ages us. We also live on a planet that’s dominated by iron. Number one element on planet earth is iron. We know that iron and oxygen don’t play well together and they create what’s called rust outside of our body, and lo and behold, inside our body.

I think the real gist of the root cause protocol, the real focus of what we’re really seeking to do is to increase what’s called bioavailable copper so that iron and oxygen can be properly regulated, energy can be produced, and the exhaustive oxidative stress can be properly removed. What’s important for people to realize is that only iron and copper have what’s called a redox relationship with oxygen.

It’s a very unique dynamic. They can go back and forth in their valence as a result of it, but copper stands alone in its ability to keep iron and oxygen at bay without creating chaos inside the body. When chaos does ensue, because it’s inevitable, you’re going to get oxidative stress. That’s the stress the pundits are talking about, that burns up magnesium. It’s what I call the magnesium burn rate.

It’s actually kinase enzymes that are designed to release energy in the face of stress, when they cleave off that phosphate group, boom, they lose magnesium, and they go straight into the toilet. People need to know that there is a hierarchy. I have this diagram behind my head. It’s actually a very cool diagram from Egypt, but I do it for a reason. There’s a hierarchy to the minerals, and copper is at–

Ari: I thought you just do it because it makes a angelic halo effect above your head, makes you very godlike.

Morley: That’s exactly it, yes. It’s to reinforce this idea and this concept that copper is at the top of the [unintelligible 00:07:13]. Most practitioners don’t acknowledge that, most mineral pundits don’t acknowledge that. They say, oh, there’s 84 minerals we’ve got to worry about. No, there’s three you really got to focus on, copper, iron, and magnesium. It’s just a different focus, different set of priorities.

Is iron deficiency anemia really a health condition?

Ari: I struggled a lot with formulating my questions for this interview as far as where we want to go from here. This may not be the right direction to take to open up the correct avenues, but I’m certain we’ll get there one way or another eventually. I want to talk to you about anemia. Iron deficiency anemia is a big thing.

When most people are diagnosed with anemia, when most doctors see anemia, the first thing of course is iron deficiency. They recommend supplement with iron, most commonly. Of course, there are potentially other types of anemia, but that’s where most people think of when they think of anemia. You really object to this idea of iron deficiency anemia, tell me why.

Morley: It’s interesting that you bring this up because three minutes before you and I spoke, one of my students called me about his sister-in-law who has stage four cancer, and the oncologist is insisting on giving her an iron infusion because her iron looks low on the blood. After we’re done, I have the pleasure of trying to bring him back in off the ledge to explain this to their oncologist about what’s really going on.

No topic has greater confusion on the planet than anemia. It’s important for people to know that there’s two principal forms of anemia. There’s anemia of iron deficiency, and there’s anemia of chronic inflammation. The symptoms of both are identical. Doctors the world over are trained in iron deficiency anemia, and they get this much training in anemia of chronic inflammation.

Here’s why I have such a problem with the iron deficiency side. According to the World Health Organization 2012, number one nutrient deficiency on planet earth is iron deficiency. Really? Number one nutrient deficiency is lack of iron, even though it’s the number one element on the planet, 34%, even though in the western world, it’s the most supplemented substance that’s added to the food system. They’ve been adding it to the food system since 1941 here in the states, UK, and in Canada. In ’69, they increased to 50% here in the states.

We’re exposed to enormous amounts of iron supplements, iron fortification in the food, iron infusions. In order to accept that declaration, you have to make certain assertions. Iron is the number one element on the planet. Prior to 2020, I would’ve argued that humans were the most evolved species on the planet. Them, I’m not sure.

Ari: [laughs]

Morley: [unintelligible 00:10:54] The thing is, for you to accept that iron deficiency anemia is valid, it means that the most evolved species on the planet has lost the ability to metabolize the number one element on the planet, and that doesn’t pass the sniff test. When you get into the research, a good starting point is 1946, George Cartwright and Max Wintrobe, two pioneering hematologists at the University of Utah Medical Center. They were previously at Hopkins before that. They were dismissed because Hopkins found out that Wintrobe was Jewish.

It’s like, oh my God, I can’t even believe they did that. In any event, they started their lives over in Utah and conducted 30 experiments, 30 animal experiments with copper deficiency to prove that copper regulates iron. It was a body of knowledge that is very significant from the 1940s, ’50, ’60s, and ’70s. It was done at the University of Utah. It is now housed with the ark of the covenant in that warehouse from the movie Indiana Jones. It’s in one of those boxes. It’s tragic that the information that they came up with has been lost through the ages.

