Thursday, September 23, 2010

2.12b Chromium, Copper and Iodine - Nutrition & Toxicity

Physician's Notebooks 2  - - See Homepage 

2.12b: Continues, with Chromium, Copper & Iodine
Update 15 November 2018
Chromium, or Cr, is a hard bluish-white metal. It is like molybdenum, just above it in Group 6 of the Periodic Table, and when added to steel increases hardness. Chromium is in stainless steel. Chromium occurs as chromate ion, -CrO42- in body and food. 
Food Source: Onions, romaine lettuce and tomato are best; in addition Cr is leached into food from cooking in stainless steel.
   In diabetics, 200 microgram Cr a day as chromium hexachloride (CrCl6) improved glucose tolerance and response to insulin.
   Public interest emerged in using Cr for muscle-building for sports competition; so much so that Cr mineral supplement is 2nd only to calcium supplement in health-food sale.
   Blood test is only accurate for showing abnormally high level.
Toxicity: Volunteer has been given up to 5 mg Cr with no ill effect. No reports of toxicity. No set upper limit of intake. 
Copper Cu
Copper is known since ancient time in bronze (An alloy of copper and tin) and brass (copper and zinc). Greek name Kuprios is from Kupros (Cyprus) where it was originally mined. Necessary as trace element in nutrition because it forms center of molecule of several enzymes. It is electron donor (reducing agent), existing in solution as either Cu+ (cuprous, Cu Roman I) or Cu2+ (cupric, Cu II). Major sources of Cu in U.S. diet are red meat, nut, and bean/pea. Most food has Cu but cow milk is low in it and there has been case of copper deficiency in infant raised purely on cow milk during 1st year. Cu is not fortified in food.
  Flash! Copper deficiency after bowel surgery has caused spinal cord disease with paraplegia. Check serum copper before and after surgery! The copper deficiency causes a posterior column spinal cord syndrome that resembles syphilis of the spinal cord causing loss of sensory powers in the hands and feet.
Interaction with Other Nutrient: Copper-depletion in human has been observed when Zinc supplement of 50 mg or more was given for extended period. Ascorbic acid (vit C) causes copper deficiency in lab animal; and in human a daily ascorbic acid supplement of 1500 mg causes drop in copper-transporting protein, cerruloplasmin. But this is only worrisome for a person with Wilson's Disease of Cu metabolism.

Transport of Copper in Blood: Copper is absorbed in intestine. (Flash! The rare, inherited, sex-linked Menkes Disease of premature male infants who show failure to thrive in first weeks and is due to loss of enzyme that assists copper absorption in intestine causes severe copper deficiency and can be relieved by injection of copper compound. After absorption copper goes to liver and is incorporated into cerruloplasmin, a protein that functions like hemoglobin does for iron, in getting copper around. Cerruloplasmin also protects cell against toxicity of copper ion as is seen in Wilson disease's lack of cerruloplasmin, leading to a copper deficiency illness and a cupric ion toxicity because the body can only utilize copper that is attached to cerruloplasmin, and in its absence copper ions pile up in blood, damaging the cells.
   Copper is at center of important enzyme molecule so its deficiency has big effect. However, Cu deficiency is rare because only a little Cu is needed and is well supplied by normal diet. The obvious sign of deficiency is anemia, so red blood cell count, hemoglobin or hematocrit is best checked for those at risk due to total intravenous nutrition or with genetic disease. 
Toxicity from too much occurs from health faddist excess intake or from copper salt applied as treatment of skin burn. Symptoms are abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting progressing to liver failure and coma. Amount as low as 70 microgram/kg/day (5 mg for the average size person) has been reported toxic.
Iodine I
Iodine is a gray black solid in group with fluorine, chlorine and bromine (Halogens); it lacks 1 electron in outer shell and therefore has minus-1 valence and is powerful oxidizer and that explains why tincture of iodine is good antiseptic. In body, iodine exists in its reduced ionic state as I(iodide, 1 minus charge). It is necessary in diet because thyroid gland hormones are constructed around the iodine atom. In the USA, common salt has iodide added. High iodide intake, has led, in susceptible person, to hyperthyroid state. Sign of low iodide in body is swelling in front of neck (thyroid goiter). Because of iodized salt, blood tests for iodine are useless in diagnosis.
  Warning: Antiseptic solutions with organic iodine such as Black Walnut Extract and Betadine (Povidone Iodine Antiseptic Solution) are sometimes mistakenly used as antiseptic mouthwash. I know because I used the Betadine for several weeks but stopped when my blood tests came back showing severe inhibition of pituitary thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which if continued could have led to hypothyroidism. The instructions do not advise use as a mouthwash but there may be some persons as adventurously stupid as I was. Also it stains the teeth.
                                       Chapter on Minerals Continues Next Section. Click 2.12c Iron a nutrient and a cause of disease

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