Marginal copper deficiency, which may affect cardiovascular disease risk, is proposed to occur in many adults in Western industrialized countries. The present study tested the hypothesis that in a group of USA adults, increased copper intake would alter readings for blood copper enzymes and markers relevant to cardiovascular disease risk. Healthy middle aged adults with moderately high cholesterol, were given either placebo or copper supplementation (2 mg copper/day as copper glycinate) for 8 weeks. Blood samples were taken before and after the 8 weeks. Copper, but not placebo, raised activities for two copper enzymes, erythrocyte superoxide dismutase 1 and plasma ceruloplasmin. In contrast, five cardiovascular health related plasma parameters were not changed significantly by copper: C-reactive protein, homocysteine, and cholesterol (total, LDL and HDL). However, changes in erythrocyte superoxide dismutase 1 correlated positively with changes in plasma HDL and negatively with plasma homocysteine. Also, copper lowered mean oxidized LDL values, a result that was statistically significant, but inconsistent. In this test population, increased copper intake raised copper enzyme activities, but did not consistently improve the cardiovascular health measures studied.
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