Copper is widely distributed in nature. The tissues of the body contain it in traces but the highest amount is found in the brain and liver. The mount found in adult body is about 100mg. About 95% of the copper present in blood plasma is found firmly bound in a protein complex, ceruloplasmin, and the remaining 5 % loosely bound to another protein, albumen. Molybdenum and zinc are opposed to cooper so that an increased intake of these elements results in the increased intake of copper. Most of the copper is excreted through the bile in faecal matter.
Copper is required for various functions including the formation of the pigment melanin in the skin. It helps in the transport of electrons. It maintains the strength of the myelin sheath covering the nerves. Copper helps in the synthesis of phospholipids. It is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin in the blood along with iron. It is a constituent of enzymes involved in the oxidation of fatty acids. It is necessary for the healthy hair.
Even poor diets provide enough coopers for human needs. Deficiency or excess of this element is very rare. Low level of copper in the blood level has been observed during malnutrition, in some kidney infections, sprue and anemia. Toxicity of copper is well known higher intake of copper can cause hepatitis, nerve disorders and malfunctioning of the kidneys. On the other hand a deficiency of copper makes the hair brittle.