Copper

Copper is a mineral that is found throughout the body. It helps your body make red blood cells and keeps nerve cells and your immune system healthy. It also helps form collagen, a key part of bones and connective tissue. Copper may also act as an antioxidant, reducing free radicals that can damage cells and DNA. Copper helps the body absorb iron. Your body also needs copper to make energy.

Your body does not need much copper. Many people do not get enough copper in their diet, but it is rare to be truly deficient in copper. Signs of possible copper deficiency include anemia, low body temperature, bone fractures and osteoporosis, low white blood cell count, irregular heartbeat, loss of pigment from the skin, and thyroid problems.

People who take high amounts of zinc, iron, or vitamin C may need more copper, but you should ask your health care provider before taking copper supplements. Too much copper can be dangerous.

Foods that contain copper include oysters, liver, whole grain breads and cereals, shellfish, dark green leafy vegetables, dried legumes, nuts, and chocolate.

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Review Date: 1/2/2015  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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