The important thing is, when the body is in a disease state, has an inflammatory process or has some infection, there is an immediate response to sequester iron out of the bloodstream because good bacteria are in our gut, bad bacteria are in our blood. There’s a conserved response on the part of the reticuloendothelial system, the recycling system runs our body, pull that iron out of the blood, get it into the recycling macrophages, and then iron looks low in the blood when in fact it’s sequestered in the tissue.

That’s where all the confusion is, is low iron in the blood does not mean low iron in the tissue. One of the most important studies that I’ve ever read from 2004 by Bruce Ames, a world-renowned physiologist, I’m sure you’ve heard of him. At one point in his career at Berkeley, he was the most quoted scientist on planet earth. We’re not talking about Bob Smith down the street, we’re talking about Bruce, the Dr. Bruce Ames, who I had the honor of meeting a number of years ago. It was quite a peak experience for me.

In 2004 with his colleague, Dr. [unintelligible 00:14:02], they published a study that demonstrated that there’s 10 times more iron in the tissue than shows up in the blood. That became a redefining study to challenge this idea of low iron in the blood that is so often identified with anemia of iron deficiency.

Ari: Let me brief briefly interject, and I don’t want this to be too big of a rabbit trail if it’s not a simple answer. Is that 10:1 ratio a constant fixed thing that we can rely on, where we can extrapolate based on the blood measurement and say, well, now we know how much is stored in the body tissues. It’s 10 times this amount. Maybe it’s 8 to 12 times that amount, but it’s very precisely within that range or does it vary massively between individuals?

Morley: That’s a great question, Ari. I’ve never seen another study that even came close to approaching this subject, so I don’t know that it’s a fixed number. I think I would argue the 8 to 12. Well, there’s a lot of variation as you well know, but I think the important takeaway is that the iron in the blood is not perfectly representative of the iron that’s in storage or that the iron has been sequestered.

People need to understand that if they present with low iron, that’s okay, but before I kick the bucket many, many years from now hopefully, but before I kick the bucket, I would love for the default position to be, well, let’s rule out anemia of chronic inflammation before we go to this concept of needing more iron because at least in the western world, we’re not living in an iron-poor environment. Iron is everywhere in the environment.

If the iron is not adequately presenting in the blood, what it clearly represents is that the iron regulatory system, which runs on the backbone of bioavailable copper, can’t make heme without copper, can’t make hemoglobin without copper, can’t make red blood cells without copper, can’t recycle red blood cells without copper. Every facet of iron metabolism is copper-dependent.

That would be a good place to start to rule out, is it possible that copper has become compromised for a variety of reasons before we go to this toxic solution called iron. We’ve been trained in the modern era to think that iron is our friend. It’s like it’s candy. It is not candy. It’s a heavy metal. It is very toxic inside the body. We need to approach it with a great degree of sobriety and caution, at least in my experience and in my review of the literature.

Iron as a heavy metal the body depends on

Ari: Let me play gently devil’s advocate on a couple aspects of this. As far as it being a heavy metal, let’s say we contrast it with something like, I don’t know, cadmium or mercury. We know that mercury doesn’t play any role in human physiology, whereas iron clearly plays a role in many aspects of physiology. There are many iron-dependent enzymes including things going on at the mitochondrial level that are iron-dependent.

I think I would object a little bit to the classification of it being a heavy metal, but I guess there’s probably a technical definition of heavy metal that I don’t even know what that definition is, but maybe it’s technically in that category and it fits that. It seems to be very distinct from something like mercury or cadmium or arsenic that serves no physiological purpose, has no known role in human physiology.

Morley: No. Technically, copper and iron are heavy metals. You get into true classification of metals, they’re heavy metals, just like cadmium is, just like mercury is. I think what you have to do is back away from the programming you’ve been exposed to throughout your career because you’ve been taught to protect iron and add it and wring your hands around it.

I approach iron very differently. Iron’s poison, and you’re very quick to talk about the enzymes that iron is involved in. Iron is more structural than catalytic. Vastly more structural, in the same way that the building that you’re in, very often find ourselves in buildings that are held up by what? Steel girders, and those steel girders are not catalytic. What allows the building to move? Oh, the copper pipes and the copper wire because that’s where the utilities are running through, water and electricity.

