Copper is a trace mineral, meaning that it is a mineral that the body needs in very small amounts. It is a co-factor for many enzymes including antioxidant enzymes. It is used by the body in the formation of bone, hemoglobin, red blood cells, and skin, cartilage, and tendon proteins. Additionally, copper is involved in immune system function, nerve myelination, energy production, hair and skin coloring, taste sensitivity, fatty acid metabolism, and endorphin action.
May result in osteoporosis, anemia, baldness, diarrhea, general weakness, impaired respiratory function, myelopathy, decreased skin pigment, reduced resistance to infection, increased triglyceride levels, and increased oxidative damage to cell membranes.
Sources & Absorption:
Copper is found in liver, oysters, lobster, nuts and seeds, dried fruits, potatoes, whole grains, and cocoa. Copper is best absorbed when consumed with protein. Absorption is reduced when consumed with grains, legumes, zinc, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C.
It is possible to consume too much Copper in supplement form, so do NOT self-subscribe Copper supplements. Micro-nutrient testing is required before supplementation. Increased consumption of plant-based food sources, such as nuts, seeds, and cocoa, is safe.
* This information is not intended to encourage self-supplementation. As you will read in individual nutrient content, self-supplementation can be unnecessary or even dangerous. I highly recommend micro-nutrient blood testing before choosing to take any supplements that are not whole-foods based.
Gropper SS, Smith JL, Groff JL. Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth; 2009.
Mahan L, Escott-Stump S, Raymond J. Krauses's food and the nutrition care process. 13th ed. St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier Saunders; 2012.
Linda Beeker, RDN
I love sharing the power of nutrition - a gift of God's design.