Why Your Blood Needs Copper (Know The Benefits)

Why Your Blood Needs Copper (Find Out Here)

Copper is a trace mineral nutrient that is essential for your body’s production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen through your blood and gives your heart enough energy to pump.

Copper is well known for helping to form hemoglobin and the fatty sheaths that envelop cells.

Copper also helps your blood to regulate clotting and prevent deficiency disorders.

In this article, you will learn about the role of copper in your blood and why you need this mineral nutrient.

What is copper and what does it do in the blood?

Copper is a mineral that your blood needs to stay healthy. It exist in two forms, Cu+ and Cu2+ oxidation states. Copper carries out many important functions, including making energy, connective tissues, and blood vessels.

Copper also helps maintain the nervous, immune systems, and activates genes. Your body also needs copper for brain function and development.

Health Benefits and Functions of Copper

Copper is essential for humans, though required in only trace amounts.

Copper is a cofactor of several metalloenzymes that are oxidases for the reduction of molecular oxygen. E.g, cytochrome oxidase enzyme, the last enzyme in the electron transport chain.

Copper is critical for the use of dietary iron in the body, including the uptake of iron from the intestine, iron release from stores and the incorporation of iron into hemoglobin.

Ferroxidases are cuproenzymes in the blood plasma, and function in ferrous iron oxidation that is needed to bind iron to transferrin.

Your body needs copper for a number of vital functions, such as:

  • Blood coagulation
  • Control of blood pressure
  • Cross-linking of connective tissue in bone, heart and arteries
  • Antioxidant defense
  • Energy transformation
  • Myelination of brain and spinal column
  • Hormone synthesis

Why Dietary Copper Is Good For Your Blood

Copper has many health benefits, your blood needs sufficient amounts of copper to carry out important biological functions and processes in the body. There are good reasons why your blood needs copper.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Some research shows that people with appreciable amounts of copper in their blood have lower risk of alzheimer’s disease.

Other research, however, shows that high amounts might increase
alzheimer’s disease risk.

More research is needed to know whether high or low levels of copper affects the risk of developing alzheimer’s disease.

Research is also needed to find out whether dietary supplements that contain copper could affect the risk of alzheimer’s disease.


Copper is a component of several enzymes necessary for normal metabolic functions in humans.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of copper for adults is 0.9 mg. The median intake of copper from a typical diet ranges from 1 to 1.6 mg/day. The safe highest level of intake for an extended period of time is 10 mg/day.


A number of enzymes involved in
collagen synthesis and cross-linking of the organic matrix of bone require copper.

Bone changes as a result of copper deficiency include a loss of trabecular formation with thinning of the cortex. It is common to find low tissue levels of calcium together with low tissue levels of copper.

TMA studies has shown that osteoporosis is linked with copper deficiency, and is classified as type I or type II osteoporosis respectively.

Cardiovascular system

Copper maintains the structure of the vascular system. An adequate amount of copper is required for the production of the enzyme lysyl oxidase, which is involved in the quality and quantity of elastin formation and collagen cross-linking.

Therefore, copper deficiency is related to vascular defects such as
aneurysms, heart enlargement, heart failure, and infarcts. Low amounts of copper in the blood may contribute to ischemic heart disease.

A deficiency of copper relative
to zinc produces a decrease in HDL cholesterol and an increase in LDL cholesterol.

Dietary Sources of Copper

Many foods contain copper. You can get recommended amounts of copper by eating a variety of foods, including:

  • Beef liver
  • Oysters
  • Cashews nuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Potatoes

Food groups such as offal and nuts, and to a lesser extent cereals and fruit, can be regarded as good sources of copper, while milk and dairy products contain low amounts.

Food sources rich in copper:

  • Legumes
  • Mushrooms
  • Chocolate
  • Liver

Due to their relative abundance in the diet, bread and tomatoes also make substantial copper contributions.

What about copper supplements?

Copper is available in many multimineral supplements, and in other dietary supplements.

Copper in dietary supplements is often in the form of cupric oxide, cupric sulfate, copper amino acid
chelates, and copper gluconate.

It is not known whether one form of copper is better than another.

Are you getting enough copper?

Most people get sufficient amounts of copper from the foods they eat.

However, certain groups of people are more likely than others to have trouble getting enough copper:

  • People with celiac disease
  • People with menkes disease
  • People taking high doses of zinc supplements, which can interfere with the ability to absorb copper and could lead to deficiency.

What happens if you don’t get enough copper?

Insufficient amounts of copper in your blood, tissues and cells can cause extreme tiredness, lightened patches of skin, high levels of cholesterol in the blood, and connective tissue disorders affecting the ligaments and skin.

Other effects of copper deficiency are weak and brittle bones, loss of balance and coordination, and increased risk of infection.

Medications interfering with copper supplements

Medications that may contribute to the main excretory route for the removal of copper is through the intestinal tract; therefore, any factor that inhibits intrahepatic excretion can potentially contribute to copper toxicity.

There are many medications other
than estrogens that can contribute to cholestasis. These include:

  • Thorazine
  • Stelazine
  • Temaril
  • Norpramin
  • Tofranil
  • Librium
  • Miltown

How much copper do you need?

The amount of copper you need each day depends on your age.

Average daily recommended amounts are listed below in micrograms (mcg).

Life stage recommended amount:

  • Birth to 6 months: 200 mcg
  • Infants 7–12 months: 220 mcg
  • Children 1–3 years: 340 mcg
  • Children 4–8 years: 440 mcg
  • Children 9–13 years: 700 mcg
  • Teens 14–18 years: 890 mcg
  • Adults 19–35 years: 900 mcg
  • Pregnant women: 1,000 mcg
  • Breastfeeding women: 1,300 mcg

What are the copper deficiency symptoms?

The effects of copper deficiency can include anemia, low numbers of white blood cells, osteoporosis in infants and children, and defects in connective tissue leading to skeletal problems.

Is copper harmful to the blood?

Yes, copper can be harmful to your blood at higher levels. Ingestion of excessive copper on a regular basis can cause liver damage, abdominal pain, cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.

High levels of exposure to copper can cause destruction of red blood cells, possibly resulting in anemia.

Copper toxicity is rare in healthy individuals. But it can occur in people with wilson’s disease.

The daily upper limits for copper are below:

  • Birth to 12 months not established
  • Children 1–3 years: 1,000 mcg
  • Children 4–8 years: 3,000 mcg
  • Children 9–13 years: 5,000 mcg
  • Teens 14–18 years: 8,000 mcg
  • Adults: 10,000 mcg


Copper is an essential mineral nutrient that is needed for biological functions and biochemical processes.

Copper has been shown to lower the risks of alzheimer’s disease, helps with metabolic reactions, reduces osteoporosis and maintains the vascular system.

Dietary copper is found in natural sources such as nuts, seeds, sea food and dairy products. Eating foods containing low amounts of copper is not harmful, however, high levels can be toxic to your blood.

Avoid certain medications that interferes with copper supplements, and follow instructions on the label of the product before taking them.

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