Copper

Copper is necessary for iron uptake, and a copper deficiency can result in iron deficiency. Copper deficiency can sometimes be caused by excessive zinc or iron supplementation and will occasionally manifest at the same time as B12 deficiency[1]. However, a 1993 study found Crohn's Disease patients to have higher serum levels than the control group, bringing into question the likelihood of IBD patients developing copper deficiency.[2]

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Symptoms of Copper Deficiency

Tiredness/fatigue
Light headedness
Anemias including leukopenia and neutropenia
Low hemoglobin due to enlarged red blood cells
Myelopathy [3]
Peripheral neuropathy
Optic neuropathy
Difficulty walking
Torso-based tremors
Numbness
Tingling
Reduced reflexes
Vision loss
Impaired sense of smell and taste[4]

Anatomy of Absorption

The primary location of copper absorption in humans is not definitively known but it is thought to take place in the stomach and duodenum. Copper is stored in the liver. Ceruloplasmin (which plays a major part in iron metabolism) carries about 70% of the total copper in human plasma while albumin carries about 15%. Phytlates, fructose, and sucrose can inhibit absorption.

Recommended Daily Intake

In North America, the recommended intake of copper for healthy adult men and women is 900 micrograms/day (0.9 mg/day) with a maximum tolerable intake of 10 mg/day. Safe and acceptable daily intakes have been estimated from adult data and are as follows: 340 micrograms/day (0.34 mg/day) for children of 1–3 years; 440 micrograms/day (0.44 mg/day) for 4–8 years; 700 micrograms/day (0.7 mg/day) for 9–13 years; and 890 micrograms/day (0.89 mg/day) for 14–18 years. [5]

Natural Sources of Copper

Oysters and other shellfish, whole grains, beans, nuts, potatoes, organ meats (kidneys, liver), dark leafy greens, prunes, cocoa, black pepper, and yeast.

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References


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