The same dynamic applies in our body. Copper is facilitating the movement of energy, and iron invariably gets all the credit, “Oh, we couldn’t do it without the iron.” It’s like, no, iron is like the stove in your kitchen. Does the stove know what pot to bring out, what to put in the pot, what temperature to put it on, how long to cook it? No, the stove is a very important piece of equipment in the kitchen, but the intelligence is run by the chef.

Inside our body, the exact same dynamic applies, instead of it being a kitchen [unintelligible 00:19:51] in the mitochondria, and the stove is complex [unintelligible 00:19:56] heme three. The [unintelligible 00:19:59] heme three, which are iron by design are holding oxygen. What does that allow copper to do? Slice it and dice it and turn it into two molecules of water. The chef depends on the stove in the mitochondria, but all of the optics and accolades are on the stove and no one acknowledges that copper’s what made the transaction possible. That’s where the disconnect is in physiology, is it’s too iron-centric not knowing that it’s a structural element. It’s not a catalytic element.

The potential pitfalls of supplementing with iron

Ari: One more layer here. What about vegans and the aspect of red meat and animal foods, in general, being rich in more bioavailable iron and this issue that many people report of when they go vegan, I’ll use their terminology and common parlance, obviously, you would object to it, but they become deficient in iron. They develop anemia as a result. They supplement with iron supplements, and then they correct the anemia. How do you explain all of that?

Morley: First, I would argue that they’re probably not correcting it. They keep adding an elemental iron to their system. One of the sickest clients I ever worked with was the vegan daughter of two vegan parents. She’d never been exposed to any retinol or any animal-based protein in her lifetime. The reason why I bring it up is that again, we talk about copper but you’ve been gracious enough to recognize that it’s actually bioavailable copper.

This is what makes the difference.

What makes copper bioavailable? It’s the loading of copper into critical enzymes. There’s two principal pumps in the body, copper pumps, one’s called ATP7A, the other’s called ATP7B, and they both require retinoic acid. Retinoic acid is a very powerful hormone. A lot of people don’t know that in the same way that vitamin D is a hormone, well, retinol is a hormone but its active ingredients are retinoic acid. The 13-cis-retinoic acid is really critical for making these copper pumps load copper so that the enzymes can do their job.

I think that’s where vegans get caught, is they don’t have that active form of retinoic acid to enable the copper pumps to do their job. I think the other part of it is that there’s as much iron in a non-animal diet as there is in an animal-based diet. The food has been hybridized over the last 50 years. When I was growing up, a little tight, born in 1952 when Popeye was still a big deal on TV. The spinach that I was eating back then had copper in it. Guess what the spinach doesn’t have today? It has no copper. It’s all iron. They’ve flipped it and turned it into an iron vegetable instead of–

Ari: Largely as a result of the change of farming practices and the minerals in the soil?

Morley: I suppose, but also there’s been a decided program to change the uptake for minerals by the seed. I didn’t know any of this was going on but it has absolutely transpired. I think people need to be very careful about the glib labels that are used in nutrition circles, “Oh, I’m anemic.” Okay. Let’s back up. What part of your blood work is not where it needs to be? Is it the hemoglobin? Is it serum iron? Is it your ferritin? Within that, what’s taking place with transferrin and copper and ceruloplasmin?

We need to get into some of the more nuanced aspects of it because the rote assumption that you’re missing iron, I would argue, by virtue of having read thousands of articles now about iron deficiency or chronic disease deficiency, anemia of chronic disease, I think it’s far more likely that someone is missing copper than they are missing iron from their iron-fortified diet.

Ari: Got it. After our first podcast, my friend Dr. Joel Kahn who’s one of the leading cardiologists in the world listened to it. He enjoyed the episode. He said, “I needed more. I need more Morley. I needed another episode.” Here we are recording more. I said, “Do you have anything you’d like me to ask him?” He said, “Yes.” He sent me this paper, what was it called? Copper deficiency may be a leading cause of ischemic heart disease. He’s been reading on this topic, and obviously, he was interested to hear your take on copper knowing that copper is a part of this heart disease story.

Heart disease, by the way, for everybody listening is the number one killer in the United States certainly, and I think most of the Western World, maybe all of the Western World. This is a big deal if copper deficiency is a part of this story. Dr. Kahn said, “I’ve been testing for copper levels in my patients and I’m not seeing copper deficiency show up on these tests.” He specifically said, “Even during this COVID era with so many people on chronic high-dose zinc supplementation, I’m still not seeing the copper deficiency show up on these tests. Can you explain what you think is going on there?

