Copper is necessary for your body when in healthy doses, but can easily wreak havoc on your system and cause hair loss if you have too much or not enough (copper deficiency).
Copper Deficiency & Hair Loss
What about when your body is not getting enough copper? Well, then you have a copper deficiency, and it could certainly put you at risk for hair loss.
Since copper is important for the production of red blood cells, low copper levels could mean that your blood is not circulating as well as it should be. Poor circulation means your hair follicles probably aren’t getting the nutrients and vitamins from your diet.
It might not cause your hair to fall out, but a copper deficiency can certainly slow down hair growth. Our body does not make copper naturally, so be sure you’re getting enough copper in your diet through copper-rich foods like seafood, beans and whole grains.
Symptoms and Side Effects of Excess Copper
Many American and European women suffer from excess copper intake without knowing it.
An excess of copper in the body can come from a variety of sources. When your ratio of zinc to copper is out of proportion, you can suffer from many side effects, including hair loss. Eat the right foods and learn to regulate your copper intake. Adding zinc supplements may be necessary to restore your beautiful hair.
Some of the most common side effects of excess copper are fatigue, “brain fog” (lack of mental focus), food cravings and weight gain. Frontal headaches are also a common side effect of copper toxicity, as well as emotional imbalances that lead to depression.
For many women, the most alarming side effect of excess copper intake is hair loss. Healthy concentrations of copper in your body’s tissue are 1.7-3.5 milligrams, and if your copper level exceeds this, your hair will look dull, lifeless and could begin to fall out.
Of course, each person’s tolerance is different. Your rate of hair loss might differ from someone with similar copper levels to your own.
So how do you know how much copper is in your body? You can get a hair test analysis (TMA) to measure your levels of copper. But you should also pay attention to other symptoms that may tip you off to the imbalance, without needing a test.
Regulating Your Copper Intake
If your neighborhood or city has “hard water” coming from your faucets that you routinely drink, this could be a contributing source of copper toxicity.
Sometimes regulating your copper intake is as simple as replacing the pipes in your home. If you see a blue-green discharge or build-up near or around your pipes, it may be time to call a plumber for an estimate.
It’s less likely that you’re getting too much copper directly from your diet, but it can definitely happen in some cases.
If you have high copper levels, avoid these high-copper foods:
- Peanut butter
- Brazil nuts
- Seeds, such as sunflower and flax seeds (in excessive amounts)
If you take birth control pills or have an IUD, you could be at risk for high copper levels. These medications are often made from, or primarily contain, the metal.
Swimming pools are often treated with a copper heavy algicide, as well. If you swim in or have your own pool, you might want to get a copper test!
Zinc Supplements to Help Grow Hair
If you’re feeling the side effects of excess copper, take a zinc supplement to help balance your body’s nutrients and save your hair.
Zinc and copper should be in proportion to one another at an 8:1 ratio. Those who have a high copper reading often will be estrogen-dependent, which can also contribute to hair loss. Women with the right amount of zinc typically will be progesterone-dominant, which can make hair healthier and shinier.
The proper amount of zinc helps keep your hormones in balance. You’ll have a sense of well-being, and your hair will be fortified with the nutrients it needs to stimulate hair growth and overcome copper hair loss.
Zinc can assist with hair growth and balance out a copper toxicity problem that will make growing hair difficult. If you’re a vegetarian or have been crash dieting, you may have depleted your supply of zinc and are suffering from excess copper levels.
Each more of these foods rich in zinc:
- Whole grains
Overcome your copper and hair loss problems by adjusting your copper intake, changing your lifestyle and supplementing with zinc.
Healthy hair starts from the inside. So follow a lifestyle that’s optimized and balanced. Add a little zinc and watch your copper intake — your hair will thank you!