Copper – benefits, deficiency and side effects!

Copper is a mineral that can boost your brain health and put all brain ailments at bay. While not discussed much, this mineral improves your life in many ways. And in this post, we’re going to take a look at them all – the benefits of copper you need to know about. Just keep reading…

Well, there are several ways the mineral can benefit you. The first one is that it provides energy to the brain and improves the functioning of the nervous system. It also helps in the production of red blood cells – it helps with the process and boosts your immunity. Get this together with the iron .

The mineral also contributes to healthy bones, nerves, and even promotes iron absorption (offering a whole different set of benefits) in some ways.

Health benefits of copper:

1. Improve your brain health:

Copper is an important ingredient of enzymes that activate neurotransmitters in the brain . New research indicates that adequate levels of the mineral are essential for brain health . The brain absorbs 20% of the oxygen you inhale. And since most of the mineral in the body is found in the brain , the organ needs a suitable mineral.

Neurodegeneration in adults is often associated with an imbalance in mineral levels. Also, some of the symptoms of copper deficiency are an inability to concentrate and a bad mood .

2. Boosts your joint and bone health:

Copper contributes to bone mineral density and low levels of the mineral can lead to osteoporosis. It also plays a role in the health of collagen, which is an important structural component in our bodies.

Insufficient mineral can lead to collagen depletion , and this ultimately results in joint dysfunction. The anti-inflammatory properties of the mineral can also ease arthritis pain .

And by the way, there are some claims about copper bracelets and how they can treat joint pain. Proponents claim that the anti-inflammatory properties of the mineral in the bracelet can transfer to the body upon contact. Let me just say that there is no research to support this claim.

3. Strengthens your immunity:

As we discussed earlier, the mineral, along with iron , helps in the production of red blood cells. This builds your immunity. Copper deficiency can lead to neutropenia, which is a reduced amount of white blood cells.

Research says that this condition can cause one to fall ill more often. These effects are more present in babies, which is why they need to have sufficient levels of the mineral more than anyone else.

4. Promotes metabolism:

Copper supports over 50 enzymatic reactions that take place in your body on a daily basis. This supports a healthy metabolism . The mineral also plays a role in the synthesis of ATP, or adenosine triphosphate – which is the body’s energy source . This is why copper deficiency can lead to a slow metabolism .

5. Contributes to growth and development:

Copper deficiency is unfortunately quite common in third world countries and is quite visible in children – where children suffer from stunted growth and other developmental complications. This is because the deficiency  can affect joint and bone development and even brain development .

In addition, copper is also necessary for the oxygenation of red blood cells and low levels of the mineral can mean that the organs do not receive adequate levels of oxygen. This can lead to development issues. Studies show that deficiency can also stunt growth in babies.

6. Supports your thyroid health:

The mineral works with potassium, zinc , calcium and potassium (nutrients essential for thyroid health) and promotes thyroid health. As a result, it can help prevent conditions like hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Studies suggest that mineral metabolism is essential to prevent or control thyroid disease.

7. Delays aging:

Studies show that copper is just as important for anti-aging as retinol and alpha-hydroxy acids. And then there are mineral peptides, a complex  that can reduce inflammation and keep skin looking younger and fresher.

Since copper helps build collagen , and since collagen is also important for maintaining skin elasticity , it should be safe to say that the mineral can improve skin firmness and reduce wrinkles .

Studies also claim that the mineral stabilizes skin proteins , improving overall skin health . It also helps in the production of melanin, which is the pigment that protects your skin from UV radiation.

8. Improves the health of your hair:

Copper peptides are also known to increase the size of hair follicles and subsequently prevent hair thinning . And since the mineral helps in the production of melanin, it can even prevent premature graying of hair .

These are the benefits of copper . They tell us how important the trace mineral is, don’t they? Inadequate levels of this mineral can lead to complications. Let’s see what they are:

Signs of bend deficiency:

  • Anemia;
  • Thyroid problems;
  • Bone fractures;
  • Loss of hair and skin pigmentation ;
  • Osteoporosis ;
  • Menkes disease (neurological developmental delays in infants);
  • The only way to avoid copper  deficiency is to make sure you get enough of it;
  • Which brings us to the next section.

What are copper rich foods?

The RDA for copper is 900 mcg per day for adults and teens. And the upper limit is 10 mg per day. Keeping this in mind, you can include the following foods in your diet as needed:

  • Beef liver – 3 oz contains 4.49 mg, which corresponds to 641% of the RDA;
  • Mushrooms (shitake) – 1 cup (cooked) contains 1.29 mg, which meets 184% of the RDA;
  • Cashews – 1 oz contains 0.62 mg, which corresponds to 88% of the RDA;
  • Kale – 2 cups (raw) contains 0.48 mg, which meets 68% of the RDA;
  • Cocoa powder – 1 tablespoon (unsweetened) contains 0.41 mg, which is 58% of the RDA;
  • Almonds – 1 oz contains 0.29 mg, which corresponds to 41% of the RDA;
  • Avocado – ½ fruit contains 0.12 mg, which corresponds to 17% of the RDA.

So far so good. But do you know that too much copper in your body can cause problems?

Side effects of excess copper?

  • Problems During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Taking in higher doses during pregnancy and breastfeeding may be unsafe. Pregnant women over 19 years of age should not take more than 10 mg of the mineral per day.
  • Wilson’s Disease: Excess levels in the body can lead to copper toxicity , which can affect major organs in the body.
  • Other side effects:  Headache, dizziness , weakness, liver cirrhosis and jaundice.
  • Drug interactions:  Excess of the mineral, especially in supplemental form, can interact with birth control pills, NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen, penicillamine, allopurinol, and other zinc supplements .

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