2

votes

Copper/Zinc Imbalance

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 07, 2011 at 7:31 PM

So I figured out a couple of weeks back that some symptoms I was having, such as skin problems, red cracked knuckles, diarrhea, dandruff, tiredness, no appetite, and a white spot on fingernail, was due to a copper/zinc imbalance. I was eating way too much dark chocolate which was supplying my body with an inordinate amount of copper in relation to zinc. Once I eliminated the chocolate from my diet, my skin almost automatically returned to its glowy, healthy looking state. I'm trying to incorporate some oysters into my diet daily to boost my intake of zinc (it's not too pleasant, but I look at them as my 'mineral supplement'), and all of my symptoms (other than the white spot on my fingernail which I assume takes a little while to go away) are gone. When do you think I will be able to reintroduce chocolate into my diet? Of course, I'm going to be diligent to not eat too much of it (maybe twice a week at most), and make sure that my zinc intake is sufficient. Chocolate is basically the only "treat" I enjoy (I don't do dairy, nuts, or fruit other than on holidays), and I miss it. I'm just afraid that if I reincorporate the chocolate into my diet, my symptoms will return..

Ba09704971e33481f5716c4790648966

(1794)

on August 29, 2012
at 08:03 PM

almost everything

Ba09704971e33481f5716c4790648966

(1794)

on August 29, 2012
at 07:44 PM

except for the high levels of copper and the phytic acid that binds the zinc

Medium avatar

(39821)

on December 12, 2011
at 10:58 PM

It would be misguided to extrapolate the results of an interaction in copper-deficient rats between copper carbonate and phytic acid to humans ingesting a different form of copper under different circumstances.

7bad6c4e7d681fab6a4aa4580f442e0c

(707)

on December 08, 2011
at 03:42 PM

It's been a little over two weeks without any chocolate, and I'm still symptom-free.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 08, 2011
at 02:40 PM

I'm not saying you should test the hypothesis, just don't know how you could be certain if until you do. I don't want you to have symptoms again but just because you have a plausible hypothesis that worked once doesn't make it true. If I were you, I would wait to see if the syptoms re-appear while avoiding (or at least limiting) chocolate. If they do, you'll know it might not be the chocolate.

7bad6c4e7d681fab6a4aa4580f442e0c

(707)

on December 08, 2011
at 11:10 AM

It wasn't rude in and of itself, just the way in which you said it. But anyway, I suppose I'll muster up the courage to have an ounce or so of chocolate one of these days to see if it affects me or not. But then again, I'm imagining the symptoms wouldn't return as long as I'm not eating it in excess like I was before.

7bad6c4e7d681fab6a4aa4580f442e0c

(707)

on December 08, 2011
at 11:07 AM

Yes, that's definitely a possibility.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on December 08, 2011
at 06:05 AM

Wow that's an interesting abstract. Maybe too much chocolate will deplete your zinc b/c of the phytic acid and copper in it?

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 08, 2011
at 04:07 AM

I reaffirmed the reasonableness of your conclusions but question your certainty. I don't see how that's rude in the slightest.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 08, 2011
at 04:05 AM

And you have a thinner skin that I do...

7bad6c4e7d681fab6a4aa4580f442e0c

(707)

on December 08, 2011
at 03:26 AM

And you have a lower standard for what is considered rude than I do..

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 08, 2011
at 02:08 AM

You have a lower standard for certainty than do I...

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 08, 2011
at 02:01 AM

I think you would lose that wager: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3373335

7bad6c4e7d681fab6a4aa4580f442e0c

(707)

on December 08, 2011
at 12:42 AM

I did ask a question: "When do you think I will be able to reintroduce chocolate into my diet?" Kind of for reassuring purposes I guess, sure. Really though, I'm 100% confident that my conclusion is correct considering my symptoms totally reversed only two days after eliminating the chocolate.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on December 07, 2011
at 11:56 PM

Jay- It certainly might, though I'd wager the difference is probably more academic than anything. Phytic acid will chelate any and all polyvalent cations.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 07, 2011
at 10:56 PM

You didn't ask a question but I assume you are asking for a sanity check. I think what you wrote sounds reasonable, thought I wouldn't be confident in the conclusion until you repeat the experiment a few times.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on December 07, 2011
at 10:52 PM

That's a good point; I would suspect that if the removal did in fact reverse the symptoms, it would be the result of removing the caffeine alongside the avoidance of a food that isn't tolerated for whatever reason.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 07, 2011
at 10:52 PM

I think phytic acid has a greater affinity for zinc than for copper.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 07, 2011
at 10:51 PM

Zinc and copper status are hard to establish clinically.

7bad6c4e7d681fab6a4aa4580f442e0c

(707)

on December 07, 2011
at 09:52 PM

My iron levels are perfectly fine, so that's not an issue. And yes, I'm going to make some chicken livers tomorrow.

