You may be familiar with copper pipes, but you’re probably less familiar with taking copper as a supplement. Copper is a trace element that is important to get in small amounts. It is important for all of your major organs, bone health, and helps stop some of the signs of aging.
Many people are getting less than the recommended dietary allowance of copper. This is worrisome as copper deficiency can lead to some serious conditions. That’s why it makes Bulletproof’s list of 10 Supplements Everyone Needs.
Health Canada’s RDA is slightly lower than the supplement dose recommended by Bulletproof, but they’re more or less in line.
Health Canada’s Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA): 900 μg/day for adults
Bulletproof Recommended Supplement Dose: 1mg / day
Copper, like selenium, is a trace metal. Both can be dangerous if you get too much. The big difference with copper is that Health Canada says the upper limit is 10mg before you run into dangers of toxicity, so you have a wider safety window.
So what does this mineral do, and how do we get it? We’ll take an in depth look at these questions, and if you need to take a supplement or if you can get all the copper you need through your diet.
Here’s a look at what Bulletproof has to say about copper:
Copper is needed for proper vascular and heart function. Most of the U.S. Is woefully deficient in copper, consuming only .8mg per day. This is worrying since less than 1mg per day is enough to cause heart attacks. Copper intake has fallen over the last century due to modern farming and dietary practices. Modern fruits, vegetables, and conventional meats are low in copper, containing 75 percent less than they used to.
Luckily, beef and lamb liver have a massive amount of copper. If you’re eating at least four ounces of beef liver per week, you can meet your copper needs. Other good sources of copper include cocoa (dark chocolate – look for low toxin Bulletproof Chocolate Powder), cashews, and lobster. If you aren’t eating beef or lamb liver weekly, you should supplement with at least 1mg per day.
Dose: 1mg / day
Time Taken: Doesn’t matter.
Recommended Brand: Life Extension
Copper is a ductile metal found on the periodic table of elements. It is also the third most prevalent mineral in the body. It isn’t made by the body so we have to get it from our diet or via a supplement.
Our body doesn’t stock up on copper so we need to eat it on a regular basis to keep from becoming deficient. Copper deficiency isn’t too common, but most people are still getting less than the RDA.
Western civilization normally gets adequate levels of this mineral, though copper deficiency is more common in developing countries. Some people who at risk of copper deficiency are individuals with digestive disorders like Crohn’s Disease. Also too much iron or zinc can lead to deficiencies. It is important to take balanced levels of dietary minerals. Too much of any mineral can lead to trouble.
Here are the signs and symptoms of copper deficiency:
- Join pain
- Brittle bones
- Frequently becoming sick
- Hair loss
- Weight loss
- Low body temperature/ feeling cold
- Skin inflammation/ sores
- Stunt in growth
- Sore muscles
Copper is important to have in your body. It is essential for many aspects of your body. One of the biggest roles that copper plays is its role in metabolic enzyme reactions. Your organs need these enzyme reactions to work properly, so they can keep your metabolism running smoothly. The brain, liver, and heart use these copper enzymes the most, so you need proper levels to keep these important organs working at their best. Copper is important for your nervous system, digestive system, cardiovascular system, and any other part of the body that deals with the metabolic process.
Another important function of this mineral is that it’s needed for the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the body’s energy source. That’s why people with low levels of copper will feel tired and sluggish.
As we mentioned above, the brain uses copper for proper metabolic pathways. These largely include dopamine and galactose pathways. These two neurotransmitters not only keep your energy levels up, but they also affect your mood and help keep you focused.
Copper also helps the body use many important vitamins including vitamin C.
Too much copper can lead to toxicity, which has been shown to lead to brain impairment. Elevated levels of copper have also been tied to many types of cancer. This is why there is an upper limit as to how much copper we consume. Going over the limit once won’t kill you, but consistent high levels of copper could result in serious health problems.
Copper has also been shown to reduce arthritis pain. It is an anti-inflammatory and has been tied to the reduction of joint pain. It also increases muscle strength and can repair connective tissues.
Copper deficiency has been tied to weak bones. Copper helps slow the deterioration of bones. It is an important part of skeletal growth. Copper deficiency links to stunted growth. Children need to get copper in their diet to grow big and tall. Vitamin K2 is also a key part to healthy bone strength.
Copper is an important part of heart health. We’ve already mentioned that the heart uses copper enzymes for proper metabolic function, but it’s also needed for red blood cell oxygenation.
This important mineral also helps prevents anemia. Copper is essential for proper iron absorption. Without copper, iron levels will drop too low and you’ll develop anemia.
Copper is needed to create an enzyme called tyrosinase. It’s responsible for the production of melanin. Melanin is what gives our skin, eyes, and hair pigmentation. Low levels of copper will result in pale looking skin, as well as greying hair.
Copper can also be absorbed into your food and water if you use copper pots or have copper pipes. Trace levels will be absorbed to add to your daily nutrition intake.
Good Whole Food Packed With Copper
Beef Liver: Beef liver has almost problematically high levels of copper. 100g of beef liver has 14.3mg of copper. That is significantly more than Health Canada’s 10mg a day upper limit. Having liver once in a while won’t hurt you, but you should avoid having liver on a daily basis. Liver is packed with many trace minerals and B vitamins.
Sunflower Seeds: 100g of sunflower seeds contain 1.8mg of copper. This is a good and healthy level to have in your diet. They also contain your RDA of selenium, manganese, phosphorus, and vitamin E. They’re also a good source of magnesium, folate, potassium, iron, and zinc.
Almonds: We know that almonds are packed with many important nutrients. A 100g serving contains 1.0mg of copper. That means you get your full serving of this nutrient.
Most people do not need to take a copper supplement. There are many ways to add this nutrient to the body through diet. If you have a digestive issue, and cannot get nutrients through your diet then you may need to take a supplement. Consult with a physician about finding a safe copper supplement if needed.
Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals. Please consult with a doctor before adding/changing your dosage of any supplement in your diet. Take any supplements at your own risk.