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Copper in diet

Copper is an essential trace mineral present in all body tissues.

  • Alternative Names

    Diet - copper

  • Function

    Copper, along with iron, helps in the formation of red blood cells. It also helps in keeping the blood vessels, nerves, immune system, and bones healthy.

  • 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.

  • Side Effects

    Normally people have enough copper in the foods they eat. Menkes disease (kinky hair syndrome) is a very rare disorder of copper metabolism that is present before birth. It occurs in male infants.

    Lack of copper may lead to anemia and osteoporosis.

    In large amounts, copper is poisonous. A rare inherited disorder, Wilson's disease, causes deposits of copper in the liver, brain, and other organs. The increased copper in these tissues leads to hepatitis, kidney problems, brain disorders, and other problems.

  • Recommendations

    The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine recommends the following dietary intake for copper:

    Infants

    • 0 - 6 months: 200 micrograms per day (mcg/day)
    • 7 - 12 months: 220 mcg/day

    Children

    • 1 - 3 years: 340 mcg/day
    • 4 - 8 years: 440 mcg/day
    • 9 - 13 years: 700 mcg/day

    Adolescents and Adults

    • Males and females age 14 – 18 years: 890 mcg/day
    • Males and females age 19 and older: 900 mcg/day

    The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from the food guide pyramid.

    Specific recommendations depend on age, gender, and other factors (such as pregnancy). Women who are pregnant or producing breast milk (lactating) need higher amounts. Ask your health care provider which amount is best for you.

  • References

    Trumbo P, Yates AA, Schlicker S, Poos M. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, The National Academies. Dietary reference intakes: vitamin A, vitamin K, arsenic, boron, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, vanadium, and zinc. J Am Diet Assoc. 2001 Mar;101(3):294-301.

    Hamrick I, Counts SH. Vitamin and mineral supplements. Wellness and Prevention. December 2008:35(4);729-747.

    Rakel D, ed. Integrative Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007.

    Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007.

Review Date: 3/7/2009

Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Family Physician, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2014 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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Christie Clinic Christie Clinic at the Family Medical Center in Paris Photo Christie Clinic at the Family Medical Center in Paris
727 East Court Street Paris, IL 61944 Dermatology: 366-1248; Vein and Vascular: 366-2670
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101 West University Avenue Champaign, IL 61820 Main Phone: (217) 366-1200
Billing Services: (217) 366-1382
Toll Free: (888) 391-0412
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1801 West Windsor Road Champaign, IL 61822 (217) 366-8000
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1400 West Park Street Urbana, IL 61801 (217) 366-1200
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209 West Borman Drive Rantoul, IL 61866 (217) 892-9671
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1001 Commercial Drive Mahomet, IL 61853 Main Number: (217) 586-6600 Convenient Care: (217)366-8130
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300 North Main Street Tuscola, IL 61953 (217) 253-9258
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1207 South Mattis Avenue Champaign, IL 61821 (217) 355-1684
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109 West University Avenue Champaign, IL 61820 (217) 366-5180
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2901 West Kirby Avenue Champaign, IL 61821 (217) 366-8130
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1710 East Windsor Road Urbana, IL 61802 (217) 344-9440
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800 North Logan Avenue Danville, IL 61832 (217) 431-8930
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2110 Fox Drive, Suite B Champaign, IL 61820
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105 B Professional Plaza Mattoon, IL 61938 (217) 345-3000
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1000 Health Center Drive Mattoon, IL 61938 (217) 258-2588
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1702 S. Mattis Avenue Champaign, IL 61821 (217) 326-2030
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611 West Park Street Urbana, IL 61801 (217) 383-3311
Iroquois Memorial Hospital
200 E. Fairman Ave. Watseka, IL 60970 (815) 432-5841
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501 North Dunlap Avenue Savoy, IL 61874 Transformations: (217) 366-7460 Internal Medicine: (217) 366-5434 Ophthalmology: (217) 366-1250
Christie Clinic on West Park Street
1405 West Park Street Urbana, IL 61801 217-366-1237
Christie Clinic in Monticello
107 West Main Street Monticello, IL 61856 217.762.3352
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100 South Water Street Suite 103 Decatur, IL 62523 217-362-0661- telephone
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3545 North Vermilion Street Danville, IL 61832 (217) 442-8611