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Does Copper Toxicity Cause Zinc & Iron Deficiency?

By Sarka-Jonae Miller

Copper toxicity is a condition where you have too much copper in your body. Eating too much food containing copper or absorbing too much copper is how you get copper toxicity. An example is consuming an acidic beverage or food that had prolonged contact with a copper container. Consumption of zinc may also contribute to copper toxicity. Too much copper may cause an iron deficiency, which can then lead to anemia.

Zinc Deficiency

A zinc deficiency can actually cause copper toxicity, not the other way around. Zinc is considered a primary antagonist to copper. The two minerals balance each other out in your body. When you have too little zinc, copper often accumulates in various storage organs in your body. According to the Eck Institute of Applied Nutrition and Bioenergetics, zinc deficiencies are common in Americans. This also means that most people have too much copper.

Causes of Zinc Deficiency

A zinc deficiency causes a variety of mainly physical symptoms. Hair loss, diarrhea, skin and eye conditions, loss of appetite, impotence, weight loss, delayed healing and taste changes are some of the common physical problems. A deficiency can also cause growth retardation, a delay in sexual maturation and mental lethargy. Not eating enough zinc can cause a deficiency. Other causes include stress and diet. Stress makes the body excrete zinc. Vegetarians generally eat less zinc. A high carbohydrate and sugar diet lowers zinc levels.

Iron Deficiency and Copper Toxicity

Your body needs copper to utilize iron. It helps convert iron from its ferric form to a ferrous form, which is necessary for the body to utilize this mineral. However, having a high copper-to-molydenum ratio can contribute to iron deficiency anemia. Molydenum is a nutrient used to make enzymes. Iron deficiency anemia is a common form of anemia and is caused by an insufficient amount of iron in your body. High copper levels may also cause a manganese deficiency, which may also lead to anemia.

Iron Deficiency Anemia

The lack of enough healthy red blood cells results in anemia. Iron deficiency anemia due to a lack of iron also results in a lack of hemoglobin. Your body needs iron to make hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that allows them to carry oxygen throughout the body. Fatigue and shortness of breath are common if you are anemic because of the lack of oxygen. Pale skin, headaches, an inflamed or sore tongue, dizziness, brittle nails, loss of appetite and cold feet and hands are other symptoms of iron deficiency anemia. You may also experience atypical cravings for things like dirt, or foods with nonnutritive substances like ice or starch.

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