The Guidelines are -
HOW MUCH COPPER SHOULD WE GET?Adults (18 years and older)
The daily U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is 900 micrograms for adults; 1,000 micrograms for pregnant women; 1,300 micrograms for nursing women; and 890 micrograms for adolescents 14-18 years old. Surveys suggest that most Americans consume less than the RDA for copper each day. Up to 10,000 micrograms daily appears to be safe for consumption in adults. Vegan diets appear to provide adequate amounts of copper.
In a number of clinical trials copper doses of 2-10 milligrams by mouth were safely used in patients. For plaque inhibition, a 1.1mM copper rinse has been used for four days. The appropriate application of ointment preparations containing copper in concentrations up to 20% has also been studied with no apparent toxic effects.
Children (younger than 18 years)
The daily U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for children is 890 micrograms for adolescents 14-18 years old; 700 micrograms for children 9-13 years old; 440 micrograms for children 4-8 years old; 340 micrograms for children 1-3 years old; 220 micrograms for infants 7-12 months old; and 200 micrograms for infants 0-6 months old. Surveys suggest that most Americans consume less than the RDA for copper each day. Up to 3,000-5,000 micrograms daily appears to be safe for consumption in children.
Copper deficiency may occur in infants fed only cow-milk formulas (which are relatively low in copper content) or synthetic low lactose diets, premature/low-birth weight infants, infants with prolonged diarrhea or malnutrition, malabsorption syndromes (including celiac disease, sprue, or short bowel syndrome), cystic fibrosis, or during intravenous total parenteral nutrition (TPN) or other restrictive diets. Such situations may merit copper supplementation (and other trace elements), which should be under the supervision of a healthcare professional. In the United States, copper is not available in infant supplements.
Management of marasmus should be under the supervision of a healthcare professional, although 20-80 micrograms per kilogram per day of copper sulfate supplementation by mouth has been reported as safe.
An allergic skin reaction, called contact dermatitis, has occurred in some people after exposure to copper sulfate.
WHAT IS MEANT BY A GOOD FOOD SOURCE?
A good food source of copper contains a substantial amount of copper in relation to its calorie content and contributes at least 10 percent of the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance (U.S. RDA) for copper in a selected serving size.
The U.S. RDA for copper is the amount of the mineral used as a standard in nutrition labeling of foods. This allowance is based on the 1968 estimate of need made by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences. The 1989 range of Estimated Safe and Adequate Intakes for adults is 1.5 to 3 milligrams per day.
Copper is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods, including vegetables, legumes, nuts, grains, and fruits, as well as shellfish, avocado, and beef (organs such as liver). Because copper is found in the earth's crust, most of the world's surface water and ground water used for drinking purposes contains small amounts of copper.
In 1985 and 1986, 29 percent of the copper in the diets of women was supplied by grain products and 26 percent was furnished by fruits and vegetables. Of the fruits and vegetables, white potatoes provided more copper than any of the other types. Foods that contain small amounts of copper but are not considered good sources can contribute significant amounts of copper to an individual's diet if these foods are eaten often or in large amounts.
WHY DO WE NEED COPPER?
Copper, a mineral, is necessary (along with iron) for the formation of hemoglobin. It also helps keep bones, blood vessels, and nerves healthy.
Copper is involved in numerous biochemical reactions in human cells. Copper is a component of multiple enzymes, is involved with the regulation of gene expression, mitochondrial function/cellular metabolism, connective tissue formation, as well as the absorption, storage, and metabolism of iron. Copper levels are tightly regulated in the body.
As many as 9.1 million people will have age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in 2010. The easiest and cheapest intervention is a special vitamin/mineral combination (vitamins C, E, beta carotene, zinc and copper) that may slow the progression of AMD.
See Evidence for Copper Usage below.
DO WE GET ENOUGH COPPER?
According to recent USDA surveys, the average intake of copper by women 19 to 50 years of age was about 1 milligram, and that of men of the same age was about 1.6 milligrams. For women, this amount is less than the 1.5- to 3-milligram range of Estimated Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intakes recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences.
Copper toxicity is rare in the general population. Wilson's disease is a genetic disorder in which the body cannot rid itself of copper, resulting in deposition in organs and serious consequences such as liver failure and neurologic damage. Obstruction of bile flow, contamination of dialysis solution (in patients receiving hemodialysis for kidney failure), Indian childhood cirrhosis, and idiopathic copper toxicosis are other rare causes of potentially dangerous excess copper levels. Such individuals should be followed closely by a physician and nutritionist.
Copper deficiency can occur in infants fed only cow-milk formulas (which are relatively low in copper content), premature/low-birth weight infants, infants with prolonged diarrhea or malnutrition, individuals with malabsorption syndromes (including celiac disease, sprue, or short bowel syndrome), cystic fibrosis, in the elderly, or those receiving intravenous total parenteral nutrition (TPN) or other restrictive diets.
HOW CAN WE GET ENOUGH COPPER?
Eating a variety of foods that contain copper is the best way to get an adequate amount. Healthy individuals who eat a balanced diet rarely need supplements. Intakes of copper tend to be low in relation to recommendations, and there aren't that many foods that are really good sources; thus, it may take special care to ensure an adequate intake. The list of foods will help you select those that are good sources of copper as you follow the Dietary Guidelines. The list of good sources was derived from the nutritive value of foods tables used to analyze information for recent food consumption surveys of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Human Nutrition Information Service.
HOW TO PREPARE FOODS TO RETAIN COPPER
Copper is lost in cooking some foods even under the best conditions. To retain copper:
WHAT IS A SERVING?
The serving sizes used on the list of good sources are only estimates of the amounts of food you might eat. The amount of nutrient in a serving depends on the weight of the serving. For example, 1/2 cup of cooked mushrooms contains more copper than 1/2 cup of mushrooms served raw, because a serving of cooked mushrooms weighs more. Therefore, cooked mushrooms appear on the list while the raw form does not. Raw mushrooms provide the nutrient - but just not enough in a 1/2-cup serving to be considered a good source.
WHAT ARE GOOD SOURCES OF COPPER?
FOOD SELECTED PERCENTAGE SERVING SIZE U.S. RDA (1)
EVIDENCE FOR COPPER USAGE
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
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