What Is Copper & What Foods Can I Find It In?

Copper is a trace mineral, essential for important biochemical functions and necessary for maintaining health throughout our lives.

Copper is an element that shouldn't be under-or over-consumed.

Under consuming can lead to deficiency, and over-consuming can be toxic.

Copper in food is beneficial for good health, but too much can cause problems. Keep an eye on your intake.

Table of Contents

Copper Is Essential

Copper is an essential trace element. Copper is third in abundance in the human body after iron and zinc.

The adult human body contains between 50-150 mg of copper. (source )

Clinically defined copper deficiency in humans is rare. (source )

Dietary copper is absorbed by the gut, where it is metabolized and excreted through the urine.

Benefits Of Copper

Copper is essential to a number of body processes and is necessary for the formation of certain body tissues.

Copper helps with the formation of red blood cells and is important for the synthesis of proteins, enzymes, and hormones.

Research-backed benefits but also side-effects of consuming copper can you read about in Copper, Cu: 10 Research-Backed Benefits & 4 Side-Effects

Copper Can Become Toxic

But even though copper is an essential micronutrient copper is toxic at high levels.

Luckily, copper toxicity from consuming too much from dietary sources is generally not considered a widespread health concern.

But fatalities from acute copper sulfate poisoning have been reported. (source )

Copper Deficiency

It is caused by inadequate intake of copper from the diet or poor absorption of copper from the diet.

Copper deficiency is uncommon in developed countries.

The most common cause of copper deficiency is the consumption of foods that are low in copper, such as cereals and nuts, with the average adults daily intake of copper being about 6 mg.

Symptoms of copper deficiency can be:

Copper deficiency can be diagnosed by measuring the amount of copper in the blood.

Foods You Can Find Copper In

You find Copper mostly in baby food, lamb, veal, and game and beef.

Examples of food sources include

Foods in our nutrition tool

You can find regularly updated top-ranked lists of foods for over 200+ nutrients in our nutrition tool.

If you are interested in what foods contain the most Copper, we recommend you visit our tool.

Here's our top-ranked list of foods that contain Copper, Cu.

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

Author Image of Sara Niemelä

Nutrition is my passion. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies.

I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family.