The body uses copper in energy production and to support bone, skin, neurological, and cardiovascular health. Although copper deficiency is rare, copper deficiency can result from high levels of zinc intake as zinc decreases the body's ability to absorb copper from the diet.
In this article we will explore the pathways that can lead to copper deficiency and what you can do to maintain healthy copper levels in your body while taking zinc supplements.
Copper is an essential trace mineral. This means that is it necessary for human health, but we do not need large amounts (1). Copper is found in all body issues and plays a role in making red blood cells, maintaining nerve cells, and supporting the immune system.
Copper is required by the enzymes involved in aerobic metabolism (2). Copper is also intimately involved in the production of collagen (the protein that gives your skin and blood vessels elasticity). There is hardly a system in the body that does not rely on copper. This means that copper deficiencies have wide-ranging effects on the body.
The World Health Organization estimates that the average adult human ingests about 1 mg of copper per day in their diet (2). This is roughly inline with the National Institute of Health's recommendation that adults consume between 900-1,300 mcg of copper a day (3).
However, roughly only half of the consumed in our diet is absorbed (2). Therefore, it is advisable to consume 2-3 mg of copper daily.
All copper in our body is obtained through the food that we eat, the things that we drink, and the supplements that we take. Copper that is taken in through diet is partially absorbed in the gut. Zinc effects how much copper our body absorbs in our gut.
Zinc reduces the amount of copper your body absorbs, and high doses of zinc can cause a copper deficiency. For that reason, many doctors recommend that you take 2-4 mg of copper along with a zinc supplement (4).
Copper plays a very important role in male fertility. It is an essential element for the production of sperm (5). Copper-dependent enzymes are present at all stages of sperm development and are present within the cells of the testes. Copper deficiency leads to a significant reduction in male fertility (5).
Taking a copper supplement is a cheap and effective way to maintain your copper levels in the correct range and maintain sperm health. Load Boost contains 4 mg of copper per serving and contains a blend of high-quality, natural ingredients that promote sperm health, improve prostate health, and increase semen volume.
1. “Precious Metals and Other Important Minerals for Health.” Harvard Health, 15 Feb. 2021, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/precious-metals-and-other-important-minerals-for-health
2. National Research Council (US) Committee on Copper in Drinking Water. Copper in Drinking Water. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2000. 2, Physiological Role of Copper. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK225407/
3. "Copper: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals" National Institute of Health, 29 March 2021, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Copper-HealthProfessional/.
4. "Zinc" Mount Sinai Health System, 5 April 2022, https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/zinc
5. Ogórek M, Gąsior Ł, Pierzchała O, Daszkiewicz R, Lenartowicz M. Role of copper in the process of spermatogenesis. Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2017 Aug 9;71(0):663-683. doi: 10.5604/01.3001.0010.3846. PMID: 28791960