Nutrition and Information Guide: Minerals Copper

About the mineral copper, nutritional information guide, uses, effects of deficiency or overdose, good sources of copper.


Use in the Body: Aids in the formation of red blood cells and the production of hair pigment. It is present in many body-building enzymes, elastic muscle fibers, and the covering of nerve fibers.

Deficiency May Lead to: Anemia and weakening of the arteries. However, copper deficiency in humans is extremely rare.

Overdose May Lead to: Toxicity, though this is unusual because the body takes only what it needs and discards the rest. Schizophrenics are found to have high levels of copper in their blood.

Notes: An essential trace element, copper is found throughout the tissues of the body and in high concentrations in the liver, kidneys, heart, brain, and hair. Human requirements are small. The absorption of copper may be antagonized by zinc, molybdenum, and sulfur, which are contained in the best sources of copper. Women need a significant increase of copper during pregnancy and menstruation.

Best Sources: Shellfish and organ meats are especially high. Others are nuts, legumes, raisins and prunes, condiments and spices, oils such as margarine, brewers' yeast, and cereals and grains.

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