Dear Doctor Ettinger,
I am trying to get pregnant and I am researching what nutrients my body will need extra amounts of. I have done pretty well with my research so far but I have one last question regarding copper. Is copper essential for pregnant women?
Thank you in advance,
Copper is an important trace mineral and is found in every tissue of the body. Copper is especially high in the liver, heart, kidney and brain. Copper is essential for the proper development (new cell formation) and maintenance of the heart, arteries and blood vessels; the skeletal and nervous systems. Also, copper is used in the body to prevent anemia by controlling the storage and release of iron to form hemoglobin and healthy blood. In addition, it is essential for energy production.
My recommendation is to not take additional copper (nutritional supplements) but rather eat copper rich foods. Below is a list of foods that are great sources of the trace mineral copper.
Foods that possess high levels of copper are: Brazil nuts, cocoa, oysters, beef or lamb liver, blackstrap molasses, and black pepper. Foods that possess moderate levels include: avocados, nuts and sunflower seeds, lobster, green olives, and wheat bran.
Below is a write-up I like on copper and how it relates to pregnancy. Good luck and let me know if you have any additional questions.
Marcus Ettinger DC, BSc
Copper is the Rodney Dangerfield of trace minerals – it gets no respect. For example, iron and calcium are touted as essential minerals during pregnancy, but researchers at the University of California, Davis state that copper is another mineral essential for normal pregnancy outcome. Copper deficiency during pregnancy results in numerous gross structural and biochemical abnormalities that affect free-radical defenses, connective tissue metabolism, and energy production in fetal tissues. Even marginal copper deficiency might contribute to the more than 50% of human conceptions that fail to implant, the 30% that implant but fail to reach term, and the 3% of births with serious congenital malformations.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1998;67:1003-1011/1012-1016.