chapter  6
56 Pages

Copper Metabolism and Diseases of Copper Metabolism

WithJ. Ettinger Murray

Copper must first be transported across a cell membrane; a series of specific precursor-product steps presumably follows in a specific order within various cell compartments. Copper metabolism also includes the regulation of whole body copper homeostasis, i.e., the absorption, distribution, and excretion aspects of copper balance. Copper is a common constituent of most plant and animal foods. Foods which are particularly rich in copper include: liver, nuts, mushrooms, chocolate, crustaceans, and shellfish. Metabolic interactions with related trace elements and other key metabolites, especially hormones, constitute yet another aspect of copper metabolism. Copper deficiency is generally held to be rarer than iron or zinc deficiency in humans due to the ubiquity of copper in foods and water supply systems, and the daily intake vs. the total body content. Zinc and copper are apparently competitive at the absorption, cellular uptake, and intracellular distribution and storage levels.