Some authorities believe that our average intake is higher than our actual needs, that low intakes are uncommon, and that toxicity is a potential problem. Others believe that a low intake is more common because soil depletion has decreased the copper level in many foods and because many people avoid natural, copper-containing foods.

Copper is found in many natural foods in small amounts with oysters and nuts being the richest sources. Foods with good supplies of copper are the whole grains, particularly buckwheat and whole wheat; shellfish, such as shrimp and other sea food; liver and other organ meats; most dried peas and beans; and nuts, such as Brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, and pecans. Oysters have high amounts, about five times as much as other foods. Soybeans supply copper, as do dark leafy greens and some dried fruits, such as prunes; cocoa, black pepper, and yeast are also sources. In addition to food sources, copper can come from water pipes and cookware.

The RDA for copper is 2mg per day for adults, 1-2mg for children and 0.5-1mg for infants. The average adult intake had been estimated at 2.5-5mg per day, although there are reports suggesting lower levels. Whenever copper is deficient, which it can be for many reasons, it should be supplemented. If you take a copper supplement, you should consider also taking zinc, unless you are treating high zinc levels or a copper deficiency.


Copper can help with the following




A significant number of people with hyperthyroidism have reported improvement, even the absence of symptoms, after long term copper supplementation. Some felt better within hours of taking copper, and were eventually able to discontinue their antithyroid medication. On average, the body needs about 2.5 – 3mgs of copper per day. In hyperthyroidism, two to three times this amount (5 – 9mgs) per day is reasonable.


Aneurysm / Weakened Arteries

If copper levels are low, supplemental copper should be taken for its connective tissue strengthening effect.


Environment / Toxicity  

Zinc Toxicity

Low doses of copper will help restore the imbalance between zinc and copper caused by long term excessive zinc intake.



Histadelia (Histamine High)

Copper levels may be low to normal in patients with histadelia. Copper is part of the enzyme histaminase, which is involved in the metabolism of histamine. Some suggest that copper should be avoided when bipolar symptoms are present. Testing will help confirm a person’s status.


Histapenia (Histamine Low)

Excess copper may be acquired from commercial vitamins and minerals or drinking water flowing through copper pipes. Distilled water may occasionally be needed to reduce copper intake.


Wilson's Disease

People with Wilson’s disease should eliminate copper as far as possible from their diet, environment and supplement sources.




Rheumatoid Arthritis

Copper has a mild anti-inflammatory effect. The use of copper bracelets in the treatment of arthritis has a long history, and wearers continue to claim positive results. The copper in the bracelets reacts with the fatty acids in the skin to form copper salts that are absorbed into the body. The copper salts may cause a blue-green stain on the skin, but this can be removed with soap and water. Recent research suggests that copper salicylate used to treat arthritis reduces symptoms more effectively than either copper or aspirin alone.



The use of copper bracelets in the treatment of arthritis has a long history due to its mild anti-inflammatory effects.



Zinc Requirement

Because of copper’s antagonism to zinc, copper should be avoided while restoring zinc levels.


Increased Risk of Lymphoma

Please see the following Link for developmental research on the importance of lowering copper levels.



There is a copper containing product for topical use available called CP Nail Renewal. A small placebo-controlled study using this product (study was not blinded) clearly demonstrated more rapid growth of nails. There is also some good information on this site about nail care.

Tumors, Malignant  

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Please see the following Link for developmental research on the importance of lowering copper levels.


May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
May have adverse consequences
Reasonably likely to cause problems
Avoid absolutely



An essential mineral that is a component of several important enzymes in the body and is essential to good health. Copper is found in all body tissues. Copper deficiency leads to a variety of abnormalities, including anemia, skeletal defects, degeneration of the nervous system, reproductive failure, pronounced cardiovascular lesions, elevated blood cholesterol, impaired immunity and defects in the pigmentation and structure of hair. Copper is involved in iron incorporation into hemoglobin. It is also involved with vitamin C in the formation of collagen and the proper functioning in central nervous system. More than a dozen enzymes have been found to contain copper. The best studied are superoxide dismutase (SOD), cytochrome C oxidase, catalase, dopamine hydroxylase, uricase, tryptophan dioxygenase, lecithinase and other monoamine and diamine oxidases.


A single-cell organism that may cause infection in the mouth, vagina, gastrointestinal tract, and any or all bodily parts. Common yeast infections include candidiasis and thrush.


Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins or other nutrients as determined by the FDA. U.S. RDAs are more widely used than RDAs, and focus on 3 age groups: Infants of 0-12 months; Children of 1-4 years; Adults and children of more than 4 years.


(mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.


An essential trace mineral. The functions of zinc are enzymatic. There are over 70 metalloenzymes known to require zinc for their functions. The main biochemicals in which zinc has been found to be necessary include: enzymes and enzymatic function, protein synthesis and carbohydrate metabolism. Zinc is a constituent of insulin and male reproductive fluid. Zinc is necessary for the proper metabolism of alcohol, to get rid of the lactic acid that builds up in working muscles and to transfer it to the lungs. Zinc is involved in the health of the immune system, assists vitamin A utilization and is involved in the formation of bone and teeth.

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