Morley: Yes. Absolutely. First of all, it’s a wonderful article that you brought up. What’s a really important article to also read is by Leslie Klevay, K-L-E-V-A-Y from 2016. He wrote a very important article about ischemic heart disease, but in it, he identifies 80 anatomical chemical and physiological defects in a copper-deficient heart.

This idea that, well, there’s this little dinky little thing, a copper deficiency is what drives the breakdown in heart function. It’s what drives the breakdown in energy production. It’s what creates the absolute plaque. If you want to really get into it, we can have a whole show just about heart disease. I think it’d be a lot of fun.

Ari: Maybe we’ll do that in part 17.


Ari: We’ll do a whole year of Morley interviews.

Morley: That’s funny. What Dr. Kahn is not aware of is, what’s the distribution of copper in the body?

Ari: I should say, in case this wasn’t clear, he’s not arguing with the idea that copper deficiency is– He’s not trying to be antagonistic. He’s saying, hey, I’m testing for it. I’m not seeing it. What’s up with that?

Morley: No, I get it. I absolutely get it. The thing is 1% of copper is in the blood. 47% of copper is in the bone marrow. 27% is in the muscle. If you really want to do a true assessment of copper status, you’re going to go into the bone marrow through a needle biopsy. You first, it’s pretty painful, or do a muscle biopsy. There is no easy or convenient way to do that. What we’ve got is when we’re doing a blood test, what we’re measuring is the level of copper in the body. We’re going to measure the level of the ceruloplasmin, which is the principal copper protein. Think of level like height. Ari, how tall are you?

Ari: 5’11.

Morley: Does that in any way give us an idea of how intelligent you are?

Ari: Nope.

Morley: Nope. Not even close. I’m six feet and I’m not that one inch smarter. The thing is when we’re measuring copper and copper enzyme activity, invariably what they will do is give us the level, the height of the mineral or its protein. They don’t tell us the activity level, which is IQ. The most important enzyme to understand the IQ for is called ferro-oxidase. That’s the enzyme.

It goes back to the beginning of time on the planet to manage the ironic state, the valence of iron because iron needs to be in a plus three state in order to be attached to transferrin or in order to be loaded into ferritin storage protein. If it doesn’t get into that plus three state, that plus two iron is highly reactive and creates all sorts of chaos.

What Dr. Kahn is measuring is it’s a sample of copper, but it will never reveal the true nature until you get into the copper and the ceruloplasmin, and ideally, get to the activity level. The reason why it’s difficult to get to activity level is because the Food and Drug Administration prohibits those tests from being done. That’s an interesting question, why, but what it tells us is we’re not supposed to know how intelligent our copper is.

I think that within the heart function, probably the better enzyme to focus on would be called erythrocyte SOD, and you might encourage Dr. Kahn to start measuring that. It’s going to be a little bit more definitive. It’s not going to be 100%, but I think it’s going to begin to tease out what’s going on inside his clients’ hearts.

Ari: This is erythrocyte SOD is superoxide dismutase.

Morley: Correct.

Ari: Okay. You’re saying that that relates to copper levels?

Morley: Yes. Absolutely. Yes.

Ari: Okay. Such that higher copper levels are indicative of higher levels of SOD in the red blood cells.

Morley: You would argue that there’ll be higher levels, there should be more active levels as well. Again, you have to draw the distinction between height and IQ. When you’re dealing with copper, it is unique in needing two measurements. What’s its height? What’s its IQ? That’s the nuance that also reinforces copper’s unique stance in the mineral world is because of that unusual qualification.

Ari: Got it. Okay. So many places we could go next, so many fun topics.

Morley: I can’t wait for session number 17 [unintelligible 00:32:30]

How zinc affects copper and health

Ari: [laughs] Okay. Let’s talk about zinc.

Morley: Okay, sure.

Ari: This is obviously as we’ve gone through this COVID era, there’s been lots of discussion of zinc and the need for supplementing zinc, the importance of zinc in immune function, and yet, high dose zinc is something that depletes copper, and that you generally advise against. Who should people listen to, Morley?

Should people listen to all the “medical authorities”? Most of them aren’t even talking about zinc anyway. They’re not talking about anything nutrition. They’re just talking about the you know what, but a lot of people, even I would say smart, well-meaning, nutritionally savvy people are recommending lots of zinc supplementation. What’s your take on it? How does your thinking differ from theirs?

