• Manufacture of hemoglobin
  • Collagen structures, especially joints and arteries
  • Energy metabolism
  • Important for enzyme systems such as SOD (superoxide dismutase)
Source and function notes
  • Best sources are shellfish, nuts, seeds and grains
  • Zinc and copper compete for absorption
    • Natural foods – copper content higher than zinc
    • Problems with excess can be offset by zinc in those foods
Vegetable sources Carrots, Cucumber, Garlic; Kale; Turnips; Green peas, Spinach, Spirulina
Fruit sources Papaya, Apple, Avocado
Nut and seed sources Brazil nuts, Almonds, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Walnuts, Pecans, Peanuts,

Coconut milk, Cocoa

Amaranth Seeds, Chia Seeds, Hemp SeedsPumpkin Seeds, Quinoa SeedsSesame SeedsSunflower Seeds, Sunflower oil,  Cocoa

Spice and herb sources Cilantro, Basil,Ginger root; Black pepper, Thyme, paprika, Bay leaves
Absorption factors
  • Excess Iron (in extreme situations)
  • Zinc or Calcium antagonize absorption as Cooper shares absorption carrier with Zinc and Calcium
  • Molybdenum supplementation or high-dose may inhibit usage or encourage excretion of Copper
Deficiency factors
  • Anemia, fatigue, poor immune function and poor wound healing
  • Elevated cholesterol levels leading to atherosclerosis
Toxicity and dangers
  • Excess possible from copper in water pipes
  • Excess linked to
    • schizophrenia; anxiety
    • learning disabilities; premenstrual syndrome

Adapted from:

Murray, M. (2005). Encyclopedia of Healing Food. New York, N.Y.: Atria Books

Bland, J., Costarella, L., Levin, B., Liska, D., Lukaczer, D., Schlitz, B., Schmidt, M., Lerman, R., Quinn, S., Jones, D. (2004). Clinical Nutrition: A Functional Approach, Second Edition. Gig Harbor, WA: The Institute for Functional Medicine.

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