You Have to Know These Hidden Signs of COPPER Deficiency
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You may be familiar with copper as the metal used in the wiring of your house. But did you know that your body requires trace amounts of this mineral to carry out essential functions? Now, we aren't telling you to go and start eating your wiring; some foods are actually naturally infused with copper! But why do we need this metal? Can it improve your heart health? What are the signs of copper deficiency? Let’s explore why we need copper.
First off, it helps in metabolism energy. Your body needs fuel to carry out its essential functions; that fuel comes from the food you eat. Whether it’s veggies, fruits, bread, or meat, whatever you eat gets broken down into glucose and released into your bloodstream for absorption. Once in your blood, your cells divide glucose into energy-carrying molecules called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP acts as an energy currency, known as energy metabolism, and it is facilitated by the action of various enzymes and their cofactors. Studies have shown that copper is a cofactor of enzymes involved in energy production called cuproenzymes.
Cuproenzymes act as catalysts and increase the rate of energy production. Copper is excellent in ensuring your body gets enough oxygen. Your body transports oxygen to each cell with the help of red blood cells (RBCs). RBCs contain an iron protein called hemoglobin, which takes oxygen from your lung tissues and distributes it throughout the body. Hemoglobin also absorbs carbon dioxide from your tissues, bringing it back to the lungs, where it leaves the body as you exhale. But what if you experience a sharp drop in hemoglobin levels? Well, your oxygen-carrying capacity will be at a disadvantage, and you could develop anemia. Anemia is caused by low iron levels, which means you are not eating enough iron-rich foods or your body cannot process the already present iron. Studies have shown that copper is an essential factor that helps in iron metabolism and can boost your hemoglobin levels. Want to avoid bone fractures? Copper can help! Researchers suggest that copper is a crucial component of your bone health. Its supplementation is known to increase bone mineral density, which is why it can also prevent the risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition that causes your bones to become weak and brittle. Most people don’t know they have osteoporosis until they break a bone.
It is a silent disorder that hardly ever comes with symptoms. Sometimes, your bones become so fragile that minor falls, lifting weights, regular coughing, and bending can result in fractures. Osteoporosis affects almost 20% of women above the age of 50 globally. This is because, after menopause, bone mineral density takes a severe hit and can stoop to extremely low levels. Copper is an essential mineral for your brain health. Your brain communicates with your body through a network of neurons, the fundamental units of the brain and nervous system. Neurotransmitters play a central role in the communication channels of your body. If damaged, they can pose a severe threat to the functioning of your brain, and you might experience a cognitive decline and face problems in day-to-day activities such as speaking, thinking, and walking.
Also, remembering the details of your day could become a nightmare for some. Thankfully, studies have shown that copper aids in the synthesis of these neurotransmitters and helps you to boost your brain health. It also helps prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Moving on, copper can help improve your cardiac health. Do you know what the primary cause of cardiovascular conditions is? It’s cholesterol levels! The higher the LDL (or low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, the higher your chances of getting a stroke. This is because it leads to the development of plaques and cholesterol build-ups in the inner lining of your arteries that restrict blood flow to your heart. Studies have shown that copper is instrumental in lowering cholesterol levels and enhancing your blood lipid profiles. It also reduces your risk of developing coronary artery disease, which is the narrowing of your coronary arteries due to plaque buildup, and helps boost your heart health.
Let’s move on to who is at a greater risk of copper deficiency. Those with Menkes disease: Menkes syndrome can significantly drop your body's copper levels; it is caused by a defect in the ATP7A gene, which is responsible for providing instructions to make a protein that distributes copper across your body. As a result, your brain and other organs do not get enough copper, as most of it lies idle and unabsorbed in your small intestines, then is flushed out as waste. Menkes disorder is inherited and is characterized by tangled hair, rosy and sagging skin, low body temperature, random seizures, and irritability. Those taking higher doses of zinc supplements: A high zinc intake can interfere with copper absorption, leading to insufficiency. Studies have shown that elevated amounts of zinc from supplements or zinc-containing denture creams can meddle with copper availability, as zinc inhibits copper absorption. A group study reported that even moderately high zinc consumption of 60 mg daily for 10 weeks triggered copper insufficiency in people. What are the symptoms of dropping copper levels?
1. Increased frequency of infections: Copper deficiency can weaken your immune system and expose you to a higher risk of infection or allergies. Have you been affected by frequent colds and flu lately? This could be an indication that you are running low on copper reserves. 2. Weak and brittle bones: Does climbing a few stairs leave you in pain? Is back pain more frequent? Or do minor bumps or accidents result in fractures or broken bones? If you answered yes to any of these, this could signify that you are experiencing a copper deficiency. 3. Depigmentation of the skin: Copper inadequacy can cause your skin to lose color. This usually occurs in patches; your skin might appear whiter in the affected areas. This condition is known as vitiligo. Melanin, a pigment in your body, is responsible for your skin color. The more melanin, the darker the skin tone. When your body faces a decline in its copper reserves, it stops producing enough melanin, which in turn leads to the appearance of white patches on your skin.
4. Your hair is turning white: The melanin responsible for skin color also contributes to the color of your hair. So, if your hair loses its color depth and is turning white, this could indicate a copper insufficiency. 5. You struggle to catch your breath: If walking a few blocks, climbing stairs, lifting, or going on a short run, leaves you panting and gasping for air, this could be anemia’s doing. Copper is vital in producing red blood cells, which supply oxygen throughout your body, and low copper levels can cause anemia. The symptoms for both conditions might overlap. 6. Feeling dizzy: if your mornings feel dizzy and your head seems to spin when you get out of bed, this could be because of copper inadequacy. Low levels of copper can hamper and restrict the oxygen supply to your brain, resulting in the instability you experience in the mornings.
7. Feeling worked up: if your routine seems to be taking a toll on you, and you always feel tired, this could be another crucial sign of copper deficiency. What is the reason behind this? The answer is quite simple, copper-induced anemia. Copper insufficiency can cause a drop in your hemoglobin levels, and a restricted oxygen supply, will leave you feeling exhausted, which can lead to irritability. 8. Change in posture: low copper levels mean a lower bone mineral density. A loss in bone mass can make you slouch a little and neglect a proper posture, leading to chronic back pain or cervical spine issues. Cervical spine pain affects the neck and shoulder region and often varies in intensity.
This condition might get aggravated by using a pillow or sleeping in uncomfortable positions. How can you increase your copper intake? Increasing your copper levels is less complex than you may think. All you have to do is include more copper-rich foods in your diet. An average adult requires 900 micrograms of copper in their daily intake. If you eat meat, then there’s good news for you! You can quickly fulfill most of your copper requirements even with half a serving of organ meats. Take beef liver, for example; it contains approximately 12,500 micrograms of copper per serving which is 13 times what we require. The same goes for oysters; they have almost 5000 mcg of copper per serving, nearly 6 times our average copper needs. Other good sources of copper are shellfish, potatoes, mushrooms, cashew nuts, crab, sunflower seeds, figs, avocados, salmon, yogurt, milk, apples, cereals, chickpeas, tofu, spinach, asparagus, sesame seeds, turkey, and millet. Do you love chocolate?
About one ounce of baking chocolate is just the right fit for you as it contains exactly 900 mcg of copper, equivalent to your daily requirements. Globally, copper deficiency is extremely rare because typical diets, especially in the United States, meet or exceed their daily copper requirements. However, proper nutrition should not be overlooked. You should always ensure an adequate nutrient-rich diet to prevent your body from becoming a host to disease or infection.
News ID : 2522