10 Troublesome Symptoms of Copper Deficiency (+ How to Correct It)

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Copper deficiency isn’t something you hear a lot about, which can make it hard to detect. In general, copper isn’t talked about as much as iron or zinc is. You might not even know what copper is or what role it plays in the body. Despite only being needed in small amounts, a copper deficiency can cause significant problems if left untreated. Some symptoms are universal, which means that they can easily be mistaken for other conditions. Luckily, we’ve put together a list of ten problematic symptoms of copper deficiency and how to treat it.

What is Copper?

Copper is a mineral that is needed to help maintain skeletal, nerve and bone health. As the third most prevalent mineral in the body, copper is an essential mineral, which means that it cannot be made in the body and must be obtained through food sources. Copper is responsible for assisting in the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin. It’s also needed to help the body properly utilize oxygen and iron in the blood. Troublesome Symptoms of Copper Deficiency How to Correct It

Additionally, you need copper to maintain a properly functioning metabolism, to maintain healthy connective tissues, and to effectively carry out reactions that involve enzymes.

Many people use copper as a natural way to treat arthritis pain. That’s because it is needed to maintain the cells in almost every part of your body’s tissues, which can be used to relieve joint and muscle pain. Copper can also be used to prevent age-related disorders, balance hormones, and keep your energy levels up.

Copper Deficiency Symptoms

Because copper has so many responsibilities, you can see how a deficiency would be a big deal. Here are some symptoms to be aware of.

1. Poor Brain Function

Research shows that copper is needed to keep your brain healthy by impacting specific pathways that involve galactose and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters that help us focus, keep our energy levels up, and allow us to remain positive and in a good mood. Low copper levels can result in problems concentrating, depression, a poor attitude, and more.

Additionally, copper is needed to help the body utilized antioxidants, such as vitamin C, tyrosinase, ascorbate oxidase, and superoxide dismutase, which are needed to help slow down the age-related decline in the brain. Otherwise, a build-up of free radicals in the brain may result in neurodegenerative diseases.

2. FatigueFatigue Troublesome Symptoms of Copper Deficiency How to Correct It

One of the easiest ways to detect a copper deficiency is by checking in with your energy levels. Unfortunately, fatigue is a pretty general symptom, so this one is easy to overlook. Research shows that copper is needed to help you maintain healthy energy levels because it assists with ATP production. So when you’re not getting enough copper, it’s easy to feel tired all the time.

3. Growth and Development Problems

Growth and development problems are more likely to show up in children who have growing minds and bodies. While copper deficiencies are more common in parts of the world that are not as developed, it’s a good idea to have your child checked for a copper deficiency if you suspect that he or she is not growing properly. This is because copper is needed to help transport oxygen throughout the body via red blood cells. So when your copper levels are weak, it can result in your cells, organs, and tissues not getting enough oxygen, which results in a delay in growth and low weight and height. Copper deficiencies can also slow down metabolic activity, which is problematic for children.

4. A Slow Metabolism

If you’re having a hard time keeping the weight off despite a seemingly healthy diet and exercise program, then it could be due to a lack of copper. This is because copper plays a role in as many as 50 different enzyme reactions within the body, including your metabolism. As mentioned above, copper is needed to help synthesize ATP, which is your body’s source of energy. When you don’t have enough ATP, it can result in low energy and a slow metabolism that makes it hard to keep weight off.

5. Hormone Imbalances

Copper works with other minerals such as potassium, calcium, and zinc to support proper thyroid function. When you don’t get enough copper, it can throw your thyroid activity out of whack, which results in either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Most people tend to suffer from hypothyroidism, which occurs when your body doesn’t make enough hormones. Research shows that trace minerals must work together to balance each other. When one of these trace minerals is off, it’s easy to cause hormonal changes. As a result, you might experience fatigue, weight gain, and heavier periods than usual. Other symptoms may include sleeping problems, a change in body temperature or appetite, and skin problems.

6. Anemia

Anemia Troublesome Symptoms of Copper Deficiency How to Correct It

Anemia occurs when you have low levels of iron in your blood. This might seem like it has nothing to do with copper, but as explained above the two minerals work together to balance each other. Both iron and copper are needed to produce hemoglobin and red blood cells. Research shows that when you have a copper deficiency, it causes your iron levels to fall short, too. This results in iron deficient anemia. Common symptoms include muscle pains, digestive disorders, impaired brain function and fatigue.

A good way to tell if your iron levels are low is to have blood work done. In addition to having you eat more iron, your doctor may also suggest taking a copper supplement as well. Research shows that copper is needed to help absorb iron into the intestinal tract. It also helps iron to be released into the liver, which is where most of your levels are stored. So taking a copper supplement is like insurance for your iron levels.

7. Bruising Easily

People who have lower levels of copper are more likely to bruise due to a reduced amount of red blood cells and hemoglobin in their blood. You might notice that you wake up with a terrible bruise that you have no memory of getting, or the slightest contact with another person leaves you looking black and blue. Another sign of copper deficiency is being cold all the time. This is also due to the lack of production of red blood cells and hemoglobin. Both symptoms are easily treatable by taking a copper and iron supplement, but make sure you talk to your doctor first before starting on one.

P.S. Take a look at the 5 veggies that boost female metabolism and burn off lower belly fat.

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