Zinc and Copper Balance

Zinc and copper are essential trace minerals that are required by humans to maintain health. Zinc and copper are antagonistic minerals in that the intake of one can seriously affect the metabolism of the other. High levels of zinc may interfere with copper absorption and metabolism, and vice versa. Obtaining a balance in the diet is therefore pivotal, and one of the best ways to ensure this is to maintain an adequate intake from the diet. Supplements can be problematic because the propensity with supplements is to damage the delicate balance between the two minerals and thereby cause more problems that are solved. For example, zinc is far more likely to be present in supplements as its roles in human physiology are more varied and more widely known. Taking zinc supplements for the immune system sounds like a great idea, but if at the same time a copper deficiency is caused, this may in the long term be detrimental. Understanding nutrient interactions is therefore pivotal in maintaining optimal intakes of all essential nutrients. 

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself


Osredkar, J. and Sustar, N. 2011. Copper and zinc, biological role and significance of copper/zinc imbalance. Journal of Clinical Toxicology. 3(2161): 0495

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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