conversion of T4 to T3

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 27, 2012 at 11:51 PM

If one has an elevated copper found on a hair analysis, could that interfere with converting T4 to T3?

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on September 28, 2012
at 02:24 AM

First of all, do you have any symptms of copper imbalance such as depression or mood swings?

Copper is an essential trace mineral and stimulates T4 (which is converted to the more active hormone, T3) and prevents over-absorption of T4 into blood cells by regulating calcium. Too much copper in the body leads to reduced thyroid functioning and also halts the function of zinc, which balances out copper. By the way, the correct copper to zinc ratio is 1:10 in males. Did your hair analysis showed a copper:zinc ratio of less than 1:6? It is a copper deficiency that would inhibit a T4 to T3 conversion.

What I would suggest is to obviously stay away from copper-rich foods (mainly liver, nuts/seeds, mushrooms); and up your zinc (animal protein, scallops, spinach), iron (oysters, sardines, turkey), B6, folic acid, vitamin C and selenium (tuna, salmon, shrimp); also try to reduce stress. If you do start getting rid of excess copper, you may experience detoxification symptoms as the copper is sent to the bloodstream to be removed by the kidneys. These symptoms can be headaches, skin rashes, etc.

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