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Health benefits and risks of copper
Brain and nervous system
Copper is an essential trace mineral necessary for survival. It is found in all body tissues and plays a role in making red blood cells and maintaining nerve cells and the immune system.
It also helps the body form collagen and absorb iron, and plays a role in energy production.
Most copper in the body is found in the liver, brain, heart, kidneys, and skeletal muscle.
MOST IS FOUND IN THE BONE MARROW, WHICH CAN HOLD OVER HALF OF THE TOTAL BODY COPPER CONTENT, BECAUSE COPPER IS NEEDED TO MAKE RED BLOOD CELLS, IN THE BONE MARROW.
Both too much and too little copper can affect how the brain works.
NO, COPPER TOXICITY DOES NOT EXIST.
Impairments have been linked to Menkes, Wilson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease
Deficiency is rare, but it can lead to cardiovascular disease and other problems.
COPPER DEFICIENCY IS COMMON. WHEN GIVEN COPPER AT 0.58 MG PER DAY, 80% OF WOMEN BECAME SEVERELY COPPER DEFICIENT, AND THEY NOT ONLY TERMINATED THE EXPERIMENT EARLY, BUT THEY BANNED REPEATING THIS EXPERIMENT. AND YET 80% OF AMERICANS NOW GET 0.6 MG OF COPPER PER DAY, OR LESS, SHOWING COPPER DEFICIENCY IS COMMON. FURTHER SHOWING COPPER DEFICIENCY IS COMMON, WHEN TAKING COPPER, PEOPLE END UP WITH HIGHER THAN NORMAL RED BLOOD CELL COUNTS. THIS IMPLIES THAT THE “NORMAL”, LOWER RED BLOOD CELL COUNTS INDICATE THAT NORMAL PEOPLE SUFFER FROM LOW GRADE COPPER DEFICIENCY.
This article looks at the health benefits of copper, sources, and any potential health risks.
Fast facts about copper:
Copper is necessary for a range of bodily functions.
Copper deficiency is rare except in specific conditions, such as Menkes disease.
MENKES DISEASE IS SUPER RARE, AFFECING 1 IN 35,000, AND THOSE WHO ARE AFFLICTED USUALLY DIE BY AGE 3.
Copper supplements are not usually necessary and may lead to an imbalance. THEORETICAL CONCERNS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN PROVEN HAVE NO PLACE IN SUCH AN ARTICLE. A copper imbalance has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
BE SPECIFIC. COPPER IMBALANCE? LINKED? THE TRUTH IS THAT SOME WITH ALZHEIMERS HAVE HIGH COPPER IN THEIR BRAINS, AND SOME DO NOT. AND NOBODY HAS DEVELOPED ALZHEIMER’S MERELY FROM TAKING COPPER. THERE HAVE BEEN SPECIFIC STUDIES TRYING TO LINK COPPER TO NEURODEGENERATION, BUT THEY FOUND THAT NEURODEGENERATION IS FROM HYDROGENATED FATS, NOT FROM COPPER. THEY SPECIFICALLY CONCLUDED AND SAID, “THOSE TAKING COPPER, BUT NOT TAKING HYDROGENATED TRANS FATS DID NOT SUFFER FROM NEURODEGENERATION”.
Anyone who is considering copper supplements should first speak to a doctor. SINCE COPPER IS NOT A PRESCRIPTION MEDICINE, NOBODY NEEDS TO SEE A DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING COPPER, WHICH IS AN OFF THE SHELF MINERAL AVAILABLE TO ANYONE, JUST LIKE ALL VITAMINS AND MINERALS FOUND AT HEALTH FOOD STORES. ALSO, DOCTORS KNOW LITTLE ABOUT COPPER, AND MOST OF WHAT THEY THINK THEY KNOW IS WRONG. THEY ARE NOT EDUCATED ON COPPER IN MEDICAL SCHOOL.
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Copper is a useful material, but it is also a valuable mineral found in food.
Copper is an essential nutrient for the body.
Together with iron, it enables the body to form red blood cells.
It helps maintain healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves, and immune function, and it contributes to iron absorption.
Sufficient copper in the diet may help prevent cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, too.
