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A Self-Help Guide For Natural Remedies

Copper Toxicity

Like other metals, small amounts of copper are essential while exposure to too much copper can be harmful to one's health.  Because the presence of copper is necessary for absorption of iron in the body, copper is usually found in foods containing iron.  if the body does not acquire a sufficient amount of copper, hemoglobin production is decreased and copper deficiency anemia can result.  Various enzyme reactions require copper as well.  The liver and brain contain the largest amounts of copper in the body;  however, other organs will contain smaller amounts.

Because copper deficiencies can produce various symptoms, copper is classified as an essential mineral.  Insufficient amounts of copper can lead to inefficient utilization of iron and protein, diarrhea,and stunted  growth.   Long-term use of oral contraceptives can upset the balance of copper in the body (casing either excessively high or excessively low copper levels) and cause high cholesterol levels.  For the body to work properly, it must maintain the proper balance of copper and zinc; an imbalance can lead to thyroid problems.  In addition, low ( and high) copper levels can be found in those with mental and emotional problems.

A copper deficiency will occur in babies who are fed soy milk; development of nerve, bone, and lung tissue of the baby will be impaired and the structure of these body parts may be altered.  Adults suffering from a copper deficiency will lose protein.  Those suffering from sprue and kidney disease characteristically have a copper deficiency.  Megadoses of zinc can also lead to a copper deficiency.

Copper levels can be determined through blood serum, urine samples, and hair analysis.  Hair analysis gives a very reliable reading.  Normal urine levels collected over a 24-hours period will contain 15 to 40 micrograms of copper.   Those suffering from a copper deficiency should increase their intake of foods rich in copper such as legumes (especially soybeans), nuts, seafood, raisins, molasses, avocados, whole grains, and cauliflower.

Although small amounts of copper  are essential, excess amounts of copper in the body can be toxic.  Too much copper in the system can lead to hemolytic anemia, emotional problems, behavioral disorders, mood swings, depression, nephritis, schizophrenia, excema, sickle cell anemia, and severe damage to the central nervous system.

A popular mineral, copper is found in beer, copper cookware, copper plumbing, insecticides, pasteurized milk, and both city and well water.  This metal can also be found in hair permanents, swimming pools and various foods.

Using oral contraceptives and smoking (tobacco) can cause a rise in the amount of copper found in the blood and may cause hypertension.  Excess serum copper is characteristic of cirrhosis of the liver, pregnancy, anemia, heart attack, infections, leukemia, high blood pressure, mental illness, stuttering, insomnia, hypoproteinemia, and niacin (vitamin B3) deficiency.  Wilson's disease, which can be fatal, is associated with high levels of copper and anemia.

Zinc chelate 50-80 mg daily. A zinc deficiency predisposes one to excessive copper levels.   Zinc and copper levels must be balanced.
Ascorbic acid
2,000-4,000 mg daily in divided doses Bioflavonoids and vitamin C are copper chelators.   Rutin, a by-product of buckwheat and a bioflavonoid, lowers serum copper.   Take 60 mg rutin daily.
Iron chelate As directed on label. May lower serum copper levels
(amino acids)
Take on an empty stomach. Aids in elimination of copper from the body and protects the liver.



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