These are topics that we are commonly asked relating to the Handbook. If there is no link currently active, it means that FAQ is coming soon!

How to find, access and use the Handbook

Should I stop everything that isn’t on the RCP?

We encourage that you get the extra nutrients from food sources and to be aware of synthetic vitamins as they often do not work as nature intends. Many can have unintended consequences.

Do I need to follow ALL the STARTS EXACTLY for this to work?

Many people see the word “protocol”, and they start envisioning an airplane pilot going through a pre-flight checklist with exact steps and exact sequences. The Root Cause Protocol is intended to be different — it’s about pursuing the right direction, not attaining perfection.  (Please read that again and let it sink in!!!)

You do NOT have to do every START in the exact order and dose to begin repairing cellular dysfunction. (In fact, just quitting the STOPS alone has a notable positive impact.)  This is a process, not a recipe.  Healing doesn’t happen overnight, so relax and know that every step forward is a step towards health.  That said, Phase I is your foundation phase, which preps and supports the body for subsequent additions and many do best starting there. 

You can find more detail on how to implement the STARTS in the “How to Get Started” section of the RCP Handbook.

When should I begin each PHASE?

The answer is ‘it depends’ because it’s based on how your body reacts to each nutrient.  Some are able to implement all of the STARTS in just a couple of weeks. Then there are others who’ve taken 18 months (or longer) to implement the STARTS because their bodies needed that much time to detox and acclimate.  Your speed of introduction will vary depending on many variables – it’s best to listen to your body rather than a set schedule or expected timeline.  

A suggestion for those who are sensitive, and a good rule of thumb in general: it’s important to work with just one START at a time, starting with a small dose, and working up gradually. This gives the body a chance to adjust to each new nutrient and makes it easier to connect to any reaction it may give. Once you’re established on the current step, then move to the next one. Let your body guide you as to when it’s ready. 

You can find more detail on how to implement the STARTS in the “How to Get Started” section of the RCP Handbook.

How long do I need to follow the RCP?

The Root Cause Protocol is a lifestyle change — your body will always need minerals like magnesium and wholefood vitamin complexes like A, C, E, etc.

The STOPS and STARTS are designed to be followed indefinitely as they are the key nutrients missing in the modern diet today, laden with refined and processed foods. The Phases are also additive — when you begin Phase 2, you should still continue following Phase 1, and so on.

Please understand that The Root Cause Protocol is ultimately about education and empowerment — our desire is to help you understand the root cause of your health challenges so that you can implement these steps and take greater control of your health.

Do I need to stop my medications before I start the RCP? What about items I’m taking that are on the STOPS list?

Many arrive at the RCP taking one or more of the STOPS. If that is the case, you may want to reduce those one at a time so your body has time to adjust to the changes gradually. Each of the STOPS plays an important role in the RCP’s focus on increasing bioavailable copper.

You do not need to stop your medications before beginning the RCP. If taking medications, please work with your doctor for special considerations. It may be that over time on the protocol, with your doctor’s direction, you find that you are able to reduce or eliminate some or all.

For more about the STOPS, see our free webinars here.

What about other supplements like CoQ10, probiotics, etc? Should I stop everything that isn’t on the RCP?

A word from Morley: If a particular item is not listed in the STOPS or the STARTS, that means I’ve not read enough peer-reviewed research to establish an official position either way. But my passion in life is reading scientific literature.

(Yes, I’m a total nerd!) So, as I uncover new steps, and as I learn what is working best in the RCP community, the protocol will be updated, and you’ll receive an email notifying you of changes. In the meantime, please consider joining the premium RCP Community and posing your non-RCP product specific questions there. The RCP Community is filled with many who have been implementing RCP in their own lives, and they may have experience with the product you wish to know about. You can also ask Morley and Kristan during Live Q&A sessions that are offered to RCP Community members.

For more about the STOPS, see our free webinars here.

Where can I purchase the items I need?

You can source the recommended products yourself either locally or online, or you can use the links provided in the suggested products directory. Local health food stores will sometimes have availability for a limited number of the products we suggest and offer the convenience factor of not having to wait for a shipment. 

However, be aware that we do recommend our vetted brands be used where possible, especially for cod liver oil and wholefood C, as these are the most easily damaged during commercial processing methods.


I have some products already I’d like to use, how can I tell if they are ok?

The main criteria with most of the Root Cause Protocol products is the focus on food-based sources.  We are avoiding synthetic vitamins which may not work as nature intended and can have unintended consequences.  We don’t know how every supplement impacts the body or how they would impact the goal of the RCP to build bioavailable copper. This is one reason we suggest selecting from our suggested products directory, all of which have been vetted for quality and compatibility with the RCP. If choosing your own brand, always read the product label, especially the ingredient list and nutrition panel for suitability in the areas listed below.

 Here are a few guidelines to consider (not all will apply to every product):

  • Does it contribute to the goal of lowering iron and raising bioavailable copper?
  • Is it food-based? Is the source given?
  • Does it contain any of the STOPS?
  • What is the quality of the ingredients? Are they organic?
  • Are there any synthetic ingredients?
  • Has it been minimally processed to retain the maximum nutrient value?

How can I get help?

Do you have questions beyond the FAQs about how to best implement certain steps specifically as they relate to yourself or a loved one?

Get personalized help from an expert: work with an RCP Consultant.

What if I’m vegetarian or vegan?

Unfortunately, there is no way to fully implement the RCP and remain vegetarian or vegan because there are no plant based sources of retinol (preformed vitamin A).

Retinol from animal sources (primarily, cod liver oil and beef liver) is essential for increasing bioavailable copper and thus keeping iron circulating to maximize oxygen and energy production, which is the focus of the RCP.  Vitamin A (as beta-carotene) from plant sources is different from retinol in that it doesn’t increase bioavailable copper.  

Some members have chosen to remain on a plant-based diet and add cod liver oil for the valuable retinol and/or beef liver supplements for the retinol, copper and B vitamins. 

For more detail about the importance of true retinol, please refer to the retinol FAQ also available on this page.

What if my meal schedule is different from what’s listed in the Handbook?

The meal schedule provided in the Handbook is just a suggestion. You can easily adjust the schedule to fit your needs, including various fasting schedules. Specific guidelines for adapting the RCP to individual needs has been added to the Suggested Daily Schedule pages within the Handbook.

What sweeteners are recommended?

Sweeteners should be used only on occasion and in moderation. Use discretion in your selection, as just because something is labeled “raw” or “organic” doesn’t mean that it’s a nutrient-rich product. As with other nutrients in the RCP, we advocate whole foods in sweeteners as well.

Natural sweeteners that would be considered whole foods are those with minimal to no processing in order to preserve maximum nutrient content. Organic would always be preferred. These include raw honey, real maple syrup, molasses, rapadura, Sucanat, green (whole plant) stevia powder, jaggery, date sugar and coconut sugar.

A few sweeteners that claim to be “healthy” but should be avoided due to processing which destroys nutrient levels, include agave nectar, highly processed commercial brands of stevia, aka steviol glycosides, and sugars labeled “natural cane sugar” such as Turbinado (i.e. Sugar in the Raw), and Florida Crystals. Monk fruit extract appears to be safe as long as it is not combined with artificial, processed sweeteners, sugar alcohols or other additives. When in doubt, take a look at the extraction and processing methods used.

In addition, high fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup and most stevia extracts are also highly processed and not recommended, along with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, neotame, sucralose, xylitol and other sugar alcohols. High fructose corn syrup is sometimes labeled as ‘corn sugar’ or ‘corn syrup’, ‘fructose syrup’ or ‘karo syrup’ and it is worth being aware that terminology can be manipulated by manufacturers in order to mask the product’s processing methods and wholefood status. Generally speaking, if you are uncertain as to whether a product is high fructose corn syrup or not, we would encourage you to avoid the use of the product and opt for something closer to what our ancestors would have used.

