Serum copper is tested to determine whether or not one is suffering from copper overload. An elevated copper reflects the body’s total metal burden and indicates to a physician whether or not nutritional supplementation or dietary and lifestyle changes may be helpful in managing mental or emotional issues.
An elevated of copper, particularly in it’s unbound, ‘free radical’ form, is often reflective of the body’s ability to handle other toxic metals. Free copper is determined by an equation that compares the total copper and total ceruloplasmin in the blood. Copper overload is defined as an elevated total level of copper, an increase in the ratio of copper to ceruloplasmin, and an elevated copper to zinc ratio.
Copper in the brain is involved in the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine. A ‘free-copper’ overload leads to an increase in the anxiety producing ‘fight or flight’ neurotransmitter and lowers of the pleasure and reward center neurotransmitter, dopamine.
Elevated levels of copper are associated with conditions of anxiety, post-partum depression, bipolar disorder, insomnia and depression.