• Copper Complexes of Various Amino Acids, Copper Gluconate, Copper Picolinate, Copper Sulfate
• To Balance High Zinc Intake
• Heart Disease, High Cholesterol, Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis
The human body contains only 70 to 80 mg of copper in total, but it's an essential part of many important enzymes. Copper's possible role in treating disease is based on the fact that these enzymes can't do their jobs without it. However, there is little direct evidence that taking extra copper can treat any disease.
The official U.S. recommendations for daily intake of copper are as follows:
Infants 0–6 months, 200 mcg
7–12 months, 220 mcg
Children 1–3 years, 340 mcg
4–8 years, 440 mcg
Males and females 9–13 years, 700 mcg
14–18 years, 890 mcg
19 years and older, 900 mcg
- Pregnant women, 1,000 mcg
- Nursing women, 1,300 mcg
High zinc intake reduces copper stores in the body; 1,2 for this reason, if you are taking zinc in doses above nutritional levels (as, for example, in the treatment of macular degeneration ), you will need extra copper.
In addition, if you are taking iron or large doses of vitamin C , you may need extra copper. 3–7 Ideally, you should take copper at least 2 hours apart from these two nutrients, so that they don't interfere with each other's absorption.
Oysters, nuts, legumes, whole grains, sweet potatoes, and dark greens are good sources of copper. Drinking water that passes through copper plumbing is a good source of this mineral, and sometimes it may even provide too much.
For the various therapeutic uses described in the next section, copper is often recommended at a high (but still safe) dose of 1 to 3 mg (1,000 to 3,000 mcg) daily.
Copper has been proposed as a treatment for osteoporosis , based primarily on studies that found benefit using combinations of various trace minerals including copper. 8,9 However, one study found that copper supplements taken alone may not be helpful. 11
One researcher, L. M. Klevay, has claimed in more than a dozen papers that copper deficiencies increase the risk of high cholesterol and heart disease , but he has failed to supply any real evidence that this idea is true. A small double-blind, placebo-controlled study of copper supplements for reducing heart disease risk factors such as cholesterol profile found no benefit. 10
The following daily doses of copper should not be exceeded:
Children 1 to 3 years, 1,000 mcg
4 to 8 years, 3,000 mcg
9 to 13 years, 5,000 mcg
Males and females 14 to 18 years, 8,000 mcg
19 years and older, 10,000 mcg
- Pregnant or nursing women, 10,000 mcg (8,000 mcg if 18 years old or younger)
Maximum safe dosages of copper for individuals with severe liver or kidney disease have not been determined.
10. Jones AA, DiSilvestro RA, Coleman M, et al. Copper supplementation of adult men: Effects on blood copper enzyme activities and indicators of cardiovascular disease risk. Metabolism . 1997;46:1380–1383.
11. Cashman KD, Baker A, Ginty F, et al. No effect of copper supplementation on biochemical markers of bone metabolism in healthy young adult females despite apparently improved copper status. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2001;55:525–531.
Last reviewed October 2007 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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