In general, keep the same “whole food” concept in mind when selecting sweeteners as you would in selecting foods for your ancestral diet. Check the description and ingredients listing on the product package. Look for the terms “organic” and “unrefined”. The words “minimally processed” can be misleading, and should be taken as a hint that further research is needed to determine how close it is to its original unrefined state. This offers another area for moving towards whole foods and away from processed foods.

For more about the ancestral diet, see STEP 6: START Eating organic ancestral whole foods in the RCP Handbook.

Can I take other forms of magnesium besides glycinate and malate? Which form should I take?

Finding the right forms of magnesium for your body can require a bit of trial and error. Not everyone responds in the same way. For example, while most find glycinate relaxing, others find it energizing, and some cannot take it at all.

There are many chelated types of magnesium available in tablet, capsule or loose powder form. We have chosen glycinate and malate because of their high absorbability and because they offer a larger percentage of elemental magnesium than other chelates. In essence, you get more of a magnesium bang for your buck!

However, if those options aren’t a good fit, you may certainly try others, such as taurate, orotate, or threonate. The only ones we caution against are the following: 

  • Citrate (also listed as carbonate with citric acid) and ascorbate, both of which are on the STOPS list due to their interference with copper metabolism.
  • Aspartate and glutamate, amino acids which have an undesirable excitatory effect on the central nervous system.

If choosing a magnesium chelate that is not listed in the suggested products directory::

  • Check the ingredient panel to ensure there are no STOPS listed
  • Look for products with a minimum of fillers, stabilizers, etc.
  • Use caution when choosing a magnesium chelate complex that contains multiple forms of mag, as some of these do not specify exactly which form/s they contain. It’s also best to sample just one form at a time until you learn which one/s work best for you.

Don’t overlook the value of trace mineral drops as a significant source of magnesium that’s easily tolerated by most, as well as topical/transdermal applications, such as oils, gels, lotions, sprays and baths/foot baths. These are less likely to cause bowel issues, and tend to be very gentle ways to absorb magnesium. 

No matter which forms you choose, always start with a small amount and work up slowly, giving your body time to adjust to each new increase. 

(See FAQ for more:

What are the magnesium cofactors?

Boron, bicarbonate, and B6 are three co-factors that support cellular absorption and retention of magnesium. 

Bicarbonate is an important electrolyte that is needed to move magnesium into the cells, and is a main component of the pH buffering system.  Recommended sources are magnesium (bicarbonate) water, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) added to magnesium baths/foot baths, and potassium bicarbonate (can be used in AC’s or sprinkled into drinking water). It is naturally plentiful in both freshwater and saltwater.

Boron keeps magnesium in the cells and helps magnesium turn into Mg-ATP, the main source of cellular energy. Sources of boron include household borax (sodium tetraborate), which is used in magnesium baths/foot baths; magnesium water (see recipe here); supplements such as those found in the RCP product directory; and fruits such as prunes, raisins and apples; legumes, including peanuts; and tubers such as potatoes. Raw unpasteurized honey is also a good source.

B6 facilitates cellular uptake of magnesium, which both limits excretion and increases its effectiveness. For B6 intake, we recommend food sources only, such as beef liver, bee pollen, rice bran and nutritional yeast (we recommend non-fortified only). Fatty fish, poultry, nuts & legumes, and potatoes are a few of the many other food sources of B6.

How do we balance magnesium and calcium?

Most of us get more calcium than magnesium through diet. However, our metabolic demand for magnesium is much greater than it is for calcium. Too much calcium will drive up inflammation, because it drives magnesium down, yet magnesium regulates calcium and makes sure that it gets to where it’s needed. For this reason, the RCP recommends that calcium come from food only, rather than supplements.

There are times when, during a full RCP consultation along with HTMA and blood test analysis, a metabolic pattern is detected that may benefit from careful calcium supplementation. However, for the majority, it is neither needed nor recommended.

We encourage awareness of how these two are present in foods, and recommend a 2:1 ratio of magnesium to calcium.

Here’s a chart that highlights magnesium and calcium levels in some common foods:

*This chart was compiled in 2016 by MAG member Juliet Morgan using a number of sources, mainly The World’s Healthiest Foods ( and the Nutrition Almanac ( It may be used as a general guide for comparing the calcium, magnesium and potassium balance of various plant foods, rather than an absolute list of static nutrient levels. Keep in mind that nutrient values in food will differ depending on growing conditions, practices, environments (organic vs non-organic, soil-raised vs hydroponic, for example), and other variables. The RCP encourages a variety of animal as well as plant foods to obtain the range of calcium, magnesium and potassium that our bodies need.

A more comprehensive chart that lists calcium:magnesium food ratios can be found here :

Why Cod liver oil quality is so important?

Cod Liver Oil (CLO) is a traditional food in many cultures and a valuable source of naturally occurring vitamin A (as retinol), which is essential for allowing copper to be expressed as the ferroxidase enzyme, a key component of the body’s iron regulation mechanism.  The Omega-3s (including DHA and EPA) in CLO are also beneficial, but the vitamin A is what we’re really after, because of its crucial role in activating bioavailable copper.

Not all cod liver oils are equal, and processing methods are especially important to consider when selecting a CLO product. Ancient traditional practices for purifying cod liver oil for consumption used gentle filtration methods to retain the maximum nutrient value of the oil.

Many manufacturers today process their cod liver oil using high temps and aggressive, chemical extraction and purification methods, which degrade the vitamin content. They then add synthetic A & D in order to restore the nutrients that were lost during processing. This results in an inferior product that is no longer a nutritionally balanced, whole food.  The ratio of A to D is also important and should ideally be 10 to 1 in favor of retinol. 

Fermented cod liver oils have been shown to present issues with rancidity and oxidation, which can alter the delicate polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and generate harmful free radicals, so are not recommended. 

The CLO products selected for inclusion in the RCP are sustainably caught and prepared using the ancient traditional methods that maintain the nutritional integrity of the oil. This prompt and gentle handling ensures that rancidity and harmful oxidation does not take place. The only vitamin A or D they contain are what occurs naturally within the oil. 

Be aware that cod liver oil may have a natural propensity to thin the blood.

For those who are pregnant, some women opt to stop CLO around two weeks prior to delivery. It may be worth discussing with your healthcare provider or RCPC.

As with other supplements, we advise checking CLO product labels periodically to ensure that no changes have been made to the nutrient facts, especially in regard to added synthetic vitamin A and/or vitamin D.

 Cod liver oil vs. Fish oil

  • Fish oils are a highly processed waste product of the fishing industry, as opposed to cod liver oils, which are created expressly for their health benefits. 
  • PUFAs and vitamins A and D are highly prone to oxidative damage that occurs during the commercial-grade processing utilized in the manufacture of fish oils. 
  • Cod liver oil is made from the most nourishing part of the animal, and is naturally higher in retinol with a better balance of Omega-3’s and -6’s, while fish oils are predominantly Omega-3’s.

What types of salt are OK to use?

There are many more types of salt available than many are aware of. Here’s a guide to some of the similarities and differences among them. 

Refined vs Unrefined

Refined table salt: typically taken from rock salt, which is mined from mineral deposits. It has been bleached and chemically processed to remove naturally-occurring trace minerals, and its pure white color is a reflection of this processing. It consists mainly of sodium chloride, along with additives, such as anti-caking agents, and is often fortified with iodine.

