Copper is best known for its importance in iron utilization. In fact, iron deficiency symptoms may actually be the result of a copper deficiency. Copper plays an important role in the development and maintenance of bone and connective tissue, the elimination of free radicals, blood clotting, energy production, and nerve protection.
While copper deficiency is uncommon, the risk of deficiency increases with Crohn's disease, chronic diarrhea, and celiac disease. Risk of deficiency can also be increased by frequent use of antacids or low hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which is necessary for digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Copper toxicity is more common than copper deficiency. Common symptoms of toxicity are abdominal cramping, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and liver damage. Copper toxicity has been linked to postpartum depression, autism, stuttering, muscle pain, headaches, insomnia, and several other conditions.
Zinc, vitamin C, manganese, and iron inhibit copper absorption.
|US Recommended Daily Allowance:||2 mg|
Health Benefits of Copper
|Blood||Assists in the formation of red blood cells and the absorption of iron.|
|Hair||Can help prevent and reverse grey hair.|
|Immune System - General||Stimulates the immune system to fight infections and repair injured tissues. Helps to neutralize "free-radicals" which damage cells.|
|Joints||Helps relieve inflammation and other symptoms of arthritis.|
|Motor Function||A long-term deficiency can cause permanent damage to motor function in infants.|
|Thyroid||Important for the production of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine. May help treat or prevent hypothyroidism.|
Food Sources of Copper
|Brazil Nuts||0.5 mg||25%|
|Sunflower Seeds||0.5 mg||25%|
|Pumpkin Seeds||0.4 mg||20%|
|Sweet Potatoes||0.3 mg||15%|
|Coconut (Mature)||0.2 mg||10%|