Copper is an vital mineral which plays a vital role in iron absorption and transport. The human body only needs a small amount that is why copper is referred to as a trace mineral. Copper contributes to the body’s normal development because it:

  • Is essential for the cardiovascular system’s normal functioning
  • Protects the nervous system which includes the brain and nerves
  • Is vital for normal functioning of insulin since copper deficiency is usually associated with poor glucose control
  • Is a part of approximately 50 different enzymes which needs copper to function properly
  • Is vital for iron absorption and transport. Copper deficiency is frequently linked to iron-deficiency anemia
  • Is needed to produce melanin. Copper deficiency results in pale skin and hair to those affected people
  • Is necessary in building collagen and elastin which are known components of connective tissues and bones. Because of this, copper is known to protect the body from osteoporosis and degeneration
  • Is a key mineral in the immune system since copper helps in healing wounds
  • Helps the body produce energy since it aids in breaking down fats to produce energy needed by the body that is why copper deficiency contributes to high cholesterol levels in the body
  • Also attacks free radicals since copper is a strong antioxidant

Copper also helps in preventing degenerative diseases like heart disease, premature aging, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, cataracts, diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease.

Copper deficiency symptoms include:

  • Anemia
  • Birth defect
  • Heart disease
  • High levels of cholesterol
  • Increased vulnerability to infections
  • Infertility
  • Malnutrition in infants
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Pale skin or hair
  • Poorly formed bones
  • Significantly enlarged veins

For people having the following conditions, they should increase their copper intake through proper diet or taking supplements:

  • Celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, sprue or small-bowel syndrome
  • High zinc or iron consumption since these interfere with copper absorption
  • Highly processed foods
  • Malnutrition
  • Menkes syndrome
  • Pregnant women
  • Premature infants which are fed only with cow’s milk

Copper pipes

Excellent sources of copper include shellfish, whole grains, beans, nuts and leafy vegetables. Another source of copper is the copper water pipes that run all the way to the homes.  These pipes add a very small amount of copper to the water used for drinking. Copper in cooking wares also contribute to the copper in the food that we eat.

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