Morley: Great question. I approach it energetically, Ari. The ultimate goal of the body is to make energy, the ultimate goal of our immune system make energy. The immune system runs on energy and intelligence. Got to have that. The attributes that zinc is the salvation is based on this concept that zinc will stop viral replication. That’s the whole sum and substance of the argument. It’s like, yes, it’s true, it does, but there’s an enormous price to pay for that.

Again, the very presence of zinc will trigger the production of metallothionein. Metallothionein binds up copper a thousand times stronger than it binds up zinc. That’s a big deal. When you get into the work of Ashley Bush, who’s a world-renowned clinician at the University of Melbourne, and he specializes in copper, what you’ll find is that zinc kills the ferro-oxidase function of the ceruloplasmin protein. That’s a serious affront.

Again, people are so fixated on, we got to stop the viral replication, got to stop the viral replication, stop viral replication, not even thinking about what it’s going to do to the rest of physiology in the body. If we’ve got the zinc, it’s going to trigger metallothionein, we’ve got the zinc that’s going to kill the ferro-oxidase function. Then I found an article just the other day, which was really stunning, is that zinc kills cytochrome c oxidase in complex four.

I have a problem with that, and I think everyone else should as well. I came at this, back in 2020 when I began to realize what was really going on. We don’t need to go there. I started to do deep, deep research to find out the connection between copper and the immune system. Who really ran the immune system?

I stopped counting at 52 articles. They clearly indicated that copper was the brains of the outfit, but the one that really stopped me in my tracks, Ari, was from 2008. It clearly demonstrated and proved that copper stopped SARS-CoV-2 in its tracks. 2008 was the publication date. I think the world has been exposed to an idea, to a narrative.

Copper on viral infections

Ari: Just step back one second. You found an article saying that copper inhibits viral replication of coronaviruses, in general, respiratory infections, in general, obviously not SARS-CoV-2 because it didn’t exist then.

Morley: That title was used in 2008.

Ari: In 2008?

Morley: Yes.

Ari: With SARS-CoV-2?

Morley: Yes.

Ari: Can you share that link to the article or–

Morley: I plan to track it down for you?

Ari: Okay.

Morley: It was very unsettling when I saw that. Again, we’ve been trained like circus bears to think that only zinc can have an impact, and that’s just not true. People don’t realize the level of suppression that’s occurred with copper. Again, 1927 when Otto Warburg and Hans Krebs are doing this world-renowned study to– you talk about anemia, it’s the only experiment I’ve identified where true anemia took place and they bled pigeons and geese, almost to the point of death.

They wanted to see what’s the organism’s response to a total loss of iron without killing it. What surprised them mightily, because it’s in the literature, is there was a threefold increase in the pigeons and a sixfold increase in the geese of copper enzymes in response to a complete decimation of loss of iron. What does that tell us? Copper regulates iron because the body’s conserved response to a loss of iron was to stimulate the massive uptick in production of copper enzymes.

Ari: To increase the amount of iron.

Morley: To ultimately increase the amount of iron being used. Again, it’s all about intelligence. My take on iron, and I think, I know people think I’m hard on iron, but it’s a dumb waiter. It is not this sentient being that people have been led to believe that it is. It is a very important part of our anatomy, but it takes its orders from the general, which is copper, and the foot soldier, I assure you, is iron.

Picture the battle of the bulge without patent. That’s what people are up against in a low copper body. The foot soldiers take over and they will do what foot soldiers are known to do, which is create chaos. It’s a very different world out there, and when you really get into the deeper research of immune function, you find out that copper is incredibly important for regulating the immune response.

Ari: In what ways does it regulate the immune response? What are some of the specific mechanisms that copper affects immune function?

Morley: Energy production. The immune system does not run without energy, and so there’s the T-cell response, very critically in need of copper stimulation for their actions and reactions. The part that most people don’t realize is that just the very nature of copper, as an element is it’s anti-pathogenic. All pathogens cave in the presence of copper, bacteria, fungus, virus, parasites, they all are not able to overcome the energetic signature, that copper provides. We’ve been trained in all these immune function workarounds because copper does too much. When you really get into the details of the ceruloplasmin protein that was discovered by Holmberg and Laurell. They first identified it in ’46 and wrote about it in ’47 but the article that everyone knows about is ’48. The point is that this is a transformer protein. There’s 20 copper binding sites on the exon for ceruloplasmin, 20 copper binding sites. What that tells us is it’s a multifaceted protein that can express many different functions.

