A small amount of supplemental copper daily may be beneficial

Effects of Three Milligrams of Copper Daily

A little copper goes a long way.

A sharp-eyed HSI member named Helgi spotted something that didn’t see quite right in the e-Alert “What Would Judy Say?” When I shared details about a study that tested the use of fish oil and copper supplements on lupus patients, Helgi noticed that two groups in the study received three grams of copper daily.

Whoops. That’s a little too much copper. In fact, it’s a LOT too much.

Helgi writes: “I’m fairly sure that 3 grams of copper daily would probably be toxic. Did you perhaps mean 3 mg?”

Absolutely. A quick double check of the study shows that researchers tested three milligrams of copper daily; NOT three grams.

The lupus study found that three grams of fish oil taken daily improved skin rashes and neurological problems, while copper was found to have no significant beneficial effect. Nevertheless, a small amount of supplemental copper each day may be beneficial.

In the e-Alert “Aim High” (5/7/03), HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., noted that zinc intake can create a copper deficiency, and vice versa. And Jonathan V. Wright, M.D., agreed, stating that, “Zinc supplements should usually be offset by a small amount of copper, 1-2 mg daily.” Fortunately, many multivitamins already take care of the dual zinc/copper need with a low dose of copper. High doses of vitamin C may also impede copper absorption.

Research shows that age-related macular degeneration may be prevented with daily supplements of copper, zinc, beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E. Copper also helps prevent anemia and osteoporosis. .