Copper (Cu)

Copper and zinc absorption is closely related, and although copper is also needed in relatively small amounts, some discussions are under way on the optimum need of this mineral. If large amounts of copper are present, then zinc and vitamin C is reduced in the body, and vice versa.

Copper is necessary for the absorption & utilization of Iron; helps oxidize Vitamin C and works with Vitamin C to form Elastin, a chief component of the Elastin muscle fibers throughout the body; aids in the formation of red blood cells; helps proper bone formation & maintenance.

Copper is required in the formation of hemoglobin, red blood cells as well as bones, while it helps with the formation of elastin as well as collagen - making it necessary for wound healing. A lack of copper may also lead to increased blood fat levels. It is also necessary for the manufacture of the neurotransmitter noradrenaline as well as for the pigmentation of your hair.

Copper can be stored in the body, and daily presence in the diet is therefore not necessary. If copper is deficient in the body, iron is also normally in short supply, leading to anemia as well as the likelihood for infections, osteoporosis, thinning of bones, thyroid gland dysfunction, heart disease as well as nervous system problems. Signs of deficiency: Anemia with weakness, labored breathing, skin sores, puffiness or swelling around ankles and wrists, skin problems including eczema, frequent infections, fatigue, loss of bone mass, osteoporosis, chronic deficiencies may contribute to higher cancer rate, increased cell damage, aging, and shorter life span. Excess calcium, iron, zinc, lead, silver, molybdenum and sulfur reduce copper utilization.

Copper toxicity's can result in serious mental and physical illness, schizophrenia, autism, hypertension, stuttering, depression, insomnia, toxemia, hyperactivity, hypoglycemia, and senility. High levels of copper have been detected in victims of malignancies, tumors of digestive system, lung and breast, Hodgkin's disease, systemic cancers like leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, brown facial spots, brown nipples, headaches, fatigue, constipation, PMS, schizophrenia. Toxic levels will lead to diarrhea, vomiting, liver damage as well as discoloration of the skin and hair, while mild excesses will result in fatigue, irritability, depression and loss of concentration and learning disabilities. Children getting too much copper may have hyperactive tendencies.

The absorption of large amounts of vitamin C, zinc can negatively influence the level of copper in the body, while large amounts of fructose can make a copper deficiency worse.

Copper is best absorbed and utilized in the body when cobalt, iron, zinc and folic acid is available. Should extra zinc supplements be taken, your need for copper may be increased. Be careful of having any liquids stored in copper containers, as the liquid could have absorbed too much of the copper.

Copper is made available from a variety of foods, such as whole grains, liver, molasses, and nuts, but water from copper pipes will also carry copper in it, and copper cooking utensils will also add more copper to be ingested.