What is identified consistently in the literature is, oh, it’s a one-trick pony, it does ferrooxidase and nothing else to see here, folks. Let’s move on. There are only three articles that I know of that have gone into any level of detail about the 20 different functions that ceruloplasmin is capable of performing. Again, it’s a very disruptive element in an era where we are being trained to believe independence. We need to be dependent on the system. What does copper provide? Sovereignty, independence. That’s a very dangerous thing in this day and age.

How glyphosate may affect copper levels in the body

Ari: Do you think it’s conceivable that all of these things, for example, we talked about glyphosate and how that affects copper levels in the body. Some of these other things that you’ve mentioned you’ve talked about in a way that suggests that there is a very intentional suppression of knowledge around copper. Not only that but there is intentional use of substances in the population, whether it’s the iron fortification glyphosate use that is intentionally designed to deplete copper levels in the human body.

Maybe I’m broaching too big of a rabbit hole to get into but do you think it’s conceivable that all of this is purely by accident and coincidence, that it’s just ignorance and that purely for other reasons totally unrelated to copper, glyphosate became a good chemical to use in farming practices, became convenient and profitable for Monsanto and so on. Some of these other things affect copper not by intention but by accident.

Morley: Yes. My roommate from college years ago said “Morley, why don’t you just leave it that there’s more money to be made.” I said–

Ari: There’s more what?

Morley: More money to be made when there’s [unintelligible 00:43:37]? I said, “Dave, you’re right, that’s a great place to leave it.” Because I don’t know that we’re ever going to win an argument or transcend the discomfort that people have if you begin to perceive that it’s bigger than that. Here’s a statistic that I think is important for people to understand about glyphosate which I shared with you in an email, I think is relevant to bring it up. We know that the pH and earthquakes are measured in a logarithm of scale. A pH of two is very different than a pH of seven. Someone who’s drinking a can of Coke which is pH two, they got to drink a lot of water to get their body back up to a pH of seven. That’s enormous amount of difference between a pH two and a seven.

Same thing with earthquakes. What I learned just recently in the last week by one of my Amish medical doctors, very savvy individual, that he was pointing out that the mineral chelating ability of glyphosate is logarithmic. I did not know that. He said, “Magnesium is a 2, zinc is a 6, and copper is an 11.” Why is that important? Because something that’s an 11 means it’s a billion times more powerful than something that’s 2. There’s inherent bias to grabbing that copper as opposed to the magnesium. I think it’s important for people to realize that there’s a wide-scale use of farming chemicals that have had an impact on minerals. Let’s just leave it at that. We don’t need to get into the orders of magnitude, but when I found out that copper is an 11, but then you’re like, wow that’s pretty significant.

Then it begins to bring new meaning to copper has been the number one nutrient deficiency on the farm for 80 years. I find it curious is okay to say there’s copper deficiency on the farm, but when you get into the human literature, oh, copper deficiency is just so rare, it’s almost unheard of. Seriously. When you get into the real aficionados, Garth Coopers, of Leslie Klevay, Ashley Bush, Jamie Collins, people at that stature, they’re very quick to tell you that copper deficiency is pervasive on the planet. It’s just not taught that way. I think it’s important for people to realize that maybe there’s more to the story. That’s really what we learned over the last couple years, is that there is more to the story and we need to learn to ask better questions and we need to learn to demand better answers.

That’s really what prompted the call that I got just before we started talking, was the family wants to know what questions do we need to ask the oncologist to get a better outcome for our relative who’s being threatened with iron infusions when they are dealing with cancer? I think that’s what we’re up against as a society is let’s just accept that we know there’s more to the story. To me, the most important shift for people to make is to move away from attacking enemies. Let’s ignore the enemies, but let’s ignite the energy. Let’s put our healing in an energetic frame of reference. Let’s really begin to ask does this nutrient that I’m being told to take, how does it affect the mitochondria? How does it affect the intelligence of the immune system? You can tease that out in the research.

That’s been my focus for the last three or four years is to really get an energetic paradigm to healing so that people understand how important it is to create energy, to ignite energy, and stop worrying about the enemies. Because as soon as the immune system has the energy, it knows exactly what to do. It is wired for sound and it knows how to respond to any threat in the body. I think that’s what people need to understand is that there is this innate intelligence in our immune system. It just needs to be fed properly. That’s the part that people hadn’t told us is that they changed the food system to a great enough degree that it began to power down the immune system.

