Copper status of young men consuming a low-copper diet

Judith R. Turnlund, Karen C. Scott, Gary L. Peiffer, Abigail M. Jang, William R. Keyes, Carl L Keen, Tammy M. Sukanashi

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69 Scopus citations


A study was conducted in 11 young men to evaluate the effect of a low- copper diet on indexes of copper status and to define an amount of dietary copper at which adequate copper status could not be maintained. The young men were confined to a metabolic research unit for 90 d. The study was divided into three periods, with dietary copper as the only variable. Dietary copper was 0.66 mg/d for 24 d, 0.38 mg/d for 42 d, and 2.49 mg/d for 24 d. Plasma copper, ceruloplasmin activity, ceruloplasmin concentration, and erythrocyte superoxide dismutase (SOD) were measured at selected time points during each dietary copper period. Urine was collected throughout the study. Plasma copper, ceruloplasmin concentration and activity, and urinary copper declined significantly during the lowest dietary copper period. Plasma copper, ceruloplasmin concentration, and urinary copper increased in response to repletion. The average erythrocyte SOD concentration was lower during the depletion period than in the periods before or after depletion, but it did not decline significantly over time in the depletion period. The results suggest that these indexes are sensitive to copper depletion; that 0.38 mg Cu/d is not sufficient to maintain copper status in normal, healthy young men; and that the minimum dietary copper requirement is between 0.4 and 0.8 mg/d.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-78
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • ceruloplasmin
  • Copper status
  • polymorphonuclear leukocyte copper
  • superoxide dismutase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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