Rich, earlier on this thread you were talking about copper supplements, and a controversy over whether you can take too much. Can you go into that a little? And are there recognizable symptoms of too much copper? or too little?
Severe copper deficiency and copper toxicity are rare conditions.
Copper is one of the essential minerals for the body, and we all need some of it, for a variety of purposes in the biochemistry. For adults, the RDA is 900 micrograms per day, and the recommended upper limit is 10 milligrams per day. It's important to keep the intake of copper in balance with the intake of zinc, because they interact with respect to absorption from the gut. The ratio should be about 10 to 15 times as much zinc as copper by weight, such as 3 milligrams of copper to 30 to 45 milligrams of zinc.
Copper deficiency effects include fatigue, hypotonia, hypothermia, growth retardation, reduced resistance to infection, various nervous system disorders, anemia, neutropenia, degeneration of vasculature, cardiac damage, various cardiovascular problems, impaired respiration, emphysema, hemolysis with potential liver and brain damage, elevated low density lipoprotein and reduced high density lipoprotein, impaired collagen formation, breakdown of connective tissue, bone demineralization, osteoporosis, depigmentation of skin, and changes in structure and appearance of hair.
Copper toxicity effects include weakness, dizziness, fainting, headache (severe or continuing), burning sensations in the throat, gastrointestinal disturbances, loss of appetite, vomiting, excess salivation, metallic taste in mouth, dyspepsia, epigastric pain, painful urination, and low back pain.
There is a rare disease called Wilson's disease in which there is an inherited genetic problem that causes the liver not to be able to excrete copper in the bile as it should. In these cases copper builds up and can cause serious illness if not detected. It's treatable if it is diagnosed.
To measure the copper status, it's best to run a blood serum test. A urine essential elements test can also be used.