Nutrition Library


dried mushrooms
General Information
  • Copper is an essential trace mineral and, after iron and zinc, the third most common mineral in the human body.
  • Almost half of the body’s copper is stored in the muscles, a fifth in the skeleton.
  • Many foods contain copper, so deficiency is very rare.
  • A risk of copper deficiency occurs for individuals with mineral absorption disorders (e.g., with intestinal diseases) or due to prolonged, excessive zinc intake (> 50 mg/day).
  • Copper and iron metabolism are closely linked.
Why Do We Need Copper?
  • Copper plays an important role in iron metabolism, including iron absorption in the intestine and the formation of red blood cells (erythrocytes)
  • Antioxidant effect
  • Important for energy metabolism
  • Important for collagen synthesis and crosslinking (component of bone/cartilage, skin, and connective tissue)
  • Skin and hair pigmentation
  • Important for protein metabolism
  • Plays a role in the neurotransmitter household (especially adrenaline, noradrenaline)
Possible Causes of Deficiency

Inadequate intake:

  • Poor diet based on processed foods

Increased requirements:

  • Pregnancy, lactation
  • Growth
  • Chronic stress on the adrenal gland
  • High zinc intake

    Reduced absorption:

    • High iron, calcium, or zinc intake
    • High phytate content in the diet
    • Chronic alcohol consumption
    • Gastrointestinal disorders

    Increased excretion:

    • Renal dysfunction

    Interaction with medication:

    • Examples: antacids, laxatives
    Symptoms of Deficiency
    • General: weakness, fatigue, neurological disorders, insomnia
    • Blood: microcytic hypochromic anemia (iron refractory), fat metabolism disorder with raised total cholesterol and LDL
    • Vessels: aneurysms, vascular ruptures, macroangiopathy
    • Tissue/bone: connective tissue defects, bone fractures, growth disorders
    • Skin/hair: altered pigmentation
    • Immune system: susceptibility to infections
    Recommended Intakes

    Recommended intake for adolescents and adults:

    • according to D-A-CH: 1 – 1.5 mg/day
    • USA Food and Nutrition Board (FNB): 0.9 mg/day

    In children, depending on age, see

    The Best Plant Sources (per 100 g)

    The best sources of copper are nuts, seeds, soy products, mushrooms, and chocolate with a cocoa content > 70%.

    • Mushrooms, dried 5 mg
    • Cocoa powder, full fat oiled 4.5 mg
    • Cocoa powder, lower fat 4.1 mg
    • Cashew nuts 3.7 mg
    • Brewer’s yeast 3.3 mg
    • Nutritional yeast 3.2 mg
    • Soy flour 2.5 mg
    • Cashew butter 2.2 mg
    • Sunflower seeds 1.9 mg
    • Tahini 1.6 mg
    • Hazelnuts 1.6 mg
    • Shiitake mushroom, dried 1.5 mg
    • Sesame 1.4 mg
    • Walnuts 0.9 mg
    • Pumpkin seeds 0.8 mg
    • Peanuts 0.8 mg
    • Chickpeas, dried 0.5 mg
    • Flaxseed 0.4 mg
    • Chanterelle, fresh 0.4 mg
    • Mushroom 0.4 mg
    • Shiitake mushroom, fresh 0.4 mg
    • Avocado 0.3 mg
    • Sweet potatoes 0.2 mg
    • Potatoes 0.1 mg
    • Gröber, U. (2011): Mikronährstoffe. Metabolic Tuning – Prävention – Therapie. 3. Aufl. Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft mbH Stuttgart

    • Biesalski, H.K., Bischoff, S.C., Pirlich, M., Weidmann, A., (2018). Ernährungsmedizin – Nach dem Curriculum Ernährungsmedizin der Bundesärztekammer (5.Auflage). Stuttgart: Georg Thieme Verlag

    • Schmiedel, V. (2019): Nährstofftherapie – Orthomolekulare Medizin in Prävention, Diagnostik und Therapie (3.Auflage). Stuttgart: Georg Thieme Verlag