What is it?

Copper is a trace mineral needed for the production of superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant enzyme; it is involved in energy production and hormone formation; needed for connective tissue and red blood cells; helps to produce the skin pigment melanin.

Function How it helps
Essential coenzyme

Copper is involved in several enzyme systems that are responsible for numerous bodily functions including haemoglobin formation, skin pigmentation, blood clotting and energy production.

Connective tissue health Needed for the proper functioning of collagen and elastin in tissues to give them stability and elasticity.
Antioxidant As a component of the enzyme superoxide dismutase it helps protect against free radical damage to cells, tissue and other body compounds.


What is it used for?
Connective tissue health

Cardiovascular disease

Repetitive strain injury
Zinc excess





Vascular instability


Antioxidant protection


Best food sources

Oysters, crabs, whelks


Dried chickpeas



Dried peas

Soy flour

Buckwheat & Wheat bran


Dried fruit

Lambs liver and meat Potatoes


Deficiency Symptoms
Elevated zinc levels

Iron deficiency anaemia

Poor respiration

Connective tissue defects


Weak blood vessels

Bone & joint disorders


High cholesterol

Supplementation dosage range

1-3mg per day

Other information

Copper is normally taken in combination with other bone nutrients such as calcium and magnesium to help support bone health. It may also be useful to reduce inflammation in arthritis and many people wear copper bracelets for this purpose. Copper is also added to zinc supplements as high levels of zinc interfere with the absorption of copper.

Excessive copper intake may cause a metallic taste in the mouth.



  • People suffering from Wilson’s Disease should avoid supplements containing copper as they are unable to use it, which leads to copper overload.

  • People who suffer with haemochromatosis should not take copper unless on the advice and under the strict monitoring of a doctor.

  • Oral contraceptives increase the levels of copper in the blood stream and these elevated levels may not be beneficial. High dose copper supplements should be avoided.

  • Copper can interfere with the absorption of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, so should be taken at least 2 hours apart, but only with the approval of your doctor.


Factors which deplete levels, impair absorption and/or inhibit activity:
High levels of zinc. High levels of molybdenum. Phytates in cereal grains
High intake of fructose High doses of Vitamin C High doses of iron
Alcohol Egg yolk Antacids



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