Copper - Information and Sources


The trace element copper is a component of many enzyme systems involved with a number of processes including synthesis of peptides, formation of red blood cells, bone building and as antioxidants. Deficiency of copper in children includes low white blood cells, increased susceptibility to infections and fragile bones. In adults deficiency is mainly defects in heart function.

We absorb between 35 and 70% of dietary copper, though the elderly absorb less. Adults should aim for 1.2mg of copper per day.

Good food sources include:

  • Seafood, eg oysters, squid, lobster, mussels, crab
  • Organ meats, i.e. liver, kidney, heart
  • Nuts especially cashews, macadamia, pecans, almonds and pistachios
  • Nut butters
  • Peanuts
  • Soya beans
  • Lentils
  • Whole grains
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Dark leafy green vegetables
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Avocados
  • Dried fruits, eg prunes
  • Chocolate and cocoa
  • Black pepper
  • Yeast