Copper (copper gluconate) Benefits and Side Effects
The body uses copper during the formation of red blood cells and to maintain hair color, bone, skin, and eye pigmentation. Copper gluconate is a bioavailable form of this essential mineral.
Copper also forms part of certain enzymes that have a variety of roles in energy metabolism. In this capacity, copper is part of reactions that consume oxygen and oxygen radicals. It is in this way, for example, that copper is involved in red blood cell formation. It catalyzes iron oxidation, which is necessary for the production of hemoglobin in red blood cells. Copper gluconate is absorbed quite readily into the bloodstream.
Copper also helps the body use iron and supports its antioxidant defense systems. Enzymes that contain copper are also involved in collagen production and wound healing as well as reactions associated with respiration.
What foods are good sources of copper?
Copper is found in organ meats, seeds, nuts, legumes and whole grains. It is also present in drinking water, though the amount varies with the type of plumbing and the hardness of water. The body absorbs only about a third of the copper in foods, but copper deficiency is rare (although possible in certain situations). Supplements of copper gluconate may be useful for undernourished people, including individuals with eating disorders.
People supplementing with zinc should make sure they’re getting sufficient copper as well, since extra zinc can inhibit the absorption of copper.
The elderly, alcoholics, and people who suffer from frequent diarrhea may benefit from supplemental copper. Since copper deficiency is sometimes associated with iron deficiency, people who have been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia may find copper gluconate useful along with the iron supplements that are usually recommended for this condition. Ideally, copper gluconate should be part of a total multivitamin and mineral supplement to ensure a balance of minerals that act synergistically in the body.
Copper gluconate can be toxic in large amounts, so it is important to take only the recommended dose. It is best to take copper gluconate supplements under the supervision of a knowledgeable healthcare provider. Side effects from too much copper gluconate may include breathing problems, chest pain, stomach upset, and rash or hives.