Does Your Home's Plumbing and Your Vitamin Pill Cause Alzheimer's

January 16, 2022

Does Your Plumbing and Your Vitamin Pill Cause Alzheimer's?

In America, 30% of folks show cognitive decline in their 80s. Did you know that in rural India the incidence is 1.07% for those over age 65?   In Nigeria, the rate is 0.52% for those aged 75-84. That's fact 1.

Fact 2 is that Alzheimer's is a recent disease. It was not described prior to World War 2 despite there being multiple, reputable, rigorous reviews of brain pathology. For example, William Osler, the founder of Johns Hopkins, the originator of residency specialty training, the author of the first textbook of medicine, did not describe Alzheimer's. Freud didn't describe it. Boyd, a famous brain pathologist who published a textbook of brain pathology as late as 1938 didn't describe it. And there were plenty of old folks who should have been sufficient to have the disease noticed prior to World War II.

What is your conclusion from these two facts? Alzheimer's is a new disease, not a given of human biology. And it happens in some, but not all advanced societies. We are doing this to ourselves. What are we doing? Read on.

What happened in World War II? We developed a massive copper industry to fuel the manufacturing of bullets and shells. Copper was so cheap after WWII that houses had their roofs sheathed in copper sheeting. The industry was desperate to stay alive, and thus it innovated and made copper tubing. Pipes for homes. In just a decade, the entire home building industry shifted from iron pipes to copper pipes. Your home likely has copper plumbing.

A home with copper pipes will shed about 0.1 ppm of divalent copper. Cu-2. The EPA claims that 1.3 ppm is safe. That is a 10-fold margin of safety. But is it safe? A famous study of rabbits showed that pure drinking water results in no amyloid plaque in the rabbits’ brains. But add in .1 ppm Cu-2 and bingo, plaque and memory problems. So, no, 0.1 ppm of Cu-2 is not safe.

The problem comes down to some simple chemistry. There is a huge difference between the copper in your body, Cu-1 (chemically +1) versus what comes off the pipe in your home, Cu-2 (chemically +2). In mammalian intestines, there is a Cu-1 receptor. Biological copper is always, always, Cu-1. Period. That copper is absorbed and carefully processed in the liver. There is no Cu-2 receptor. That copper does not exist in normal biological systems. That copper goes directly into your blood and causes all sorts of havoc. It is unregulated by your biological control systems. You can prove all that by using radioactive Cu-1 or Cu-2 and see where it goes. It's easy to prove. Cu-2 shows up immediately in your blood. Cu-1 takes days to show up, and is then bound to carrier proteins.

Copper is an incredibly important trace mineral. It is extremely bioactive. It plays a pivotal role in protecting our bodies from redox reactions, helping neutralize peroxide made from escaped electrons in the mitochondrial electron transport chain. It is so bioactive that it's management is tightly regulated. And that regulation depends on you ingesting Copper-1. Not copper-2. That's it. That's the problem. In a study of 280 random homes in America, 30% of the homes had Cu-2 levels above 0.1 ppm, the level that causes damage in animals. 

The Japanese have a low rate of Alzheimer's. Only 6.7%. After WWII, they were offered copper pipes to rebuild all their bombed-out homes. They politely declined, claiming it had not been studied. They use iron pipes. 6.7% versus 30%. Hmmm. What do you read from that?

We now know the precise site of trouble. Amyloid precursor protein tries to get rid of Cu-2 and reduce it down to Cu-1. It does that. But it makes a free oxygen radical is so doing. That goes out and causes damage. And it makes Beta-amyloid accumulate. Throw in diabetes and too much glucose, and you get glycation. Add Cu-2 with glycation and it just explodes with more free radicals and beta-amyloid formation.   That's the diabetes, Alzheimer's link with copper.

With the explosion of free radicals, we deplete our plasmalogens. Our synapses start disappearing because we can't protect ourselves from the oxidizing damage of Cu-2. And we use up our plasmalogens at our peril.

The good news is that we can fix all this. What a mess we have made of our biochemistry.

www.What will Work for me. Every home in America from 1950-2010 was built with copper pipes. My 1978 home has copper pipes. Every vitamin pill and mineral supplement has Cu-2 in it. I am taking poison what I take a routine vitamin pill and drink it down with tap water. And that is something I can do something about. I now understand the chemistry right down to the molecules on the membranes of my cells. In my brain, Cu-2 is poison. It never existed in human history in our ecosystem until we made copper pipes and devised copper-containing supplements. I will be reading every supplement I ever take hereafter. And I will be measuring my copper and zinc levels twice a year. I am so happy I bought a RO water system from my drinking water. And to demonstrate my OCD, I even now distill my own water. It's cheaper than buying it from the grocery store.

References: Exp Biol and Med., Neurology, Am J Psych, PNAS, Stroke,J Biol Chem, J Biol Chem, Biochemistry, Biofactors

Pop Quiz

1. Copper is a necessary trace mineral. What form does it exist in nature?               Answer: It's called copper-1 and has a +1 electrical charge.

2. What copper ion comes out of our copper pipes?                             Answer: Copper-2 that has a +2 charge.

3. What level of Cu-2 is safe according to the EPA?                               Answer: 1.3 ppm

4. What level of Cu-2 comes out of 30% of American homes' pipes?                     Answer: Higher than 0.1

5. What happens to animals when they ingest 0.1 ppm Cu-2?                            Answer: they get amyloid plaques and memory problems. Just like humans

6. In natural systems, there are biological proteins to carry copper. What type of copper can they absorb?                                 Answer: Cu-1 only. No impact on Cu-2

7. How often should we check our Zinc-Copper levels?                          Twice a year. And please, please, please examine your vitamin pills and stop taking any that have copper in them.  Vitamin pills always have Cu-2 only.

8. What form of copper is in your vitamin pill?                      Answer: Cu-2. Oops. Poison.

This column was written by Dr John E Whitcomb, MD, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield WI.