Copper deficiency (also known as hypocupremia) is unusual due to the ubiquity of copper in the normal diet.
Copper deficiency is thought to be rare, but exact numbers are difficult to ascertain.
The typical presentation of copper deficiency mimics the more common vitamin B12 deficiency, which will usually need to be excluded first.
- blood dyscrasias e.g. anemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia
- neurotoxicity e.g. neuropathy, myelopathy, visual impairment
- artificial alimentation e.g. total parenteral nutrition, chronic tubal feeding
- post-surgical e.g. post-gastrectomy, bariatric surgery
- excessive zinc intake
- alcoholism (rare) 1
Treatment and prognosis
Cocoa is often trialled initially as it contains copper naturally in reasonable amounts and is palatable to the patient 1. In cases where gastrointestinal dysfunction is the underlying issue then intravenous copper administration may be required.
- 1. Shibazaki S, Uchiyama S, Tsuda K, Taniuchi N. Copper deficiency caused by excessive alcohol consumption. (2017) BMJ case reports. doi:10.1136/bcr-2017-220921 - Pubmed
- 2. Gabreyes AA, Abbasi HN, Forbes KP, McQuaker G, Duncan A, Morrison I. Hypocupremia associated cytopenia and myelopathy: a national retrospective review. (2013) European journal of haematology. 90 (1): 1-9. doi:10.1111/ejh.12020 - Pubmed