10 Health Benefits of Copper
Last updated on September 9, 2012
Copper is a critical element to human health. It plays important roles in a variety of body systems and copper deficiency can lead to many different health problems. It can be found naturally in many different foods including meats, seafood, nuts, grains, beans, avocado, beets and lentils. An over abundance of copper can also lead to health problems and it is always advisable to consult a medical professional before taking copper supplements. Here are 10 health benefits of copper:
Copper functions as an antioxidant and may play a role in cancer prevention. However, high copper levels have been linked with cancer and other diseases and reducing copper intake is actually undergoing research as a treatment for several different forms of cancer, particularly as a means to inhibit tumor growth. More research is still needed, but it appears that maintaining adequate levels of copper may be good for cancer prevention, but high copper levels may actually contribute to cancer proliferation and inhibit treatments.
Copper is considered an antioxidant that helps prevent free radical damage to the cells. It works in conjunction with the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase, to protect cell membranes from toxins as well.
Immune System Support
Copper is believed to help support the immune system. Numerous studies have associated copper intake with reduced risk of developing illness as well as faster recovery.
Copper is needed to form new blood vessels. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may play a critical role in cardiovascular health. Additionally, copper may help balance cholesterol levels. However, recent studies have connected heart disease with extremely high levels of copper as well.
Copper plays an essential role in bone health, growth and repair. Maintaining proper copper levels may help prevent bone disease like osteoporosis.
Copper is believed to have strong anti-inflammatory properties and has been used to relieve the symptoms of arthritis. Wearing copper bracelets is often used as a treatment for arthritis, and though some people report improvements from this method, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.
Copper plays an important role in the production of thyroid. A healthy thyroid gland is critical in preventing many different health problems.
Copper helps the body absorb iron and may help prevent conditions that stem from iron deficiency, like anemia.
Anti-microbial & Antibacterial
Studies show that copper can destroy and inhibit the growth of bacterial strains like e. coli. Copper also has antimicrobial properties and has been used in water purification.
Some studies show that copper may help to prevent the buildup of brain plaque, a condition that can inhibit brain function and contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.