Health Benefits of Copper
The health benefits of copper include proper growth, utilization of iron, enzymatic reactions, connective tissues, hair, eyes, ageing and energy production. Apart from these, heart rhythm, thyroid glands, arthritis, wound healing. RBC formation and cholesterol are other health benefits of copper.
The health benefits of copper are crucial for healthy existence, as this mineral enables normal metabolic process in association with amino acids and vitamins. Copper cannot be produced within the body and hence needs to be sourced from external food sources. Copper is the third most prevalent mineral in the body and it is mostly carried by the blood plasma protein, Ceruloplasmin. In order to enjoy health benefits of copper, it must be included in diet of an individual.
Deficiency symptoms: Deficiency of copper can have the following symptoms in human beings:
Low body temperature
Low white blood cell count
Elevated cholesterol levels
Low resistance to infections
Low skin pigmentation
Some of the other symptoms include lethargy, paleness, sores, edema, stunted growth, hair loss, anorexia, diarrhea, bleeding under the skin and dermatitis. In infant boys, inherited copper deficiency of Menkes' syndrome can happen rarely, where natural absorption of copper becomes impossible. Early medical intervention is vital in such cases.
Important Sources: Copper is present in various food sources such as liver, meat, seafood, beans, whole grains soy flour, wheat bran, almonds, avocados, barley, garlic, nuts, oats, blackstrap molasses ,beets and lentils. Copper also reaches human body by drinking water from copper pipes and by using copper cooking wear. Oysters are the richest sources of copper. Copper content is lost because of prolonged storing in tin cans and in food materials that are high in acid content.
Health benefits of copper
Copper has many important roles to play in maintaining a healthy body and some of its benefits include:
Arthritis: The health benefits of copper relate to its anti-inflammatory actions to assist in reducing the symptoms of arthritis. Market is also flooded with copper bracelets as well as other accessories for the cure of this disease. Copper also works as a home remedy for arthritis i.e. water stored in a copper container overnight accumulates copper traces which are beneficial to strengthen the muscular system.
Proper growth: Copper is highly essential for normal growth and health. Thus, it is definitely important to include this mineral in balanced form in regular diets of an individual. It is helpful in protection of skeletal, nervous and cardiovascular systems.
Pigmentation to hair and eyes: Copper is a vital element of the natural dark pigment, melanin, which imparts coloration to skin, hair, and eyes. Melanin can be produced by melanocytes only in the presence of the cuproenzyme called tyrosinase. Intake of copper supplements helps in protecting the graying hair.
Connective tissues: Copper is an important nutrient that has a significant role in the synthesis of hemoglobin, myelin, body pigment melanin and collagen. It helps to protect the myelin sheath surrounding the nerves. It is also actively involved in the production of an element of connective tissue, elastin.
Brain Stimulation: Copper is widely known as a brain stimulant. It is also otherwise called “Brain food”. However, copper content in the diet has to be in right proportions. Too much of copper is also not healthy for the brain. Copper has a control function to play for the brain and hence the extent of copper supplement intake has to be balanced.
Utilization of iron and sugar: Copper helps in the absorption of iron from the intestinal tract and release from its primary storage sites like liver. It also helps in the utilization of sugar in the body.
Enzymatic reactions: Copper is either an element or a cofactor of as many as 50 different enzymes that take part in various biological reactions within the body. These enzymes can function properly only in the presence of copper.
Helps in stalling ageing: Copper is a strong antioxidant, which works in the presence of the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase, to safeguard the cell membranes from free radicals.
Increases energy production: Copper is essential for the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate, which is an energy storehouse of the human body. The cuproenzyme, cytochrome c oxidase, affects the intracellular energy production. It acts as a catalyst in the reduction of molecular oxygen to water, during which the enzyme produces an electrical gradient used by the mitochondria to synthesize the vital energy-storing molecule, ATP.
Bactericidal properties: Studies have shown that copper can destroy or inhibit the growth of bacterial strains such as E Coli.
Thyroid glands: Copper has an important role in ensuring the proper functioning of thyroid glands.
RBC formation: Copper helps in the production of red blood cells hemoglobin and bone.
Immunity: Copper has an important role in the healing process and thus, ensures better wound healing. Copper acts as an extremely good immunity builder. It also works as a cure to anemic problems.
Reduces cholesterol: Research studies have shown that copper can reduce bad cholesterol level and helps in increasing beneficial cholesterol.