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COPPER

Other Names:

Atomic number 29, Citrate de Cuivre, Cobre, Copper Citrate, Copper Gluconate, Copper Sulfate, Cu, Cuivre, Cuivre Élémentaire, Cupric Oxide, Cupric Sulfate, Cupric Sulfate Pentahydrate, Cuprum Aceticum, Cuprum Metallicum, Elemental Copper, Glucon...
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COPPER Overview
COPPER Uses
COPPER Side Effects
COPPER Interactions
COPPER Dosing
COPPER Overview Information

Copper is a mineral. It is found in many foods, particularly in organ meats, seafood, nuts, seeds, wheat bran cereals, grain products, and cocoa products. The body stores copper mostly in the bones and muscles. The liver regulates the amount of copper that is in the blood. Copper is used as medicine.

Copper is used for treating copper deficiency and the anemia it may cause. Having too little copper (copper deficiency) is rare. It sometimes occurs in people who get too much zinc from diet or supplements, have intestinal bypass surgery, or are fed by feeding tubes. Malnourished infants can also have copper deficiency.

Copper is also used for improving wound healing, and treating osteoarthritis and brittle bones (osteoporosis).

There is no evidence that people who eat a normal diet need copper supplements. Not even athletes need extra copper if they have a good diet.

How does it work?

Copper is necessary for producing and storing iron.

COPPER Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Likely Effective for:

  • Copper deficiency. Taking copper by mouth at recommended levels or given intravenously (by IV) by a healthcare provider is effective for treating copper deficiency and anemia caused by copper deficiency.

Possibly Effective for:

  • Osteoporosis. Taking copper in combination with zinc, manganese, and calcium might slow bone loss in older women.

Possibly Ineffective for:

  • Alzheimer’s disease. Research suggests that taking copper by mouth daily for 12 months does not improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Taking copper daily, alone or together with fish oil, does not seem to improve symptoms of SLE.

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Dental plaque. Early research suggests that rinsing the mouth with a copper solution decreases plaque.
  • Wound healing.
  • Arthritis.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of copper for these uses.


COPPER Side Effects & Safety

Copper is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts no greater than 10 mg daily.

Copper is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large amounts. Adults should consume no more than 10 mg of copper per day. Kidney failure and death can occur with as little as 1 gram of copper sulfate. Symptoms of copper overdose include nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, fever, stomach pain, low blood pressure, anemia, and heart problems.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Copper is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately. Pregnant or breast-feeding women should consume no more than 8 mg dailyper day if they are 14 to 18 years old, and no more than 10 mg dailyper day if they are 19 or older. Taking copper by mouth in higher doses is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Higher amounts can be dangerous.

Children: Copper is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately. Children should not get more than the Tolerable Upper Limit (UL) of copper. The UL is 1 mg daily for children 1 to 3 years, 3 mg daily for children 4 to 8 years, 5 mg daily for children 9 to 13 years, and 8 mg daily for adolescents. Taking copper by mouth in higher doses is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Higher intake can cause liver damage and other harm.

Hemodialysis: People receiving hemodialysis for kidney disease seem to be at risk for copper deficiency. You might need copper supplements if you are undergoing hemodialysis. Check with your healthcare provider.

Certain hereditary conditions, including idiopathic copper toxicosis and childhood cirrhosis: Taking extra copper might make these conditions worse.

Wilson’s disease: Taking copper supplements can make this condition worse and might interfere with treatment.

COPPER Interactions What is this?

Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination

  • Penicillamine (Cuprimine, Depen) interacts with COPPER

    Penicillamine is used for Wilson's disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Copper might decrease how much penicillamine your body absorbs and decrease the effectiveness of penicillamine.


COPPER Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • For low levels of copper (copper deficiency): doses up to 0.1 mg/kg of cupric sulfate per day.
  • For osteoporosis: 2.5 mg copper combined with zinc 15 mg, 5 mg manganese, and 1000 mg calcium per day.
The National Institute of Medicine has determined Adequate Intake (AI) of copper for infants: 0 to 6 months, 200 mcg (30 mcg/kg/day); 7 to 12 months, 220 mcg (24 mcg/kg/day). Infants should get all their copper from food or formula, unless a healthcare provider recommends supplements and provides follow-up care and monitoring.

For children, a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of copper has been set: 1 to 3 years, 340 mcg/day; 4 to 8 years, 440 mcg/day; 9 to 13, 700 mcg/day; 14 to 18 years, 890 mcg/day.

For men and women age 19 years and older, the RDA of copper is 900 mcg/day.

For pregnancy, the RDA is 1000 mcg/day, and breast feeding 1300 mcg/day for women of all ages.

The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), the maximum amount for which no harmful effect is expected, has been established for children and adults. The ULs for copper are: children 1 to 3 years, 1 mg/day; 4 to 8 years, 3 mg/day; 9 to 13 years, 5 mg/day; 14 to 18 years (including pregnancy and lactation) 8 mg/day; adults age 19 and older (including breast feeding), 10 mg/day; pregnancy age 19 and older, 8 mg/day.

INTRAVENOUS:
  • Healthcare providers give copper intravenously (by IV) for copper deficiency.

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Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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