Pyroluria, possible copper deficiency from zinc overdose?

Commented on March 24, 2015
Created March 20, 2015 at 11:24 PM

My fiancee is paleo, 23 years old.?? She has pyroluria and has been taking B6 (P5P) and zinc for a little over a year now, symptoms in general have cleared up.?? Around November 2014, she increased her dosage of both to about twice what she usually takes, as she was experiencing high levels of stress.?? I know that her zinc levels were at 100mg/day.?? Around January, she felt a little weird but figured it was a fluke.?? Two months ago, she started feeling just overall really horrible.?? About 2-3 wks ago she started to have crackling in her joints, crunching especially around hands, feet, neck/jaw, and elbows.?? It was around this time that we suspected she might have overdosed on zinc, and resulted in a copper deficiency.?? She stopped taking all zinc, still takes B6 P-5-P once a day, usually 2 tsp of "Natural Calm Magnesium supplement" a day, handful of liver here and there, collagen supplements, and she has started trying to take copper supplements (copper gluconate, 2mg/day).

Though she says she feels less crackly/crunchy overall since stopping zinc and adding copper, she says that the copper makes her feel more sore, especially in her feet and deep in her legs.?? She says that she feels bad when she takes the copper, like maybe she ought not to add more or increase her dose.?? She has been fatigued and sore and generally feeling crappy.?? I'm worried and not sure what to do; I have done plenty of research on copper deficiency in the past few days, but am not especially familiar with vitamin/mineral supplementation.?? I am concerned because I cannot find any definitive actions that we ought to be taking; I worry about her ceasing copper supplements, but I don't want her to become copper toxic either.?? She has had problems with copper toxicity in the past (several years ago, long since cleared up) but I don't thin that would come into play now.


My question is: does this sound like copper deficiency??? If so, what course of action should we pursue??? Is there anything else that it could be??? Anything I may have overlooked, ought to look into??? ANY insight that you could provide would be infinitely appreciated.??

Thank you.

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1 Answers



on March 23, 2015
at 10:36 AM

So yeah, too much zinc, or too much vitamin C can lower copper levels. Both liver and chocolate are high in copper, she could also take a zinc supplement that has added copper, or outright copper pills.


She can also get a liquid zinc challenge (aka zinc tally test), which is a special form of zinc that can be tasted.?? Shake the bottle and take a very small amount and swish it around the tongue, if it tastes like water, you're low on zinc, if it has a strong taste, you've taken too much.?? They're not very accurate, but they work. http://www.amazon.com/Designs-Health-Zinc-Challenge-Beauty/dp/B000FGXMAY/ for example.



on March 24, 2015
at 01:03 AM

Thanks for answering, Raydawg!  We'll take a look at the zinc challenge; for now, she's stoped all supplemets and we're taking things easy.  Seems to be working so far.  Thanks again, I'll keep you posted!


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