Ari: Are there any other important aspects of immune function and COVID and the spike protein, the virus, the mRNA vaccines? Anything else you want to mention in relationship to copper? Is there any more to this story as it relates to COVID specifically?

Morley: I think the one it’s really intriguing and it’s almost unfair to bring it up minutes before we’re done and maybe it forms the basis of our round three. I think it’s important for people to understand that the spike protein, which everyone is aware of, has homology has similarity to, is almost identical to an iron regulatory hormone called hepcidin. It’s a big deal because hepcidin flexes its muscles when people are copper deficient. I think it’s also important for people to know, that vitamin D suppresses hepcidin

Ari: What is hepcidin doing specifically?

Morley: Great question. How much time have you got?

Ari: [laughs]

Morley: No, it’s a really deep subject but its principle job is to ensure proper iron recycling in the body and it has a principle target called ferroportin doorway. It’s the doorway that allows iron out of the tissue so it can go back to the bone marrow to be made into new red blood cells. In the modern era, there are a lot of food agents and chemical agents that are very disruptive to hepcidin function.

Now, I bring this up, Ari, only because I think it’s important for people to get beyond the problem of anemia and begin to understand the real physiology of what’s happening that’s causing the confusion in their body.

That’s what I really appreciate about you is wanting to get beyond the superficial and let’s get into the real subject matter because I think it’s a very important area. It’s one that is easily overlooked by conventional practitioners because they’re proud if they can identify someone who has anemia. Well, let’s get it to a level of refinement so that people know there is a difference between hepcidin and hephaestin and ferroportin function. It’s very important for people to discern the gradations of intellect that are involved in that so we can move this discussion about anemia up to a more mature level so that people can really have a more enlightened conversation with their practitioner.

I really think that’s what’s missing is we need to know more about the mechanics that lead up to the perception of anemia and be able to have a working knowledge of what influences what and it’s very teachable but we can’t do it in two minutes.

How copper, iron, and magnesium deficiency is at the root of many conditions

Ari: I think maybe as the final thing we’ll talk about in this episode and the next one we still have a lot to talk about but for now maybe we’ll wrap up on ferritin and the distinction between blood levels of iron versus iron stored in the tissues. I think there’s probably some segment of listeners who are enthralled with all of this story of physiology and these different aspects of physiology that you’re presenting.

Some also might be frustrated and saying, well, how do I know if copper deficiency is an issue for me if I have the problem that you’re referring to or ceruloplasmin deficiency. Copper’s not being used in the right way and it’s not active in my body to the right degree or maybe I have too much iron that’s disrupting the system. Are there signs and symptoms and tests like specific a few things that you would advise people to look at to identify if this story of physiology around copper and iron and magnesium and these various things you’re talking about is at the core of their symptoms?

Morley: It’s a really important question. At the core of all symptoms is unchecked oxidative stress. It is absolutely the pivot point for every symptom that you’ll see in the mark manual, all 32,000, whatever the exact number is. It’s important for me to realize that if copper is not [unintelligible 00:53:47], if it’s not at adequate levels, iron will take over.

Iron is not going to, well, gosh, copper seems a little down I’ll just ease up. No, it will assume a position of dominance and start to create oxidative stress. I think if people do have symptoms, if they have recognized symptoms, then it’s a very safe bet they have oxidative stress. If they do have oxidative stress which I would think is true for just about every earth thing on this planet especially three years into you know what.

I think it’s important for people to realize that copper has been easily overlooked, there’s no copper fortification in food. Again what people need to understand is that when we’re talking about withholding copper on the farm, that the use of farming chemicals that does in fact change the availability of copper and that food refinement refines minerals out of the food substance and that the introduction of sugars and high fructose corn syrup suppress the function of copper.

We begin to build a theme here in the face of a opposing theme which is let’s add more iron. People are conditioned to think it’s okay to have more iron. Oh, I got to be careful with that copper. That’s where I think the biggest shift needs to occur but the disconnect is it only takes a small amount of copper, again, the general, to regulate a lot of food [unintelligible 00:55:33].

People need to recognize that as part of their discernment and that people who may have been measured with low iron in the blood and they need to make a very quick inference that wow, if my iron is low in the blood I wonder if my iron is high in the tissue? Is there a way to begin to tease that out and there is with different types of testing that can be done.

