Copper is a mineral that you need to stay healthy. Your body uses copper to carry out many important functions, including making energy, connective tissues, and blood vessels. Copper also helps maintain the nervous and immune systems, and activates genes. Your body also needs copper for brain development.

Copper helps:

  • produce red and white blood cells
  • trigger the release of iron to form hemoglobin, the substance that carries oxygen around the body

It’s also thought to be important for infant growth, brain development, the immune system, and strong bones.

Good sources of copper

Good sources of copper include:

  • nuts
  • shellfish
  • offal
  • organ meats
  •  fish
  • seeds
  • whole grains
  • chocolate.

How much copper do I need?

Adults aged 19 to 64 need 1.2mg of copper a day.

You should be able to get all the copper you need from your daily diet.

What happens if I take too much copper?

Taking high doses of copper could cause:

  • stomach pain
  • sickness
  • diarrhea
  • damage to the liver and kidneys (if taken for a long time)

Important Tips

You should be able to get all the copper you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.

If you take copper supplements, do not take too much as this could be harmful.

Having 10mg or less a day of copper supplements is unlikely to cause any harm.

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