Copper is combined with iron and protein to form hemaglobin which is necessary for transportating oxygen around our bodies through our blood streams. It helps form connective tissues such as collagen and elastin -- and it affects capillaries, scar tissues and the bone matrix. It's also at the catalytic site of the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), and a study has shown that copper supplementation increased body levels of SOD which is an important antioxidant.
Copper also helps form melanin the pigment of our skin and hair. It also helps lower cholesterol, prevent the rancidity of fatty acids and maintain your cellular structure. It might help lower the inflammation of arthritis (so it that may explain why some people used to wear copper wristbands).
Symptoms of copper defiency include: loss of hair, anemia, loss of taste, general weakness, abnormalities in the metabolism of fats, high triglycerides, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), fatty liver disease and poor melanin and dopamine synthesis causing depression and sunburn, brittle bones, chronic diarrhea, low white blood cell count, water retention, nervous irritability, high cholesterol and neural tube defects.
Natural sources of copper include oysters, beef or lamb liver, Brazil nuts, blackstrap molasses, cocoa, black pepper, lobster, nuts and sunflower seeds, green olives, avocados and wheat bran.
2 to 3 mg of copper taken along with 10 to 15 times as much zinc should be enough.
Copper and zinc general compete for absorption within your digestive tract, so taking excessive amounts of either mineral tends to deplete the other one. Therefore, you should take multimineral supplements that include both.
Taking excessive amounts of copper supplements such as 10-20 mg per day may contribute to liver damage, abnormalities in red blood cell formation, weakness, and nausea.