Copper is a part of many proteins of our body, including enzymes, so it is necessary for various vital processes, primarily for lipid metabolism. Copper deficiency increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Copper — what is it?
Copper is a malleable metal of a reddish color. For our body, it is a trace element. In the adult body, about 100 mg of it is most in the liver, but copper is present everywhere, including the skin and hair. We get this metal as part of food, from unrefined products that have not been industrially cleaned. In dietary supplements, copper can be represented by oxide, sulfate, chloride, pidolate and gluconate.
Useful properties of copper for the human body
Copper is necessary for the formation of collagen, the main structural protein of connective tissue, concentrated in the skeleton and skin. This metal is also a part of enzymes that catalyze the processes associated with the formation of erythrocytes, the exchange of proteins and lipids, in particular during the formation of the myelin sheath of nerve fibers. Copper is needed for the immune system to work and preserve fertility. It also participates in the synthesis of melanin, the pigment responsible for the color of eyes, hair and skin.
The main use of copper
Copper is needed for the formation of cartilage and mineralization of bones, therefore it contributes to the preservation of bone mass and strength of the skeleton. By participating in the oxidation of glucose, it maintains a normal heart rate. Copper is necessary for the synthesis of prostaglandins with anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant effects: they complicate the aggregation (clumping) of platelets, preventing intravascular coagulation fraught with thrombosis. It stimulates the thyroid gland and regulates the balance of histamine, the excess of which manifests itself in the form of allergic reactions.
Copper is part of a powerful antioxidant enzyme — superoxide dismutase. Thus, it participates in the neutralization of free radicals that accelerate the aging of the body, as well as contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer.
|For your information|
|An excess of iron or vitamin C in food, as well as fructose or sucrose (ordinary sugar) can reduce the bioavailability of copper and lead to anemia.
Apparently, the nature of the compound that copper is represented in additives (chloride sulfate, gluconate) does not affect its assimilation by the body.
Our needs: recommended daily allowance of copper
The recommended daily allowance of copper is 1.5 mg for women and 2 mg for men, Ordinary food barely meets these needs, so chronic loss of appetite, a starvation diet, digestive disorders threaten a shortage of this metal.
Lack of copper. There are few serious consequences. As a rule, they are associated with chronic diarrhea, intestinal malabsorption or congenital defects such as albinism, in which copper absorption suffers. Symptoms include loss of strength, cardiac arrhythmia, hair fragility and depigmentation, arterial hypertension, anemia, abnormal bone formation and infertility.
However, a slight copper deficiency also negatively affects health. Preliminary data on 24 men show that a menu too poor in this metal leads to a significant increase in the level of «bad» cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins) to the detriment of «good» (high-density lipoproteins), and this increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Excess copper. A one-time intake of too large amounts of copper (about 10 mg) is fraught with nausea, muscle pain and upset stomach. To date, there have been no cases of severe poisoning with copper when taking drugs containing it. However, people working with pesticides containing copper may suffer: cases of liver damage, coma and even deaths have been reported.
Indications for the use of copper preparations
• Prevention of connective tissue loss (bone, cartilage, etc.).
• Prevention of infertility.
• Depigmentation of hair and skin.
|Increased consumption of copper, in principle, could lead to undesirable consequences associated with the fact that it itself contributes to the formation of free radicals. However, in parallel, copper also stimulates the synthesis of the enzyme that neutralizes them, so, obviously, there is nothing to be afraid of. In a recent study, daily intake of 3-6 mg of this trace element for 6 weeks did not have any negative effect.|
Methods of using copper
Unless otherwise indicated by the doctor, copper should be taken only as part of multivitamin or polymineral complexes, and its amount should not exceed 1 mg per day.
• Reception scheme
To reduce the risk of stomach irritation, take supplements daily at the same time, preferably just before meals.
|• If you are being treated with medications, take any vitamins and supplements only with the permission of a doctor.|
|In dietary supplements, copper is always combined with other minerals: be sure to read the list on the package. If you specifically take zinc, you need more copper, because it impairs its absorption by the body.|
Food sources of copper
Liver and seafood (oysters, crabs, lobsters) are very rich in copper. There is also a lot of it in yeast, various nuts, legumes and whole grain products, mushrooms, some vegetables (artichokes, radish, garlic), fruits (tomatoes, bananas, plums) and soy products.