Copper Deficiency

What is Copper Deficiency?

Copper deficiency is a condition that occurs when there is an inadequate level of copper present in the body. Although most people can obtain enough copper through their diet, certain medical conditions and other lifestyle factors can make it difficult to absorb copper or retain the right amount. Signs and symptoms of copper deficiency can including skin conditions, neurological issues, anemia, problems with growth and weakening of the bones.

What Causes Copper Deficiency?

A few medical conditions have been linked to copper deficiency. These include digestive disorders, such as celiac disease and Crohn’s disease, as well as Hartnup disease, a rare genetic disorder that affects the absorption of certain amino acids. Additionally, excessive intake of zinc can lead to copper deficiency. Certain lifestyle factors, such as vegetarianism, can also lead to copper deficiency due to the lack of copper in plant-based foods.

Signs and Symptoms of Copper Deficiency

Copper deficiency can lead to several signs and symptoms, including:

  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Growth impairment and delayed development
  • Bone weakening
  • Abnormal skin pigmentation
  • Fatigue, irritability, and anorexia
  • Peripheral neuropathy

Diagnosis and Treatment

If copper deficiency is suspected, doctors will typically test the levels of copper in the patient’s blood. A copper deficiency can be treated with oral or intravenous copper supplements, depending on the severity of the deficiency. Patients should consult their doctor to determine the best type of treatment.