Hair Copper (Cu) levels are usually indicative of body status, except that exogenous contamination may occur giving a false normal (or false high). Common sources of contamination include: permanent solutions, dyes, bleaches, and swimming pools/hot tubs in which Copper compounds have been used as algaecides.
Copper is an essential element that activates specific enzymes. Erythrocyte superoxide dismutase (SOD) is a Copper (and zinc) dependent enzyme; lysyl oxidase which catalyzes crosslinking of collagen is another Copper dependent enzyme. Adrenal catecholamine synthesis is Copper dependent, because the enzyme dopamine beta-hydroxylase, which catalyzes formation of norepinephrine from dopamine, requires Copper.
If hair Copper is in the normal range, this usually means tissue levels are in the normal range. However, under circumstances of contamination, a real Copper deficit could appear as a (false) normal. If symptoms of Copper deficiency are present, a whole blood or red blood cell elements analysis can be performed for confirmation of Copper status.
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