Diet and Nutrition
Food . . . .
Adherence to a low copper diet is most important during the initial phase of treatment. The recommendation is to avoid the foods highest in copper content: organ meats, shellfish, chocolate, nuts, and mushrooms. Once copper levels have stabilized at normal levels, these foods are allowed occasionally. For a comprehensive list refer to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) website at http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=22769 . If you are a vegetarian, please consult a dietician, as many of the foods and protein sources in a vegetarian diet are high in copper. Wilson disease cannot be managed by diet alone. Proper medication is necessary lifelong!
Water . . . . .
Copper content of the drinking water you consume should also be tested. If the water is over 0.1 ppm (parts per million) (which is 0.1 mg/L), consider an alternative water source or invest in a good filtering system that removes copper. Your local community or private water testing firms can perform the testing on your home water supply. If you have copper plumbing in your home, some of the copper content can be reduced by running the water for a while before you use it. As water sits in the pipes the copper leaches into the water. for this same reason, avoid using copper cookware for preparation of food. If you work or reside in a location where the water supply has not been tested, consider using bottled water that does not contain copper.
Vitamins . . .
Consult your health care professional before taking a multi-vitamin. If your physician approves, as your pharmacist to find a good supplement that does not contain copper. If you are a woman who is pregnant, or wishes to become pregnant, please have your obstetrician consult with your hepatologist before prescribing prenatal vitamins. Most prenatal vitamins contain an abundance of copper and these should be avoided.
Other Dietary Supplements . . . .
There are many over-the-counter dietary supplements and herbal preparations that claim to be beneficial for some part of your body. Be cautious about this because many can interact with other prescription medications you are taking. Some can be beneficial but others may actually be injurious to your health. Also, many supplements are processed by the liver and may cause additional liver damage or, in the case of existing liver damage, may not be properly utilized by the body. Please refer to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) publications, "What Dietary Supplements Are You Taking? Does Your Health Care Provider Know? It Matters, and Here's Why" and "Dietary Supplements What You Need to Know" these can be found at www.fda.gov/Food/DietarySupplements/UsingDietarySupplements/UCM109760.htm. These contain much useful information about dietary supplements, and personal logs that you can fill in and share with your doctor.