Natural, unrefined salt: In its original unrefined form, salt is 98% sodium chloride and 2% trace minerals. Each type of unrefined salt contains 84 trace minerals. Keep in mind that trace elements are also present in soil and water as well as in salt and all foods from the earth, but in such small amounts so as not to be a cause for concern. Salt in its natural, unrefined state is a complete mineral package designed by Mother Nature to work synergistically with our metabolism. Our bodies have been designed with filtering organs to remove what we don’t need.

The amounts of each trace mineral vary slightly by type of salt, depending on its source, and are reflected in the color and flavor. Since unrefined salt is not a reliable source of iodine, we suggest adding food sources such as fish, eggs, seaweed, or dairy, if you are concerned about getting more. 

Salt can be mined from dead seas and have a drier texture, for example Redmond RealSalt and Himalayan salt; or it may be mined from a living ocean or salt lake. These tend to be wetter, and include Celtic salt, Fleur de Sel and Ancient Lakes. Other types of salt include Baja, Hawaiian and Maldon. Some salts have additional ingredients, such as herbs and spices or targeted minerals, to supplement the pre-existing trace elements. 

Salt naturally comes in an array of colors from grey or beige to pink, red, and black, which reflect the mineral-rich content of the salt. The pink color is from iron oxide, and the darker the pink, the higher the amount of iron oxide it contains. Himalayan salt, a rich pink, is said to be highest in iron oxide; however, it doesn’t need to be avoided altogether. We recommend using a variety of salts to provide diversity in mineral content and seasoning options.

 Factors to consider when choosing a brand:

  • Testing for purity, contaminants and toxins
  • Sustainable practices for mining and environmental impact
  • Ethical labor practices

Why is iodine not emphasized on the RCP?

Iodine is a trace mineral that supports thyroid function. A liver that’s loaded with excess unbound iron cannot make the conversion from T4 to T3 well, and with iron-induced oxidative stress, reverse-T3 will build in the liver. The body’s built-in plan to keep the iron in the liver functioning properly requires the action of copper via ceruloplasmin and its ferroxidase enzyme function. The conversion of iodide to iodine is also copper-dependent.

Iodine serves a beneficial role in a body lacking bioavailable copper. Both iodine & ferroxidase are able to turn ferrous (reactive) iron into ferric iron so it can be bound to proteins. The reason iodine works is because of its ability to mimic ceruloplasmin’s function of converting ferrous iron to ferric iron. However, this is merely a coping strategy for a body that is low in bioavailable copper. And because this is not the intended function of iodine, it has downstream ramifications:

  • It masks the lack of functional copper, which is the body’s go-to for iron regulation AND is needed for iodine metabolism.
  • It creates a constant need for more iodine over & above the body’s normal needs.
  • As long as copper is deficient, iodine will remain low as well.

 Supplemental iodine also has other downsides:

  • It’s easy to get too much. The RDA for iodine is 150 mcg for adults. For perspective, one serving of dried seaweed provides many times that amount.
  • In susceptible individuals, iodine supplementation can increase the risk of developing iodine-induced thyroid dysfunction or a worsening of pre-existing thyroid issues.
  • Iodine drives detox, and taking it in supplement form can be too much, too fast, because detox requires energy and if you’re low in magnesium and copper, you will be low in energy. 

The RCP takes a deeper approach to thyroid support by supplying the body with retinol and wholefood C as well as other key nutrients needed to raise ceruloplasmin, so excess iron can be moved out of the liver, the conversion of thyroid hormones can take place as needed, and iodine levels can be restored naturally through diet. 

Why is beef liver preferred to other types of liver?

Beef liver is an amazingly restorative and nutrient-dense traditional food. The notion that the liver stores toxins is a myth; in fact, the liver’s role is to neutralize toxins and send them out for removal from the body. However, it does contain many valuable vitamins and minerals to support the liver’s role in detoxification. Among other nutrients, it offers us copper, retinol and bioavailable heme-iron, which all work together to maximize copper metabolism so that iron is kept in circulation and out of storage. 

It also offers a wholefood form of vitamin C and a host of B vitamins (it’s especially rich in folate, niacin and B12), as well as intrinsic factor, which aids in B12 absorption. In addition, beef liver is a good source of minerals, potassium in particular, along with other nutrients such as catalase, choline and CoQ10. These are all provided in a form the body recognizes and can readily assimilate.

Other sources of liver, while also offering a range of nutrients, don’t possess the spectrum or the ideal balance that is most needed by the human body. For example, beef liver is the only one with a 2:1 copper to iron ratio, which is closest to that in the human liver, and a similarly close ratio of copper to zinc.

For this reason, beef liver is preferred for regular weekly consumption, although other sources of liver are fine on occasion. For those with access mainly to lamb liver, with an copper to iron ratio of 1:1, we suggest using chopped fresh rosemary alongside to help reduce the absorption of the extra iron it confers.

Livers of mature animals are also preferred, as the young have higher copper levels. This is natural for them at that stage of development, but be aware that it does alter their iron to copper ratio.

Keep in mind also that liver nutrient levels reflect the health of the animal. This highlights the importance of accessing liver from animals that are raised outdoors on pasture, preferably organic, to ensure copper-rich soil and grasses. This in turn contributes towards the health of the animal and eventually, the consumer. Conventionally raised animals would be the least desirable source.

If quality grass-fed beef liver is not available, the recommended brands of desiccated beef liver offer a suitable substitute.

Why are detox protocols not recommended on the RCP?

The RCP favors “strengthening the host” rather than “attacking the guest”. The body has its own natural system of detoxification that is hampered when the body is low on energy and excess iron is short-circuiting the liver’s detox functionality. The RCP’s goal is to supply the needed minerals and vitamin complexes to run and energize those pathways. When these needs are met, detoxification happens gently and gradually without any external intervention.

Detox protocols that utilize heavy chelators, such as TRS/Zeolite or DMSO, attack the guest (heavy metals) without supporting the body, and the Herx response can be very hard on those who lack the resources and energy to withstand the stress and to rebound easily.

Using strong chelators for detoxification also does not address the deficiencies in the body’s nutrient resources that allowed the “guests” (heavy metals, toxins, pathogens, etc.) to take up residence in the first place.

Noted iron toxicologist Jym Moon, PhD, has written that while zeolites might bind heavy metals and prevent them from being absorbed, they don’t necessarily remove them from the body; in the process, they also prevent absorption of essential minerals such as magnesium and copper. This further depletes the body’s resources, leaving it vulnerable to other uninvited guests, and runs counter to the body’s own innate detox processes, which require magnesium and bioavailable copper.

Why does the RCP not recommend synthetic B vitamins?

The ancestral diet, along with the additional B complex foods recommended on the RCP, will typically provide sufficient intake of B vitamins. Foods provide Mother Nature’s varying assortment of B’s along with a complement of nutrients, such as bioavailable copper (aka ceruloplasmin), that assist the body with B vitamin creation and functionality. Good examples are bee pollen and beef liver. Natural B vitamin foods, with their accompanying enzymes, should not present issues for those with methylation errors.

Synthetic vitamins contain only a small part of the whole vitamin molecule, and lack their natural enzymes and co-nutrients. As such, they are not in a form that’s bioavailable to the body. This puts demands on the body’s resources to activate and assimilate them properly, and they can build up to toxic levels when this does not happen efficiently. This applies also to vitamin B supplements that appear to be food-based. These can be more concentrated than what Mother Nature would provide, and also lead to problems with assimilation. Those who take synthetic B’s often struggle with keeping potassium levels up, which interferes with the healing process.  

The better approach to increasing B vitamin levels is by getting our B’s from food (not from a bottle!) and raising bioavailable copper to create the enzymes that support proper B vitamin metabolism. Getting B vitamins from foods also bypasses the issue of which form of B’s works best for any given individual.

