Copper is a trace mineral that is vital for many functions in the body.
Why do you need Copper?
Copper is the third most abundant trace mineral in the human body and is found throughout the musculoskeletal system, and in large amounts in the brain and liver. It also plays a major role in the formation and regulation of hormones such as melatonin.
Copper is a critical functional component of a number of essential enzymes, known as cuproenzymes. The copper-dependent enzyme, cytochrome c oxidase, plays a critical role in cellular energy production. One of these enzymes that have received quite a bit of attention is superoxide dismutase (SOD).
Research suggests that copper may play a vital role in the prevention of cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension (High Blood Pressure) and arrhythmias, as well as prevent and cure aneurysms.
Copper works with Vitamin C in the formation of collagen. It is also vital for proper functioning of the central nervous system.
Due to its role in bone formation, copper may be helpful in the treatment of arthritis as well as birth deformities such as scoliosis. Other functions of copper include the following:
- Promotes healthy skin and hair pigmentation
- Promoting healthy cartilage, tendon regeneration, and bone formation
- Plays a critical role in cellular energy production
- Helps maintain the integrity of connective tissue in the heart and blood vessels and the regulation of blood pressure and heart rate
- Plays a role in the metabolism of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine.
- Has been found to function as an antioxidant
- Necessary for normal iron metabolism and red blood cell formation so that red blood cells can transport oxygen to tissues
- Important for a healthy immune system
- Increases the body’s ability to absorb iron
Conditions Related to Copper Deficiency
- Neurodegenerative syndrome
- Cardiac Abnormalities
- Elevated Blood Lipids (serum cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose)
- Stress-related hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
- Inflammatory Disorders
Infants may develop a copper deficiency in the following cases:
- Menkes Disease
- Fed only cow-milk formulas (which are low in copper)
- Premature or low-birth-weight
- Infants having prolonged diarrhea
- Infants with malnutrition
Individuals may develop a copper deficiency if they are suffering from the following disorders:
- Celiac disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Cystic fibrosis
- Restrictive diets
- Kidney disease
- Pancreas disease
- Ongoing stress
- Copper deficiencies are often seen in the elderly
Copper is essential for the body, but since it is a trace mineral the body’s requirements are low. For maintenance, a low dosage of copper is best when in a combination of with other trace minerals.
Therapeutic dosages range from 5 ml – 15ml 1-3 times per day of colloidal copper to .5 – 3 mg per day of dietary copper.
Copper and zinc are antagonists, meaning that they compete for absorption in the digestive tract. For this reason, too much or too little of either mineral could result in a deficiency in the other.
These dosages are based on the dietary copper that is ingested. There are some sources that show adverse effects of copper from contraception. These reports are not based on the trace mineral form of copper. Often, side effects are seen in women using an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD) which is made from copper.
One of the copper’s functions is to increase the body’s ability to absorb iron. This is unfavorable for those who have hemochromatosis as this could cause an overload of iron in the body. Hemochromatosis is a disorder that causes the body to store too much iron.
When there is too much iron in the body, it builds up in the organs and causes damage that can ultimately lead to organ failure.
Copper supplementation is not advisable for individuals suffering from this disorder.
Those who are allergic to copper should also not supplement. If you had an allergy to copper you would be aware of this as copper is commonly found in jewelry.
However, if you aren’t sure if you are allergic to copper, simply put a few drops of supplemental copper on the back of your hand to see if an allergic reaction occurs. Allergic reactions to copper are uncommon.
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