No effect of copper supplementation on biochemical markers of bone metabolism in healthy young adult females despite apparently improved copper status

K. D. Cashman, A. Baker, F. Ginty, A. Flynn, J. J. Strain, M. P. Bonham, J. M. O'Connor, S. Bügel, B. Sandström

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Objective: To investigate the effects of increasing Cu intakes, above the usual dietary intake, on biomarkers of bone metabolism in healthy young adult females (aged 21 28 y) over a 4 week period. Design: A double-blind, placebo-controlled randomised repeat crossover Cu supplementation trial. Setting: The study was conducted at the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University (RVAU), Copenhagen, Denmark. Subjects: Sixteen healthy young adult females aged 20-28 y were recruited from among students at the RVAU. Intervention: During the 4 week intervention periods in this randomised, crossover trial (3×4 weeks with a minimum 3 week wash-out period), each subject received, in addition to their usual diet, either 3 or 6 mg elemental Cu/day as CuSO4 or a matching placebo. On the last 3 days of each dietary period 24 h urines were collected. In addition, blood was collected on the last day of each dietary period. Results: Serum Cu and erythrocyte superoxide dismutase (but not caeruloplasmin protein concentration or activity (putative indices of Cu status)) were significantly increased (P < 0.05) after daily Cu supplementation with 3 and 6 mg/day for 4 weeks. Serum osteocalcin (biomarker of bone formation), urinary creatinine (Cr) concentration, urinary pyridinoline (Pyr)/Cr or deoxypyridinoline (Dpyr)/Cr excretion, or daily urinary Pyr or Dpyr excretion (biomarkers of bone resorption) were unaffected by Cu supplementation. Conclusion: Copper supplementation of the usual diet in healthy young adult females, while apparently improving Cu status, had no effect on biochemical markers of bone formation or bone resorption over 4 week periods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-531
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2001


  • Biomarkers
  • Bone
  • Copper status
  • Young adult females

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