Copper is one of the essential minerals needed by all humans. It maintains blood volume, produces energy in cells and builds tissues in the body.
Health Benefits of Copper
Bones and tissues – Copper is essential for the formation of strong and flexible connective tissues. Cuproenzyme, lysyl oxidase, two important structural proteins that cross-link collagen and elastin to form strong and flexible connective tissues. Lysyl oxidase helps in maintaining the integrity of connective tissue in the heart and blood vessels and plays a role in bone formation.
Antioxidant protector – Studies have shown that dietary intake in most people is insufficient. Taking copper with iron builds red blood cells. Copper neutralizes free radicals and may reduce or help prevent some of the damage they cause.
Balances cholesterol – Copper has shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (bad) and increase HDL cholesterol (good).
Boosts energy – When you speed up the molecular oxygen (O2) to water (H2O), cytochrome c oxidase generates an electrical gradient used by the mitochondria to create the vital energy-storing molecule, ATP.
Brain Stimulator – Food with more copper in it, is known as “brain food”. A study showed that there are higher thought processes, enables neural pathways and enables us to think creatively.
Copper deficiency can be inherited or acquired from malnutrition, malabsorption, or excessive zinc intake. Copper deficiency is most common caused by gastrointestinal surgery, such as gastric bypass surgery, due to malabsorption of copper, or zinc toxicity.
Deficiencies of copper could include:
Low body temperature
Low white blood cell count
Loss of pigment from the skin
Foods rich in Copper
I always say the best way to get enough copper or other minerals is through your diet. For your body to use copper, you need to have a balance of zinc and manganese. The following lists provide the recommended daily dietary intake of copper for children and adults from the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine.
For infants from birth to 6 months: 200 mcg daily
For infants 7 to 12 months: 220 mcg daily
For children 1 to 3 years: 340 mcg daily
For children 4 to 8 years: 440 mcg daily
For children 9 to 13 years: 700 mcg daily
For children 14 to 18 years: 890 mcg daily
For adults 19 years and older: 900 mg daily
For pregnant women: 1,000 mcg daily
For breastfeeding women: 1,300 mcg daily
If you take a copper supplement, you should also take a zinc supplement. Speaking to your doctor is always best.