February 06, 2014


Functions of Copper
  • Copper is an important mineral that helps the body to utilize iron. 
  • It also aids in the production of melanin pigment. 
  • It is required for normal functioning of thyroid gland, maintaining the health of connective tissues, collagen production and formation of red blood cells. 
  • The oxidation of fatty acids is highly dependent on copper concentration. 
  • Copper is also important for red cell production, production of neuroactive chemicals like noradrenaline, encephalins, histamine regulation and Vitamin C regulation.
  • It aids in formation of collagen
  • It also aids in maintaining fertility
Good sources include Cocoa; Liver; Kidney; Oysters; Peas; Raisins. Molluscs and shellfish are rich sources of copper, as are betel leaves, arecanuts and other nuts.

Daily Recommendation
  • For adults 19 years and older: 900 mcg daily
  • For pregnant women: 1,000 mcg daily
  • For breastfeeding women: 1,300 mcg daily
  • Iron deficiency anemia – This results because of low utilization of iron by body.
  • Poor bone and joint function – Copper deficiency results in collagen deficiency. 
  • Cholesterol problem – Copper deficiency may effect in elevated LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and reduced HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels. 
  • Poor immune function – There is involvement of copper in numerous hormonal systems. Its deficiency may severely affect immune system functioning. It can also cause an increased susceptibility to infections.
  • Menke's syndrome, Wilsons Disease, kwashiorkor, Neutropenia
Symptoms include ruptured blood vessels, osteoporosis, loss of pigment in the hair and skin, weakness, fatigue, skin sores, poor thyroid function, and irregular heartbeat.

Prone to deficiency
  • Elderly people
  • Vegetarians, especially ones that don’t eat daily
  • Pregnant women
  • Athletes or people who are involved in heavy physical labour
  • Infants that are fed cow’s milk (which has low copper concentration bound to proteins) or unfortified formula
  • Premature infants, particularly ones who had very low weight at birth
Excessive intake of copper can cause abdominal pain and cramps, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, liver damage, muscle and joint pain, headaches, childhood hyperactivity, depression, insomnia and premenstrual syndrome.

Postpartum depression – During pregnancy, copper concentration increases by double the normal value and after delivery it takes about three months for the concentration in the body to normalise. 

Copper toxicity is most likely to occur in individuals with liver disease due to compromised excretion through bile and hence may suffer the adverse conditions of it

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