The Copper/Zinc Profile is an excellent way to determine immune status and the nutritional intake and/or absorption of zinc and copper. Zinc is necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system. This essential trace element is required for the activity of over 300 enzymes and is involved in most major metabolic pathways. The immune system depends on zinc in almost every aspect. Zinc has an inverse relationship with copper in the body. This means that as zinc goes down, copper goes up and vice versa. Adequate copper levels are essential for the growth of new blood vessels, wound healing, and recovering from heart attacks and strokes. When levels are only slightly above normal physiological amounts, copper can be toxic. Any mild abnormality or impairment of liver function can lead to copper excess.

The Benefits of the Copper / Zinc Profile

  • Assessment of zinc and copper sufficiency
  • Calculation of non-ceruloplasmin or free copper (potential oxidizing metal)
  • Determination of crucial copper/zinc ratio


  • Zinc supplementation
  • Molybdenum salts
  • Penicillamine
  • Chelation of toxic metals if indicated by metals testing

Chronic zinc supplementation as low as 18.5 mg per day for two weeks has induced copper deficiency in adults. A parent who gave 50 mg of zinc a day to their child reported that their child’s hair was beginning to turn gray. Children with autism have been supplemented with much higher doses (sometimes 100 mg per day or more). On the other hand, very high doses of zinc have been administered for more than a year to strengthen the immune system.

Analyte List

  • Ceruloplasmin
  • Ceruloplasmin Copper
  • Copper Serum
  • Copper/Zinc Ratio
  • Nonceruloplasmin Copper
  • Zinc Serum

Specimen Requirements

2 mL of serum drawn into a royal blue-topped no additive tube is the absolute minimum. 3 mL of serum is preferred. The serum must be removed from the specimen within 4 hours of collection.


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