Low copper levels have been linked to high cholesterol and high blood pressure. One group of researchers has suggested that some patients with heart failure may benefit from copper supplements.
Animal studies have linked low copper levels to CVD, but it remains unclear if a deficiency would have the same impact on humans.
In 2016, Prof. Chris Chang, a chemist who is part of the Sackler Sabbatical Exchange Program at Berkeley, CA, devised and used a fluorescent probe to track the movement of copper in and out of nerve cells.
Prof. Chang says: “Copper is like a brake or dimmer switch, one for each nerve cell.”
His team found that, if high amounts of copper enter a cell, this appears to reduce neuron signaling. When copper levels in that cell fall, signaling resumes.
Too little copper can lead to neutropenia. This is a deficiency of white blood cells, or neutrophils, which fight off infection.
A person with a low level of neutrophils is more likely to get an infectious disease.
Severe copper deficiency is associated with lower bone mineral density and a higher risk of osteoporosis.
More research is needed on how marginal copper deficiency may affect bone health, and how copper supplementation might help prevent and manage osteoporosis.
Copper plays an important role in maintaining collagen and elastin, major structural components of our bodies. Scientists have hypothesized thatTrusted Source copper may have antioxidant properties, and that, together with other antioxidants, a healthful intake may help prevent skin aging.
Without sufficient copper, the body cannot replace damaged connective tissue or the collagen that makes up the scaffolding for bone.
This can lead to a range of problems, including joint dysfunction, as bodily tissues begin to break down.
Animal studies have indicated that copper may help prevent or delay arthritis, and people wear copper bracelets for this purpose. However, no human studies have confirmed this.
Copper may also have an antioxidant function. It may help reduce the production of free radicals.
Free radicals can damage cells and DNA, leading to cancer and other diseases.
Requirements: How much do I need?
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is around 900 micrograms Trusted Source(mcg) a day for adolescents and adults.
The upper limit for adults aged 19 years and above is 10,000 mcg, or 10 milligrams (mg) a day.
An intake above this level could be toxic.
THE GOVERNMENT, IN 1993, WHEN ESTABLISHING THE UL, SAID THEY SHOULD DO FURTHER STUDIES TO DETERMINE AT WHAT LEVELS COPPER MAY BECOME TOXIC. OLIVARES, IN 2005, STUDIED UP TO 20 MG OF COPPER, AND FOUND NO HARM. JASON HOMMEL, IN THE COPPER REVOLUTION BOOK AND FORUM, HAS FOUND NO HARM UP TO 50 MG TO 100 MG OF COPPER. RADMACHER, BACK IN THE 1850s USED UP TO 250 MG OF COPPER AS A CURE ALL.
Both copper deficiency and copper toxicity are rare in the United States (U.S).
COPPER DEFICIENCY IS EXTREMELY COMMON AND IS PROBABLY MOST RESPONSIBLE FOR MOST DISEASES AMONG AMERICANS. COPPER TOXICITY IS A FRAUDULENT CONCEPT, AND NON EXISTENT AS A PROBLEM.
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A high intake of vitamin C supplements can cause copper deficiency.
While a copper deficiency is rare, some health conditions and other factors can increase the risk.
genetic defects of copper metabolism
absorption problems ABSORPTION PROBLEMS DO NOT EXIST BECAUSE COPPER IS VERY WELL ABSORBED. COPPER GLYCINATE IS 85% ABSORBED AND COPPER SULFATE IS 80% ABSORBED.
too high an intake of zinc or vitamin C supplements
some conditions, such as central nervous system (CNS) demyelination, polyneuropathy, myelopathy, and inflammation of the optic nerve
Since copper is stored in the liver, deficiencies develop slowly over time.
AND MOST PRESCRIPTION MEDICINES, BECAUSE THEY ARE TOXIC, DEPLETE COPPER IN THE BODY. ALSO, MANY MINERALS AND VITAMINS DEPLETE COPPER SUCH AS IRON, (WHICH WAS MENTIONED PREVIOUSLY, BUT WAS NOT INCLUDED IN THIS SECTION) VITAMIN A DEPLETES COPPER. FLUORIDE DEPLETES COPPER. MERCURY DEPLETES COPPER.
