Q: I’ve heard that too much copper can be harmful. Is the amount in a basic multivitamin safe?
A: Yes. This trace mineral is essential for energy production, nervous system functioning, wound healing, bone health and other body processes.
A few studies have linked high blood levels of copper to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline in older people. But unless you have a problem with copper metabolism (as in the rare inherited condition called Wilson’s disease), getting too much copper shouldn’t be a concern.
Far more people get too little copper than too much. Low copper levels have been linked to arthritis, cancer, osteoporosis, depressed immunity, anemia and neurological problems. Some research suggests that a copper deficiency increases the risk of heart disease, and that copper supplementation may actually slow Alzheimer’s disease.
But don’t go overboard: A multivitamin shouldn’t supply more than 100 percent of the Daily Value for copper and other nutrients. A healthy diet will include many copper-rich foods:
- whole grains
- legumes (such as lentil)