6 Huge Benefits of Copper
Copper is one of the trace minerals. That means that it is a mineral our body requires in very small amounts. Other minerals often overshadow copper and get more attention, such as iron and zinc. But copper is a key mineral that is vital for your health, and there are many incredible benefits of copper in the body. So you’ll want to pay attention to it. Without it, your health can really suffer.
Read on to learn about some of the roles that copper plays in the body and some of the top copper benefits.
In this article, I will cover:
- The top 6 health benefits of copper.
- Signs you might be copper deficient.
- How to get enough copper in your diet.
- Key takeaways.
The top 6 health benefits of copper
Copper is a trace mineral that your body needs small amounts of. It serves as a co-factor for many different enzymes in the body. This means that it is a helper for enzymes, and that the enzymes rely on copper to get their unique jobs done.
Having enough copper in the body is key to staying healthy. In fact, it is considered one of the top 2 trace minerals linked to living a long life.
Here are some of the great health benefits of copper:
1. Supports brain function
Copper has some really powerful effects on the brain. It actually helps to connect neurons, which can help to support your brain function. This means copper can help to keep your brain sharp and healthy.
2. Help make neurotransmitters
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in the brain and nervous system. Nerves use these messengers to communicate with each other and carry out proper brain function. Copper helps to make these messengers, such as serotonin.
If you don’t have enough neurotransmitters, you can get issues with your brain and nervous system function. And it can affect your mood and mental state, too.
3. Has anti-inflammatory effects
Copper is also involved in the inflammatory process. We aren’t exactly sure why, but one reason may be its relationship to vitamin C. Copper is part of the vitamin C complex, and vitamin C is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrient.
Whatever the reason, copper can help to keep inflammation in the body down, which is very important for preventing health problems.
4. Boosts immune system
Copper helps to support a healthy immune system. Our immune systems rely on copper for proper development and maintenance. There isn’t a lot yet known about how exactly copper influences the immune system, but we do know that it plays an important role.
For example, we know that when we have a copper deficiency, we can end up with abnormally low numbers of white blood cells.
5. Helps form collagen
Copper is important for forming collagen and connective tissue. When we don’t have enough copper in the body, we can end up with many connective tissue problems like back issues, joint and ligament problems, flat feet, etc.
6. Supports melanin
As mentioned above, copper is a co-factor for many enzymes in the body. One of those enzymes involves the pigment melanin. Melanin is a pigment that gives your hair, skin, and eyes their color.
If you are deficient in copper, you can end up going grey or having loss of skin pigment like vitiligo. In fact, copper is one of the remedies to support vitiligo.
Symptoms of copper deficiency
As you can see, there are many important benefits of copper in the body. Without copper, several things can go wrong, and you can end up with a variety of different symptoms.
If you are deficient in copper, you may end up with symptoms such as:
- Grey hair
- Loss of bone
- Immune system problems
- Low white blood cells
- Decreased thyroid function
- Loss of collagen
- Joint problems
- Hair loss
- Loss of pigment (such as vitiligo)
- Peripheral neuropathy
Getting enough copper in your diet
You need copper in your body, and it can help you to avoid the symptoms of deficiency listed above. So make sure that you are getting enough, either through a supplement or through your diet.
Supplementing with copper
One way to boost your copper intake is to take a supplement.
It is important to keep in mind that copper works hand in hand with another trace mineral called zinc. Because they work together, it is best to take them together. If you take too much zinc and no copper, for example, it can deplete your copper reserves.
So if you are supplementing, always take these two trace minerals together. In fact, it is best to take them in a blend of all the trace minerals – because they can easily get out of balance if not taken in the right ratios to each other.
Just be sure not to overdo it with copper. As a trace mineral, you only need copper in small amounts. Too much of it can lead to toxicity. Read more about copper toxicity here.
Foods high in copper
There are many healthy foods that naturally contain copper. Adding these to your diet is a good idea. Copper-rich foods include:
- Other types of shellfish
- Beef liver
- Mushrooms (especially shitake)
- Leafy greens
As you can see, copper is a very important trace mineral in the body. Some of the key roles it plays in the body include:
- Supporting brain function.
- Making neurotransmitters.
- Lowering inflammation
- Boosting immune function.
- Helping form collagen.
- Supporting melanin.
Without enough of it, we can end up with everything from neurodegeneration to joint problems, from greying hair to anemia.
Make sure you have enough by eating foods like shellfish, mushrooms, grass-fed beef liver, nuts, and leafy greens. And if you are considering a supplement, opt for a high-quality trace mineral blend.
Did you know about these benefits of copper? Have you ever noticed any symptoms of a copper deficiency? Share your questions and thoughts with me in the comments section below.
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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.