is a mineral found in trace amounts in all tissues in the
body. Although only a small amount is needed, copper is an
essential nutrient that plays a role in the production of
hemoglobin (the main component of red blood cells), myelin
(the substance that surrounds nerve fibres), collagen (a key
component of bones and connective tissue), and melanin (a
dark pigment that colours the hair and skin). Copper also
works with vitamin C to help make a component of connective
tissue known as elastin.
Foods that contain significant dietary amounts of copper include
organ meats, nuts (such as cashews, filberts, macadamia nuts,
pecans, almonds, and pistachios), legumes (such as soybeans,
lentils, navy beans, and peanuts), fruits and vegetables (such as
dried fruits, mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes,
bananas, grapes, and avocado), blackstrap molasses and black pepper.
Signs of possible
copper deficiency include anemia, low body temperature, bone
fractures and osteoporosis, low white blood cell count (the
cells that help fight infection), irregular heartbeat, loss
of pigment from the skin, and thyroid disorders.