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on December 07, 2011
at 08:00 PM

I would also add that liver is a way better source of copper than chocolate... though less tasty ;-. Maybe get your ferritin/iron checked? Too high can cause inbalances in Cu/Zinc and also the skin issues you speak of.

7bad6c4e7d681fab6a4aa4580f442e0c

(707)

on December 07, 2011
at 07:53 PM

I'm in no way planning on neglecting copper, I'm getting plenty of it in my diet, no worries.

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8 Answers

2
Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on December 07, 2011
at 07:51 PM

It's most likely you are low on zinc.. but you may be low in copper too. Copper gets malinged too much if you ask me. You could be deficient in both. I would get this checked out before you start creating a brand new imbalance with zinc/copper. Eat liver once a week, eat plants, eat oysters, maybe supplement a low dose zinc. But don't neglect copper.

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on December 07, 2011
at 08:00 PM

I would also add that liver is a way better source of copper than chocolate... though less tasty ;-. Maybe get your ferritin/iron checked? Too high can cause inbalances in Cu/Zinc and also the skin issues you speak of.

7bad6c4e7d681fab6a4aa4580f442e0c

(707)

on December 07, 2011
at 07:53 PM

I'm in no way planning on neglecting copper, I'm getting plenty of it in my diet, no worries.

7bad6c4e7d681fab6a4aa4580f442e0c

(707)

on December 07, 2011
at 09:52 PM

My iron levels are perfectly fine, so that's not an issue. And yes, I'm going to make some chicken livers tomorrow.

1
Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on August 30, 2012
at 12:35 AM

Just for clarity purposes zinc- is in meats (particularly like lamb, mutton, beef). Copper is in seafood (including oysters which have both copper and zinc), but particularly nuts and mostso liver. Chocolate is not that high, but I imagine if your eating alot of it, and not alot of meat, you might get imbalanced.

Women are supposed to need a 5:1 ratio of zinc to copper.

If you need more zinc, just eat meat. It surprises me that copper could get too much, on a plaeo diet, high in meats. Its usually the other way around, and if you have sufficient zinc and sufficient protein, excess copper is cleared in the bile.

It could be the dairy or sugar in the chocolate perhaps as well (or just cacao itself)

1
7bad6c4e7d681fab6a4aa4580f442e0c

(707)

on December 15, 2011
at 08:13 PM

Just as a follow up- I tried adding chocolate in very small amounts back to my diet. After three days, some of my symptoms returned and I have a pimple on my face. I guess it really must be the high copper content in chocolate that is throwing off my zinc absorption.

0
Ba09704971e33481f5716c4790648966

(1794)

on August 29, 2012
at 07:45 PM

I would try taking Vitamin A (retinol) and ignore the zinc/copper thing for the most part.

0
C7c7e38a6472d6925ef88eb0297405b0

on August 29, 2012
at 07:33 PM

It has been researched and apparently dark chocolate is high in zinc... one of the top 10 food to eat if you are deficient in zinc.

Ba09704971e33481f5716c4790648966

(1794)

on August 29, 2012
at 07:44 PM

except for the high levels of copper and the phytic acid that binds the zinc

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on December 07, 2011
at 10:07 PM

Chocolate has loads of phytic acid. I'd question the bioavailability of minerals in it for that reason.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on December 07, 2011
at 11:56 PM

Jay- It certainly might, though I'd wager the difference is probably more academic than anything. Phytic acid will chelate any and all polyvalent cations.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 08, 2011
at 02:01 AM

I think you would lose that wager: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3373335

Medium avatar

(39821)

on December 07, 2011
at 10:52 PM

That's a good point; I would suspect that if the removal did in fact reverse the symptoms, it would be the result of removing the caffeine alongside the avoidance of a food that isn't tolerated for whatever reason.

7bad6c4e7d681fab6a4aa4580f442e0c

(707)

on December 08, 2011
at 11:07 AM

Yes, that's definitely a possibility.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 07, 2011
at 10:52 PM

I think phytic acid has a greater affinity for zinc than for copper.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on December 08, 2011
at 06:05 AM

Wow that's an interesting abstract. Maybe too much chocolate will deplete your zinc b/c of the phytic acid and copper in it?

Medium avatar

(39821)

on December 12, 2011
at 10:58 PM

It would be misguided to extrapolate the results of an interaction in copper-deficient rats between copper carbonate and phytic acid to humans ingesting a different form of copper under different circumstances.

0
C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on December 07, 2011
at 09:21 PM

what foods have copper in them?

Ba09704971e33481f5716c4790648966

(1794)

on August 29, 2012
at 08:03 PM

almost everything

0
64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on December 07, 2011
at 07:46 PM

did you have a lab test to show a copper/zinc imbalance? or did you come to that conclusion by removing chocolate?

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on December 07, 2011
at 10:51 PM

Zinc and copper status are hard to establish clinically.

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