Ascorbic acid, citrates and zinc, commonly found in supplements and especially multivitamins, all impact our functional copper and create imbalance in every system of the body.

Food sourced vitamins and minerals, as recommended in the RCP, consist of wholefood complexes that work synergistically with the body and benefit all systems as nature intended. 

The following series of webinars was designed to provide more detail on this aspect of the protocol and the links below give more specifics about these important factors: 

April 2020 webinar – Focus on Stops” Drugstore Multivitamins, Prenatals, Ascorbic acid, Citrate, Citric Acid

February 2020 webinar -’‘RCP Stops: Calcium, Zinc and Molybdenum’ 

June 2021 webinar – “Whole food vitamin C” 

Ascorbic acid

Ascorbic acid (AA) forms the outer shell of the wholefood vitamin C complex, which also contains bioflavonoids and other factors along with the tyrosinase enzyme, which has 2 copper atoms at its core. Isolated ascorbic acid provides only a fraction of the vitamin C complex, and does not contain the copper-rich tyrosinase enzyme that the body needs to support core functions in our metabolic processes.

The tyrosinase enzyme is essential for making ceruloplasmin (aka bioavailable copper) to manage iron, and melanin, a valuable antioxidant that helps protect the skin from UVB damage and plays a central role in many areas of the brain. The bioflavonoids and p-factors from tyrosinase are needed for collagen and elastin in our connective tissue. Taking ascorbic acid instead of the whole vitamin C complex robs the body of these important benefits and encourages iron absorption without the copper needed to manage it properly.

In addition, taking isolated AA without the cofactors present in the whole C complex requires the body to divert valuable resources in order to assimilate it, thus reducing copper enzymes that are needed for iron management as well as many other important functions. While some practitioners advocate taking megadoses of ascorbic acid, much lower doses of wholefood C are sufficient to supply the body with the nutrients it needs.

Resources for learning more about the difference between wholefood C and ascorbic acid:


Ascorbates and
Liposomal Vitamin C

These popular sources of vitamin C are not suitable as they do not contain the tyrosinase enzyme that is needed to help with the processes in the body that we rely on for creating more ceruloplasmin.

Liposomal C consists of isolated ascorbic acid surrounded by lipids to make it fat-soluble. Other terms used to describe ascorbates include sodium ascorbate, potassium ascorbate, ascorbyl palmitate, ascorbyl oleate, or cetyl ascorbate; however, these are all essentially ascorbic acid. This is in contrast to Mother Nature’s wholefood C molecule as found in whole foods, which is water-soluble and contains a whole complex of nutrients including the tyrosinase enzyme with its copper core that provides a range of benefits for optimal metabolism.

Functionally, liposomal C acts along the lines of ascorbic acid in the body, and ultimately leads to increased oxidative stress. Ascorbic acid and ascorbates destroy the copper<>ceruloplasmin bond, which depletes functional copper rather than restoring it. Less functional copper leads to increased iron absorption and more iron in storage rather than being recycled into new oxygen-carrying RBC’s.

The fat-soluble nature of liposomal C, as opposed to Mother Nature’s water-soluble vitamin C molecule, also presents challenges for the body. The nutrients delivered by this method will be going into places in the cell, the lipids, where vitamin C would not normally go if not surrounded by fat. The RCP encourages supporting the body via whole foods that are delivered within the body’s natural means of nutrient intake.

April 2020 webinar – Focus on Stops” Drugstore Multivitamins, Prenatals, Ascorbic acid, Citrate, Citric Acid


Citric acid is an organic compound that occurs naturally in citrus fruits. Citrate is a derivative of citric acid, as, for example, in the form of mineral salts such as magnesium citrate.

Industrial-scale citric acid production has existed since the 1890’s for use as acidity regulators in beverages and many other food applications, as well as in detergents, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and nutritional supplements.

The Citrate molecule causes the ceruloplasmin protein (aka functional copper) to lose its enzyme function which in turn, interferes with the body’s ability to keep iron functional. Citrate is also a known gut irritant, and when combined with magnesium, it irritates the bowel and prevents sufficient time for magnesium to be absorbed.

For further discussion about citrates, see FAQ “Can we use Magnesium citrate?”

April 2020 webinar – Focus on Stops” Drugstore Multivitamins, Prenatals, Ascorbic acid, Citrate, Citric Acid


Zinc is involved in many important functions in the body and is frequently prescribed for immune system support, even though copper plays a much more important role in immune system function. It is often suggested for those who are labeled “copper toxic”, when the reality is that they may have plenty of copper but lack the nutrients necessary to turn the copper into its functional/bioavailable form, ceruloplasmin. Low bioavailable copper translates to iron dysregulation, which causes oxidative stress and inflammation. In addition, iron and zinc share an absorption pathway, so when excess unbound iron is high, zinc will be low.

Rather than addressing the root cause of the stress that led to the zinc deficiency, many practitioners prescribe mega doses of zinc to reduce the copper. However, zinc supplements trigger the production of metallothionein, which binds up copper and shuts down the body’s ability to make ceruloplasmin in the liver and prevents the ferroxidase enzyme function which is vital for managing iron. Taking zinc essentially depletes the very copper that the body needs to manage iron and reduce the stress that initiated the cycle of dysfunction.

FACT: ALL facets of iron metabolism require bioavailable copper…

FACT: Efficient production of red blood cells requires bioavailable copper…

FACT: Inefficient red blood cell production creates kryptopyrroles that affect zinc and B6 status…

FACT: Zinc supplements block copper absorption…

Supplementing with zinc does nothing to correct the underlying physiology, nor does it address the true mineral deficiency. In looking at the interplay between minerals, rather than at isolated minerals such as zinc, the RCP seeks to support the body to produce more bioavailable copper in order to manage iron and eliminate iron-induced stress in order to promote a healthy metabolism. When the copper<>iron balance is restored, zinc will also regain its balance naturally. 

February 2020 webinar -’‘RCP Stops: Calcium, Zinc and Molybdenum’

Podcast on Morley Robbins and Anna from 4Health by Anna Sparre (#221b – Zinc, Copper, Selenium, the Thyroid and Stress) 

RCP Premium Community Q and A 13-14th May 2019 (you will need to be a Premium Community member and logged in to view).

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