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Copper Deficiency

Copper is a critical component in the human body. The majority of the mineral is located in the bones, liver, and muscles, with trace quantities in every tissue within the body. The liver flushes the trace element into bile to rid the body of excess amounts. It is important to understand why copper is so important, the causes and symptoms of copper deficiency, and the treatments for copper deficiency.

Why copper is so important

Copper can be found in many enzymes, including the enzymes that are responsible for energy production and antioxidant action. Antioxidants are important because they help protect the cells against damage from free radicals, which are reactive by-products of routine cell activity. This trace element is also important for the formation of bone, red blood cells, and connective tissue, which holds organs and other tissues together.

The causes and symptoms of copper deficiency

Copper deficiency is extremely rare among healthy people. This neurological and hematological condition is most common in infants who are premature, have ongoing diarrhea, and are recovering from substantial lack of nutrition. Some male infants inherit Menkes syndrome, a genetic abnormality that brings about copper deficiency. The most common causes of this type of deficiency in adults include weight loss, bariatric surgery, and zinc overdose, which decreases absorption of the element. Disorders that compromise nutrient absorption, like cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, tropical sprue, and Crohn's disease, can also cause a copper deficiency. Copper deficiency symptoms include anemia, fatigue, and low white blood cell count. In some instances, nerve damage occurs or osteoporosis develops from a copper deficiency. Nerve damage can bring about tingling and loss of sensation in the hands and feet, muscle weakness, impaired coordination, mild depression, irritability, and confusion. Menkes syndrome causes significant comprehension and thought process issues, vomiting, and diarrhea. The hair becomes steely, sparse, or kinky, and the skin lacks pigment. Sometimes the arteries become fragile, in some cases even rupturing, and the bones become weak and deformed.

Treatments for copper deficiency

If you suspect that you have a copper deficiency, consult with your doctor. Your doctor will review your symptoms and order the appropriate tests to assess your levels of the mineral, as well as your ceruloplasmin levels. It is common for a liver biopsy to be ordered as well in order to confirm the deficiency diagnosis. The earlier you can get a diagnosis and start treatment, the more likely it is that you can reverse the deficiency. The treatment for a copper deficiency will vary, depending on the cause of the deficiency. Your doctor will prescribe proper treatment and order a supplement or injection. For infants with Menkes syndrome, the copper supplement is injected subcutaneously or under the skin. We have all of the products that you need to lead a healthy lifestyle. If you would like more information, call us today at (806) 640-2090. You can Contact Us by email by filling out our contact form.  Get started today to make a better future tomorrow.

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