Why is boron important?

Boron is a naturally occurring element and is considered an essential micronutrient for plants, animals and humans. It does not exist in isolation, but combines with oxygen to form boric acid, or combines with sodium and other elements to form the mineral borax. We get dietary boron from the boric acid that is found in many plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and nuts; however, boron content in plants varies based on boron levels in the soil and water in which they are grown. 

Boron fills many important roles in human metabolism, including the following:

  •  It has long been known to be essential for healthy bones by improving magnesium absorption and balancing magnesium and calcium.
  •  It helps regulate estrogen, testosterone and vitamin D
  •  It raises levels of antioxidant enzymes such as SOD, catalase, and glutathione, which thwarts the pro-oxidant action of excess, unbound iron in the body. This lowers oxidative stress in the liver and other organs, thus reducing the drain on copper.
  •  It exhibits antifungal properties, and has been found to inhibit Candida albicans.

 A minimum of 3 mg is the amount that has shown to be beneficial in human health.

Resources for learning more:

 Nothing boring about Boron:

 The Borax Conspiracy:

What if I’m pregnant or nursing?

We encourage you to share this RCP Handbook with your doctor and/or birthing practitioner, as well as a list of all supplements you are taking. This ensures that you are both on the same page, and allows them to be educated on the RCP if they’re not aware of this protocol already.  

All of the RCP STARTS are fine to continue during pregnancy EXCEPT for diatomaceous earth, iron binders such as IP6/stabilized rice bran, items containing supplemental quercetin, and donating blood — those can be introduced AFTER you’ve stopped nursing. Food sources are always best. 

We encourage you to consider learning more about the importance of mineral balance in pregnancy and nursing via the following resources:

How can I heal my adrenals?

Adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys, and are involved in the stress response. They produce  corticosteroids, including cortisol, to help mediate the effects of stress in the body.. In order to create those hormones, the adrenals need bioavailable copper, which requires wholefood Vitamin C and retinol. Sodium, potassium and magnesium are also needed to create cellular energy.

The RCP supports the following strategies for bringing the adrenal glands into balance:

  • Adrenal cocktails: The adrenal cocktail recipe was designed to nourish the adrenal glands by providing a calculated balance of nutrients needed for optimal cellular function and adrenal support: sodium, potassium and wholefood C. To ease the body into these stimulating nutrients, we suggest starting with just ¼ – ½ recipe once per day and working up slowly to two full AC’s per day, or more if needed. 

For some, the AC’s can put the body into rest and recovery mode at first, with fatigue and increased need for sleep; after a time, there will be a shift to more energy. For others, ACs can be energizing right from the start. Both responses are signs that the AC’s are working, and can help guide the user as to when to move forward with the protocol.

  • Emotional release: Unresolved emotions can keep the body in a chronic state of fight-flight that can drain the body’s resources and tax adrenal function. EFT and other forms of emotional release can be beneficial in reducing the stress load and giving the adrenals the opportunity to recover. See START #16 in the RCP Handbook.
  • Sleep/rest: In addition to the right nutrients, fatigued adrenals need plenty of vitamin Zzzzzzz  (8-9 hours of restful sleep each night) to aid recovery. 

There are times when extra support is needed during the adrenal healing stage, and  ashwagandha can then be utilized for a short period of time, preferably under the direction of an RCPC who can help guide the process.

Blue light and EMF’s

Morley suggests that “EMF’s are just one seat on the relentless ferrous wheel of oxidative stress”. Constant exposure to radiation from blue light (from artificial lighting, tv, computers, phones, etc.), produces hydrogen peroxide (H202), a significant source of oxidative stress to our eyes and retinae. The buildup of retinal lipofuscin, a pigment associated with aging and excess iron, can also absorb blue light which increases the risk of oxidative damage. 

A predominance of artificial blue light over the natural full-spectrum cycles of sunlight can alter circadian rhythms and suppress melanin production (the body’s natural shield from UV and visible light radiation). It also affects the body’s utilization of sunlight in activating the breakdown of retinol into the retinoic acids and receptors that run our metabolism, and hampers the body’s ability to benefit fully from synthesizing vitamin D. Less activation of retinol means less bioavailable copper to regulate the recycling of iron in the body. 

EMF’s (electromagnetic frequencies) are highly coordinated with blue light from electronic devices as well as cell towers, smart meters and 5G networks, and this adds to our radiation load. Minimizing exposure to artificial blue light and EMF’s is difficult in today’s technology-driven climate, and the most important step we can take is to strengthen the body’s capacity to neutralize the assault.

A few strategies for mitigating blue light damage: 

  • Support your body with food sources of retinol and bioavailable copper, such as beef liver, cod liver oil and wholefood C, to ensure plenty of the nutrients needed for creating functional copper. 
  • Increase awareness of the changing patterns of natural light (soft, warm and relaxing around sunrise and sunset; bright, blue and energizing during the day) and aim to emulate the sun’s daily cycles at home and at work as much as possible. 
  • Reduce exposure to electronic devices, especially at night when blue light is not naturally predominant. Avoiding blue light from 1-2 hours before bedtime is suggested. 
  • Utilize products, such as blue-light blocking glasses and/or blue-blocking technology on your devices. Switch to incandescent bulbs, which are closer to full spectrum than fluorescent, CFL and LED bulbs. When selecting products, be aware that many will claim to reduce artificial blue light when in reality their blocking capacity is limited, so it’s worthwhile to do some checking before you purchase. 
  • Get plenty of healthy sun exposure to your eyes and skin, especially at sunrise and sunset, to help counteract the effects of being subjected to artificial blue light. This will ensure that the skin and retinae will receive the triggers needed for retinol activation in order to repair oxidative stress and restore mitochondrial function. 

Resources for learning more:

  • Read Iron Toxicity Post #61: EYE-Ironic origin of Alzheimer’s disease to learn the connection between blue light/EMF’s, iron, and neurodegenerative conditions.


  • There is a growing interest in the physiological impact of radiation from artificial blue light and EMF’s. For those who are curious, this book is a good place to start learning more.

How do I know when I can donate blood? Any tips for a successful donation?

*Please know that the suggestion of donating blood is only for those who are feeling well, and are confident in their bodies ability to quickly recover from the donation. Donating blood is typically NOT the first thing to do on your RCP journey. A general guideline is to wait until you have successfully implemented all of the Phase 1 RCP Starts before donating blood.

Consider your situation before choosing to donate. If you are feeling ill or are experiencing significant fatigue, it may be best to wait until the body feels stronger before donating. If you wish to be guided through this process by a RCP consultant, please view our RCP consultant directory here.

Timing of donations:

    • 2 times per year for menstruating women. The optimal time is mid cycle – in a typical 28-day cycle it would be around day 14.
    • 4 times per year for men and menopausal women
    • Although blood banks allow donations every 60 days, spacing them at 3-month intervals gives the body more time to fully replenish lost minerals before the next withdrawal.
    • Pregnant/breastfeeding women may want to put a hold on donations temporarily to retain their minerals for the baby.

Types of donations:

  • Donations should be whole-blood only. Don’t give just platelets or double-red-cell.
  • Platelets and plasma do not contain RBC’s, so they do not stimulate the body to release iron.
  • Double red cell (Power Red) donations contain RBCs, but they put anticoagulant (plasma treated with citrate) back into your body. It also takes twice the amount of RBCs, which can take a toll on a body that is struggling. 

