What is Root Cause Protocol?
Root Cause Protocol (RCP) is a powerful wellness tool developed by health coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist, Morley Robbins. RCP focuses on resolving inflammatory issues and provides guidance on healthy eating, mineral balance, toxin exposure and supplement use.
The goal of RCP is to address inflammatory health issues by rebalancing essential trace minerals in the body. These include magnesium, iron and copper - all of which we need in very small amounts, and all of which are indispensable for life. Our modern food system makes it difficult to maintain good levels of trace minerals in our diet, in part because of soil depletion and pesticide-use on our crops. Unfortunately having an excess of trace minerals can also lead to health issues. One of the key trace minerals which RCP looks to restore in the body is copper.
Why do we need Copper?
Copper is a much underrated micronutrient, especially considering it is an essential mineral which we must get from dietary sources. Copper is required for making hemoglobin and for proper organ function(1), and is mainly found in the liver, muscle and bones.
Healthy adults have around 2 mg of copper per kilogram of body weight(2). This tiny amount is essential for energy production, repairing connective tissue and maintaining bone, heart and brain health. The metabolic importance of copper can not be overstated. For this reason its transport and storage is tightly regulated in the body to ensure we have a constant supply(3). Oysters and shellfish, green leafy vegetables, cocoa and organ meats including kidneys and liver are all natural dietary sources of copper.
What about Iron and magnesium?
Magnesium is required for over 300 metabolic processes in the body including muscle function, energy (ATP) production, DNA synthesis, insulin metabolism and regulating blood pressure. See our blog on magnesium to find out more about why we need magnesium, as well as the best magnesium-rich foods to include in your diet.
Iron is needed to make hemoglobin and connective tissue for healthy immune function. Most of us should be able to get enough iron from a healthy diet. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, which means you have insufficient hemoglobin. However iron overload can also be a serious issue, which Chris Kresser discussed during a recent talk called “Iron Behaving Badly”.
How does the Root Cause Protocol help with mineral rebalancing?
RCP focuses on removing inflammatory foods and eating a diet rich in nutrients which support the balance of minerals in your body. Maintaining adequate levels of copper, iron and magnesium in the body is a delicate dance, and in some areas supplementation or working to reduce mineral levels is recommended for those on RCP. Central to this process and a key component of maintaining homeostasis and transporting trace minerals in the blood is ceruloplasmin.
What is Ceruloplasmin?
Ceruloplasmin is the major copper-carrying protein in our blood. As well as being important to the cellular transport of copper, studies in animal models have shown that ceruloplasmin is required for distribution of iron around the body(4). RCP focuses on a diet and supplementation regime which supports healthy levels of ceruloplasmin.
Which foods should you eat when following RCP?
Firstly, the RCP diet removes inflammatory foods from your diet including gluten, grains, lectins, trans fats and sugar. Root Cause Protocol recommends an ancestral diet, which we suggest should focus on nutrient-dense real foods which are high in antioxidants and low in toxins. This includes plenty of fresh vegetables, wild caught fish and grass-fed or wild meats. Under RCP it is important to supplement with long chain Omega-3 fatty acids (Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil is a good option), as well as B Vitamins, Magnesium, Boron, Taurine and Iodine.
How do I start?
Removing inflammatory foods and environmental toxins and shifting to an ancestral diet is a great place to start with RCP. There are more details on what to stop doing and what to start doing on therootcauseprotocol.com.
Some people may find it useful to begin by running tests and blood work, including testing serum levels for copper and other essential trace minerals. A health coach can guide you through the testing and rebalancing process.
Always check with your qualified healthcare practitioner before before making any changes to your diet, supplementation or medication.