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Health Encyclopedia

Nutritional Supplement

Copper

Where to Find It

The best source of copper is oysters. Nuts, dried legumes, cereals, potatoes, vegetables, and meat also contain copper.

How to Use It

Most people consume less than the recommended amount of this mineral. Some doctors recommend supplementing the average diet with 1–3 mg of copper per day. While the necessity of supplementing a normal diet with copper has not been proven, most people who take zinc supplements, including the zinc found in multivitamin-mineral supplements, should probably take additional copper.

Cupric oxide (CuO) is a form of copper frequently used in vitamin-mineral supplements sold over-the-counter. However, animal studies have shown conclusively this form of copper is poorly absorbed from the gut; it should therefore not be used in supplements.55,56,57,58 Several other forms of copper (including copper sulfate, cupric acetate, and alkaline copper carbonate) are better absorbed, and are therefore preferable to cupric oxide.59

References

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16. Iwama H, Iwase O, Hayashi S, et al. Macrocytic anemia with anisocytosis due to alcohol abuse and vitamin B6 deficiency. Rinsho Ketsueki 1998;39:1127-30 [in Japanese].

17. Hirschmann JV, Raugi GJ. Adult scurvy. J Am Acad Dermatol 1999;41:895-906 [review].

18. Summerfield AL, Steinberg FU, Gonzalez JG. Morphologic findings in bone marrow precursor cells in zinc-induced copper deficiency anemia. Am J Clin Pathol 1992;97:665-8.

19. Freycon F, Pouyau G. Rare nutritional deficiency anemia: deficiency of copper and vitamin E. Sem Hop 1983;59:488-93 [review] [in French].

20. Borgna-Pignatti C, Marradi P, Pinelli L, et al. Thiamine-responsive anemia in DIDMOAD syndrome. J Pediatr 1989;114:405-10.

21. Neufeld EJ, Mandel H, Raz T, et al. Localization of the gene for thiamine-responsive megaloblastic anemia syndrome, on the long arm of chromosome 1, by homozygosity mapping. Am J Hum Genet 1997;61:1335-41.

22. Spencer JC. Direct relationship between the body's copper/zinc ratio, ventricular premature beats and sudden cardiac death. Am J Clin Nutr 1979;32:1184-5 [letter].

23. Porter KG, McMaster D, Elmes ME, Love AH. Anaemia and low serum-copper during zinc therapy. Lancet 1977;2:774 [letter].

24. Hill CH. A role of copper in elastin formation. Nutr Rev 1969;27:99-100 [review].

25. Greene FL, Lamb LS, Barwick M, Pappas NJ. Effect of dietary copper on colonic tumor production and aortic integrity in the rat. J Surg Res 1987;42:503-12.

26. Vanhooser SL, Stair E, Edwards WC, et al. Aortic rupture in ostrich associated with copper deficiency. Vet Hum Toxicol 1994;36:226-7.

27. Guenthner E, Carlson CW, Emerick RJ. Copper salts for growth stimulation and alleviation of aortic rupture losses in turkeys. Poult Sci 1978;57:1313-24.

28. Tilson MD. Decreased hepatic copper levels. A possible chemical marker for the pathogenesis of aortic aneurysms in man. Arch Surg 1982;117:1212-3.

29. Tilson MD, Davis G. Deficiencies of copper and a compound with ion-exchange characteristics of pyridinoline in skin from patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms. Surgery 1983;94:134-41.

30. Senapati A, Carlsson LK, Fletcher CD, et al. Is tissue copper deficiency associated with aortic aneurysms? Br J Surg 1985;72:352-3.

31. Dubick MA, Hunter GC, Casey SM, Keen CL. Aortic ascorbic acid, trace elements, and superoxide dismutase activity in human aneurysmal and occlusive disease. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1987;184:138-43.

32. Jaakkola P, Hippelainen M, Kantola M. Copper and zinc concentrations of abdominal aorta and liver in patients with infrarenal abdominal aortic aneurysm or aortoiliacal occlusive disease. Ann Chir Gynaecol 1994;83:304-8.

33. Eaton-Evans J, McIlrath EM, Jackson WE, et al. Copper supplementation and bone-mineral density in middle-aged women. Proc Nutr Soc 1995;54:191A.

34. Baker A, Turley E, Bonham MP, et al. No effect of copper supplementation on biochemical markers of bone metabolism in healthy adults. Br J Nutr 1999;82:283-90.

35. Abraham GE, Grewal H. A total dietary program emphasizing magnesium instead of calcium. J Reprod Med 1990;35:503-7.

36. Singh A, Failla ML, Deuster PA. Exercise-induced changes in immune function: effects of zinc supplementation. J Appl Physiol 1994;76:2298-303.