Zinc and vitamin C
A high intake of zinc (150 mg a day or above) and vitamin C (over 1,500 mg a day) may induce copper deficiency
by competing with copper for absorption in the intestine. THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS. ZINC HELPS MAKE METALLOTHIONEINS, WHICH ARE ENZYMES THAT TAKE UP COPPER AND ZINC AND ALSO TOXINS SUCH AS MERCURY, LEAD, ARSENIC, AND CADMIUM. METALLOTHIONEINS ARE MADE NOT ONLY IN THE INTESTINES, BUT ALL OVER THE BODY, AND ARE ASSOCIATED WITH IMPROVED MENTAL FUNCTION AND LONGEVITY. THE BODY ALSO MAKES MORE METALLOTHIONEINS WITH MORE COPPER.
Causes of deficiency in infants
Copper deficiency has been seen in infants who consume cow’s milk instead of formula. Cow’s milk has a low copper content. Children under 1 year should be ideally breast fed and if not, fed manufactured formula. Cow’s milk does not have the required nutrients for a human infant.
Effects of deficiency
Low levels of copper can lead to:
low body temperature
loss of skin pigmentation
Metabolic diseases can affect the way the body absorbs vitamins and minerals.
Menkes disease, an X-linked recessive disorder, adversely affects how the brain metabolizes copper. This can result in failure to thrive and neurodevelopmental delays in infants from around 6 to 8 weeks of age. A child with this disease may not survive to the age of 3 years.
Subcutaneous copper injections can help normalize blood copper levels, but whether these help to normalize brain copper levels depends on the type of genetic mutation involved.
One clinical trial has found that treating infants before symptoms begin may help to improve gross motor skills, fine motor and adaptive skills, personal and social skills, and language neurodevelopment in children. It also improved growth.
Other effects of copper deficiency
Copper deficiency has also been linked to:
an increased risk of infection
depigmentation of the hair and skin
anemia, as copper contributes to the creation of red blood cells
The brain and the nervous system
Too little or too much copper can damage brain tissue.
neurodegeneration has been observed as a result of a copper imbalance. ASSOCIATIONS CANNOT DETERMINE CAUSATION. This may be due to a problem with the mechanisms involved in metabolizing copper for use in the brain. COPPER OFTEN RISES IN TISSUES THAT ARE FULL OF TOXINS SUCH AS MERCURY, ALUMIUM, FLUORIDE, AND OTHER TOXINS. IT APPEARS THAT COPPER IS PROTECTIVE OF FURTHER TOXICITY, AND NEEDED TO DETOX THE TOXINS. High levels of copper can lead to oxidative damage in the brain. WHEN HEAVY METALS ARE PRESENT, THEY CAUSE DISRUPTED COPPER METABOLISM, COPPER DEFICIENCY, AND DEFICIENCY OF MANY ANTIOXIDANT COPPER CONTAINING ENZYMES. In Wilson’s disease, for example, high levels of copper collect in the liver, brain, and other vital organs.
Possible link with Alzheimer’s
An excessive accumulation of copper has also been associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Prof. Chang and colleagues have hypothesized that when copper accumulates in unusual ways, this may cause amyloid plaques to build up on a nerve cell. BUT THIS HAS BEEN DEBUNKED AND DISPROVEN. A buildup of amyloid plaques can lead to Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Cashew nuts contain copper. BUT VERY LITTLE, ONLY 1 MG PER LARGE CUP.
Copper is found IN MINISCULE AMOUNTS in a wide variety of foods.
AGAIN, MOST AMERICANS GET LESS THAN 0.6 MG OF COPPER PER DAY FROM THE AVERAGE AMERICAN DIET.
Good sources include:
oysters and other shellfish CONTAIN UP TO 18 TIMES MORE ZINC AND CAN LEAD TO COPPER DEFICIENCY
dark leafy greens
cocoa IS THE ONLY RELIABLE HIGH COPPER FOOD
organ meats, such as kidneys and liver BUT IF THE ANIMAL IS COPPER DEFICIENT, AND MOST ANIMALS ARE COPPER DEFICIENT, THEN THE LIVERS DO NOT CONTAIN ANY COPPER.
nuts, such as cashews and almonds
Most fruits and vegetables are low in copper, but it is present in wholegrains, and it is added to some breakfast cereals and other fortified foods.
