How to calculate ratios of Zinc, Copper and Ceruloplasmin from blood tests
Following on from my recent post about the issues with copper overload, I wanted to share this information about how to calculate ratios of Zinc, Copper and Ceruloplasmin from blood tests as I have found it helpful. It allowed me to confirm my suspicion that copper may have been causing a lot of my symptoms by allowing me to work out how much unbound copper was floating around in my body as well as my zinc/copper ratio.
Now I want to explain before you go ahead and use this, that this apparently isn’t an exact science at all. The level of copper showing in blood tests may not provide a completely accurate picture as apparently copper can be stored deep in the tissues, wreaking all sorts of havoc, while at the same time making the copper levels in your blood look normal or even low.
The testing of hair, according to Anne Gittlemen in her book Why Am I Always So Tired?, can be more accurate in some cases, but still the results may still not paint a true picture until treatment has begun and copper begins to be moved out of the tissues and into the blood.
From what I understand of this, it is the unbound copper that is the number that is useful as well as the zinc/copper ratio.
I found these calculations on a Facebook group for those with Pyrrole Disorder. I would highly recommend anyone looking for more information about this disorder request to join the group as there is plenty of helpful information and support to be found there.
Calculations you can do following blood tests for Serum or Plasma Zinc, Copper and Ceruloplasmin.
First, we need to get the three measurements into the same units, ug/dL (micrograms per decilitre):
- If your results were given in g/L multiply by 100,000 to get ug/dL.
- If your results were given in mg/dL, multiply by 1,000 to get ug/dL.
- If your results were given in mg/L multiply by 100 to get ug/dL.
- If your results were given in ug/L, divide by 10 to get ug/dL.
- If your results were given in ng/mL, divide by 10 to get ug/dL. 1)
1) Zinc If your results were given in umol/L, divide by 0.153 to get ug/dL
2) Copper If your results were given in umol/L, divide by 0.157 to get ug/dL
3) Ceruloplasmin Results are usually given in mg/dL or g/L. Convert to ug/dL as above notes.
Now calculate the ratios, etc.
4) Calculate the Copper:Zinc ratio, divide Copper (2) by Zinc (1), Reference range is 0.7 to 1.0. (This is a ratio, not ug/dL.)
5) Calculate the amount of Copper bound in Ceruloplasmin, Ceruloplasmin (3) in ug/dL multiplied by 0.003. (Ceruloplasmin is 0.3% Copper by weight)
6) Calculate the amount of Copper not bound in Ceruloplasmin, Total Copper (2) in ug/dL minus Copper bound to Ceruloplasmin (5). Reference range is 5 to 15ug/dL
7) Calculate the percentage of Non-Ceruloplasmin-Bound Copper: Non-Ceruloplasmin-Bound Copper (6) divided by total Copper (2), then multiplied by 100. Reference range is 5% to 20%.
Note that reference ranges are statistical ranges given by the laboratories. They are not the optimal or healthy range. They vary slightly between different laboratories, but they are generally around the same levels. They are usually two standard deviations above and below the mean, and that represents about 95% of the population sampled.
From Wikipedia: “In health-related fields, a reference range or reference interval usually describes the variations of a measurement or value in healthy individuals. It is a basis for a physician or other health professional to interpret a set of results for a particular patient. The standard definition of a reference range (usually referred to if not otherwise specified) basically originates in what is most prevalent in a reference group taken from the population. However, there are also optimal health ranges that are those that appear to have the optimal health impact on people.”
I trust that many people, like myself, will find this useful. If you have comments or questions, please comment below. If you have questions I can’t answer, I recommend joining the Facebook group linked from the top of the page as Steve, (admin) seems to have quite a lot of knowledge on the subject.