copper gluconate (generic name)
- Auto Immune Conditions
- Bladder & Kidney Health
- Brain & Nervous System
- Care Transitions
- Dental Health
- Emotional Health
- Eye Health
- Falls Prevention
- Financial Planning
- General Safety
- Health Care Basics
- Healthy Living
- Hearing Loss
- Heart Health
- High Blood Pressure
- Life Transitions
- Lung Health
- Men's Health
- Nutrition & Weight Management
- Pain Management
- Preventive Health
- Sexual Health
- Stomach & Digestive Health
- Stress & Anxiety
- Women's Health
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Adults (18 years and older)
The 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 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.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Side Effects and Warnings
Copper toxicity is rare in the general population. Excess copper consumption may lead to liver, kidney, or neurologic damage. Excess dosing may lead to toxic symptoms including weakness, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, with more serious signs of acute toxicity including liver damage, kidney failure, pleural damage, coma, and death. Other medical problems associated with copper toxicity in studies or anecdotally include anxiety, depression, dizziness, fatigue, headache, learning disabilities, memory lapses, diminished concentration, insomnia, seizure, delirium, stuttering, hyperactivity, arthralgias, myalgias, hypertension, gingivitis, dermatitis, discoloration of skin/hair, preeclampsia, postpartum psychosis, weight gain, or transaminitis. Acute copper poisoning has occurred through the contamination of beverages by storage in copper containing containers as well as from contaminated water supplies. In the U.S., the health-based guideline for a maximum water copper concentration of 1.3 milligrams per liter has been enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Genetic disorders affecting copper metabolism such as Wilson's disease, Indian childhood cirrhosis, or idiopathic copper toxicosis place individuals at risk of adverse effects of chronic copper toxicity at significantly lower intake levels. Trientine is a copper-chelating agent used in the management of Wilson's disease. Penicillamine has also been used to bind copper and enhance its elimination in Wilson's disease. Zinc in therapeutic dosages has been used to inhibit copper absorption in patients with Wilson's disease. Animal research suggests that supplementation with taurine may reduce toxic effects of copper when given in combination, although it is not clear if this is the case in humans.
Copper-T devices are a type of intrauterine devices (IUD) used for birth control which have been linked to the development of anemia and increased risk of pelvic infection in some users. Copper released from the IUDs may cause hormonal changes and alter the menstrual cycle in women. Other common side effects include pain/cramps, abnormal bleeding, and device expulsion. In some cases, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or anemia may develop.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
It is unclear if copper supplementation is necessary during pregnancy to maintain adequate copper levels. Copper is potentially unsafe when used orally in higher doses. Animal studies suggest that trace metal aberrations, including copper, may be related to disturbed fetal growth or teratogenicity, particularly in the setting of diabetic pregnancy.
Copper is potentially unsafe when used orally in higher doses than the RDA. Copper is present in breast milk.