A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Copper Deficiency
I had a question the other day about copper deficiency.
Copper is an essential trace mineral.
Even a mild copper deficiency impairs the ability of your white blood cells to fight infection.
Copper is necessary for absorption of iron in your body, and it’s found mainly in foods containing iron.
If your body doesn’t get enough copper, hemoglobin production decreases and copper-deficiency anemia results.
Many enzyme reactions need copper as well.
Copper is needed as a cross-linking agent for elastin and collagen, as a catalyst for protein reactions, and for oxygen transport.
It’s also used for the metabolism of essential fatty acids.
Copper deficiency can cause symptoms like diarrhea, inefficient usage of iron and protein, and stunted growth.
In babies, the development of nerve, bone, and lung tissue can be impaired, and these body parts may be altered.
Since your body doesn’t make copper, you need to get it through your diet.
Too much copper produces a condition called copper toxicity or copper overload.
For your body to work properly, it needs the correct balance of copper and zinc; an imbalance can lead to thyroid problems.
In addition, low (or high) copper levels may contribute to mental and emotional problems.
Copper deficiency may be a factor in anorexia nervosa, for example.
The daily recommendation for copper is 900 mcg per day for adults 19-70 years of age.
For children, the daily recommendation ranges from 200 mcg for infants under 6 month to 890 for children 14-18 years of age.
A normal healthy diet will provide the right amount of copper for most people.
Copper deficiency is most likely to occur in babies who are fed only cow’s milk (infant formulas are supplemented), people suffering from sprue (a malabsorption syndrome) or kidney disease, and those who regularly take megadoses of zinc.
Long-term use of oral contraceptives can upset the balance of copper in your body, causing either too high or too low copper levels.
Copper levels can be determined through a blood test, urine samples, and hair analysis.
To deal with copper deficiency it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily as it hydrates body and brain cells and flushes toxins (whether thirsty or not!).
*If you suspect you may have a copper deficiency, increase your intake of foods rich in copper, like legumes (especially soybeans), nuts, cocoa, black pepper, seafood, egg yolks, raisins, molasses, avocados, whole grains, oats, and cauliflower. Pregnant women in particular should be sure to eat a well-balanced diet including these foods.
*Copper deficiency can be confirmed through hair analysis. If deficiency is confirmed, followed the supplementation plan below to restore proper mineral balance.
*Copper deficiencies with health consequences are thought to be linked to living in, and eating foods grown in, areas where the soil has been depleted of this mineral. However, deficiency is very rare in the US.
*Patent ductus arteriosus is a congenital defect where the ductus arteriosus, or fetal blood vessel, fails to close properly shortly after birth. It results in blood flow between the pulmonary artery, which goes to the lungs, and the aorta, which brings oxygenated blood to the rest of the heart. In a lab experiment the ductus arteriosus remained open in 100% of offspring of a copper-deficient group of rats, but in only 20% of offspring of a control group not suffering from copper deficiency. This study shows the importance of taking a multivitamin when you’re pregnant.
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