When researchers studied healthy US Navy Seals to see whether they were deficient in copper, more than a third of them were. Are you copper deficient due to eating too many processed foods or foods from depleted soils?
Are your medications using up too many nutrients? (See the studies, “Regression of copper-deficient heart hypertrophy,” and “Copper reverses cardiomyocytes hypertrophy.”) Some dental adhesives to hold false teeth in place have so much zinc in them that the excess zinc takes out the copper in your body, and you could end up with a deficiency. See, “Denture adhesives can cause zinc overdose, study says.”
Interestingly, researchers in medical schools in the USA have shown help for congestive heart failure by repairing a copper deficiency. How did correcting a copper deficiency in nutrition normalize heart muscle tissue when looked at under a microscope?
(How did they get the tissue from the person in the first place? Or were they working on mouse models?) See the study, “Dietary copper supplementation reverses hypertrophic cardiomyopathy induced by copper repletion in mice.” Just think about it. The big picture is you need a balance of copper, zinc, magnesium, chromium, and other minerals. If a study worked on mice or rats, can it be applied to humans?
If you look at heart problems, doctors see lower levels of copper and other nutrients in the hearts when tissue is examined. The blood test for copper deficiency would test RBC (red blood cell or erythrocyte) copper. Before you rush for any chelated copper supplements with food, you need to balance all your minerals and all your nutrients.
According to the Nutrition Fact Sheet: Copper from Northwestern University, Nutrition, approximately one third of the total body pool of copper is localized in skeletal muscle. Another third is found in brain and liver. The remaining amount of total body copper is found in bone and other tissues. Since copper is excreted primarily in the bile, diseases of the liver and gall bladder may affect copper balance.
Copper absorption is regulated by changes in the total body pool
The increase in absorptive efficiency observed when total body copper decreases is mediated by an intestinal copper-binding protein that is also involved with mucosal storage of zinc. Consequently, high dose zinc supplements (150 mg/day) can dramatically contribute to copper deficiency by decreasing the amount of protein available to bind copper. High dose vitamin C supplements (1500 mg/day) may also decrease copper absorption because the reduced form of the mineral, which is increased in the presence of vitamin C, is less well-absorbed than the oxidized form.
Although severe copper deficiency is rarely observed, marginal copper status is not uncommon. High dose supplements of zinc, vitamin C, and iron are contributing causes of marginal copper deficiency. Microcytic hypochromic anemia in the presence of normal serum ferritin is the primary clinical feature of marginal copper deficiency.
This anemia, which is hematologically identical to iron-deficiency anemia, develops as a result of abnormalities in iron utilization. Skeletal abnormalities, reproductive difficulties, impaired nervous tissue function, and changes in hair and skin pigmentation have been observed in severe copper deficiency. A role for copper in the maintenance of bone mass has been determined from observations of osteoporosis in preterm infants born with inadequate copper reserves.
Copper toxicity is unlikely unless exposure to large amounts occurs as a result of industrial contamination or inappropriate use of supplements. Large dose copper supplements (10-20 mg/day) may contribute to liver damage, abnormalities in red blood cell formation, weakness, and nausea.
Copper toxicity is the primary abnormality associated with Wilson’s Disease. This inborn error of metabolism initially impacts the central nervous symptom causing tremors, dystonia, dysarthria, dysphagia, chorea, drooling, mental retardation and lack of coordination. Treatment involves a copper-restricted diet and long-term oral penicillamine therapy. Penicillin binds copper and reduces its absorption
The upper limit of safety established for copper by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine is approximately 900 mcg daily for adults. But you need to balance all your minerals.
There are age- and gender specific guidelines for how much copper your body needs. Don’t exceed the levels required for your body as copper can be toxic. Get your copper balanced by eating nutritious foods that aren’t processed or grown in depleted soils. If you’re doing art work with materials containing copper, you could get excess copper toxicity.
Loss of balance could be due to zinc toxicity from certain types of denture glue
Fitness trainers often wonder why so many seniors in their local classes aren’t improving their ability to keep their balance. The problem may be zinc toxicity from certain types of denture glue. And the zinc may have come from excessive use of some types of denture adhesives that contained zinc at that time.
Various types of denture adhesives still contain zinc, and some brands took out the zinc.The original story from the Baltimore Sun by Frank D. Roylance was reprinted in today’s Sacramento Bee on April 2, 2011. See the article, FDA expands probe into denture paste poisoning – dentapress. Basically, too much zinc can give you a copper deficiency. Zinc pulls out the copper in your body.
Also in another article, a lawsuit was filed against denture adhesive maker GlaxoSmithKline by a Butler County woman who claims that the company’s product left her permanently disabled. [Her attorney] said harmful levels of zinc in Super Poligrip caused his client, a 41-year-old woman (named in the article) to suffer a copper imbalance. You can read further details about this issue in the article, ABC Pittsburgh – Lawsuit: Super Poligrip User Became Permanently Disabled, and also see the article, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – Woman Sues Over Damage From Polygrip. The copper deficiency forced the woman to leave her job and confined her to a wheelchair for a while, according to the article.
Yet some types of balance problems not helped by certain exercise classes might be due to excessive zinc from places most people wouldn’t associate with overdosing on zinc. The individual doesn’t have to be taking too many zinc supplements, either. The source of the zinc might be in the person’s excessive use of denture adhesive.
