Copper is an essential mineral. Good food sources of copper include: liver, mollusks, oysters, crab meat, cashews, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, and lentils.1 The 100% Daily Value of Copper (based on 2000 kcal diet) is 2 mg,2 but it has been revised to 0.9 mg as of May 27, 2016.8 The 100% Daily Value for pregnant or lactating women is 1.3 mg, effective as of January 1st, 2020.8
- Copper Gluconate: Copper gluconate is prepared by combining copper sulfate with gluconic acid, an organic acid produced by the fermentation of glucose from corn.
- Copper Lysinate: Copper lysinate is a bioavailable source of the essential mineral, copper. It is made by binding copper obtained from the mineral salt, copper sulfate, with the amino acid, lysine.
- Copper Oxide: Copper oxide occurs in nature as the minerals tenorite and paramelaconite.
Major Health Benefits
Copper is a constituent of many enzymes in the body, including the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD). Copper functions in the formation of red blood cells, the protein hemoglobin, normal pigmentation, and collagen found in bone and connective tissue.3 In addition, copper contributes to normal function of immune and nervous system3 as well as the synthesis of hormone-like compounds, called prostaglandins, which may help regulate heart rate and blood pressure.4
The Tolerable Upper Intake Level for Copper is 10 mg.5 Although Copper is important for antioxidant activities, high levels of copper may be associated with Alzheimer’s disease.6 Therefore, consuming above the tolerable upper intake level is not desirable. Furthermore, symptoms of acute copper toxicity can include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.7
Higdon, J. Copper. Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. 2001. (Reviewed in 2015 by Prohaska, JR.) (Food Sources). http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/copper Accessed 7/2015.
US Food and Drug Administration. Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide (14. Appendix F: Calculate the Percent Daily Value for the Appropriate Nutrients). US Department of Health and Human Services. 2013 January. http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm064928.htm
European Food Safety Authority. Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to copper and protection of DNA, proteins and lipids from oxidative damage, function of the immune system, maintenance of connective tissues, energy-yielding metabolism, function of the nervous system, maintenance of skin and hair pigmentation, iron transport, cholesterol metabolism, and glucose metabolism. EFSA Journal 2009; 7(9): 1211. https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.2903/j.efsa.2009.1211
Kedzierska K, Bober J, Ciechanowski K, Gołembiewska E, Kwiatkowska E, Noceń I, Dołegowska B, Dutkiewicz G, Chlubek D. Copper modifies the activity of sodium-transporting systems in erythrocyte membrane in patients with essential hypertension. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2005 Oct;107(1):21-32. PMID: 16170219.
Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Tolerable Upper Intake Levels, Elements. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, The National Academic Press. 2001. http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/Nutrition/DRI-Tables/5Summary%20TableTables%2014.pdf?la=en
Higdon, J. Copper. Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. 2001. (Reviewed in 2015 by Prohaska, JR.) (Neurodegenerative diseases) https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/copper
Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. The National Academic Press. 2001. (pp. 247) https://www.nap.edu/download/10026
US Food and Drug Administration. Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels. US Department of Health and Human Services. Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 103, p. 33982 / May 27, 2016. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/