What is copper?

Copper is an essential trace mineral that works to assist various enzymes that produce energy for the body, break down and absorb iron, and build red blood cells, collagen, connective tissue, and brain neurotransmitters. 

Copper supports normal brain development and immune functions, and is a component of superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant enzyme that dismantles free radicals. Copper is absorbed in the small intestine and found mainly in bones and muscle tissue.

Copper Benefits

  • Makes energy
  • Supports connective tissues and blood vessels
  • Supports immune health
  • Supports nervous system
  • Helps cognitive development
  • May lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease

How much copper do you need per day?

Average daily recommended amounts are listed below in micrograms (mcg). 1 milligram (mg) is equal to 1000 micrograms (μg)

  • Adult Women: 900 mcg
  • Adult Men: 900 mcg
  • Pregnant/Breastfeeding Women: 1,300 mcg

Natural sources of copper

  • Beef liver
  • Shellfish, such as oysters and crab
  • Dark unsweetened chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Seed
  • Chickpeas
  • Millet
  • Whole grains
  • Potatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Avocados
  • Spinach

Learn about copper deficiency symptoms.

Further reading: Harvard School of Public Health, National Institutes of Health (1),(2)