Ceruloplasmin is a type of protein found in the blood, and its levels can be measured with a copper deficiency test. The protein is produced by the liver and is used to transport copper through the blood. Tissues in the brain, kidneys, liver, and bones need copper to function properly and remain healthy. The average adult has 50 to 80 milligrams of copper in his or her body. The body does not produce copper on its own. Copper is introduced to the body through the foods that one eats. Foods high in copper include, beans, whole grains, organ meats, and many types of seafood. Copper is filtered out of the body as waste.
A copper plasma test, also known as a copper serum test, is most often used to test for or rule out the presence of Wilson’s disease. The condition disrupts the body’s process for eliminating copper from the body; and so as copper continues to be consumed, copper levels in the blood continue to rise. Much of the body’s copper is found in the liver, which is supposed to filter excess copper into waste so that it can pass out of the body. Wilson’s disease stops copper filtering through the liver appropriately, and one is left with free copper blood levels as much as six times greater than an individual without the disorder. The copper plasma test assesses how much free copper is in an individual’s blood.
Zinc deficiency, which affects about 2 billion people in the developing world, is associated with several diseases. In children it causes growth retardation, infection susceptibility, delayed sexual maturation, and diarrhea, contributing to the death of about 800,000 children worldwide per year. Enzymes with a zinc atom in the reactive center are widespread in biochemistry, including alcohol dehydrogenase in humans. Consumption of excess zinc can cause lethargy, ataxia, and copper deficiency. Trace minerals are a group of tests that measure specific minerals, mostly in the blood but at times in the urine or another body tissue or fluid. These minerals are substances that the body needs in very small amounts on a regular basis for normal functioning. They come into the body through the diet and are used in the production of hormones and enzymes, the regulation of glucose, and the formation of bone, teeth, muscles, connective tissue, and blood cells. They aid in the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, promote wound healing, and are vital for the transport of oxygen throughout the body.