Blog: Vitamins, Minerals, Deficiencies
by meetmaria

Copper Benefits, Dosage, Deficiency, Sources

Copper is required for absorption of iron. It is good for the bones, and regulates sugar. Tiny amounts of copper are necessary for the formation of hemoglobin.

Date:   11/10/2006 4:41:48 AM   ( 16 y ) ... viewed 3517 times

The first evidence to show copper as an essential element for the formation of hemoglobin was studied by E.B. Hart in 1928.

Dietary Sources: Copper is found in fresh and dried fruit, green and leafy vegetables. It is available in liver, kidney, shellfish, and dried legumes. Milk is poor in copper. Copper is widely distributed in nature. Soft water has more copper than the reservoir water. Even poor diets provide enough for human needs.

Functions in the Body: It is required for absorption of iron. It is good for the bones, and regulates sugar. Tiny amounts of copper are necessary for the formation of hemoglobin. In normal serum, a copper-containing globulin ceruloplasmin, is found to occur. It catalyses the oxidation of the ferrous ion to ferric ion, and thereby enables iron to be trapped by transferring, the protein carrying iron in the body. It is then transported to tissues for the synthesis of iron-containing compounds, mainly hemoglobin. There are various copper benefits to our health and life.

It also forms and integral part of certain enzymes likes tyrosinase, uricase, oxidase, cytochrome etc. In copper deficiency the marrow of red bones markedly decreased in cytochrome oxidase. It makes an amino acid-tyrosine, useable, which works for pigmentation in hair and skin. It is also essential for utilization of vitamin C.

Copper is mostly absorbed at the level of the duodenum in the intestine. Approximately 32% of copper in the diet is absorbed and excess gets excreted in the bile. The amount of copper in are adult body is estimated to be between 100-150 mg. Liver is the main store. Minute amount (0.1-0.5 mg) is present in blood. The average serum copper levels are higher in adult females than in males. It further increases significantly in women during pregnancy and when on oral pills. Copper content of the brain and liver of foetus and infant is such greater than that of an adult to prevent deficiency in the sucking period.

In human red blood corpuscles, a copper-containing protein erythrocuprein is present, but its function is not clearly known.

Copper strengthens the muscular system and is thus believed help in treating arthritis. People drink water kept in copper vessels and also wear copper ring or bracelet to get relief from this disease.

Deficiency Indicators: Either the deficiency or excess of Copper is rare. Hypocupremia occurs in patients with nephrosis, Wilson’s disease, and protein energy malnutrition and in infants fed for long periods exclusively on cow’s milk. Wilson’s disease is due to poor copper metabolism resulting in fall in plasma ceruloplasmin and increase in copper content of brain and liver leading to neurological disturbances and hepatic damage. The abnormality caused by copper deficiency is Neutropenia.

Hypercupremia reflecting excessive intake may result from eating food prepared in copper utensils, or due to acute and chronic infections like leukemia, severe anaemia, myocardial infarction and hyperthyroidism.

Normochromic microcytic anaemia occurs during copper deficiency which causes failure in proper absorption of iron. The cure lies in administering Copper and Iron together in the ratio of 1:100.

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