Complete Information on Copper Deficiency

By: Juliet Cohen

Copper is essential in the proper development of the central nervous system, correct bone growth, and hair pigmentation. Copper-deficient goats have difficulty conceiving kids and, if bred, abortions are not uncommon. Copper deficiency can be the result of low levels of the mineral in the soil and in forages raised on the soil; this is primary copper deficiency. Copper deficiency can cause a syndrome of anemia or pancytopenia and a neurodegeneration in humans or other mammals. Cases of human anemia caused by copper deficiency are rare. It is affected persons develop progressive spasticity, ataxia, and a neuropathy.

This may be accompanied by anemia as well. Copper deficiency in ruminants can be caused by copper-poor grazing lands or copper-poor feed. In humans, copper deficiency can occur through copper-deficient parenteral nutrition or as a result of gastric bypass surgery. Copper deficiency in ruminants can be caused by copper-poor grazing lands or copper-poor feed. In humans, copper deficiency can occur through copper-deficient parenteral nutrition or as a result of gastric bypass surgery. Copper deficiency results in several abnormalities of the immune system, such as reduced cellular immune response.

Reduced activity of white blood cells, chronic inflammation, and, possibly, reduced thymus hormone production, all of which contribute to an increased infection rate. The recommended daily intake of elemental copper for an adult is 0.9 mg daily and typical American diets may be deficient in copper. Zinc competes with copper for absorption by the gut. Chronic excessive zinc consumption, such as may occur in those who overuse denture adhesive compounds, can cause copper deficiency (and is hence used to treat excessive copper levels, as in Wilson's disease).

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