Ascorbic Acid Causes Copper Deficiency?… Huh?!?…

by Morley Robbins on May 8, 2014

OK, where, oh where are we headed today?…

Some of you (actually several hundred of you…) saw and commented on my Cinco de Mayo MAG Post re the importance of using wholefood Vitamin-C COMPLEX and foregoing Ascorbic Acid…

And for those that may have missed it, here’s the permalink to that thread:

On many, many. many occassions, numerous MAG-pies have been asking for some “further proof” in the literature beyond the occasional reference to this notable “bait & switch”  that appears from time to time in alternative healing articles… Aside from the article embedded in that link above (Finley, et al Am Jrl Clin Nutrition, 1983), I happened upon an important find during my read & reflection this morning re this same topic…

For those that are really intrigued by this revelation re Ascorbic Acid and it’s impact upon Copper, a more pointed article is “Copper Nutrition During Infancy and Childhood,” by Lonnerdal, Am Jrl Clin Nutrition, 1998.

And just to expedite matters, I’m gonna copy an important set of paragraphs from pg 1050S of that article so that each of you can read from the horse’s mouth about HOW Ascorbic Acid CAUSES Copper Deficiency:

Ascorbic acid
Early studies on the effect of high concentrations of ascorbic
acid on copper absorption in experimental animals indicated that
copper absorption was reduced (71, 72). It was suggested that
this effect was achieved by a reduction of cupric (II) ions to
cuprous (I) ions and that the latter form is less well absorbed.
This interpretation, however, may be too simplistic; it is evident
that the interaction between copper and ascorbic acid is complex
and occurs at several levels. Ascorbic acid may have an effect on
copper at the absorptive stage as suggested by the earlier studies
and also some recent work in rats (73), but it may also affect
intracellular copper metabolism and transport of copper to the
liver, as well as copper excretion. In many studies it is difficult
to evaluate at which stage of copper metabolism ascorbic acid
interferes. The possibility of species differences in copper
metabolism should also be investigated as there appear to be differences
between results from studies in rats and human data.
Support for a so-called postabsorptive effect of ascorbic acid
on copper metabolism was provided in a study by DiSilvestro
and Harris (74). When copper-deficient chicks were injected
with ascorbic acid intraperitoneally, either in conjunction with
copper or 75 min before the copper dose, copper utilization was
markedly impaired. However, when ascorbic acid was injected
75 min after the copper dose, the activity of the copper-dependent
enzymes increased. The authors proposed that ascorbic acid
may be one of the reducing agents needed for the reduction of
ceruloplasmin-bound copper to make it available intracellularly.
It is also possible that ascorbate is needed for the transport of
copper from the mucosal cell to other tissues. Van den Berg and
Beynen (73) found that the major effect of high dietary intake of
ascorbic acid in rats was decreased copper absorption, but that
liver uptake and biliary excretion of copper also were increased.
The effect of ascorbic acid on copper metabolism was more pronounced
in copper-deficient than in copper-adequate rats. They
suggested that the high biliary excretion of copper was due to
increased liver copper uptake.

It is possible that the effect of ascorbic acid on copper metabolism
is less pronounced in human subjects than in animal models.
Finley and Cerklewski (75) found lower ceruloplasmin oxidase
activity and a tendency toward lower serum copper concentrations
after giving young, healthy volunteers 1500 mg ascorbic acid/d for
64 d. It is possible, however, that this was not due to decreased
copper absorption, because Jacob et al (76) found no effect on
copper absorption when ascorbic acid was given at different concentrations.
These investigators suggested that ascorbic acid can
cause release of copper from ceruloplasmin and thereby lower its
oxidase activity. This is a distinct possibility because immunologic
determination of ceruloplasmin showed no change in ceruloplasmin
protein concentrations. Feeding low-birth-weight infants
ascorbic acid–fortified formula (50 mg/d) did not result in any
negative effect on copper balance compared with feeding formula
with the normal amount of ascorbic acid (77).

I just wanted folks to have this more recent article, as well as related citations, for your reference and reflection. In a latter post this month, I’ll shed further light on WHY Copper deficiency is such a debilitating and destructive mineral dynamic in Homo Cupereidus…

As is often said on MAG, all is NOT as it seems…

Truth be known, I could write yet another book just about this article alone in terms of the implications that this dynamic of Ascorbic Acid has in lowering the bio-availability and viability of Copper in the cell, and the concomitant influx of Copper in the Liver that creates untold amounts of metabolic dysfunction… But more on that in a future post!

I just thought you all would like more definitive language and research findings to further embellish the earlier post this week on the Vitamin-C wars of the C-COMPLEX vs Ascorbic Acid, it’s synthetic and cheap impostor…

As always, I welcome your input, your questions and your insights… It would appear that the body of evidence that mineral deficiencies as a key mechanism for metabolic dysfunction grows larger and larger with each passing day!

A votre sante!

Citations for the Lonnerdal, 1998 AJCN Article cited above

71. Hill CH, Starcher B. Effect of reducing agents on copper deficiency
in the chick. J Nutr 1965;85:271–4.
72. Van Campen D, Gross E. Influence of ascorbic acid on the absorption
of copper by rats. J Nutr 1968;95:617–22.
73. Van den Berg GJ, Beynen AC. Influence of ascorbic acid supplementation
on copper metabolism in rats. Br J Nutr 1992;68:701–15.
74. DiSilvestro RA, Harris ED. A postabsorption effect of L-ascorbic
acid on copper metabolism in chicks. J Nutr 1981;111:1964–8.
75. Finley EB, Cerklewski FL. Influence of ascorbic acid supplementaton
on copper status in young adult men. Am J Clin Nutr
76. Jacob RA, Skala JR, Omaye ST, Turnlund JR. Effect of varying
ascorbic acid intakes on copper absorption and ceruloplasmin levels
of young men. J Nutr 1987;117:2109–15.
77. Stack T, Aggett PJ, Aitken E, Lloyd DJ. Routine L-ascorbic acid
supplementation does not alter iron, copper, and zinc balance in
low-birth-weight infants fed a cow’s milk formula. J Pediatr Gastroenterol
Nutr 1990;10:351–6.

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