Older people whose diets are heavy in copper, saturated fats and trans fats experienced a faster rate of mental decline.
A six-year study of more than 3,700 people aged 65 or older showed that those who consumed at least 1.6 milligrams of copper a day, along with high levels of saturated and trans fats, added almost 20 years to their ages in terms of mental decline. The U.S. daily recommended intake of copper is 0.9 milligrams.
Too much copper in the blood could block the body's ability to destroy the proteins that form the plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. Copper has been found at high levels in the blood of Alzheimer's patients.
Many of those in the study with high copper levels took multivitamins containing the mineral.
Consuming a copper-rich diet along with a multi-vitamin supplement can be very problematic, especially for seniors who may elevate their risk of a faster mental decline leading to Alzheimer's. Since many inexpensive supplements use cheaper inorganic copper, this can further exacerbate its toxicity.
Copper can cause other health problems in addition to mental decline. If you consume too much copper, you may have abdominal pain, cramps, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and liver damage. Elevated copper levels have also been linked to conditions including:
Pregnant women should particularly be on the alert for copper toxicity, as copper levels can nearly double during pregnancy. It can take three months after delivery for copper levels to return to normal, which may be one cause of postpartum depression.
Generally, taking a multivitamin with copper is a not a good idea, unless you have a knowledgeable health care practitioner tell you that you are deficient, it is best to avoid any copper supplements.
This is not one mineral you want to play around with. Some people actually do require and benefit from copper supplementation but the majority actually require zinc rather than copper.
This is one of the problems when you use synthetic supplements. When you consume nutrient-rich whole foods as the primary source of your vitamins and minerals, it gives your body the opportunity to more easily vary the absorption rate and prevent any potential toxicity problems.