September 17, 2014
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Nutrition and Fitness

 Health Home >> Nutrition and Fitness >> Supplements and nutraceuticals 


Copper quick facts

What is it? Copper is a trace mineral, which means we need very small amounts of it to stay healthy. Copper can be found in every tissue of the body, but our bodies store most copper in the liver.

Why do we need it? Copper cooperates with iron to help form red blood cells. It also helps keep the immune system healthy and has a hand in creating myelin (the sheath covering nerve fibres), collagen (a protein that forms bones, skin, and connective tissue), and melanin (pigment that gives colour to hair and skin).

How much do we need? A varied, balanced diet will provide most of your daily requirements for copper. Infants need even less of the trace mineral, requiring only 200 to 220 micrograms (µg) each day until the age of one year. After that, daily needs increase:

  • 1 to 3 years of age: 340 µg
  • 4 to 8 years of age: 440 µg
  • 9 to 13 years of age: 700 µg
  • 14 to 18 years of age: 890 µg
  • 19 years of age and older: 900 µg

 Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding may require more copper each day.

Where is it found?

Meats and seafood

  • calf's liver
  • crabs
  • oysters
  • mussels
  • squid

Vegetables and fruits

  • cremini mushrooms
  • dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale
  • eggplant
  • potato
  • prunes
  • tomato

Nuts, seeds, and legumes

  • cashews
  • pumpkin seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • tofu

Amy Toffelmire


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