Some authorities believe that our average intake is higher than our actual needs, that low intakes are uncommon, and that toxicity is a potential problem. Others believe that a low intake is more common because soil depletion has decreased the copper level in many foods and because many people avoid natural, copper-containing foods.
is an essential trace mineral
needed for good human health. It is also one of the most important blood antioxidants
. A copper deficiency causes higher serum cholesterol
levels along with the lesions
similar to those seen in coronary artery
disease. Its deficiency is associated with hypercholesterolemia
(increased levels of fat in the blood) and myocardial (heart muscle) degeneration.
is found in many natural foods in small amounts, oysters and nuts being the richest sources. Foods with good supplies of copper are the whole grains, particularly buckwheat and whole wheat; shellfish, such as shrimp and other sea food; liver
and other organ meats; most dried peas and beans; and nuts, such as Brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and pecans. Oysters have high amounts, about five times as much as other foods. Soybeans supply copper, as do dark leafy greens and some dried fruits such as prunes; cocoa, black pepper and yeast
are also sources. In addition to food sources, copper can come from water pipes and cookware.
Copper Gluconate is a common supplemental form. Various forms of copper (salts, amino acid
chelates) are now available.
Function; Why it is RecommendedCopper
is an essential element (mineral) in the human body. Needed by all the tissues of the body, as it is used in various enzymatic reactions, it is most used by the liver
Inadequate intake of Copper
can result in such diverse symptoms as anemia
, impaired glucose
, and increased mortality. Copper insufficiencies can result from increased fructose intake, poor diet, increased age, alcohol or drug abuse, bowel disease or partial removal, and long-term intravenous nourishment.
The RDA for copper
is 2mg per day for adults, 1-2mg for children and 0.5-1mg for infants. The average adult intake had been estimated at 2.5-5mg per day, although there are reports suggesting lower levels. Whenever copper is deficient, which it can be for many reasons, it should be supplemented. If you take a copper supplement, you should consider also taking zinc
, unless you are treating high zinc levels or a copper deficiency. Usually, an 8:1 to 15:1 ratio of Zn:Cu intake is recommended.