Copper is a trace element. Good sources include nuts, shellfish and offal.

How much do I need?

You should be able to get all the copper you need from your daily diet. Adults need 1.2 mg a day.

What does it do?

Copper has a number of important functions. For example it:

  • helps produce red and white blood cells and triggers the release of iron to form haemoglobin - the substance that carries oxygen around the body
  • is thought to be important for infant growth, brain development, the immune system and for strong bones

What happens if I take too much?

Taking high doses of copper could cause stomach pain, sickness and diarrhoea. Over a long period, high doses might damage your liver and kidneys.

What is our advice?

You should be able to get all the copper you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. But if you decide to take copper supplements it's a good idea not to take too much because this could be harmful.

Having 1 mg or less a day of copper supplements is unlikely to cause any harm.