Copper is needed to support healthy hormone levels and metabolism to assist with female fertility.
The body needs copper (Cu) to regulate a range of metabolic processes, including hormone metabolism. Copper therefore has a role in supporting healthy female fertility. Its concentration is regulated by the body itself, because homeostatic mechanisms remove excess copper when required. This happens because too much or not enough copper can have adverse health effects.
Copper deficiencies negatively impact fertility in women
Research has shown that low copper concentrations in blood plasma can affect female fertility. Soltan and Jenkins analysed the copper concentrations within plasma of 93 women1. The study group consisted of 35 fertile women and 48 infertile women.
The study found that
- Copper concentrations were significantly lower in infertile woman compared with fertile women.
- Plasma copper concentrations were also slightly lower in women with secondary infertility problems.
Insufficient levels of copper may therefore reduce female fertility by disrupting normal oestrogen metabolism.
Copper and magnesium supplementation in animal studies
Research has revealed a correlation between low copper and magnesium levels with reduced fertility in Holstein cows and heifers. Ingraham and colleagues randomly assigned 204 Holstein heifers and cows with supplement treatments2. Animals received either copper, magnesium, copper and magnesium, or no mineral supplement. Blood samples were taken prior to supplementation and at weeks 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 postpartum. Plasma was assayed for magnesium and copper.
The study found that
- 92% of animals receiving both copper and magnesium supplementation conceived. However, only an average of 75% of animals conceived in the other groups.
Fertility of Holstein cows and heifers has therefore been shown to improve with copper and magnesium supplementation. These trace elements work together to support healthy fertility.
Sources of copper
Copper can be found in many foods. High concentrations of Cu are present in kale, nuts, oysters, fermented soy products, mushrooms, and goat’s cheese.
Low levels of copper can reduce female fertility by disrupting normal metabolic processes. This trace element is needed along with other minerals such as magnesium, zinc and iron to support healthy fertility.
Fertility-enhancing fertility nutrients
- “Soltan, M. and Jenkins, D. (1983). Plasma copper and zinc concentrations and fertility, British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Volume 90, Issue 5, (pp. 457-9.).” ↩
- “Ingraham, H. et.al. (1987). Correction of subnormal fertility with copper and magnesium supplementation, Journal of Dairy Science, Volume 70, Issue 1, (pp. 167-80.).” ↩