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Copper Requirements and Dietary Sources

Mineral Guide


Updated February 04, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Copper is a trace mineral that your body uses in small amounts. It's necessary for your body to make connective tissue, which is needed for strong blood vessels, cartilage and bones. Copper is also necessary for some antioxidant reactions to occur, as well as for the metabolism of iron (another trace mineral).

Most of the copper in your body is stored in your muscles, with smaller amounts in the brain and liver.

Daily Requirements

1 to 3 years: 340 micrograms per day
4 to 8 years: 440 micrograms per day
9 to 13 years: 700 micrograms per day
14 to 18 years: 890 micrograms per day
19+ years: 900 micrograms per day

Copper deficiency isn't common because it is found in a wide variety of foods. But people who take large doses of vitamin C, zinc or iron supplements may require extra copper.

Dietary copper is found in organ meats, seafood, chicken, nuts, seeds, whole grains, chocolate and legumes. Eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods should provide you with sufficient amounts of copper.

Other Trace Minerals


Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Copper. Feingold School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Accessed November 10, 2009. http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/nutrition/factsheets/copper.html.

Dietary Reference Intakes - Elements. Food and Nutrition Board. Institute of Medicine. Accessed November 10, 2009. http://www.iom.edu/Global/News%20Announcements/~/media/48FAAA2FD9E74D95BBDA2236E7387B49.ashx.


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