Copper supplementation in humans does not affect the susceptibility of low density lipoprotein to in vitro induced oxidation (FOODCUE project)

Free Radic Biol Med. 2000 Dec;29(11):1129-34. doi: 10.1016/s0891-5849(00)00409-3.


The oxidative modification of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Copper (Cu) is essential for antioxidant enzymes in vivo and animal studies show that Cu deficiency is accompanied by increased atherogenesis and LDL susceptibility to oxidation. Nevertheless, Cu has been proposed as a pro-oxidant in vivo and is routinely used to induce lipid peroxidation in vitro. Given the dual role of Cu as an in vivo antioxidant and an in vitro pro-oxidant, a multicenter European study (FOODCUE) was instigated to provide data on the biological effects of increased dietary Cu. Four centers, Northern Ireland (coordinator), England, Denmark, and France, using different experimental protocols, examined the effect of Cu supplementation (3 or 6 mg/d) on top of normal Cu dietary intakes or Cu-controlled diets (0.7/1.6/6.0 mg/d), on Cu-mediated and peroxynitrite-initiated LDL oxidation in apparently healthy volunteers. Each center coordinated its own supplementation regimen and all samples were subsequently transported to Northern Ireland where lipid peroxidation analysis was completed. The results from all centers showed that dietary Cu supplementation had no effect on Cu- or peroxynitrite-induced LDL susceptibility to oxidation. These data show that high intakes (up to 6 mg Cu) for extended periods do not promote LDL susceptibility to in vitro-induced oxidation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Copper / administration & dosage*
  • Denmark
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements
  • England
  • Female
  • France
  • Free Radicals
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitrates / pharmacology
  • Northern Ireland


  • Free Radicals
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Nitrates
  • peroxynitric acid
  • Copper