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Health Benefits of Copper
The health benefits of copper include proper growth, utilization of iron, enzymatic reactions, connective tissues, hair, eyes, ageing and energy production. Apart from these health benefits of copper, regulating blood pressure, healing arthritis, enhancing metabolism are some health benefits of copper. Many people ignore importance of copper in human diet. Let’s see what the health benefits of copper are:
Conversion of iron to Hemoglobin:
Copper plays an important role in conversion of iron to hemoglobin. Ceruloplasmin, a copper containing plasma enzyme catalyzes the oxidation of ferrous iron to ferric iron and thereby enables iron to be trapped by transferring – a protein transporting iron in blood. It is then transported to tissues for synthesis of iron containing compounds especially hemoglobin.
Copper and brain functions
After liver, brain has highest concentration of copper in body. At least 6 important copper-dependent enzymes are present in the brain. Right proportion of Copper is known to act as stimulant for brain functions. Copper in the form of its salicylate has also good anti-cancer, anti-tremor and anti-convulsive properties and is found suitable for treatment of epilepsy and possibly Parkinson’s disease. Copper along with iron and zinc are essential for brain’s biochemistry. Deficiency of any of the three metal can results in nervous system disorder.
Anti-inflammatory properties of copper
Copper complexes including copper salicylates are highly effective anti-inflammatory agents. They have shown potential in treatment of various chronic diseases, inflammatory diseases, gastrointestinal ulcers, cancers, epilepsy, and diabetes.
Copper enhances immunity
Copper though required in small quantity, plays important role in body healing process including healing of wound. Adequate copper intake is required for proper functioning of body immune system. Copper deficiency leads to weakening of immune system.
Healthy skin and Copper
Dull and wrinkling skin is one of the symptoms of copper deficiency. Copper peptides are sold for improvement of aging skin. Copper salicylate along with salicyclic acid is considered skin rejuvenator.
Copper and Health of connective tissues
Copper is an essential nutrient in synthesis of myelin, body pigment melanin and collagen. It helps to protect the myelin sheath surrounding the nerves. It is also actively required in production of an element of connective tissue, elastin. We need copper for blood vessel formation, a healthy heart, and for stabilizing the collagen, or connective tissue, which binds one part of the body to another.
Restoring Hair Colour
Hair gets its colour from combination of two kinds of melanin produced in hair bulb. Copper is a vital element of melanin. Copper deficiency often leads to graying of hair. Same melanin is responsible for pigmentation and colour of skin and eyes. Intake of copper supplements helps in protecting the graying hair. Deficiency of copper may lead to hair graying, hair loss and straightening of hair.
Copper bracelets and Arthritis
Anti inflammatory properties of copper is attributed to health benefits of copper in alleviating symptoms of arthritis. Copper bracelets and other accessories are available in market, which claim to cure osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Drinking water stored overnight in copper utensils is said strengthen the muscular system and is considered home remedy on arthritis. People in ancient times, including Egypt, South America wore copper bracelets for relief of aches and pains. In Peru, the Incas wear copper even today and natives claim that they have no rheumatic troubles. Some preliminary studies also show that copper along with zinc, manganese, and calcium might help postmenopausal women slow down the rate of bone loss.
Enzymatic reactions in metabolic processes
Copper in various forms acts as enzyme and assists in metabolic activities in body. Over 50 different forms of enzymes with copper are already known and being researched.
Copper is essential in synthesis of ATP – adenosine triphosphate, which is an energy storehouse of the human cell. Copper is also known for its anti bacterial and antifungal properties. Copper is required for proper functioning of thyroid glands. Some studies claims that copper reduces bad cholesterol level in body.
Wilson disease is a rare autosomal recessive genetic disorder of copper transport that causes an excess of copper to build up in the liver. Menke’s Syndrome is rare genetically determined failure of copper absorption. This condition leads to progressive mental retardation, failure of keratinize hair and degenerative changes in body.
Copper is highly essential for normal growth and health. Thus, it is definitely important to include this mineral in balanced form in regular diets of an individual. It is helpful in protection of skeletal, nervous and cardiovascular systems.