Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 5, Issue 4–5, pp 245–255 | Cite as

Copper and ischemic heart disease

  • Leslie M. Klevay


Absolute or relative deficiency of copper is hypothesized to be of prime importance in the etiology of ischemic heart disease. According to recent estimates, only 25% of the diets in the United States contain the 2 mg of copper thought to be required daily by adults. Some of these diets have ratios of zinc to copper greater than those that have produced hypercholesteremia in animals. There are many epidemiologic associations between the ratio of zinc to copper and dietary characteristics, organ analyses, clinical status, and environmental features that relate the metabolism of these elements to the anatomy, chemistry, pathology, pharmacology, and physiology of ischemic heart disease. Animals deficient in copper or exposed to a high dietary ratio of zinc to copper, which can produce a relative copper deficiency, are hypercholesteremic and hyperuricemic, and have glucose intolerance and abnormalities of the electrocardiogram. Their hearts and arteries have abnormal connective tissue, lipid deposits, and inflammatory changes; they die suddenly, often with ruptured hearts. Hypercholesteremia and glucose intolerance have been found in men depleted of copper and in children with Menkes’ disease, an inability to absorb copper.

Index Entries

Copper, and ischemic heart disease ischemic heart disease copper heart disease dietary copper zinc dietary zinc multifactorial disease pellagra scurvy copper, and zinc in ischemic heart disease risk factors for ischemic heart disease lipid hypotheses and ischemic heart disease epidemiology of ischemic heart disease history of ischemic heart disease zinc/copper hypothesis and ischemic heart disease 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leslie M. Klevay
    • 1
  1. 1.United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research ServiceGrand Forks Human Nutrition Research CenterGrand ForksNorth Dakota

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