Copper is an essential trace mineral found in all living things and is vital to the proper functioning of many biological processes.
In humans, copper is found mainly in the liver, kidneys, and brain but also in the bones, blood, muscles, and skin. Without it, you might experience some severe health problems. In addition, copper is indispensable for brain function and the transmission of nerve signals.
While copper is an essential mineral, excess copper can be toxic to the body and may cause problems such as stomach or liver issues or even neurological problems such as degeneration of the nerves and brain damage. Toxic levels of copper are rare but may occur in people taking certain medications or with a health condition such as an autoimmune disease.
Why is Copper Important?
Its main functions include:
- Supporting your immune system and helping you fight infections.
- Supporting the production of red blood cells, which help move oxygen throughout your body.
- Supporting your nervous system, including your brain.
- Supporting your digestive health.
- Copper is most commonly known for its role in producing collagen, the connective tissue found in your skin, joints, and other organs. It also plays a role in making hemoglobin, heart rhythm, blood pressure, and thyroid function.
Copper is crucial for human health
Copper is found in every body cell, playing a role in energy production, immune system function, and more.
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, copper is "essential for human health" and needs to be included in the diet. Copper helps the body produce energy, maintain a healthy immune system response and connect with other cells.
Too little copper can lead to anemia, poor wound healing, impaired cognitive function, and mood swings.
For patients who are not getting enough copper from regular eating or need to supplement with additional copper, copper supplements may be required. You may also need to modify your diet to help lower copper. The body's absorption of copper will be increased if the diet contains less copper and decreased if the body has sufficient copper.
Because the body cannot produce copper, you must obtain copper from the diet. It also helps your body build collagen and absorb and breakdown Iron, as well as playing a role in energy production.
Many people today have an iron overload due to the lack of copper in their diet. Iron, after all, is the most abundant substance on Earth, so we naturally ingest a lot of it. Copper, on the other hand, is found in trace amounts and is hard to get through diet alone due to the low quality of our soil and food system.
Copper also helps your body to burn fat and cholesterol, which is why we have seen that deficiency of copper leads to high levels of cholesterol in your blood. Without adequate copper in your body, you may experience signs of copper deficiency, like lower metabolic activity, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and poor mood.. It is possible to create a copper deficiency by taking large doses of zinc supplements, which may inhibit the absorption of copper into the small intestine.
Subcutaneous copper injections may help normalize blood copper levels, but whether they can also help normalize brain copper levels depends on which types of genetic mutations are involved. Depleting copper levels or blocking the bioavailability of copper can decrease the energy needed for tumor cells to move around the body.
Because the body uses copper often and cannot store enough, eating foods rich in copper is the best way to prevent a copper deficiency. You usually get copper from your diet in foods such as liver and other organ meats, and seafood.
In addition to its role in bone health, copper helps our blood vessels, nerves, and immune systems work optimally. For instance, copper helps our bodies generate energy and helps to form essential neurotransmitters, which support the healthy functioning of our brains and nervous systems. Although it is found in the body in tiny amounts, copper is critical for the proper function of the nervous, muscular, and immune systems and is also responsible for creating red blood cells.
Copper helps make hemoglobin, an iron-containing protein of the red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body. The body also needs copper to properly execute several enzyme reactions and keep your connective tissues healthy. Your body uses copper for several essential functions, including making energy, connective tissues, and blood vessels.
Copper may also have antioxidant effects, helping protect your body against cellular damage and associated diseases. It is also vital for nerve function, bone growth, and helping the body utilize sugar. Copper helps keep bones, blood vessels, nerves, and the immune system healthy and contributes to iron absorption and breakdown.
Copper is needed to build our connective tissues, maintain melanin production in our skin, and aid the transfer of iron throughout our body. Copper also makes proteins more accessible to the body, releasing iron from the bloodstream, and making them more easily utilized. Copper is a component of many enzymes and proteins and helps to create collagen, a main structural protein in the body that is essential to bone health.
Cognitive function and memory
Copper can help improve cognitive function and memory. In particular, it can help improve focus, concentration, and memory recall. This is likely because copper is a mineral that is essential for cell function and nerve transmission.
Copper can help reduce inflammation because it is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. In addition, copper can help fight free radicals and promote healing.
Improve joint health
Copper is important for joint health because it helps protect the cartilage in your joints from damage. Copper also helps to keep the immune system functioning properly, which can help reduce the risk of developing autoimmune diseases.
Improve skin health
Copper may help improve skin health by helping to maintain the skin's barrier function, which helps protect against skin dryness and irritation. Copper can also help protect against the development of acne and other skin conditions.
Regulate blood sugar levels
Copper plays a vital role in regulating blood sugar levels by helping control insulin production and secretion. This can help to keep blood sugar levels stable and reduce the risk of developing diabetes or other types of chronic health conditions related to high blood sugar levels.
Food sources of copper
The best way to get copper is through food. Here are the top copper-containing foods you can eat:
- Beef, lamb, pork, and bison
- Seafood - Some examples include wild salmon, scallops, and wild-caught fish such as cod, haddock, and halibut
- Nut like hazelnuts and cashews
- Leafy green vegetables
Copper is a mineral that is essential for the body to function correctly. Not only does it provide a host of beenfits, a copper deficiency can cause big health problems now and into the future. It's one of those minerals you can't ignore.