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Copper is an essential trace element. It is ubiquitous and enters the food chain through the soil or water, but also through its use in plant protection products or as a food or feed additive.

As a trace element, copper is vital for humans. It is a component of many proteins and important for their enzyme functions. Copper-containing enzymes are important, for example, for the energy metabolism of the cell, for the formation of connective tissue and of certain hormones or the iron metabolism. In the nervous system, copper is important for the formation of myelin - the protective layer around the nerve fibres.

Good sources of copper are cereal products, offal, fish, shellfish, legumes such as peas or lentils, nuts, cocoa, chocolate, coffee, tea and some green vegetables.

The data currently available for the Federal Republic of Germany on the intake of copper indicate that an insufficient supply of the trace element copper is not to be expected in healthy individuals. There is also currently no evidence that supplementation with copper would have beneficial effects on health.

For humans, the intake of high doses of copper can cause acute gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Chronic high intakes can also damage the liver. In humans, both acute and chronic copper poisoning is rare.

Proposed maximum level for the addition of copper to a food supplements (per daily dose of an individual product):

Höchstmenge Kupfer_en

In view of the small gap between the intake of copper via food and the maximum tolerable daily intake derived by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) from all food sources, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recommends that food supplements with added copper should not be marketed for children and adolescents under 18 years of age. For preparations that have adults as a target group, the BfR recommends not adding more than 1 milligram (mg) of copper per daily dose. In addition, it should be pointed out that the product is not suitable for children and adolescents.



Eine Initiative des BfR:

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