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Copper supplements are available,
but it is best to first try to obtain essential vitamins and minerals through food in order to reduce the risk of an imbalance. COPPER SUPPLEMENTS HAVE NEVER BEEN SHOWN TO CREATE AN IMBALANCE IN COPPER. Very few people need to take a copper supplement. EVERYONE IS STRONGLY ADVISES TO TAKE A COPPER SUPPLEMENT.
Additionally, the nutrients in food work together to create an effect that is more significant than that achieved by taking individual nutrients in isolation.
Most multivitamin supplements contain 2 mg of copper, which is halfway along the Safe and Adequate Range of Intake fixed by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB).
Copper supplements can interact with the following:
birth control pills and hormone therapy
non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS), such as aspirin and ibuprofen (WHICH MAKE THEM MORE EFFECTIVE, AND LESS DANGEROUS, BECAUSE THEY CAUSE BLEEDING DUE TO CAUSING COPPER DEFICIENCY)
penicillamine, used to reduce copper levels in Wilson’s disease
allopurinol, a gout treatment
cimetidine, or Tagamet, use for gastric ulcers and gastric reflux
These products may reduce or increase levels of copper in the blood, leading to an imbalance.
No adverse effects have been reported from normal dietary consumption of copper, but symptoms can appear if there is:
excessive supplementation high levels of copper in drinking water, such as well water or water that is stored in copper pipes TAP WATER THAT HAS BEEN FLUORIDATED CAN DEPLETE COPPER.
exposure to chemicals containing high levels of copper
use of copper cooking pots
Signs of copper toxicity include:
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain
a metallic taste in the mouth
More serious effects are rare, IN FACT, SO RARE THAT THEY HAPPEN ONLY TO ABOUT 1 PERSON ON THE EARTH EACH YEAR, PEOPLE IN INDIA WHO CONSUME 20,000 MG OF COPPER IN SUICIDE ATTEMPTS, but they include:
cirrhosis and jaundice
abnormalities in red blood cells and heart problems
Increased serum copper levels have been linked with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. THIS APPARENT INDICATION OF COPPER TOXICITY IS REALLY AN INDICATION OF COPPER DEFICIENCY, AS THE BODY NATURALLY MOBILIZES COPPER FROM THE BONE MARROW INTO THE BLOOD TO CURE CONDITIONS SUCH AS INJURY OR HEART DISEASE.
Water that contains more than 6 mg of copper per liter may cause
stomach problems NAUSEA. THIS IS A REFERENCE TO THE OLIVARES STUDY THAT SHOWED THAT 6 MG PER LITER, OR UP TO 20 MG AS SOME PEOPLE CONSUME JUST OVER 3 LITERS OF WATER A DAY, CAUSES NO HARM.
If drinking water appears to trigger symptoms, the individual should see about getting it tested.
A copper deficiency can have negative effects on health,
but it is rare in healthy people who follow a balanced diet. AND IT IS VERY COMMON IN THE UNITED STATES. Nutrient requirements should first be met through foods, and then supplements can be used as a backup.
SINCE THE DIET NO LONGER CONTAINS SIGNIFICANT COPPER, AND HAS LOST 95% OF THE COPPER IT ONCE CONTAINED, EVERYONE REALLY NEEDS TO SUPPLEMENT COPPER.
Anyone who is considering taking a supplement should first check with a health care provider. CHECKING WITH HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS OR EVEN SOURCES SUCH AS MEDICAL NEWS TODAY WILL SEVERELY COMPROMISE YOUR HEALTH, BECAUSE THEY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT COPPER. Supplements are not monitored by the food and drug administration (FDA) for quality or purity.
WHILE THE MINING INDUSTRY REGULARLY PRODUCES VERY PURE COPPER SULFATE FOR USE BY THE AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY, YOU SHOULD CHECK TO MAKE SURE THAT ANY COPPER SULFATE THAT YOU BUY IS AT LEAST 99% PURE, OR YOU SHOULD PURIFY IT YOURSELF BY FILTERING IT AND FORMING YOUR OWN CRYSTALS.
Last medically reviewed on October 23, 2017