|print the page||email the page|
- Why copper is good for you
- Important copper facts
- Groups at risk of copper deficiency
- Symptoms of copper deficiency
- Copper and health
- Copper in foods
- Copper recommended daily intake (RDI)
- Copper works best with
- Overdosage, toxicity and cautions for copper
Copper is required in the formation of haemoglobin, red blood cells and for healthy bones. It helps with the formation of elastin as well as collagen - making it necessary for wound healing. Copper works closely with iron for these functions.
Copper is a vital component of a number of essential enzymes. It is essential for energy production, connective tissue formation, iron metabolism, melanin formation and it also has an antioxidant function.
- The absorption of large amounts of vitamin C and zinc can negatively influence the level of copper in the body, while large amounts of fructose can make a copper deficiency worse
- Be careful of having any liquids stored in copper containers, as the liquid could absorb too much of the copper
- Penicillamine is used to bind copper and enhance copper's elimination in Wilson's disease, a genetic disorder resulting in copper overload
Severe copper deficiency is relatively uncommon, yet approximately 25% of the population may be at risk of copper deficiency. The following groups are at most risk of deficiency:
- Infants/children fed only cow's milk formula - cow's milk is relatively low in copper, so children and babies fed cow's milk formula could become deficient. Specific groups at highest risk are: premature babies, especially those with low birth weights, babies with severe diarrhoea and children and babies suffering from malnutrition
- People with malabsorption syndromes - people with celiac disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, sprue and short bowel syndrome due to surgical removal of a large portion of the intestine may be deficient in copper
- People on restricted medical diets - may not be getting enough copper due to the restriction of a medical diet and may need supplementation
- People with cystic fibrosis - recent research has indicated that people with cystic fibrosis may also be at increased risk of copper insufficiency
People in these group at risk of deficiency should talk to a medical professional about copper supplements BEFORE taking them.
Copper can be stored in the body, so deficiency is rare. If there is copper deficiency, there will almost always be an iron deficiency too, which can lead to anaemia as well as increase the likelihood for infections, osteoporosis, thinning of bones, thyroid gland dysfunction, heart disease as well as nervous system problems.
One of the most common clinical signs of copper deficiency is an anemia that is unresponsive to iron therapy but corrected by copper supplementation.
- Cardiovascular disease - several studies based on geographic regions have found that increased blood copper levels are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease
- Osteoporosis - osteoporosis has been observed in infants and adults with severe copper deficiency, but it is not clear whether marginal copper deficiency contributes to osteoporosis
- The immune system - copper is known to play an important role in the development and maintenance of immune system function, but the exact mechanism of its action is not yet known
People who wish to take a copper supplement should talk to a medical professional BEFORE taking it.
|Liver (beef), cooked||28g||1,265|
|Oysters, cooked||1 medium||670|
|Crab meat, cooked||85g||624|
|Lentils, cooked||1 cup||497|
|Mushrooms, raw, sliced||1 cup||344|
|Peanut butter (chunky)||2 Tbsp||165|
|Shredded wheat cereal (Weetbix)||2 biscuits||143|
|Hot cocoa mix||28g||169|
|PREGNANT||all ages||1000mcg (1.0 mg)|
|LACTATING||all ages||1300mcg (1.3mg)|
|TOLERABLE UPPER LIMIT||lifestage||age||amounT|
|Toxic Levels||>40000mcg (or >40mg)|
The tolerable upper limits should only be taken for short periods and only under medical supervision.
* The tolerable upper limit for copper for infants aged 0-12 months has not yet been determined due to a lack of data about the adverse effects in this age group. The only source of copper intake should be from food (breast milk and/or baby formula).
Chronic toxicity – diarrhoea, dizziness, depression, fatigue, green stools, irritability, joint and muscle pain, nausea, nervousness, psychosis, bloating of the hands and feet, light sensitivity, premature ageing, wrinkling of the skin, vomiting.
Wilson's Disease (this is a genetic disorder resulting in copper overload) - inability to maintain copper status causing an accumulation in the brain and liver (eg acute hepatitis which may become chronic), drooling, open mouthedness, psychosis, headaches, miscarriage.
- USDA National Nutrient Database - provides nutrient values for foods (accessed 5 January 2005)
- Osiecki, H. The Nutrient Bible. Bio-Concepts Publishing QLD, 2002
- Whitney EN, Cataldo DB, Rolfes SR. Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition, 6th Edition. Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2002