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Copper

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Copper 7, copper acetate, copper amino acid chelate, copper citrate, copper gluconate, copper glycinate, copper intrauterine device, copper lysinate, copper sebacate, copper sulfate, copper T, copper T 200, copper T 220C, copper T 380, copper T 380A, Cu, CuGC, Cu-glucine chelate, Cu IUD, cuivre, cupric oxide, cupric sulfate, cuprum, Cu T, CuSO4, elemental copper, gyne T 200, idiopathic copper toxicosis, Indian childhood cirrhosis, inorganic copper, lippes loop D, MLCu-250, MLCu-375, multiload copper-250, multiload copper-375, nova T, NOVA T 855, OM-GA Cu, organic copper, TCu 200, TCu 220, TCu 380, TCu 380A, TCu 883, VIBOVITmama®, Wilson's disease.
  • Combination product examples: Centrum Forte® (iron, magnesium, zinc, calcium, copper, manganese), Pediatric Renal Seravit® (vitamins, A, E, D, C, and B complex with trace minerals), PerMamma® (zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide), Valiant® PhD alloy (high copper amalgam with palladium), Victory® (soluble copper, peroxide compound, and a cationic agent), Zenith® Premium alloy (high-copper amalgam with zinc).
  • Note: Copper supplements are available as copper acetate, copper amino acid chelates, copper gluconate, copper sebecate, copper sulfate, cuivre, cupric oxide, cupric sulfate, elemental copper, inorganic copper, and organic copper. Copper intrauterine devices (IUD) are not discussed in detail in this monograph.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Copper is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods, including vegetables, legumes, nuts, grains, and fruits, as well as shellfish, avocado, beef, and animal organs, such as liver and kidneys. Because copper is found in the earth's crust, most of the world's surface water and ground water used for drinking purposes contains small amounts of copper. Water obtained through copper pipes may also contain copper.
  • Copper is involved in numerous biochemical reactions in human cells. Copper is a component of multiple enzymes and is involved in the regulation of gene expression; mitochondrial function and cellular metabolism; connective tissue formation; production of melanin; and the absorption, storage, and metabolism of iron. Copper also plays a role in wound healing and red blood cell production. Copper levels are tightly regulated in the body. Copper homeostasis is maintained over a wide range of intakes, mainly through changes in endogenous excretion (1). Most copper is excreted in bile with minimal reabsorption in the gastrointestinal tract (and minimal urinary excretion). The most reliable method for measuring copper absorption is by fecal monitoring (2). Ceruloplasmin is the serum protein that binds copper. It is commonly used as a biological indicator of copper status and is indicative of the level of biological response to copper.
  • The daily U.S. recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for copper is 900mcg for adults; 1,000mcg for pregnant women; 1,300mcg for nursing women; 890mcg for adolescents 14-18 years old; 700mcg for children 9-13 years old; 440mcg for children 4-8 years old; 340mcg for children 1-3 years old; 220mcg for infants 7-12 months old; and 200mcg for infants up to six months old. The median intake of copper for women is approximately 1.0-1.1mg daily, whereas the median intake for men ranges from 1.2-1.6mg daily. Safe levels of consumption of copper appear to be up to 3,000-5,000mcg daily in children older than three years, and up to 10mg daily in adults. The average level of copper stored in the body is between 50-120mg (50,000-120,000mcg) and most is contained in the liver.
  • Copper consumption is required to prevent or treat copper deficiency. Research is ongoing for the role of copper in diseases, such as neuropsychiatric and metabolic disorders, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, bone health, and cancer. In the past, copper was also used as a surface antibacterial and anti-arthritic agent.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.