October 18, 2017
Copper Nuggets
Ask the Experts

Copper Safety

by Berkeley Wellness  |  

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:

  • nuts
  • seeds
  • shellfish
  • whole grains
  • avocados
  • legumes (such as lentil)