 How to prepare:

  • Hydrate well in the days leading up to the donation as well as the day of donation, to plump up veins for easier access.
  • Have an adrenal cocktail before and after donation to support electrolytes.
  • Eat a nourishing meal a couple of hours pre-donation (beef liver is perfect!)
  • Abstain from vigorous exercise the day of donation so as not to drain your energy reserves.
  • Make sure hands are warm to increase blood flow and raise chances of hemoglobin being within range. Consider purchasing hand warmers if needed. 
  • Some gentle stretching or walking to get the blood pumping prior to the donation is a good idea.
  • Use EFT, if needed, to relax the body and encourage blood flow. 
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages the day before and the day of the donation.
  • Avoid caffeine the day of donation.
  • Keep fluids up on the day of your donation and get plenty of rest afterwards.


  • If hemoglobin reads low on one hand, have them try the other one.
  • Consistently low hemoglobin points to low bioavailable copper. Focus on your intake of beef liver, cod liver oil, wholefood C and bee pollen to support copper metabolism.
  • The vagus nerve can be triggered when you donate blood, which can lead to  faintness. Look into vagus nerve exercises to reduce symptoms.

Following donation:

  • Concentrate on extra hydration in the coming days.
  • Continue to nourish the body to aid in recovery.
  • Take extra AC’s as needed.
  • Hunger & faintness days after donating can be from potassium loss. Consider extra AC’s and potassium-rich foods during this time.
  • Any adverse reactions should be reported to the blood donation center..
  • For the weeks following, many find that taking iron binders such as IP6, apolactoferrin and/or iDetox can help if you see symptoms creep in as the mobilized iron can create disruption if not quickly escorted out.

Why we don’t demonize salt

Salt is one of the body’s four main electrolytes. It is vital to life, and plays a crucial role in many basic functions such as energy production, fluid balance and acid-base balance. It also helps in the regulation of blood volume and pressure, as well as many other metabolic processes, including digestion and adrenal function. Since the body requires it on a regular basis, it must be replenished daily. It is considered an important part of an ancestral diet, and from earliest times has been a valued commodity.

Although sodium and chloride are the main components of natural, unrefined sea salt, it contains many trace minerals as well. Today’s refined “table salt” has been chemically treated to remove all minerals except sodium, which renders it less able to meet the body’s mineral needs and more likely to disrupt electrolyte balance. This is why we recommend the use of only the unrefined sea salts, which are available in many variations (see the FAQ “What types of salt are OK to use?”). 

The advent of the modern diet and its processed, reduced-nutrient foods also ushered in the age of high blood pressure and heart attacks. Salt was blamed, and restrictions were mandated. Over time, however, it has become clear that these issues are multifactorial, and that salt-reduction can have unintended consequences.

The RCP provides magnesium and potassium, which work together to help moderate blood pressure. If you are on BP meds, be sure to work with your healthcare provider, checking your blood pressure daily and sharing those readings with your provider so they can monitor your progress and assess the need for dosage changes.  Many members who arrived at the RCP with high blood pressure have been able to gradually add unrefined sea salt to their diet and implement adrenal cocktails by beginning with 1/8-1/4 tsp and slowly increasing, while monitoring their body’s response along the way.  Over time, the RCP’s focus on supplying the body’s key nutrients to improve blood pressure function, can make it possible to gradually reduce and eliminate blood pressure medications.

What is an Ancestral Diet?

An ancestral diet refers to eating according to traditional patterns, techniques and foodways that are handed down from generation to generation and can vary considerably by culture and geography. Historically, each culture ate what was seasonally and locally available to them. To take full advantage of resources at hand, our ancestors engaged in nose-to-tail eating, and included foods such as bone broths, organ meats, fermented foods, whole grains, and raw dairy, and utilized traditional preparation methods designed to increase digestibility and maximize nutrient value and uptake.

In general, today’s ancestral diet would include some combination of whole, unprocessed foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts/seeds, animal fats, wild-caught seafood and pastured meats and poultry. These foods would ideally be fresh (unprocessed), local, organic, seasonal, sustainably grown, non-GMO and additive- and chemical-free.

The bottom line is that the overly processed, genetically modified, pre-cooked foods that are now  staples in the food industry are the opposite of ancestral eating.


What should be in your ancestral diet?

An ancestral diet can look different for everyone, based on the culture and traditions of your ancestral heritage. Many of us today have a mixed lineage, so ancestral eating can include foods from a blend of cultures. As a starting guide, consider what your great-grandparents ate (and didn’t eat!).


From Price-Pottenger:

Your ancestral diet should be determined by a few factors:

  • What is your heritage/lineage/culture? Your genetics may respond well to literally eating the type of traditional diets that your ancestors would have eaten in the past.
  • What foods are available to you locally? Eating foods that are sourced from the area where you live in can offer greater nutritional benefits, not to mention convenience. Local organic food sources are often less expensive than purchasing the same items from supermarkets or specialty stores, too.
  • What are your health needs/challenges? Your dietary needs can change through seasons of life, as you age, and also as your health dictates. If you’re battling chronic health disorders, autoimmune disease, illness, or you’re pregnant/breastfeeding, your nutritional needs may be different.


How to get started:

As a whole, instead of processed and packaged, aim for fresh, local, organic, seasonal, grass-fed, pasture-raised, wild-caught, etc. Where possible, buy your food at a local farmers market and/or shop only on the outside aisles of the supermarket. 


Start the transition away from processed foods by swapping out one item at a time. Read the ingredient lists on product labels and select those with the fewest additives.  Far from being a limiting factor, be open to trying new foods to replace the processed ones, and let curiosity be your guide.


Resources for learning more:




and health, always aiming to provide the scientific validation of traditional foodways

steps to improve your personal nutrition, from Price-Pottenger


Other media


Where can I find organic, ancestral whole foods?

Organic, ancestral foods can be accessed locally in many countries via grocers, farmers markets, or individual farms.. If local resources can’t be found, there may be farms or co-ops outside your area that offer to ship products directly to consumers. These can often be found via an internet search for farmers markets, organic, pasture-based or regenerative farms or organic food co-ops. Here are a few tips for finding and utilizing those resources:


Local grocers or co-ops

  • Many traditional grocers will have an assortment of organic produce and organic grass-fed meat options suitable for an ancestral diet. Be sure to check both the fresh and frozen sections. 


Local farmers markets

  • Look for a directory in your country or local area that may have a listing of farmers markets. 

Individual farms that are local to you or that ship to consumers

  • Search online for “organic farms”, “regenerative farms”, or “organic meats/produce delivery” in your area or country that market directly to the consumer. You may need to clarify growing practices to ensure that you’re getting organic, grass-fed and/or pasture-raised foods for the best nutrient value. 

    Here are some links to get you started: 


        USA/North America

        • Farm Match allows searching for local farms in the U.S. by zip code. 
        • Eat Wild has a state-by-state directory for pastured farm products in the U.S. and Canada plus a list of farms that ship. 
        • Local Harvest: a searchable directory of over 40,000 family farms and farmers markets across the U.S.along with restaurants and grocery stores that feature local food.
        • Farmfoods: a U.S. online store offering a variety of grass-fed, farm-raised meats for home delivery; included details about the farming practices of participating farms.
        • US Wellness Meats: a U.S. online store offering grass-fed and pasture-raised meats.
        • Wild Pastures: delivers meats from regenerative American family farms.
        • Butcherbox: carries grass-fed, free-range beef and chicken for U.S. home delivery.
        • Miller’s Organic Farm: a private membership club with online buying clubs located in CA, FL and NC. Offering fresh, raw dairy (cow, goat, sheep and camel milk); 100% grass-fed pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb, free-range poultry and eggs; fermented veggies, and breads. 
        • Miller’s Biodiversity Farm: an online source for U.S. home delivery offering free-range, grass-fed A2 beef and pork; raw grass-fed milk, cheese and other dairy products (cow, goat, sheep and camel), poultry and eggs, and much more.


