Copper is a mineral. It is found in foods such as organ meats, seafood, nuts, seeds, wheat bran cereals, grain products, and cocoa products. The body stores copper mostly in the bones and muscles. The liver regulates the amount of copper that is in the blood. Copper is used as medicine.

Copper is most commonly used for treating copper deficiency and the anemia it may cause. Having too little copper (copper deficiency) is very rare. It sometimes occurs in people who get too much zinc from diet or supplements, have intestinal bypass surgery, or are fed by feeding tubes. Malnourished infants can also have copper deficiency.


Is a Form of:


Primary Functions:

Copper deficiency

Also Known As:

Copper Sulfate, Cu, Cuivre, Cuivre Élémentaire

How Does It Work?

Copper is involved in many of the natural processes in the body.


  • Copper deficiency.Taking copper by mouth at recommended levels or given intravenously (by IV) by a healthcare provider is effective for treating copper deficiency and anemia caused by copper deficiency.
  • Taking copper in combination with zinc, manganese, and calcium might slow bone loss in older women.

Recommended Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For copper deficiency: doses up to 0.1 mg/kg of copper as cupric sulfate per day.

The National Institute of Medicine has determined Adequate Intake (AI) of copper for infants: 0 to 6 months, 200 mcg (30 mcg/kg/day); 7 to 12 months, 220 mcg (24 mcg/kg/day). Infants should get all their copper from food or formula, unless a healthcare provider recommends supplements and provides follow-up care and monitoring.

For children, a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of copper has been set: 1 to 3 years, 340 mcg/day; 4 to 8 years, 440 mcg/day; 9 to 13, 700 mcg/day; 14 to 18 years, 890 mcg/day.

For men and women age 19 years and older, the RDA of copper is 900 mcg/day.

For pregnancy, the RDA is 1000 mcg/day, and breast feeding 1300 mcg/day for women of all ages.

The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), the maximum amount for which no harmful effect is expected, has been established for children and adults. The ULs for copper are: children 1 to 3 years, 1 mg/day; 4 to 8 years, 3 mg/day; 9 to 13 years, 5 mg/day; 14 to 18 years (including pregnancy and lactation) 8 mg/day; adults age 19 and older (including breast feeding), 10 mg/day; pregnancy age 19 and older, 8 mg/day.


  • For copper deficiency: Healthcare providers give copper intravenously (by IV).

Copper Supplements Frequently Asked Questions

What is copper supplement good for?

Copper is an essential nutrient for the body. Together with iron, it enables the body to form red blood cells. It helps maintain healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves, and immune function, and it contributes to iron absorption. Sufficient copper in the diet may help prevent cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, too.

Are copper supplements safe?

When taken by mouth: Copper is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts no greater than 10 mg daily. Copper is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large amounts. Adults should avoid using more than 10 mg of copper per day. Kidney failure and death can occur with as little as 1 gram of copper sulfate.

What are the symptoms of copper deficiency?

Signs and symptoms of copper deficiency can include:

  • A lowlevel of white blood cells called neutrophils (neutropenia)
  • Hair with less pigment than normal.

Which foods are high in copper?

Here are 8 foods high in copper.

  • Liver. Organ meats — such as liver— are extremely nutritious. ...
  • Oysters. Oystersare a type of shellfish often considered a delicacy. ...
  • Shiitake Mushrooms.
  • Nutsand Seeds.
  • Leafy Greens.
  • Dark Chocolate.

Should you take copper supplements?

When You Get Too Much

Having too much copper in your system is rare, but it's possible. Some people take supplements even though they have enough copper already. If you have this disease or genetic conditions like idiopathic copper toxicosis or childhood cirrhosis, you shouldn't take copper supplements.

Does the human body need copper?

Copper is an essential trace mineral necessary for survival. It is found in all body tissues and plays a role in making red blood cells and maintaining nerve cells and the immune system. It also helps the body form collagen and absorb iron, and plays a role in energy production.

When should I take copper supplements?

Copper supplements are available as pills and capsules. You can also get copper intravenously, or through your veins. You shouldn't take copper supplements and zinc supplements at the same time. You should take these supplements at least two hours apart.

