Copper deficiency

Symptoms of copper deficiency in babies include failure to thrive, pale skin, anemia, diarrhea, lack of pigment in hair and skin, and prominent dilated veins. In adults, symptoms include anemia, water retention, weakness of blood vessel walls, irritability, brittle bones, hair depigmentation, poor hair texture and loss of sense of taste.

Children at risk of copper deficiency include those with Menkes' syndrome, a rare disorder which means they are unable to absorb copper. Malnourished, premature infants and those who have iron deficiency anemia are also at risk. Milk, in general, is low in copper; although absorption from breast milk is more efficient than that from cow's milk and formula.

Copper deficiencyThose who eat large amounts of phytates which bind copper in the gut, those whose diets are highly refined, those who have prolonged diarrhea or those with high intakes of zinc, cadmium, fluoride or molybdenum may be at risk of deficiency.

Immune system

Copper deficiency can lead to reduced resistance to infection as white blood cell activity and cellular immune responses are reduced. The ratio of zinc to copper may also affect immune system effectiveness. Susceptibility to disease seems to increase when copper intake is high and zinc intake is low.

Nervous system

Copper deficiency can impair the function of the nervous system. This impairment causes poor concentration, numbness and tingling, and a variety of nervous system disorders.

Heart disease

A deficiency of copper may contribute to heart disease. Copper deficiencies have been associated with poor heart muscle, a drop in beneficial HDL cholesterol and an increase in harmful LDL cholesterol. In animals, copper intake has also been associated with weakening of heart connective tissue and rupture of blood vessels. Alterations in blood clotting mechanism and the muscular activity of blood vessels may also occur. The ratio of zinc to copper may be important in the regulation of blood cholesterol.

Collagen defects

Copper deficiency leads to poor collagen formation, the protein component of connective tissue which may result in bone deformities, damaged blood vessels, reduced resiliency of skin and other internal and external linings of the body.

Other problems

Copper intakes may be low in rheumatoid arthritis sufferers and may contribute to the incidence of the disease.2 Copper deficiency may also be involved in high blood pressure.

 
 
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Other Minerals:

Boron
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Copper
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