What is Copper?
Copper is a micro-mineral, or trace mineral, that contributes to overall human health and wellbeing. Copper is the 3 rd most abundant micro-mineral in our body. Most Americans ingest too little of this important trace mineral, in part because liver and oysters—particularly rich sources of copper—don't form a major component of our diet, and copper appears in other food sources in only the smallest amounts. Because of this, most of us should probably consider a copper supplement.
How does Copper work?
Copper is important to overall bodily health. It has a very important role in the formation of the antioxidant, superoxide dismutase (SOD). Antioxidants counteract the effect of free radicals, by-products of natural bodily processes that can damage our cells.
Copper also helps to make collagen, a protein found in our skin, bones, and joints. Copper aids the body to store, release, and metabolize iron, another trace mineral that supports the production of healthy red blood cells.
Copper may serve other important functions:
- Preventing heart disease: Research indicates that copper may help irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias), lower high blood pressure and your cholesterol count. Its antioxidant action may also play a role in preventing heart disease, and possibly other ailments, such as cancer.
- Skin and hair pigmentation: copper is an element of dark pigment, melanin, which gives color to our eyes, hair, and skin. A copper supplement may slow or even reverse graying hair.
- Arthritis relief: the old adage to wear a copper bracelet to give you relief from the inflammation of arthritis is not so far-fetched. Copper has anti-inflammatory properties that may alleviate arthritis symptoms.
- Bone health: One study of women, between 45 and 56 years of age, who took either a placebo or copper supplement, found that the women who took in 3 mg of copper daily had no loss in bone density. This may also have implications for Osteoporosis.
How do I make the most out of copper (incorporate it into my diet)?
Copper is a difficult mineral to ingest, even with a healthy diet, because most of us don't eat liver or shellfish, where it appears in large quantities. There is also no Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for copper, but experts recommend between 1.5 and 3 mg of copper daily for optimum health. For most of us, that means we should consider a supplement to ensure an adequate supply of copper in our diet. Take copper and zinc separately since zinc inhibits the absorption of copper into our body.
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Vitamin B 12
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Minerals: An Overview