• 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
  • Problems with excess can be offset by zinc – as zinc and copper compete for absorption
  • Natural foods, e.g. nuts and legumes, zinc content higher than zinc
Vegetable sources Carrots; garlic; turnips; green peas
Fruit sources Papaya, Apple
Nut and seed sources Brazil nuts, Almonds, Hazelnuts, Walnuts, Pecans, Peanuts, Sunflower oil, Coconut
Absorption factors
  • Excess Iron (in extreme situations)
  • Zinc or Calcium antagonize absorption as Cooper shares absorption carrier with Zinc and Calcium
  • Molybedenum (eg supplementation) may inhibit usage or encourage excretion
Spice and herb sources Ginger root; Black pepper, Thyme, paprika, Bay leaves
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; learning disabilities; premenstrual syndrome; anxiety

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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