        • Australian Farmers’ Markets Association: a voluntary organization committed to supporting the development and growth of best-practice and sustainable farmers’ markets across Australia. Provides a searchable listing of farmer’s markets throughout the country.
        • The Gathered Green: based in NSW. Offers a subscription service for fresh Australian Certified Organic meats, eggs, and produce for pickup or delivery.
        • The Food Farm: based in NSW. Offers regeneratively farmed, nutrient-dense, 100% grass-fed and finished beef, pasture-raised organic chicken and free-range organic eggs for delivery in the NSW area.
        • Spray-Free Farmacy: serving Brisbane and surrounding area for pickup or delivery. Offers a large variety of spray-free foods, including but not limited to those with organic certification.
        • Our Cow: a flexible subscription club for a variety of Australian-sourced meats, including but not limited to grass-fed and/or certified organic products, as well as other grocery items (some of which may contain a small amount of preservatives and additives), Delivers or ships to locations throughout most of Australia.
        • Paddock and Farm: a certified organic butchery located in Western Australia; also carries an array of certified organic fruits and vegetables.For pickup only.
        • Carnevore’: a farm-based butchery located in the Adelaide region of South Australia with some local delivery available. Offers chemical-free, grass-fed and finished beef. 


        • Eversfield Organic: 100% organic farm and butchery based in Devon, offering a variety of meats, fruits and vegetables, along with fridge and larder staples. Delivers nationwide, with some local pickup spots.
          • Riverford Organic Farmers: Farm and restaurant located in Devon offering organic meats, produce and dairy from small-scale organic farms for home delivery. 
          • Abel & Cole:Offers a large array of organic meats, produce, dairy, and baked goods from UK based farms and producers, along with pantry staples and household essentials. Delivers to a range of locations across the country.

          For more about the ancestral diet, see START #6: START eating an organic ancestral whole food diet in the RCP Handbook.

          What is Regenerative Farming and how does it relate to an ancestral diet?

          Ancestral eating implies an earth-centered approach to food, and embraces holistic farming practices that foster healthy soil, crops and animals, in ways that are similar to what our ancestors would have done. This improves the microbiome of the soil, and encourages biodiversity both above and below the soil, as well as in the plants and animals living in and around it.

          From the National Resources Defense Council:


          “As a philosophy and approach to land management, regenerative agriculture asks us to think about how all aspects of agriculture are connected through a web—a network of entities who grow, enhance, exchange, distribute, and consume goods and services—instead of a linear supply chain. It’s about farming and ranching in a style that nourishes people and the earth, with specific practices varying from grower to grower and from region to region. There’s no strict rule book, but the holistic principles behind the dynamic system of regenerative agriculture are meant to restore soil and ecosystem health, address inequity, and leave our land, waters, and climate in better shape for future generations”. 


          In other words, regenerative farmers typically are looking to improve their land from the soil-up so that when their time on the land is done (by succession, sale or otherwise), they leave it better than when they arrived. Their goals are intertwined with the following benefits, all of which leads to more nutritious and balanced produce.


          Benefits of Regenerative Agriculture include:

          • Improvements in soil health and fertility
          • Biodiversity in the soil, leading to increased biodiversity on land, in the air, and in the water, including richer plant, bird, and insect populations
          • Reduced soil erosion
          • Reduced dependence on fossil fuels and chemical synthetics 
          • Reductions in water pollution due to fewer chemical inputs
          • Protecting and restoring natural ecosystems

          It is worth being aware that some farmers will state that they are “regenerative” without fully embodying what is noted above. They may be transitioning from old practices to new, for example. We suggest having a chat with your farmer to gain an understanding of their practices and alignment with the regenerative philosophy in order to make an informed choice.


          You can listen to Kristan Kershaw’s discussion around regenerative agriculture on our “Organic Ancestral Whole Foods & MIneralized Filtered Water” webinar.


          Links for more information:




          • Regeneration International: an international movement united around a common goal: to reverse global warming and end world hunger by facilitating and accelerating the global transition to regenerative agriculture and land management. 
          • National Resources Defense Council:an organization that works to safeguard the  earth – its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends. 
          • Cornucopia Institute: researches issues that are fundamental to maintaining the integrity of organic labeling, production, processing and marketing.
          • RCP – Farm and Garden: facebook group affiliated with the RCP that focuses on all aspects of growing food, including fruits, vegetables and animals, without the use of organophosphates and other chemicals or toxic materials. 
          • Polyface farm: a diversified, grass-based, beyond organic, direct marketing farm located in the Southeastern U.S. that offers a variety of options for sharing their farming model, including farm tours, seminars, workshops, and hands-on learning experiences, along with a list of resources and a recommended reading list for those interested in regenerative farming.







          What if I can’t donate blood?

          Donating blood is the most efficient means of lowering the body’s iron stores, because this triggers processes that release stored iron in order to create new red blood cells to replace those that were lost. In order to qualify, you must meet the criteria set by the blood collection center. 

          In addition, we advise that individuals determine their physical readiness for donation, and for some this may entail getting at least Phase 1 underway to support the body in light of the mineral loss and iron mobilizing involved in this process.

          For those who do not meet qualifications for donating blood, other options are listed below:

          Private phlebotomy:

          Therapeutic phlebotomies prescribed by doctor’s order

          Family member, friend or acquaintance who is properly trained to withdraw blood. You may also try tapping local phlebotomy classes and technicians from your health practitioner’s office

          Private hire – this will require a “local to me” internet search using terms like private phlebotomist or mobile phlebotomist. See below for a selection of options for the U.S. and U.K. 

          Some are regionally based, but it can be worthwhile to put in a call to learn if there are any services available near you. 

          If you have found an option not on this list and would like to share with others, let our support team know the details so we can add it here for others to utilize.

          Phlebotomy Services:

          USA/North America:

          Canadian Blood Services (Vancouver, Canada) 

          Canadian Blood Services believes that everybody – including those who can’t donate to the regular donation system – can make an important contribution toward improving the health of their fellow Canadians. We welcome and celebrate the participation of all our donors!​

          United Kingdom:

          • Biolab – Supplies a listing of phlebotomists in the UK and Ireland arranged by country and areas within countries. The full list and more detail from Biolab can be found here:

            UK Phlebotomists list – Biolab


          Tips for accessing a blood donation center:

          For those in the UK and European countries It may be worthwhile to investigate whether there are different rules in donating blood which may vary under different blood centers or in neighboring countries. We are aware of one member who couldn’t donate blood in his home country but was able to travel to an adjoining country by train to donate blood there.

          Please share with our support team if you find such an option in your area, and we will add it here for others to utilise.

          Please also see “RCP Approved Iron Binders” below.


          Releasing Emotional Stress

          The mind, body and emotions are closely intertwined, and disturbances in one realm impact the others. The body releases chemicals in response to our thoughts and emotions, and this can create profound effects on our health and well-being. Underlying anxiety triggers the brain to release stress hormones that can put the body into chronic flight-flight, a heightened/emergency state that creates oxidative stress at the cellular level. This places a drain on the body’s mineral resources that can lead to a lowered immune response and reduced metabolic function, manifesting in chronic illness.

          This is the focus of energy healing, a variety of holistic practices that work to relieve the chronic fight-flight response, so our physiology can then shift back to allow the proper distribution of nutrients and restore function to the body’s healing mechanisms.

          The RCP addresses the healing crisis from the physiological standpoint to provide the nutritional resources the body needs to cope with chronic stress, while energy healing strategies provide support for the mind/emotion side of things. The two working together can have a strong complementary impact. For more on the connection between mind, body and emotion, see our “Get Tapping” post featuring a video from cell biologist Bruce Lipton.

