The Wonderful World of Pregnancy

Why Pregnant Women Need Copper?

Copper is a very important component of some enzymes that are involved in the production of hemoglobin, catecholamine biosynthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, as well as cross linking between keratin, collagen and elastin in hair fibers.

Why Pregnant Women Need Copper

Copper represents an important element which can be found in human body in little amounts, and is crucial for mental and physical health. This element has been studies since long ago, but it still isn`t appreciated sufficiently regarding human health.

The intake of copper is generally achieved through nutrition, its absorption being performed rather easily, but limited by homeostatic mechanisms after reaching the require amount. After absorption, copper is bound to ceruloplasmin and albumin, and then deposited in our lived and less in the kidneys.

Bile represents the main way of removing copper from the body, urinary excretion being low.

Why Pregnant Women Need Copper?

Bone Integrity & Connective Tissue

Copper is essential for connective tissue and bone integrity. This element is needed to fix calcium in our bones to construct or repair all the connective tissues, which include tendons, skin, veins, ligaments, arteries, hair as well as other types of tissues. Imbalances of copper might lead to the damaging of the bones.

Production of Energy

This element is required in order for energy production in cells in the last Krebs cycle stages. Any copper-related issue may lead to depression, tiredness as well as other problems related to too little energy.

Immune System

The body`s immune response generally depends on the balance between zinc and copper. When imbalances start to occur, the person involved may be prone to infections (especially fungal infections or of Candida type) in the respiratory or digestive systems.

Antioxidant Effects

Free radicals are dangerous for the human metabolism, which may lead to molecular destruction in the body`s tissues and cells in the absence of neutralization. Oxidant produced during metabolic processes rise the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Luckily, the body is able to control the oxidation level of tissue by simply neutralizing free radicals with the help of antioxidant systems.

Our element plays an essential role in defending the human body against free radicals. It`s part of lots of enzymes which can be found in all the cells of the body and are targeted exactly at limiting cellular harm and neutralizing free radicals.

Glandular System

The glandular system (adrenal and the thyroid glands) seem to be quite sensitive to this element. Imbalances of copper lead to issues like hypothyroidism. These issues tend to disappear after diet is rebalanced, stress is reduced and the body biochemistry is balanced. Drugs are just required for a short time in order to control signs.

Copper Prevents Anemia

Although everyone knows that anemia occurs due to iron deficiency, it was proven that copper also has an essential role in preventing this condition. This element helps in passing iron in a form that the body can use and enters in the component of some enzymes that transport iron from/to tissues. A copper deficiency may lead to the accumulation of iron in tissues and anemia.

Reproductive System

The relation between copper and the metabolism of estrogen is well known. This element is required for female fertility as well as pregnancy maintenance. Any imbalances might lead to female genital issues, including premenstrual syndrome, ovarian cysts, sexual disorders, fertility or pregnancy loss. Although it mostly affects women, men may also have their sexual potency and desire affected by copper imbalances.

Nervous System

Our element is known to stimulate the epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine production. Copper is also required for monoamine oxidase, an enzyme related to the production of serotonin. Due to this reason, this element is very involved in most of the aspects related to the central nervous system.

Imbalances of copper are related with neurological, psychological and emotional disorders, including loss of memory, anxiety, schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorders as well as a few others.

Copper Deficiency

Copper deficiency caused only by lack rich-copper foods is quite rare and generally is shown by anemia, which doesn`t respond to treatment based on iron supplements, but responds to copper supplements.

This particular anemia is caused by lack of copper, an element which aids to iron transportation to the location where the red blood cells get produced.

A small copper amount in the blood may lead to a reduced number of white blood cells and, therefore higher risks of infection.

When it comes to kids, deficiency of copper may lead to bone diseases, cumbersome development and osteoporosis.

Related: What Is Phosphorus Used For In The Body?

It`s been noticed that a large iron amount may prevent copper absorption. Vitamin C and zinc are compounds which in large amount can prevent the absorption of copper.

People experiencing disorders involving their digestive tract as well as children suffering of prolonged diarrhea have a higher risk of copper deficiency.

Excess of Copper

Copper is essential for a series of very important functions. While copper deficiency is relatively rare, copper excess (hypercapnia) is quite commonly encountered. Copper excess is a medical condition that is predominant mostly in women.

According to recent studies, from the women diagnosed with a high level of depression, around 45% of them have excessive copper levels compared with only 3% of men. This differentiation based on gender is caused by a hormone, known as estrogen, which leads to increased levels of copper. Excessive levels of copper increase norepinephrine, leading to oxidative stress and anxiety.

Symptoms

  • Frontal headaches.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Hyperactivity.
  • Weak concentration.
  • Temperamental outbursts.
  • Tinnitus.

Risk Factors

  • Present use of treatment based on estrogen (e.g. hormone replacement therapy, contraceptives).
  • Frequent administration of multivitamins containing copper.
  • Regular use of copper pans or kettles.
  • Green spots on the bathtub or toilet, suggesting a high level of copper in water.
  • Familial history of Wilson disease, postnatal depression, ADD/ADHD, autism or depression.

Treatment

The base of treatment in reducing the amount of copper in the body is using nutrients that reduce the copper levels. They include vitamins C and B6, zinc, molybdenum and magnesium. Water filtration is advisable in order to minimize the intake of copper from water. – Check this out!

Foods Rich in Copper

  • Seafood.
  • Nuts.
  • Beans.
  • Avocado.
  • Beets.
  • Oats.
  • Raisins.
  • Whole grain.
  • Salads.
  • Beef liver.
  • Broccoli.
  • Salmon.
  • Lentils.

Note: Ideally, besides consuming foods rich in copper, pregnant women should also consume folic acid, zinc, cobalt and iron, either taken from their diet or supplements.

Daily Recommendd Dose of Copper (µg/day)
Age Men Women Pregnancy Breastfeeding
0 – 6 months 0.2 0.2
7 – 12 months 0.002 0.002
1 – 3 years 0.34 0.34
4 – 8 years 0.44 0.44
9 – 13 years 0.7 0.7
14 – 18 years 0.89 0.89 1 1.3
19+ years 0.9 0.9 1 1.3

Should You Take a Supplement?

Absolutely not! If you follow a varied diet, you most likely have enough copper in your system anyway, especially if some of the foods outlined above are present in your diet.

If your diet may not include them, your prenatal vitamins that you need to take anyway will probably contain enough copper.

It`s quite possible to have more copper than you need in your body, so get in touch with your doctor before deciding to take any supplements.

Image courtesy of mobile.cafemom.com
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