December 20, 2017 belezza 0Comment

Copper – An Essential Mineral

Copper - An Essential Mineral

  • Third most abundant essential trace mineral in the body
  • The body of a healthy adult contains a little over 0.1 g of copper
  • A transition metal and a trace mineral plays an important role in our metabolism,

Present in:

  • Liver, Brain and HeartAttacks free radicals as is a  strong antioxidant .  It works by attaching itself to the enzyme Superoxide dismutase (SOD).  Copper also binds to a protein to form ceruloplasmin, which is also an antioxidant.
  • Helps the body produce energy.  Copper participates on many oxidative reactions that break down fats in fat tissue to produce much needed energy.
  • Hair
  • Nails
  • Skeleton (42%)
  • Muscles (25%)


Essential for normal development of the body because it:

  • Participates in a wide variety of important enzymatic reactions in the body
  • Component of a cofactor for approximately 50 different enzymes.  These enzymes need copper to function properly.
  • Essential for iron absorption and transport.  Iron is needed to make hemoglobin, a main component of red blood cells
  • Required to build elastin and collagen, which are an important components of bones and connective tissues.  Therefore, copper is believed to protect the bones and joints against degeneration and osteoporosis
  • Required for melanin (pigment) production.  People with copper deficiency may have pale skin and hair
  • A key mineral for the immune system
  • Copper promotes wound healing
  • Necessary for normal functioning of insulin (a protein hormone).  Copper deficiency is also associated with poor blood glucose control.
  • Needed for normal functioning of the cardiovascular system.
  • Protects the structure and function of the nervous system, including the brain.


Essential role in the biochemistry

  • Normal infant development
  • Red and white blood cell maturation
  • Iron transport
  • Bone strength
  • Cholesterol metabolism
  • Myocardial contractility
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Brain development
  • Protection against oxidative stress


1 mg copper per 1000 kilocalories

Green leafy vegetables, organ meats, nuts are rich in shellfish (oysters)

Mild sources

  • Peanuts, Whole wheat and Banana
  • Additional copper can come from using copper cookware
  • Copper may be decreased in foods that have high acid content and are stored in tin cans for a long time


  • Anemia
  • Osteoporosis
  • General weakness
  • Impaired respiration
  • Skin sores
  • Decreased immune function
  • Elevated LDL cholesterol
  • Reduced HDL cholesterol
  • Ruptured blood vessels
  • Neutropenia (decreased WBC’s in blood)
  • Brain disturbance
  • Increased susceptibility to infections due to poor immunity
  • Loss of pigment in the hair and skin (Menkes’ Syndrome)

Pathological Consequences

Wilson’s disease -An inborn error of copper metabolism – characterised by an increase in copper accumulation in tissues of the liver , brain , cornea , skin, joints and kidney , as a result of decreased  excretion of copper

Prevalence of Deficiency

  • Malnourished, premature & low birth weight infants fed on artificial milk have high requirement of copper (due to growth rate)
  • premature infants may be more susceptible to copper deficiency
  • Infants also have a lower storage capacity of liver copper at birth


  • Acute copper toxicity in humans is rare and occurs due to accidental consumption of copper salts
  • Symptoms include
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Renal and
  • Liver damage
  • Clinical symptoms of chronic toxicity appear when the capacity for protective copper binding in the liver is exceeded which include:
  • Jaundice
  • Hepatitis
  • Liver cirrhosis

Dietary Requirements

Safe and adequate range of copper intake is  1.5-3 mg/day

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