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The amount of copper in an adult body is estimated to be between 100-150mg. Copper is widely distributed in nature. Even poor diets provide enough copper for human needs. Deficiency of excess of this element is rare. Hypocupraemia occurs in patients with nephrosis, Wilson’s disease and protein energy malnutrition and in infants fed for long periods exclusively on cow’s milk. Neutropenia is the best-documented abnormality of copper deficiency. Hypercupremia may reflect excessive intake, which may result from eating food prepared in copper cooking vessels, or it may be associated with several acute and chronic infections (leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, severe anemia, hemochromatosis, myocardial infarction and hyperthyroidism.

Liver is the main store of copper. Minute amount is present in the blood. In normal serum, a copper containing globulin ceruloplasmin has been found to occur. Copper content of the brain and liver of fetus and infants is much greater that that of adult. This high storage is useful to prevent deficiency in the suckling period as found in the case of iron.

Copper acts as a catalyst in the formation of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying blood component. The highest concentrations in the body tissue are found in the liver and certain areas of the central nervous system, particularly the brain. Copper is stored in the liver and excreted in bile salts.

Minerals including copper must be bound to a protein to be usable. Biounavailable means the mineral is present, but in a form that is unsuitable for the body.

Copper comes in two forms, copper gluconate and copper sulfate. Copper is a trace element that is found in virtually every cell of the human body. It is a primary element in the production of melanin in the human body. Melanin is responsible for pigmentation in the eyes, hair and skin.

Copper is active in many ways in the human body. It is a powerful antioxidant, which acts on the body to remove free radicals and help prevent cell structure damage. It is also thought to have anticarcinogenic properties, and unlike the copper bracelets sold as an arthritis cure, copper inside the body can help to alleviate some arthritis pain.

In the human body, copper assists the utilization of iron. The copper balance is the body can be upset by extremely high intakes of high fiber diets, iron or vitamin C, all of which interfere with the way the body metabolizes the copper. Prolonged intake of zinc, which is at a ratio greater than ten to one of intake of copper, can also interfere with absorption and metabolism in the body.

Sources of copper

Food sources of copper includes whole grain cereals, Legumes, Oysters, Organ meats, Cherries, Dark chocolate, Fruits, Leafy green vegetables, Nuts, Poultry, Prunes, soybeans, Tofu, Organ meats, Shellfish, Nuts, legumes.

Benefits of copper

Helps oxidize glucose and release energy. Helps the body absorb iron. Aids the thyroid gland in balancing and secreting hormones. Carries oxygen in the blood stream. Supplies the body’s tissues with oxygen Increases the body’s energy levels. Aids in nerve and brain function. Needed for the functioning of the amino acid, tyrosine. Essential for making red blood cells. Helps the body absorb iron. Helps tyrosine work as a pigment factor Helps supply oxygen to the brain. Enzyme component Necessary for the synthesis of the hormone adrenaline. Associated with intestinal enzyme activity. Acts as a brain stimulant Copper antagonizes manganese ions. Copper level in the body parallels estrogen levels. Copper is a natural yeast fighter Copper improves epinephrine, nor epinephrine and dopamine. Low copper causes the cells to suffocate and lack oxygen.

Deficiency symptoms of copper

Deficiency of copper leads to depletion of oxygen in the cells, Lowered levels of HDL cholesterol, Skin problems, Swollen ankles, Anemia, low copper levels linked to low enkephalins produced in the brain.

Other symptoms of copper deficiency include auditory hallucinations, Depression, Binge eaters have been found to have lower levels.

Symptoms of high intake

High intake of copper may lead to headaches, Hypoglycemia, Increased heart rate, and nausea.

Copper deposits in the brain and liver, Damage to the kidneys, Inhibit urine production, causes anemia, Causes hair loss in women.

High copper interferes with zinc, which is needed to manufacture digestive enzymes. Many high copper people dislike protein and are drawn to high-carbohydrate diets because they have difficulty digesting protein foods.

Excessive copper in children is associated with hyperactive behavior, learning disorders such as dyslexia, ADD and infections such as ear.

Psychological symptoms of high copper leads to autism type symptoms such as depression, Hallucinations, Hyperactivity, Insomnia, Paranoia, Personality changes, Psychosis, Schizophrenic type symptoms, Over stimulation, Disperception of the senses, time, body, self and others. Produces hypomanic states.

Daily requirement

Recommended intakes of copper vary, but the common agreement among professionals seems to be between 2 to 3 milligrams daily, most of which is obtained from dietary sources. Of course, before starting any form of supplementation one should consult medical practitioner.

Some important points

Menkes’ syndrome is a hereditary disorder causing copper deficiency.

Symptoms: kinky hair, mental retardation, and low copper level in the blood and a failure to synthesize the enzymes that require copper.

Wilson’s Disease is a condition that causes copper to accumulate in the tissues and cause extensive damage. Affects 1 in 30,000 people. The liver does not secrete copper into the blood or excrete copper into the bile. Low blood levels, high in the brain, eyes and liver causes cirrhosis. First symptoms: brain damage, tremors, headaches, inability to speak, in coordination and psychosis