Let me share a patient’s story with you. Lori came to see me 6 months after the birth of her first child. She was 33, a high school teacher and dealing with unbearable anxiety. In the past, her anxiety was minimal and never a concern. However, since the birth of her son, it was extreme! Everyone told her the anxiety was coming from her being a new mother and all the changes in her life. But that knowledge did NOT help her anxiety.

Desperate for help she went to see her OB/GYN, a counselor, and a psychiatrist. She wanted to do whatever it took to alleviate her anxiety but was reluctant to use medication. But after 3 months she relented, stopped breastfeeding and tried the recommended medications. The medications did help some but not enough.

Lori also restarted exercising regularly, began to meditate and continued her healthy nutritious diet. The relationship with her husband was great. Her baby was thriving and sleeping and eating well.

By the time Lori came to see she was even more desperate for relief. As part of her initial assessment with us, in addition to an extensive history of symptoms, illness and lifestyle habits, we ordered blood work.

The blood results had our answer! Her copper level was significantly elevated! Copper increases during pregnancy in order for blood vessels to grow. After pregnancy copper isn’t needed as much and is eliminated from the body. Some women have genetic variations that prohibit this elimination. This is what was happening with Lori! Once this was known we were able to help Lori decrease her copper and get rid of her anxiety!

I cannot say everyone who has excess copper will have as a dramatic response as Lori did or that excess copper causes all anxiety. I can say that proper levels of copper are essential for your mental wellness.

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Dr. Laurie Goldman is a medical doctor, psychiatrist, and functional medicine practitioner who’s been in private practice since 1999. She founded Clear Path Wellness to help her patients reach their maximum state of mental and physical health using a personalized, comprehensive approach powered by the principles of functional medicine, which treats the whole person, not just symptoms.   

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Anxiety Anxiety? Is it Copper?