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Also Known As: Serum test, CP, Ceruloplasmin, Ceruloplasmin Blood Test

What Is A Ceruloplasmin Test?

The Ceruloplasmin test measures the amount of copper-containing proteins in your blood serum. This test is widely used to diagnose health conditions related to copper, for example, Wilson disease, a rare inherited disorder. This condition leads to too much copper in your blood, which can be life-threatening if left untreated.

Ceruloplasmin is a protein produced in your liver; it stores and carries the mineral copper throughout your body organs. It has 65%- 90% of copper present in the blood. We all know how copper is vital for different processes in your body, such as producing melanin and building strong bones. However, having too much copper in your blood can be highly toxic. Your liver generally takes copper from blood and puts it in the ceruloplasmin proteins. These proteins are then released into blood plasma so the ceruloplasmin can carry copper around your body organs, tissues, and cells that need that.

The excess copper in the blood cannot put proteins in ceruloplasmin, which ultimately keeps your liver from sending extra copper for adequate elimination through your bowel movements. Instead, it will build up in your liver until it begins to overflow in the bloodstream. From there, it can easily accumulate in your eye corneas, kidneys, bones, liver, and even in small glands located near the thyroid. If left untreated, copper poisoning from Wilson disease can cause irreversible damage to the liver and brain.

If you suspect Wilson disease, it is better to avoid high in copper foods such as mushrooms, nuts, liver, shellfish, and chocolates. Do not consume dietary supplements with copper and have your drinking water tested for high copper levels.

What Is The Test Used For?

Usually, your doctor or health care provider will order a ceruloplasmin test if they presume you have a genetic condition known as Wilson's disease. This disorder can keep your body from transporting copper efficiently. So if you have Wilson's disease, you are more likely to have lower than usual copper levels in your bloodstream but higher than expected levels in your urine. You may also go for a ceruloplasmin test to diagnose medical conditions causing copper deficiency ( low copper levels in the blood). You may go through copper deficiency due to:

  • High levels of dietary zinc ( it competes for copper absorption in intestines)
  • Malabsorption ( your body is unable to absorb the nutrients properly)
  • Total parenteral nutrition ( if you are receiving all the food and nutrients intravenously through an iv)
  • Malnutrition ( if your diet does not have enough nutrients in it)
  • Menkes disease ( a rare genetic disorder where your body cannot absorb copper efficiently)

Why And When Do You Need A Ceruloplasmin Test?

You might need this test if you have a medical condition leading to excessive copper accumulation in your body, such as Wilson's disease. The symptoms of this disorder are primarily hepatic or liver-related, but they can also be psychiatric and neurological. The common signs and symptoms of Wilson disease include:

  • Jaundice or yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Skin Rash
  • Drooling
  • Excessive joint pain
  • Anemia
  • Sudden loss of appetite
  • Easy bruising
  • Difficulty controlling your movements or difficulty in walking
  • Changes in behavior
  • Abdominal pain
  • Tremors
  • Persistent involuntary muscle contractions cause repetitive or twisting motions called dystonia
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Trouble speaking and swallowing
  • Dark brown rings around the Iris of the eyes

Occasionally your doctor will order a ceruloplasmin test along with a copper test to rule out the copper deficiency. The symptoms of copper deficiency are:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Pale skin
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Tingling sensations in hands and feet

Your baby or infant might also need this test, especially if they are showing symptoms like:

  • Hair that is brittle, sparse, or tangled
  • Failure to grow
  • Feeding problems
  • Lack of muscle tone
  • Seizures
  • Developmental delays

Most children with this disease die within the first few years of life, but prompt treatment can help them live a long and healthy life.

What Kind Of Sample Is Required For The Test?

For the ceruloplasmin test, you are required to provide the lab technician with the blood sample. The healthcare professional will use a needle to extract blood from your arm vein. They will then collect the blood sample in a tube or vial, which will be sent to a lab for further analysis. Once the lab test reports are available, your doctor will be able to provide you with the necessary information regarding the copper levels and what they mean.

Do You Need To Prepare For The Test?

There is no special preparation needed for a ceruloplasmin test. In general, consuming extra water before the test will help the blood draw more smoothly and efficiently. It is better to stay hydrated as it keeps your veins from constricting and tightening while controlling the blood pressure. You can eat as usual unless your doctor advises you otherwise.

Are There Any Risks To This Test?

Since it is a blood test, there is almost no risk in giving your blood sample. Because arteries and veins differ in size from one person to another, getting a blood sample for the ceruloplasmin test for some individuals might be a bit more challenging than the others. Even though the risks associated with having your blood drawn are less, you might experience:

  • Feeling light-headed
  • Fainting
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Hematoma in which blood accumulates under the skin
  • Multiple punctures to the encountered veins
  • Infection when the puncture site skin is broken

What Do The Test Results Mean?

According to the studies, the normal level for serum ceruloplasmin for individuals above 20 years are:

  • Men (22-40mg/dl)
  • Women without oral contraceptives (25-60 mg/dl)
  • Women with oral contraceptives or estrogen (27-66 mg/dl)
  • Pregnant women (30-120 mg/dl)

Young children have higher ceruloplasmin blood levels than adults and older children. The normal reference range for kids between 7 months- 3 years is 30-90 mg/dl. The test results may differ based on the lab analyzing your blood sample and symptoms. If you have lower than normal ceruloplasmin levels, it may indicate the presence of Wilson's disease. Some other health problems causing your ceruloplasmin levels to become low include:

  • Liver failure
  • Cirrhosis
  • Liver disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Malabsorption syndrome where your body is unable to absorb nutrients, especially proteins and other substances from the intestines
  • Nephrotic syndrome with a wide range of symptoms like low protein in the blood, protein in the urine, high triglyceride levels, and high cholesterol levels
  • Menkes disease

If your test results show higher than normal ceruloplasmin levels, it can be due to:

  • Use of combination birth control pills, i.e., oral contraceptives with progesterone and estrogen
  • Pregnancy
  • Use of hormonal medicines with estrogen

Many neoplastic diseases and inflammatory conditions can also cause high ceruloplasmin levels. If the test results are higher than expected, it could also indicate that you have:

Related Tests:   Liver Biopsy, Genetic Testing, MRI Scan, CT scan, copper test

Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr.Saad Zia on June 05, 2023. 


Ceruloplasmin Test: MedlinePlus Medical Test

Nutrients | Free Full-Text | Ceruloplasmin and Coronary Heart Disease—A Systematic Review

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