37. Lukaski HC. Magnesium, zinc, and chromium nutriture and physical activity. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;72:585S-93S [review].

38. Van Loan MD, Sutherland B, Lowe NM, et al. The effects of zinc depletion on peak force and total work of knee and shoulder extensor and flexor muscles. Int J Sport Nutr 1999;9:125-35.

39. Manore MM. Dietary recommendations and athletic menstrual dysfunction. Sports Med 2002;32:887-901 [review].

40. Micheletti A, Rossi R, Rufini S. Zinc status in athletes: relation to diet and exercise. Sports Med 2001;31:577-82 [review].

41. Krotkiewski M, Gudmundsson M, Backstrom P, Mandroukas K. Zinc and muscle strength and endurance. Acta Physiol Scand 1982;116:309-11.

42. Khaled S, Brun JF, Cassanas G, et al. Effects of zinc supplementation on blood rheology during exercise. Clin Hemorheol Microcirc 1999;20:1-10.

43. Bush IM, Berman E, Nourkayhan S, et al. Zinc and the prostate. Presented at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association Chicago, 1974.

44. Fahim MS, Fahim Z, Der R, Harman J. Zinc treatment for reduction of hyperplasia of prostate. Fed Proc 1976;35(3):361.

45. Anderson RA et al. Chromium supplementation of humans with hypoglycemia. Fed Proc 1984;43:471.

46. Stebbing JB et al. Reactive hypoglycemia and magnesium. Magnesium Bull 1982;2:131-4.

47. Shansky A. Vitamin B3 in the alleviation of hypoglycemia. Drug Cosm Ind 1981;129(4):68-69,104-5.

48. Gaby AR, Wright JV. Nutritional regulation of blood glucose. J Advancement Med 1991;4:57-71.

49. DiSilvestro RA, Marten J, Skehan M. Effects of copper supplementation on ceruloplasmin and copper­zinc superoxide dismutase in free­living rheumatoid arthritis patients. J Am Coll Nutr 1992;11:177-80.

50. Jones AA, DiSilvestro RA, Coleman M, Wagner TL. Copper supplementation of adult men: effects on blood copper enzyme activities and indicators of cardiovascular disease risk. Metabolism 1997;46:1380-3.

51. Medical News. Copper boosts activity of anti-inflammatory drugs. JAMA 1974;229:1268-9.

52. Sorenson JRJ. Copper complexes—a unique class of anti­arthritic drugs. Progress Med Chem 1978;15:211-60 [review].

53. Walker WR, Keats DM. An investigation of the therapeutic value of the ‘copper bracelet'—dermal assimilation of copper in arthritic/rheumatoid conditions. Agents Actions 1976;6:454-9.

54. Blake DR, Lunec J. Copper, iron, free radicals and arthritis. Brit J Rheumatol 1985;24:123-7 [editorial].

55. Aoyogi S, Baker DH. Bioavailability of copper in analytical-grade and feed-grade inorganic copper sources when fed to provide copper at levels below the chicks requirement. Poult Sci 1993;72:1075-83.

56. Baker DH, Odle J, Funk MA, Wieland TM. Bioavailability of copper in cupric oxide, cuprous oxide and in a copper-lysine complex. Poult Sci 1991;70:177-9.

57. Cromwell GL, Stahly TS, Moneque HJ. Effects of source and level of copper on performance and liver copper stores in weanling pigs. J Anim Sci 1989;67:2996-3002.

58. Ledoux DR, Henry PR, Ammerman CB, et al. Estimation of the relative bioavailability of inorganic copper sources for chicks using tissue uptake of copper. J Anim Sci 1991;69:215-22.

59. Baker DH. Cupric oxide should not be used as a copper supplement for either animals or humans. J Nutr 1999;129:2278-9.

60. Sandstead HH. Requirements and toxicity of essential trace elements, illustrated by zinc and copper. Am J Clin Nutr 1995;61(suppl):621S-24S [review].

61. Broun ER. Greist A, Tricot G, Hoffman R. Excessive zinc ingestion. A reversible cause of sideroblastic anemia and bone marrow depression. JAMA 1990;264:1441-3.

62. Jacob RA, Skala JH, Omaye ST, Turnlund JR. Effect of varying ascorbic acid intakes on copper absorption and ceruloplasmin levels of young men. J Nutr 1987;117:2109-15.

63. Ford ES. Serum copper concentration and coronary heart disease among US adults. Am J Epidemiol 2000;151:1182-8.

64. Youssef A, Wood B, Baron DN. Serum copper: a marker of disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis. J Clin Pathol 1983;36:14-17.

Copyright © 2020 TraceGains, Inc. All rights reserved.

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The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.

Copyright © 2020 TraceGains, Inc. All rights reserved.

The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.