What causes a copper deficiency?

The most common cause of copper deficiency is a remote gastrointestinal surgery, such as gastric bypass surgery, due to malabsorption of copper, or zinc toxicity. On the other hand, Menkes disease is a genetic disorder of copper deficiency involving a wide variety of symptoms that is often fatal.

What happens if you have a copper deficiency?

Copper deficiency can lead to problems with connective tissue, muscle weakness, anemia, low white blood cell count, neurological problems, and paleness. Too much copper can be toxic. This extra copper can kill liver cells and cause nerve damage. Wilson disease is fatal if untreated.

Does copper reduce inflammation?

Copper bracelets are thought to help ease the aches and pains of stiff and sore joints. Proponents of the treatment suggest that the skin absorbs tiny particles of copper. This is then said to help reduce inflammation in the joints, as copper is a vital nutrient that serves this purpose in the body.

What are 3 rich sources of copper?

Food Sources

Oysters and other shellfish, whole grains, beans, nuts, potatoes, and organ meats (kidneys, liver) are good sources of copper. Dark leafy greens, dried fruits such as prunes, cocoa, black pepper, and yeast are also sources of copper in the diet.

Should you take zinc with copper?

Additional studies indicate copper supplementation along with zinc helps balance absorption of both nutrients. For copper, the average recommendations is 1 mg daily for healthy adults. 2. If you are taking a zinc supplement daily, then it may be time to consider the addition of a copper supplement as well.

What does too much copper do to your body?

Too much copper can be toxic. For example, Wilson disease keeps the liver from storing copper safely and from sending copper out of the body in your stool. Extra copper in the liver overflows and builds up in the kidneys, brain, and eyes. This extra copper can kill liver cells and cause nerve damage.

Is tea high in copper?

Among all types, the highest levels of copper were found in the red and black teas. Copper concentrations in white (15.5 ± 0.1 mg/kg) and oolong (9.15 ± 0.07 mg/kg) teas found in our study are similar to the results of other researchers (Marcos et al. [9] 17.6–31.6 mg/kg for white and 15.1–25.8 mg/kg for oolong tea).

What nuts are high in copper?

Summary Nuts and seeds — particularly almonds, cashews and sesame seeds — are good sources of copper. What's more, they're high in fiber, protein and healthy fats.

Do avocados have copper?

Avocados contain more potassium than bananas. Copper: Avocado is a rich source of copper. This trace element is relatively low in the Western diet. Low copper intake may have adverse effects on heart health (14).

Are blueberries high in copper?

SUMMARY Blueberries are a good source of manganese and vitamins C and K1. They also provide small amounts of copper, as well as vitamins E and B6.

What is the most absorbable form of copper?

Copper citrate is the most common type of dietary copper used on the market. This substance is cheap to mass-produce, but there are some concerns about its bioavailability. Copper bisglycinate, however, is bonded to a glycerin substrate, and it absorbs directly into the bloodstream.

Which is better copper Glycinate or copper citrate?

Both copper citrate and copper glycinate would be comparable for absorption. Some individuals prefer citrate forms of minerals because of the number of studies on this mineral chelate, others look to avoid citrates as some individuals can have trouble tolerating them (this is rare). | 4 of 4 found this helpful.

Does copper increase melanin?

Pale Skin

Interestingly, copper is used by enzymes that produce melanin. Therefore, copper deficiency could affect the production of this pigment, causing pale skin ( 30 , 31 ). Summary Copper is used by enzymes that make melanin, the pigment that determines skin color.

What vegetables are high in copper?

When it comes to copper, one cup of cooked spinach provides more than 300mcg of copper. Other vegetables rich in copper include cooked asparagus and fresh parsley. Other high-copper vegetables include potatoes.

Can you take too much copper supplement?

Yes, copper can be harmful if you get too much. Getting too much copper on a regular basis can cause liver damage, abdominal pain, cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Copper toxicity is rare in healthy individuals. But it can occur in people with Wilson's disease, a rare genetic disorder.

Clinical Studies