Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for copper

copper, balance, observed intake, Adequate Intake, Dietary Reference Value
First published in the EFSA Journal
21 October 2015
23 September 2015
Scientific Opinion


Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) derived Dietary Reference Values (DRVs) for copper. Owing to the absence of appropriate biomarkers of copper status and the limitations of available balance studies, the Panel was unable to derive Average Requirements (ARs) and Population Reference Intakes (PRIs). Hence, Adequate Intakes (AIs) were defined based on mean observed intakes in several European Union (EU) countries, given that there is no evidence of overt copper deficiency in the European population. Data from balance studies were used as supportive evidence. For adults, AIs of 1.6 mg/day for men and 1.3 mg/day for women are proposed. For children, AIs are 0.7 mg/day for children aged 1 to < 3 years, 1 mg/day for children aged 3 to < 10 years, and 1.3 and 1.1 mg/day for boys and girls aged 10 to < 18 years, respectively. For infants aged 7–11 months, based on mean observed intakes in four EU countries, an AI of 0.4 mg/day is proposed, which is supported by upwards extrapolation of estimated copper intake in exclusively breast-fed infants. For pregnant women, an increment of 0.2 mg/day is estimated to cover the amount of copper deposited in the fetus and the placenta over the course of pregnancy and in anticipation of the needs for lactation, and for lactating women the same increment is estimated to cover the amount of copper secreted with breast milk. Thus, for pregnant and lactating women, the Panel derived an AI of 1.5 mg/day.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Jean Louis Bresson, Barbara Burlingame, Tara Dean, Susan Fairweather-Tait, Marina Heinonen, Karen Ildico Hirsch-Ernst, Inge Mangelsdorf, Harry McArdle, Androniki Naska, Monika Neuhäuser-Berthold, Grażyna Nowicka, Kristina Pentieva, Yolanda Sanz, Alfonso Siani, Anders Sjödin, Martin Stern, Daniel Tomé, Dominique Turck, Hendrik Van Loveren, Marco Vinceti and Peter Willatts.
Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies
nda [at]
EFSA Journal 2015;13(10):4253
Question Number
On request from
European Commission