Copper overdose, Toxic effects of excess intake

Toxicity of copper is thought to be fairly rare but high concentrations (daily intakes of 200 mg and over) can cause effects such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, muscle pains, heart problems, immune suppression and abnormal mental states. The lethal dose for copper may be as low as 3.5 g. Imbalance in the copper to zinc ratio may be an important factor in copper toxicity.

Patients with ulcerative colitis may accumulate copper in the tissues and the excess of copper may aggravate the disease. High copper levels may also be a risk factor for heart disease.

A study done in 1998 in Wisconsin suggests that high levels of copper in the water supply may increase the rate of gastrointestinal upsets. The researchers assessed copper levels in several homes with new water distribution systems. Their findings suggested that copper-contaminated drinking water was a common cause of nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and headaches in areas where water supplies are naturally corrosive.

Copper overdoseWilson's disease

Wilson's disease is a rare genetic disorder affecting one in 30,000 people, in which the liver is unable to remove copper from the body. Excessive amounts of copper accumulate, leading to symptoms of liver disease and loss of mental function. Drugs to remove excess copper, and zinc to promote excretion of copper, are used to treat Wilson's disease.

 
 
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