You might be surprised to find out that certain brands of denture glue can cause health problems if they contain too much zinc. Check out the April 2, 2011 news article, “Overuse Of Denture Cream Adhesive May Lead To Zinc Overdose.” Also see an earlier article, “Nerve Damage from Denture Adhesive OverUse – The Blogodontist.”
Preliminary studies link the zinc in some types of denture adhesives to neurological damage and blood abnormalities among patients who overuse the denture glue because their dentures do not fit well. As people age, sometimes the bone changes or withdraws and dentures become too loose. Instead of going back to the dentist to get a new fitting, people who can’t afford dental care, are underinsured or uninsured, or who don’t want to spend more money on new dentures as their bone density changes, may overuse the dental adhesive.
At the University of Maryland Dental School, the scientific literature is being reviewed. Dentists need to warn their patients who use denture glues/adhesives which brands don’t contain zinc and which brands do contain zinc. The problem with the zinc starts when the patient overuses the denture glue beyond the recommended amount in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you check out the reports from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you’ll see warnings that began to appear at least three years ago. The issue came up when users of denture glue began complaining about symptoms consistent with zinc toxicity.
Will the manufacturers revise their labeling? If the product contains zinc, should the manufacturer replace it with ingredients that do not contain zinc? The link between excessive use of dental adhesives and certain health problems that resemble zinc toxicity from overuse is not yet proved, according to the American Dental Association.
What some of the experts think may be happening is that people are using more of the denture glue because their dentures aren’t fitting right. The FDA published a statement telling patients to see their dentists and get new dentures that do fit. As people age, their bones change and false teeth can become too loose.
If you are using a lot of denture adhesive that contains zinc and have symptoms of zinc toxicity where include balance problems, weakness, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet or similar problems that can’t be helped by exercise in increasing your ability to balance, check out your zinc levels. Is there too much zinc in your cells or blood? You could get tested for zinc toxicity. Or your balance problems could be due to many other causes.
If you want a brand of denture adhesive that doesn’t use zinc, you might take a look at brands such as Glaxo Smith Kline’s Super Poligrip. In 2010 the manufacturer stopped using zin in its original Ultra Fresh and Extra Care varieties of denture glue. The reason why manufacturers used zinc originally was because zinc made the denture glue stick better. The adhesive properties were enhanced by the zinc. Then last year, the manufacturer replaced the zinc ingredient with salt-based ingredients, for example a combination of calcium, sodium, and cellulose gum.
Many seniors take multiple vitamins and/or minerals with zinc, selenium, and copper
You can imagine what happens when an individual, especially an older person taking multivitamins containing the usual recommended daily allowance of zinc also takes more zinc along with selenium, for example to help certain prostate problems, and then gets zinc from foods such as oysters, and on top of that overuses the brands of denture glue that still contain zinc, and then takes another type of supplement or vitamin that is supposed to give the individual a balance of 15 mg of zinc and 1 mg of copper. The zinc toxicity builds up.
On top of that the denture adhesive could be overused for ill-fitting dentures. And pretty soon you have a participant at a class in Tai Chi who is trying to improve his or her balance and yet gets worse. So be aware, even if the link isn’t yet proven. People may overuse a product without realizing how much zinc is in their adhesive.
They could be swallowing all that zinc because their dentures aren’t a good fit in the first place. If you know someone who wears dentures, pass this information along. This also applies to people who take too many vitamins in a day that contain zinc along with other ingredients.
For further information see, Zinc toxicity – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. And yes, there are lawyers who specialize in zinc toxicity. See the site, Denture Cream Lawyers, “specializing In zinc poisoning caused by denture cream.” The issue now is between the FDA urging manufacturers to revise labeling and the American Dental Association who say that link is not yet proved.
Statistics show that the number of people loosing all their teeth has declined 60 percent in the United States since 1960. Seniors would like to know whether the reduction is attributed to the program of fluoridation begun in the 1940s, education on proactive dental hygiene, or implants and permanent crowns?
And are dentures mainly given to people too poor to afford insurance and frequent dental care including cleanings once or twice a year? Another issue is whether people floss or use machines to hydrate their gums or how often most people think about their teeth over a lifetime and in advanced age.
Dietary Sources of Copper
Copper is found in foods such as organ meats, seafood, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, chocolate, cherries, dried fruits, milk, tea, chicken, and potatoes. Other foods that are good sources of copper are listed below.
If you are told you’re deficient in copper, here’s a list of foods that contain varying amounts of copper, such as beef liver or oysters, cashews, molasses, and pumpkin seeds.
Copper Content of some Foods
Food Copper (mcg)
Beef liver, 3.5 oz. 450
Oysters, cooked 3.5 oz. 200
Oysters, raw, 3.5 oz. 110
Cashews, dry roasted, 1/2 cup 80
Molasses, blackstrap, 2 Tbl. 84
Pumpkin seeds, roasted, 1/2 cup 78
Black-eyed peas, cooked, 1/2 cup 70
Clams, steamed, 3.5 oz 69
Sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup 60
Unsweetened chocolate, 1 oz 62
Brewer’s yeast, 2 Tbl 52
Beans, refried, 1/2 cup 50
Instant breakfast, fortified, 1 pkt 50
V-8 juice, 1 cup 48
Tofu, firm, 1/2 cup 24
Prunes, dried, 10 prunes 40
Salmon, baked, 3 oz. 30