Men need copper for high testosterone.
Most guys are aware of zinc for high T, but copper is just as important. Zinc in excess can induce a copper deficiency and start to cause problems.
You might be consuming too little copper
Copper intake has been declining over the years and it appears that a large fraction of the population does not even consume the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for copper of 0.9 mg per day, let alone an optimal intake of copper (2.6 mg per day) (R).
In the EU and in the UK, half of the adult population consumes less than the recommended amount of copper and in the USA and Canada, at least a quarter of the population consumes less than the estimated average requirement (R).
Other studies have found that over 80% of the population may get less than the RDA (0.9 mg/day) for copper from food (R). Around one-third of diets contain less than 1 mg of copper daily and 61% contain less than 1.5 mg with only 18% of diets exceeding 2 mg/day (R)
Thus, a marginal copper deficiency might be quite common.
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Copper on LH
- Directly promotes LH release by enhancing the activity of GnRH receptors on gonadotropic cells
- Amplifies the GnRH-I releasing activity of prostaglandin E2
- Binds to GnRH-I and enhances or modifies its receptor-binding activity
- Binds to neurokinin B, a peptide that indirectly modulates GnRH-I release
- Complexes with GnRH-II peptides, which stimulate LH as well as testosterone independent of LH.
An easy way to increase LH. Copper!— Hans Amato (@HansAmato) July 8, 2023
The best source of beef/lamb liver. pic.twitter.com/YLN2svV5Rl
Copper on SHBG
Copper, by increasing ceruloplasmin, lowers SHBG (R). The sweet spot for ceruloplasmin seems to be around 35mg/dl, then SHBG is at its lowest.
Beef/lamb/veal liver is the best dietary source of bioavailable copper. Just 100g of beef/lamb liver will give you 9.8mg copper. If you’re trying to replenish a copper deficiency, consider eating 100-200g liver daily for 30-60 days and then check serum copper and ceruloplasmin.
If you’re worried about copper toxicity from liver, the body is very good at regulating the absorption of copper. If the body has had enough, it can downregulate absorption by 90%, thus preventing toxicity. I prefer to have my liver raw and this is how I eat it.
As a side note, if ceruloplasmin is not going up with increased copper consumption it might be related to low T3 and/or ACTH (and subsequent adrenal steroids) (R).
Copper on Testosterone
Copper is essential for testosterone production as low copper leads to low testosterone.
However, excess copper can lead to low testosterone as well, due to oxidative stress. The toxicity of copper is similar to iron and is associated with the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) leading to peroxidation of the membrane lipids, protein oxidation, and nucleic acid breakage (DNA damage).
In rats, 1mg/kg/day of copper (0.16mg/kg human dose) significant increase in testicular steroidogenic enzyme activity resulting in a rise in serum testosterone and LH levels (R).
Higher doses of 2 and 3 mg/kg/day inhibited testicular 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17β-HSD) activity and lowered testosterone production.
Copper likely helps to increase testosterone by:
- Increasing LH
- Complexing with GnRH-II, which stimulates the testes directly
- Being a crucial part of the electron transport chain to assist in ATP production
- Being a component of superoxide dismutase and catalase – two main antioxidant enzymes preventing fluctuations in ROS and protecting the cellular structure and function against oxidative damage.
It’s difficult to overdose on copper from food, unless zinc intake is low or someone hyper-absorbs and/or hypo-excretes copper.
Copper overload is most likely due to environmental exposure from air (e.g. workers in industrial factories), copper pipes, decaying vegetation, and from human activities like municipal solid waste management and fossil fuel burning, domestic wastewater, and mining wastewater.
A lot of people tell me that their cold hands and feet go away and they become more cold-tolerant when they start eating liver frequently.
Thyroid hormones are important for testosterone production. There are thyroid hormone receptors in the testes, which stimulate steroidogenic enzymes.
Low T3 often leads to low LH and testosterone and suboptimal testosterone to estrogen and low DHT to testosterone ratio.
- The easiest way to optimize DHT (thyroid optimization)
- Optimize your testosterone-to-estrogen ratio with thyroid
Food isn’t what it used to be
Foods that are high in copper include beef liver and shellfish, both of which are not commonly eaten in the typical Western diet.
Muscle meats typically contain a high ratio of zinc to copper, up to 50:1, and consumption of large amounts could result in copper imbalance.
Organ meat, in contrast, has a zinc:copper ratio of about 2:1.
Alan Gaby, MD, stated that the “average copper content of fruits and vegetables declined by 81% between the years 1940 and 2000, presumably because of changes in farming methods that decreased the availability of copper in the soil” (R). The reductions of copper in meat, cheese and other dairy products are also substantial (−55%, −91% and −97%, respectively) (R). Thus, our current dietary pattern as well as copper depletion in the food supply is undoubtedly contributing to the problem of copper deficiency.
That’s why it’s important to eat grass-fed meat and organs, as they will have higher amounts of nutrients. Venison is also a great option, since these animal feed on non-farm soils.
To make matters worse, the high consumption of fructose, a component of sucrose (table sugar), honey and fruit, can induce a copper deficiency in animals via impaired intestinal absorption (R). Since the average American consumes around 100 pounds of sugar annually, this may contribute to copper deficiency (R).
Markers of low copper
- Low ceruloplasmin
- Low leucocyte copper
- Low transferrin saturation
- Low T4
- Low white blood cells, especially neutrophils
- Low RBC and hematocrit
- High cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides and low HDL
- Fatty liver
- High histamine
- Low noradrenaline
Copper is very important for testosterone optimization, so don’t be one of those people that under-consume it. Eat your liver!
>1000ng/dl Testosterone: My Step-by-Step Guide on How I Do It Naturally!