Normally most of the copper in your blood is carried by a protein called ceruloplasmin.
Adults have 50 and 80 milligrams (mg) of copper in their body, mostly in muscle and the liver. Copper helps make melanin, bone, and connective tissue. It also helps with many other processes in your body. You normally get copper through your diet, in foods like liver and other organ meats, seafood, beans, and whole grains. You get rid of copper in your bowel movements and urine.
Various health problems can disrupt normal copper levels. This can cause you to have too little copper (copper deficiency) or too much copper (copper toxicity).
Because a normal diet has plenty of copper, copper deficiency is unlikely except in certain cases. It can occur in malnourished children. This is especially true for premature babies who don’t get nutritional supplements. Children with this condition tend to have bone abnormalities and fractures. Copper deficiency can also result from a rare genetic disorder called Menkes kinky hair syndrome. This syndrome interferes with copper absorption. Copper deficiency can lead to problems with connective tissue, muscle weakness, anemia, low white blood cell count, neurological problems, and paleness.
Too much copper can be toxic. You can get too much copper from dietary supplements or from drinking contaminated water. You can also get too much copper from being around fungicides that have copper sulfate. You can also have too much copper if you have a condition that stops the body from getting rid of copper. For example, Wilson disease keeps the liver from storing copper safely and from sending copper out of the body in your stool. Extra copper in the liver overflows and builds up in the kidneys, brain, and eyes. This extra copper can kill liver cells and cause nerve damage. Wilson disease is fatal if untreated. Extra copper can also interfere with how your body absorbs zinc and iron.
Copper based blood and the color blue