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Copper | Copper Nutrient Source

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Copper is a naturally occurring metal found in soil, water, and rocks. Nutritionally, it is an essential trace mineral found in some foods and supplements. It helps the body produce energy, breaks down and absorbs iron, and assists various enzymes that build red blood cells, collagen, connective tissue, and neurotransmitters in the brain. Supports development and immune function and is a building block of superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant enzyme that breaks down harmful oxygen “free radicals”. Copper is absorbed in the small intestine and is found primarily in bone and muscle tissue.

recommended amount

RDAs: The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults 19 years and older is 900 micrograms per day for men and women. Pregnant and lactating adults over the age of 19 need 1,300 micrograms per day, while younger ages 14-18 need slightly less, her 1,000 micrograms per day.

UL: The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is the maximum daily intake that is unlikely to cause adverse health effects. Her UL for copper for adults 19 years and older and for pregnant and lactating adults is 10,000 micrograms per day.

copper and health

Since dozens of enzymes use copper to carry out metabolic processes throughout the body, both excess and deficiency of copper can disrupt these normal processes, and for optimal health a stable The body is generally efficient at stabilizing copper levels (low copper intake increases absorption and vice versa). [1] Abnormal copper levels can result from genetic mutations, aging, or environmental influences that predispose to conditions such as cancer, inflammation, and neurodegeneration. [2]

food source

Copper is found most abundantly in protein foods such as organ meats, shellfish, fish, nuts, seeds, whole grains and chocolate. , will decrease if there is a sufficient amount of copper in the body.

Signs of Deficiency and Toxicity


Copper deficiency is rare among healthy people in the United States and occurs primarily in people with genetic disorders or malabsorption problems such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease. can interfere with copper absorption, leading to severe deficiency, which can be fatal without copper injections. This can lead to copper deficiency.

Signs of a shortage include:

  • anemia
  • high cholesterol
  • osteoporosis, fracture
  • Increased infections
  • loss of skin pigment


Toxicity is rare in healthy people because the body efficiently excretes excess copper. As seen in Wilson’s disease, a rare genetic condition, copper is not excreted from the body, resulting in high blood levels. Severe liver damage and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain may occur. Although very rare, the continuous storage and serving of boiling liquid from corroded copper or brass vessels can consume excess copper.

did you know?

Copper is found naturally in water, but excessive levels of copper in drinking water are usually caused by copper leaking from old, corroded household pipes or faucets. There is a greater risk if the water is stagnant due to no water being used or hot tap water being used (copper is more soluble at higher temperatures). In such cases, running cold tap water for a few minutes before use can reduce exposure to excess copper. It is also recommended not to drink.

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