Copper is an essential mineral that the human body requires to perform many processes. Copper deficiency, also known as hypocupremia, can lead to a variety of symptoms and it can hurt your health. Copper deficiency can affect your eyes, skin, hair, and many other parts of your body.
Keep reading to learn more about copper deficiency, its causes, symptoms, and how to get more copper in your diet.
Copper plays an important role in your health. According to Oregon State University, several enzymes known as “cuproenzymes” depend on copper to be able to function properly. These enzymes regulate different physiologic and metabolic pathways in your body, including:
We typically get copper from our diet. Most copper in the human body is stored in the liver, muscle, and bone. However, traces of copper can be found in other parts of the body.
Copper deficiency or hypocupremia is very rare in healthy people, according to theMSD Manuals. When it happens, it can be hereditary or acquired later on in life. Copper deficiency is more common among babies and infants, especially those who:
Copper deficiency is very rare in adults, but it can be the result of:
Having signs of copper deficiency is rare, since most healthy adults get enough copper from their daily diet. The symptoms of copper deficiency can include:
If left untreated, copper deficiency can lead to long-term health complications such as:
Just like you can have low copper levels, you can also suffer from copper toxicity.
According to StatPearls, copper toxicity is often the result of accidental intake, contaminated water sources, cooking acidic foods in uncoated copper pans, and using topical creams that contain copper.
The symptoms of copper toxicity can include:
You should always seek medical advice if you think you have copper deficiency or toxicity.
The recommended dietary allowance of copper for healthy adults is approximately 900 mcg per day. Pregnant or breastfeeding women have slightly higher requirements, and they should have around 1,300 mcg of copper each day.
The human body can only store small amounts of copper; however, a healthy and balanced diet typically provides enough copper to meet your requirements. Copper is absorbed in the intestine from the foods you eat, and excess copper is excreted through bile and urine.
Since copper benefits the human body by allowing certain enzymes to work properly, it’s important to get enough copper from your diet. Fortunately, there are many foods that contain plenty of copper. According to the National Institutes of Health, sources of dietary copper include:
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Copper - lpi.oregonstate.edu
Copper Deficiency - msdmanuals.com
Copper - ods.od.nih.gov
Copper Toxicity - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov