Copper Benefits: it plays a role as a constituent in many enzymes. It is also involved in iron metabolism, mainly in the synthesis of hemoglobin. Finally, copper plays a role in defenses against free radicals and energy metabolism and participates in the production of collagen. Whether in natural form or as supplements, copper is an excellent mineral to consume, for your health.
Many health benefits
Copper is one of the constituents of many proteins and enzymes in the human body. Indispensable to many vital processes, it allows the good use of lipids. Its inadequacy could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. A malleable reddish-brown metal, traditionally used in plumbing and to make cooking utensils, copper is also present in the human body as an oligo-element: the body of an adult contains about 100 mg.
Copper concentrated in the liver and is also distributed in the hair, skin, and various tissues. It is usually supplied by food, more in unrefined products than in industrial foods. Copper supplements are available in ampoules, tablets, and capsules. That’s incorporated into nutritional supplements, in the form of copper oxide, sulfate, chloride, pidolate and copper gluconate.
- essential for health
Copper is essential to ensure bone strength and the quality of cartilage and connective tissue. It also helps to treat infertility, and it allows pigmentation of the hair and skin.
Caution: If you are undergoing medical treatment, consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
The role of copper in the body
Copper is essential for the formation of collagen, a protein found in bones, skin, and connective tissue. It is a major catalyst for the formation of red blood cells. Present in many enzymes, it participates in the metabolism of proteins and lipids and helps keep the myelin sheath of the nerves in good condition. It helps to maintain immune defenses and fertility. It allows the formation of the melanin, which is responsible for the coloring of the hair and the skin and guarantees the constancy of pigmentation.
The main beneficial effects of copper
- The copper, necessary for the good quality of the cartilage and the mineralization of the bones, favors the maintenance of the bone mass. It may prevent certain arrhythmias by its action in the oxidative metabolism of glucose (the heart muscle being sensitive to a lack of oxygen).
- Copper participates in the synthesis of prostaglandins with anti-inflammatory and anti-platelet aggregation activity, which avoids excessive blood clotting and clot formation. It helps in the proper functioning of the thyroid, and improves the balance of histamine, involved in the mechanisms of allergy.
- Copper is one of the constituents of superoxide dismutase, an enzyme with potent antioxidant properties. It thus contributes indirectly to the fight against the excess of free radicals, which is a cause of premature cell aging and a factor favoring the emergence of cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers.
The recommended nutritional intake of copper is 1.5 mg per day for women and 2 mg for men. The usual diet only provides the necessary quantities, which is probably no longer the case when a decrease in dietary intakes (restrictive diet, decreased appetite, etc.)
In the case of copper deficiency
True copper deficiencies are rare. They usually occur only in people suffering from chronic diarrhea, intestinal malabsorption, or in congenital conditions, which, like albinism, lead to a lack of assimilation of copper. This deficiency causes fatigue, cardiac arrhythmia, fragility, and discoloration of the hair but also hypertension, anemia, bone malformations, and infertility. A lighter deficiency may still have adverse health consequences. A preliminary study of 24 men showed that a diet too low in copper caused a significant increase in bad cholesterol (LDL) and a decrease in good cholesterol (HDL), which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Interactions with other nutrients
A very high intake of zinc (much greater than the amount normally present in the diet) can decrease the absorption of copper. Also, high iron in infants may interfere with the absorption of copper.
The recommended doses
The daily intake provided by the diet and copper supplements should not exceed 2 mg. It is recommended to take supplements at the same time each day, preferably just before meals.
In the case of surplus
The FAO / WHO Expert Committee set the toxic dose of copper at 0.5 mg per kilogram of body weight, approximately 35 mg per day in adults. Taking a very high dose (10 mg) can cause nausea, muscle aches, and stomach pain. Chronic poisoning by copper (due to water rich in copper or cooking food in copper containers) can cause hepatitis, sometimes fatal, but rare in the West. No toxicity caused by oral copper supplements was found.