The Ortho Molecular Answer





  • Copper is the third most abundant trace mineral in the human body with the highest amount located in the brain and liver. 


  • Copper's main function is the involvement in several key enzymatic reactions.  It is necessary for the synthesis of hemoglobin.


  • Copper is readily found in many foods with the richest sources being oysters, shellfish and legumes.


  • The daily requirement of copper is typically under 2 mg and therefore it is highly unlikely that your diet will not have a sufficient level of copper. 


  • Deficiency is found, for the most part, in babies who are fed only dairy milk.


  • Health problems will occur if too much copper is ingested in our diet.   Copper piping in older buildings tend to be a cause of excessive ingestion of this mineral.  It has been suggested that running the water for a few minutes prior to drinking will minimize the amount of copper ingested. 


  • Copper is also increased in the body though the use of estrogens found in birth control pills.  This is likely the cause for increased levels of depression while on hormone supplements.


  • It is suspected that high levels of copper may also be linked with Schizophrenia as well as learning and behaviour disorders in children. Some researchers also point to copper supplementation as a cause of senility.


  • Food sources of copper include grains and vegetables although it may be food widely in many other foods.  The richest sources are oysters, shellfish and legumes.


  • Some researchers suggest that too little copper in the body may result in iron deficiency because copper is required in proper iron absorption and utilization.  It is also required for processes in the body that cross link collagen and elastin.  Without proper collagen integrity, low copper levels may result in rupture of blood vessels, osteoporosis and bone and joint abnormalities. 


  • Orthomolecular researchers generally do not suggest ingestion of additional copper in the form of supplements due to the low levels required from the body.  If too much copper is found in the body, it is advantageous to consume zinc and manganese as they are copper dilutants. Both decrease copper absorption and decrease copper blood levels.