          The following modalities can be effective complements to the RCP in dealing with the mind/body/emotion dynamic. Each has a slightly different focus, but the shared impact is to release energetic blocks to restore energy to the body’s innate healing mechanisms. 

          There is a range of options available for energetic healing. Working with a practitioner is highly recommended. It’s worthwhile to take the time to find one that resonates with you to get the most benefit: 

          EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique): (aka Tapping) utilizes meridian points to help calm the brain and reduce the fight-flight response in relation to emotions/fears. Most people can benefit from EFT at any point in time along their health journey. 

          Body Code: uses muscle testing to tap into the human energy field and access the subconscious mind in order to determine potential underlying emotional causes of physiological dysfunction.

          EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing): a psychotherapy treatment designed to access the traumatic memory network to enhance information processing. This modality has been shown to be effective with PTSD. 

          PSYCH-K: a multi-disciplinary process to help transform limiting subconscious beliefs.

          What about consuming additional Copper from Copper supplements?

          This is an important question because anyone who studies the RCP quickly comes to the realization that copper is absolutely foundational for overall health. Unfortunately, there are many modern day factors (farming practices, food processing, medications, and improper supplementation) which compromise copper in our environment, and in our bodies. It is because of these unfortunate modern day factors that Morley developed Recuperate IQ – a unique whole food based supplement that combines the power of beef liver, spirulina, and turmeric, along with 2mg of copper bisglycinate.

          Recuperate IQ is an optional supplement that is designed to complement the RCP. Direct copper supplementation allows us to deliver a guaranteed amount of copper, in addition to what people might already be receiving through diet and the RCP STARTS. This is important because many modern day farming practices have depleted copper from the soil. If copper is not in the soil it will not be in the plants, animals, or our bodies.

          The RCP recommends that you start slow and listen to your body with any new supplement that you add to your routine – and this includes copper supplementation. It is also worth noting that copper supplements are not a replacement for the RCP STARTS and STOPS. The RCP STARTS and STOPS will be foundational in properly mineralizing your body, building bioavailable copper, and creating energy at the cellular level.

          You can purchase and learn more about Recuperate IQ through and of the following links:

          What about copper products such as chlorophyll, topicals, cookware and others?


          Chlorophyll is to plants as hemoglobin is to animals – both are involved in oxygen transport. The chemical structure of chlorophyll and hemoglobin is very similar; however, chlorophyll has magnesium at its core, while hemoglobin has iron. There are many chlorophyll rich foods which are typically part of an ancestral diet, such as swiss chard, collard greens, kale, parsley, spinach, asparagus, and broccoli.

          Chlorophyll is sometimes used as a crutch to help raise hemoglobin alongside the RCP. While food sources of chlorophyll are preferred, natural food-based chlorophyll supplements such as Bernard Jensen Intl. chlorophyll (liquid) can be useful. For those who need to boost hemoglobin, this product may be taken for short-term use only, preferably under the guidance of an RCP consultant to determine whether chlorophyll would be advisable for a given individual. 

           Topical copper products

          While the RCP encourages food sources of copper, for those who wish to try transdermal applications of copper such as copper peptides and/or creams, those created by Loren Pickart of Reverse Skin Aging may be an option. However, responses to these products have been mixed, so they’re not for everyone, and may be best addressed with your RCP consultant prior to trialing.

           Copper cups, pipes, jewelry, etc.

          The inorganic copper +2, often found in drinking water traveling through copper water pipes, copper in multivitamins, copper drinking cups, teapots, bracelets and water pitchers, plus copper sulphate sprayed on vegetables to prevent growth of fungi and algae, etc. is not the kind of copper that our bodies can easily use – it’s not in its bioavailable form.

          Copper vessels were used for millennia to purify the water; but when we started using purified water it changed the pH, which changed the whole dynamic of how the copper vessels work with our bodies, so that practice is no longer recommended.

          For more on copper, see our free webinars here and here.


          What if I’m copper-toxic?

          When we use the term “copper toxic”’, we need to consider that what we have is too much unusable (unbound) copper and not enough usable (bound/bioavailable) copper. Copper bound to the ceruloplasmin protein is copper in its bioavailable/usable form. There are many elements that can break  the copper-ceruloplasmin bond, creating an abundance of unbound copper, which adds stress to the body. Among these are ascorbic acid, birth-control pills, hormone replacement therapy (including bioidentical), chemotherapy, Accutane, antibiotics, and many other pharmaceuticals. 

           Morley explains this dynamic:

          Copper Toxicity” is a myth, and the real issue is:

          o High unbound copper means low bioavailable copper

          o Low bioavailable copper means low ferroxidase enzyme function (FOX)

          o Low Ferroxidase enzyme (FOX) means high unbound iron

          o High unbound iron is a gateway to increased oxidative stress

          o Increased oxidative stress is a gateway to mineral dysregulation 

          The RCP sees the importance of bound copper as part of the ferroxidase enzyme that plays a key role in iron management. Instead of trying to rid the body of unbound copper, the RCP focuses on creating the conditions that make it possible for the copper to be bound to the ceruloplasmin protein, turning that copper into its bioavailable (“active”) form.  Making unbound copper more bioavailable gets excess unbound iron moving rather than stored in tissues, and this reduces inflammation and oxidative stress at the cellular level.

          For more on copper, see our free webinars here and here.

          What’s the difference between retinol, retinyl palmitate and beta carotene ?

          Retinol plays a key role in loading copper into the ceruloplasmin protein in order to enable the ferroxidase enzyme function, which in turn regulates iron. Thus, retinol is a necessary component in making copper functional in the body, and is an important part of the RCP. The ancestral diet ensures that plenty of retinol, as preformed vitamin A, is supplied.

          There is much debate about whether beta carotene is the same as retinol. The comparison below shows that, while they are both forms of vitamin A, they are actually quite different and are processed differently by the body:

          Preformed retinol is the active form of vitamin A. It falls in the family of retinoids, and is considered an essential nutrient. Retinol is stored primarily in the liver to be released as needed. It is fat-soluble and occurs mainly in animal tissue that is rich in fat. Preformed retinol is the form of vitamin A that is most bioavailable to the human body and is considered to be the most potent type of Vitamin A. In making food choices, be aware that only animal-sourced foods rich in fat can provide the preformed Vitamin A as retinol that we need to load copper into the Ceruloplasmin protein.

          Good sources of preformed retinol include grass-fed meats and organ meats, cream and cheeses from grass-fed animals, cod liver oil and oily fish.

          Beta-carotene is a precursor of vitamin A (aka provitamin A), which means that the body uses it to make vitamin A. It falls in the family of carotenoids and is primarily found in plant foods as the red-orange pigment contained in many fruits and vegetables. It is valued for its antioxidant properties. Unlike retinol, beta-carotene does not get stored in the liver; it gets converted to retinol by bile acids in the intestinal mucous membrane. Conversion of beta-carotene to retinol is a complex series of steps that are influenced by many factors (including genetics, which are influenced by bioavailable copper), and the efficacy of this process is highly variable. Beta-carotene is considered to be the weakest form of Vitamin A  and is not considered an essential nutrient. It takes much more beta-carotene than retinol to satisfy the body’s needs, as 12 units of beta-carotene are needed to equal 1 unit of retinol.

          While preformed retinol foods are naturally rich in fat, beta-carotene foods must be combined with fats to enhance absorption of the provitamin A.

          Major sources of beta-carotene are dark-green leafy vegetables and yellow-orange vegetables and fruits, such as carrots, sweet potatoes and winter squash.

