Copper, also known by its chemical element abbreviation Cu and atomic number of 29, is a soft naturally-occurring metal that is found in many foods and beverages today. As a dietary component, it plays a central role in promoting good immunity to communicable diseases. It also acts as a natural energy booster and antioxidant.
Healthy adults should consume at least 900 mcg of copper each day. This mineral has been known to mankind for more than 10,000 years and can be found in many prehistoric tools and artwork. As a dietary addition, it is found in foods like seafood, kale, mushrooms, and nuts.

Signs of a Copper Deficiency

When people consume copper in food, they enjoy overall good physical and mental wellness. Copper deficiency can contribute to serious health complications like osteoporosis and nerve damage. Along with having brittle bones, copper deficient individuals might also experience nerve tingling and numbness in their faces and limbs.

Copper deficiency also causes a condition known as Menkes Syndrome. This illness causes severe intellectual disabilities, as well as vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. Menkes Syndrome sufferers also experience ruptured arteries, loss of hair, and loss of skin pigment. To recover from this serious and life-altering condition, patients must undergo extensive blood testing and also receive copper injections.

Copper Excess

Because copper is a toxic metal if consumed in excess, it is important for people to monitor their consumption of this mineral. Overdosing on copper is difficult because the FDA monitors its addition to foods and beverages closely. However, it is still possible, although rare, to consume too much copper.
Excess copper can cause a condition known as Wilson's Disease. This illness presents itself by the development of green and gold rings around a person's pupils. It also causes lethargy, drooling, and jerky muscle movements, among other symptoms. In the most severe cases, patients may have to undergo liver transplants to fully recover from the disease.