What is Copper?

Minerals cannot be made in the body; therefore they need to be consumed through the diet. Copper is a very important trace mineral, as it is involved in many enzyme reactions in the body. Its health benefits are crucial for optimum health. Copper is found in many foods, the best sources include seafood, beans, wholegrains, almonds, avocado, broccoli, buckwheat, lentils, garlic, nuts, oats, blackstrap molasses and sunflower seeds. The highest source of copper in nature is oysters. Copper may also leach out of copper pipes into the drinking water supply, or into food by using copper cooking utensils.

What does it do in the body?

Copper plays an important role in maintaining many aspects of a healthy body. The benefits from copper are wide-ranging and include:

  • The maintenance of normal connective tissue. Copper helps to protect the myelin sheath that covers nerves. It is also actively involved in the production of elastin that helps to keep skin flexible.
  • Copper is also involved in the production of energy as ATP in the mitochondria of each cell.
  • Copper works alongside Superoxide Dismutase to provide protection of the cell membranes from oxidative stress and damage.
  • It is also a vital part of the healing process and ensures better wound healing.
  • It is extremely important in its role in the functioning of the immune system.
  • This mineral is also a vital component of the dark pigment melanin, which provides colouration to the skin, hair and eyes. Premature greying of hair may be due to a copper deficiency. • Copper helps in the absorption of iron from the intestinal tract, as well as the release of iron from its primary storage sites such as the liver. By aiding the absorption of iron from food, this in turn ensures a healthy red blood cell count, which results in better oxygenation of the organ systems and the body overall.


How can I take Copper supplements?

As copper is a trace mineral there is a fine line between what is enough and what is too much. There is also a question of balance, for example absorbing too much copper will may result in lower zinc levels and vice versa. There are also certain medications that may cause your body to increase it’s excretion of copper. There are also other instances where copper may build up in the body. Ultimately people metabolise copper at different rates, and this needs to be assessed by a Nutritional Therapist or Healthcare Practitioner. If you are found to be low in copper there are a number of copper supplements available, also popular is the combined zinc and copper supplement. Call and speak to one of our Nutritionists for more help or advice.

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