Copper is a heavy metal and an essential trace mineral* in our body which supports functions like metabolising iron, forming enzymes that produce energy, building connective tissues, developing new blood vessels, balancing hormones that make nerve cells and much more. Half of the copper content in the body is contained in the skeleton and muscles, a further 10% is in the liver with significant amounts in brain, kidney and heart.
Babies have liver copper concentrations ten times more than in adult livers!
This acts as a store as milk is not a rich source of this trace mineral.
*(‘essential trace mineral’ means we only need very small amounts of them)
Copper is normally bonded to the proteins in the body, which is healthy. When it doesn’t bind to your proteins, it is known as unbound, or free, which can be unhealthy or even toxic.
Many plant and animal food sources naturally contain copper, but the human body only stores about 50-120 milligrams of the substance. The excess is excreted in bile and digestive fluid (produced by liver). A doctor can check the levels of copper in your blood and typical copper concentration range from 63,5 – 158,9 micrograms per decilitre of blood.
According to National Institutes of Health (NIH), adults should not consume more than 10mg of copper per day.
Copper deficiency can happen too and it is called Menkes disease.
Inherited copper toxicity causes Wilson’s disease.
COPPER POISONING ISSUE
People rarely develop copper toxicity, but with the combination of potentially contaminated water, food and air. If our tap water runs through copper pipes, it will inevitably absorb some copper particles.
Copper rich foods are animal meats and organ meats, shellfish, grains, dairy, seeds, legumes, tofu, mushrooms and some vegetables (spinach, asparagus, tomatoes).
On average a person will eat approx 1mg of copper a day.
So when does the poisoning occur?
Copper IUD’s can be the cause for someone to display copper poisoning because this little device, inserted into female uterus, is kept there for years, which means 24 hrs exposure.
This device triggers inflammation in the uterus, which kills sperm and eggs.
The inflammation alone is rather alarming.
What symptoms should I be aware of?
Stomach pains, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, blue or green coloured stool or dark sticky stool containing blood.
Headaches, dizziness, fever or chills, aching muscles (very much flu symptoms!).
Extreme thirst, tachycardia or abnormally fast heart rate, changes in taste that can lead to decreased appetite or anorexia.
But physical symptoms are not the part of us that can be affected.
Mental/emotional symptoms include sudden changes in mood, depression or anxiety, feeling irritable or overexcited, difficulty focusing.
Copper toxicity can have severe health effects, such as kidney failure, heart failure, brain damage, loss of red blood cells and liver disease.
If you are using copper IUD and don’t want to change despite its risks, you can look into taking a good Zinc supplement, as Zinc is supposed to prevent copper from accumulating in the liver and GI tract.
Oral contraceptives can also increase copper levels.
It is always good to be aware of pros and cons of anything that we put into our body – be it a natural substance or not. We also have to remember that what effects one person, may not effect the other. In homeopathy we call this SUSCEPTIBILITY.
In other words, one woman with a copper IUD may be just fine with no or very little symptoms, and the next may display array of horrible side effects.
Homeopathy can help alleviate side effects of any medication and bring the body back to balance.