Copper

Copper

Share This:

Overview

Copper is an essential mineral for humans. Since your body doesn’t produce it, you must obtain it through food (or supplements).

Importance

Copper has many functions in the body including:

  • Playing a critical role in oxidation-reduction reactions and free radical scavenging
  • Assisting cytochrome oxidase with cellular energy
  • Helping with collagen and elastin cross-linking
  • Forming enzymes responsible for the synthesis and metabolism of neurotransmitters, as well as the formation/maintenance of myelin
  • Regulating genes and transcription factors associated with protein synthesis.

Food Sources

Copper can be found in several foods including:

  • Cashews
  • Crab
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Lentils
  • Hazelnuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Almonds
  • Cocoa powder
  • Nut butters
  • Soybeans
  • Barley
  • Chickpeas
  • Navy beans.

Deficiencies

Common symptoms and resulting conditions of copper deficiency include:

  • Hypochromic anemia unresponsive to iron therapy
  • Neutropenia and leucopenia
  • Hypo pigmentation of skin and hair.

However, your individual response could be different. If you suspect a health problem or deficiency in certain nutrients, please see your primary health care provider (doctor, naturopath, etc). They can help unravel the complexity of your physiology.

Note: copper deficiency is rare. However, those at risk include premature infants, infants fed only cow’s milk formula, those with malabsorption syndromes, excessive zinc consumption, and antacid use.

Excess/Toxicity

Common symptoms of copper excess/toxicity include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Liver damage with long-term exposure.

However, your individual response could be different. If you suspect a health problem or an excess of certain nutrients, please see your primary health care provider (doctor, naturopath, etc). They can help unravel the complexity of your physiology.

Recipe

For recipes rich in copper, check out any of the Encyclopedia of Food entries for food items listed above!

Free Recipe Book

Precision Nutrition’s Encyclopedia of Food expands every single month as we highlight new foods and showcase beautiful food photography. If you’d like to stay up to date, simply click this link.From there, we’ll send you a FREE copy of our recipe book. We’ll also let you know when new and delicious foods are added to the site.

Click here for the free Encyclopedia of Food recipe book.

At a Glance

Copper is an essential mineral that humans must obtain through food. It has many functions in the body, including helping with protein synthesis and cellular energy. It also plays a critical role in oxidation-reduction reactions and free radical scavenging. You can find copper in many beans and legumes, as well as cocoa powder, mushrooms, barley, and crab meat.