I think it’s important for people to keep an open mind that maybe the recognized narrative isn’t complete, doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it’s just not complete. I think what we’re engaged here in these conversations is give people more subject matter to have a broader understanding of what their physiology is based on and be able to ask more thoughtful questions of their practitioners to say, well, have you thought about this and what about that?

I think that’s where we need to graduate as a populace is just be more curious about what might be going on. Be able to be more spirited in chatting with our practitioners about what are some other options that maybe they hadn’t thought about or maybe they’ve pushed off to the side that weren’t being brought into the center stage of discussion.

Part three preview

Ari: Morley, in part three I definitely want to talk to you about some of the practical aspects of the root cause protocol. There’s lots to discuss there. Maybe there’s going to be an actual part 17 of this, who knows? What else do we need to talk about in part three to allow you to deliver the most important concepts? Give a little pitch for people to tune in to part three of this podcast series with you.

Morley: I think what would be really important is really help people understand how energy is made. Help and again not to get lost in the gearhead of it. I think if people realized how elegant the process of making energy is and how mineral dependent it is and how important say retinol is in the process of making energy, I think people would have a very renewed appreciation for how important their diet is.

Energy production is at the base of all healthy physiology and I think the reason why I labeled the book Cure Your Fatigue is energy deficiency is at the basis of all chronic illness. At a cellular level, that’s where the breakdown takes place and once that cells begin to break down and they’re not producing enough energy, there’s a compound effect as you well know. I think it’s important for people to realize how well understood this mechanism is but how it can be influenced by our diet and also by our thought process. The greatest challenge we’ve got is a diet of thoughts. What are we doing to support growth and health through our thinking process as well as through the food that we put between our lips?

Ari: Beautiful. Morley, fascinating as always. I’m greatly looking forward to part three. In the meantime do you want to let people know where they can find your work? We’re obviously going to talk more and we’ll do this at the end of every episode but I just want to make sure you are letting people know if they’re intrigued by what you’re saying, they want to read more, where can they find you?

Of course, I want to recommend, again, to everybody to go on Amazon get this book, Cure Your Fatigue with the little Cu for Copper boxed in there. It’s an excellent book and so much fascinating novel stuff as you’re also hearing here on the podcast as well. Morley, tell people where they can find your work and if you want to direct them anywhere specific

Morley: Social media there’s a magnesium advocacy group and there’s an RCP page on Facebook. The website, Treasure trove of information with articles,` over 200 podcasts.

For those who want to dig a little deeper, we have what’s called the RCP community. Then for those who want to take the deepest dive, we have the RCP Institute, which we’re now just beginning to take new applicants for between now and middle of January. Group 17 will be starting up in February 9th and look forward to folks being a part of that 16-week training. Then, of course, as you note, the book is readily available in all different formats, physical, ebooks, audio, and really look forward to having that book be available to them for broadening their understanding of these concepts.

Ari: Absolutely. Morley, it’s an absolute pleasure to have these conversations with you. I’m sure there are many more hours of public and private discussions in our future. I’m enjoying all of them greatly and I think that you have a lot of valuable content to share that really no one else is discussing. I think there’s a certain level of importance to these conversations and I’m grateful to be doing this with you.

Morley: Well, I appreciate that and I really admire how you put your shoulder into, but what about this perspective, Morley? Because it’s important for people to know that it’s okay to challenge these concepts. I welcome these types of dialogues because it helps get to a deeper level of understanding. I really appreciate your commitment and desire to really get to a deep level of understanding.

Ari: Thanks so much, my friend. I look forward to doing this again with you. Maybe we’ll do it next week or the week after.

Morley: That’d be great. I’d love it.

Ari: All right. I’ll reach out to you via email and we’ll get it scheduled. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your evening. Thank you so much, Morley, and thank you for everybody listening. I will talk to you again very soon.

Morley: Thank you.

Show Notes

The importance of copper and ceruloplasmin in human physiology and human health (04:08)
Is iron deficiency anemia really a health condition? (07:38)
Iron as a heavy metal the body depends on (17:14)
The potential pitfalls of supplementing with iron (20:40)
How zinc affects copper and health (32:35)
Copper on viral infections (36:33)
How glyphosate may affect copper levels in the body (42:12)
How copper, iron, and magnesium deficiency is at the root of many conditions (52:10)
Part three preview (57:05)


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