          Synthetic vitamin A (often in the form of retinyl palmitate) has become endemic in our society. It is being routinely added to our foods, including milk, orange juice, infant formula, cereals and many other processed foods. Many take synthetic A-loaded multivitamins daily and/or frequently apply sunscreens loaded with vitamin A palmitate. Acne creams contain synthetic vitamin A, the most notorious being A-based Accutane. Retinyl palmitate has a very different chemical structure than natural retinol. Synthetic vitamin A is not processed the same way in the body as Mother Nature’s retinol sources, and can lead to other imbalances in our metabolism, such as vitamin A toxicity (see below).

          Vitamin A toxicity is a current topic in some health circles. However, when viewed more closely, cited studies fail to distinguish between synthetic vitamin A, whether in supplemental form or added to processed foods, beta-carotene foods and naturally-occurring preformed retinol from whole foods. Copper plays a key role in vitamin A metabolism and regulation, and while retinol-rich foods also tend to be rich in copper, this is not the case for synthetic isolates. It is the isolated synthetic versions of retinol and excessive beta-carotene intake that can create issues with assimilation and lead to toxicity. 

          Resources for learning more on this topic:

          Iron Toxicity Post #74: Will the REAL Vitamin A step forward?:

          Watch the “Reflections on Retinol” webinar and others around this 

          Vitamin A Saga:

          How Well Do You Convert Beta-Carotene to Vitamin A?: 

          14 Differences Between Retinol and B-carotene: 


          How do I know how much elemental magnesium is in my supplement?

          Chelated magnesium consists of elemental magnesium that is bound to an amino acid. Chelating is said to improve bioavailability of the nutrient, in this case magnesium, and you get the benefits of both the magnesium and the amino acid chelate. 

          To determine the amount of elemental magnesium in your supplement, look to the Supplement Facts panel. If the words “elemental magnesium” are not listed there, you can either call the manufacturer or check the instructions here to help determine what that amount is: (Please note that magnesium citrate is not a recommended form.) See FAQ for more:

          A quick way to guess-timate the amount of elemental mag is by looking at the RDI%, if shown, on the product label.  Since the RDI is generally 350-400mg for adults, if the label says that 2 tablets = 100% RDI, you can assume that it provides somewhere in the 350-400mg range.

          Digestive Support

          Morley would encourage everyone to spend less time worrying about the 10,000+ steps of natural digestion and more on the stressors of how their copper<>iron got tweaked. However, the following digestive aids can help in the meantime while working on the iron problem.

          While the foods listed below may help, you can also find a few of the digestive supplements discussed below in our searchable Product Directory. We recommend starting slowly and gently with these, trying just one at a time and raising slowly to let the body adjust at its own pace.

          Digestive enzymes

          Digestive enzymes, such as amylase, protease, and lipase are produced and secreted by the GI system to aid in digestion by facilitating the breakdown of larger molecules present in food, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, followed by absorption of nutrients. However, when iron is high and nutrient supply is low, enzymes may be lacking.
          Supplemental enzymes such as Enzymedica Digest Basic, Houston Trienza and others can be utilized to help fill the body’s requirements as needed. They can be especially helpful for those with overactive histamine response and/or food intolerance, by helping to break down food within the digestive tract.

          Betaine HCl

          The stomach requires bicarbonate to make HCL, but if you can’t make bicarbonate (because the pancreas is loaded with iron), you can’t make HCL. Low HCL can increase the load on the liver and gallbladder, and prevent valuable nutrients from being properly broken down and assimilated..
          Supplemental Betaine HCL can help to break down proteins and promote production of additional hydrochloric acid in the stomach to aid digestion. This can take the stress off the other digestive organs as well. Instructions can be found on product labels, and there are many helpful articles to be found online as well.


          Bitters can help prevent common digestive discomforts and help prime your digestive system before meals. They are especially helpful for fat digestion. You can take bitters before, during and/or after meals. Food sources include bitter melon, dandelion greens, cranberries, broccoli, arugula (rocket) etc. Bitter herbs or Swedish bitters can also be used.

          Ox Bile

          Ox bile is often taken along with choline to support fat digestion for those with no gallbladder or sluggish gallbladder.


          There are four different bile salts, and they are all built in the chassis of choline. Lack of choline is one of the greatest nutrient deficiencies in the modern diet. Without it, we develop what is called “fatty liver disease”. We need a healthy copper metabolism to make sufficient bile for fat digestion, as copper is needed to “activate” the B vitamins, including choline.

          Beef liver is the richest food source of choline on the planet, and is our top recommendation for supplying choline in the diet. Egg yolks are also a good source, as are beef, pork, chicken and fish. In the event that additional choline is desired, it can also be obtained from supplements such as Standard Process. Supplementing with choline can help those with no gallbladder or sluggish gallbladder when taken in conjunction with digestive enzymes and/or ox bile.


          Probiotic-rich foods can help to maintain a healthy microbial balance, or restore balance when intestinal flora has been depleted. Examples would include kimchi and other traditionally fermented fruits and vegetables, along with kefir and kombucha. Many also find benefit from probiotic supplements.

          RCP Approved Iron Binders

          General considerations for using iron binders:

          • Iron binders should be taken away from food, medications, and other supplements, including diatomaceous earth. 
          • For those who wish to use more than one iron binder in order to take advantage of the unique benefits of each, the options are to take one in the a.m. and one p.m., or take on alternate days.
          • It is recommended to utilize iron binders under the guidance of an Root Cause Protocol consultant in order to monitor their impact on iron and other minerals over time.
          • Caution: Please check with your medical practitioner for guidance before considering this step.  Iron binders should not be used while pregnant or breastfeeding, as no research has been done on whether the resulting toxins may be transferred to the baby. We also don’t want to interfere with any nutrient downloads to the fetus during this time. 

          Apolactoferrin is a member of the transferrin family of proteins, and occurs naturally in mammalian colostrum. It has important immunological properties, as well as antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic and anti-inflammatory benefits. It also regulates iron absorption in the intestines by binding to free-floating ferrous iron, and works with ceruloplasmin to sequester iron from pathogens. The “Apo” (iron-free) form is recommended. Colostrum may also be used in lieu of apolactoferrin. Lactoferrin may sometimes be suggested for use during pregnancy, and should be discussed with your practitioner beforehand.


          iDetox is a supplement created by an RCPC specifically for those who cannot or do not wish to donate blood. It is a combination of nutrients designed to work together to bind the excess, unbound iron and remove it from the body while helping to bring balance to the immune system and providing cellular protection to the body. Instructions are detailed on the product label. Please note the General considerations for using iron binders, above. Product information can be found in our Vendor Directory


          IP6 (aka inositol hexaphosphate or phytic acid) is an indigestible compound extracted from rice bran with well-documented iron binding abilities. Rice bran on its own may also contribute to this function; however, IP6 is found to be ultimately more effective. Our interest in stabilized rice bran is mainly as a good source of B vitamins, while IP6 contributes more towards iron binding.


          Where to start: Start with a small amount taken away from food (at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after) with plenty of fluids, and increase slowly.

          Dosage:  Check dosage instructions on bottles; varies by brand.

          Recommended brands include IP6 Gold, Cell Forte IP6, Jarrow, Source Naturals

          Cautions for IP6: 

          • Taking occasional breaks is suggested but not required. Listen to your body for guidance. 
          • There may be mild die-off symptoms for some; therefore, IP6 should be started with a small amount and raised slowly to a comfortable dose. 
          • IP6 should not be used while pregnant or breastfeeding, as no research has been done on whether the resulting toxins may be transferred to the baby. We also don’t want to interfere with any nutrient downloads to the fetus during this time.

          *For more on IP6, see Iron Toxicity Post #49: IP-6 Offers a Compelling Solution to Iron Overload

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