A copper supplement is a capsule or pill that contains copper, an essential mineral found in grains, shellfish, and green leafy vegetables. The nutrient helps your body absorb iron and it also has properties that help to regulate your heart beat and blood pressure. If you are treating decreased blood copper levels, then a pure copper supplement is generally your best option. Multivitamins and other types of supplements may also contain copper.
Although you should not use copper supplements without first consulting with your doctor, you can determine which type of capsules are the most appropriate to take. As of 2011, the American Cancer Society recommends taking no more than 10 milligrams of copper each day, and the dosage limits vary in children by age. If a particular copper supplement has more than 10 milligrams per dosage, you will likely want to avoid such a brand, unless otherwise directed by a physician.
Copper supplements should contain only copper. As the field of alternative medicine grows, mixed supplements are increasing in prevalence on the market. It is important to check all of the ingredient labels carefully so that you can avoid the risk of drug interactions. Certain types of herbal supplements contain minerals such as copper, as well as daily multivitamins. If either type contains copper, then you do not necessarily require copper supplements.
A physician will usually recommend a copper supplement if you have a deficiency of the mineral. Keep in mind that several blood tests might be needed to determine your copper levels, because liver metabolism of the mineral can sometimes cause different lab results. Regular blood tests are likely needed if you are being treated for copper deficiency to ensure that you are not taking too many supplements, which can result in toxicity. Too much copper in the body is rare, but it is a serious complication that can cause kidney failure and liver damage.
In order to prevent a copper deficiency, be sure that you are eating foods that contain the nutrient, including beans, peas, and potatoes, as well as nuts and beef liver. Generally, a person is not copper deficient if he or she eats an ample diet of fruits and vegetables. If you do not have enough copper in the blood, it is usually indicative of a health ailment, such as anemia or jaundice. Too much copper is sometimes related to Wilson’s disease; in such cases, you should avoid using copper supplements.