by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
Guess what? Copper is the first element that was ever discovered. Pretty cool, right? And even though copper isn’t considered glamorous or exciting, it is one of the most important minerals that has been used for centuries and has various health benefits, which is why some people use copper supplements.
What is the Purpose of Copper?
From energy production and brain development to boosting the immune system and improving overall bodily functions, copper helps a lot, and its scarcity can lead to various adverse effects on health.
Plus, our body cannot produce copper on its own, so it is essential to obtain it from external sources, such as through copper supplements, copper water bottles, and more. However, copper needs to be consumed in trace amounts, as too much or too less can lead to negative and adverse effects.
Let’s dive a little deeper into copper and copper supplements to understand the health benefits you can achieve through their use.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition or disease. You should always consult with your doctor before adding any supplements to your regimen to ensure you are healthy enough to do so and to ensure the supplements will not interact with any medications you may currently be taking.
The Health Benefits of Copper and Copper Supplements
Keeping a check on the amount of copper you need to consume is often overlooked since there is not much awareness of the benefits it offers.
Below are some of the benefits you can achieve when using copper supplements.
1. Aids weight loss
Obesity is a significant issue these days as more than 42% of Americans suffer from the condition, while the number of overweight individuals is creeping up to nearly double that of the obesity epidemic.
There are thousands of tips available on the internet, but the fact is that the solution may be deep-rooted in copper. Yes, you read it right! Copper, when consumed in adequate quantities, can help in weight loss. Plus, consuming water enriched with copper can strengthen the digestive system and can help you to lose weight naturally.
2. Reduces hypertension
As per the American Cancer Society, copper helps regulate blood pressure and improve heart rate. Copper-enriched water and copper supplements can help fight bad cholesterol and reduce hypertension.
3. Improves cardiovascular health
Various studies show that deficiency of copper can increase the risk of heart diseases. Copper, when combined with protein, produces enzymes that help in the formation of cross-links in elastin and collagen, which helps to repair and maintain connective tissues.
The deficiency of copper can also lead to oxidative stress, high cholesterol level, glucose intolerance, and chronic inflammation.
4. Boosts immunity
Copper increases the production of white blood cells in the body, which in turn helps in fighting disease-causing germs.
Now, a low amount of copper leads to a reduction in the white blood cells, which causes neutropenia. It weakens the immune system, which increases the chances of falling sick. This is why including copper or copper supplements in your nutrition and supplement plan is important.
5. Improves bone density
A low amount of copper in the body increases the chances of osteoporosis, wherein bones become more fragile and prone to fracture, which can lower bone mineral density.
Studies show that intake of copper, along with zinc, iron, and calcium, helps lower the risk of bone diseases and lead a better and healthier life.
6. Brain health
Copper is also crucial for the cognitive functions of the brain. It is essential for the development of the central nervous system and helps in the production of myelin.
Studies show that copper in balanced quantities has a direct effect on the thought process.
When Should You Opt for Copper Supplements?
As per the Annals of Hematology, people who are anemic may not be getting enough copper. In such cases, doctors recommend taking a few supplements.
Copper supplements can be consumed in the form of pills and capsules. However, if you are consuming both copper and zinc supplements, you need to note that you are not taking both at the same time, and there should be a gap of at least two hours.
Symptoms of a Copper Deficiency
Most people do not get enough copper through their diet, and in such cases, it may lead to a copper deficiency.
If you have celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, or Crohn’s disease, there are chances that you may need copper supplements.
Symptoms of copper deficiency include tremors, numbness, fatigue, anemia, loss of vision, and more.
There are various conditions that may increase the risk of copper deficiency:
- Gastric bypass surgery
- Premature babies
- Zinc supplements
How Much Copper is Too Much Copper?
Copper is essential for our body, but do you know that excess copper can prove to be toxic. As per reports, 10 mg of copper per day is considered to be tolerable.
When consumed in large quantities, it can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, or muscle pain. In several cases, it can even lead to liver damage, heart failure, kidney failure, or even death. Check with your doctor before adding copper supplements to your regimen.