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The health benefits of copper are crucial for an overall healthy existence, as this mineral enables normal metabolic process in the body. Copper cannot be produced within the body and therefore needs to be added from external food sources. Some of its benefits include the following.
- Thyroid Glands
Copper plays an important role in ensuring the proper function of the thyroid gland. However, excess copper is also a major cause of thyroid malfunction, so you need a very balanced level of copper in the blood, or else hormonal activity will be imbalanced, and you can develop symptoms of either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
- Proper Growth
Copper is essential for normal growth and health. Thus, it is very important to include this mineral in balanced levels in your regular diets. It is also helpful in the protection of the skeletal, nervous and cardiovascular systems. If you suffer from a copper deficiency, the normal and healthy growth of organs and tissues, as well as their proper oxygenation from an ample red blood cell concentration, would be impossible.
- Pigmentation of Hair and Eyes
Copper is a vital component of the natural dark pigment, melanin, which imparts coloration to the skin, hair, and eyes. Melanin can be produced by melanocytes only in the presence of the cupro enzyme called tyrosinase, which is derived from copper. Intake of copper supplements also helps in protecting against graying of the hair. It also maintains the color of your eyes, and is essential, along with zinc, to keep your eyes beautifully colored into your old age.
- Connective Tissues
Copper is an important nutrient that plays a significant role in the synthesis of hemoglobin, myelin, body pigment melanin and collagen. It helps to protect the myelin sheath surrounding the nerves, and it is also actively involved in the production of elastin, an element of connective tissue that keeps the skin flexible. This also keeps your skin from looking older, by keeping it flexible and less prone to sagging and wrinkles.
- Brain Stimulation
Copper has a control function to play in the brain, so the amount of copper supplementation has to be balanced. Copper has been associated directly with higher thought processes, particularly in relation to the impact of its transporter protein, Atp7a. Studies have shown a direct link between copper content within the brain and creative or out of the box thinking, showing that copper enables neural pathways to develop in unique ways.
- Enzymatic Reactions
Copper is either an element or a cofactor in as many as 50 different enzymes that take part in various biological reactions within the body. These enzymes can function properly only in the presence of copper. Without the enzymatic reactions in our various organ systems, our entire metabolism would slow down and the intricate network of reactions and metabolic pathways would cease to function in harmony. This is specifically important in certain brain pathways, particularly those involving dopamine and galactose.
- Utilization of Iron and Sugar
Copper helps in the absorption of iron from the intestinal tract and in the release from its primary storage sites like the liver. It also helps in the utilization of sugar in the body. By helping in the absorption of iron from food and other supplemental sources, copper guarantees a healthy red blood cell count and proper oxygenation of different organ systems.
- Helps Prevent Premature Aging
Copper is a strong antioxidant, which works in the presence of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase to safeguard the cell membranes from free radicals. Superoxide dismutase fights against free radicals, that directly affect aging, wrinkles, age spots, susceptibility to various types of cancer, macular degeneration, and kidney malfunctions.
Copper is a vital part of the healing process and ensures better wound healing. Copper acts as an extremely good immunity builder, and it also works as a cure for anemia, which will allow your body to both defend itself better and heal itself faster. Copper is a co-factor in various enzymatic processes that result in endothelial growth, or the healing process of tissue.
Copper is present in various food sources including liver, meat, seafood, beans, whole grains, soy flour, wheat bran, almonds, avocados, barley, garlic, nuts, oats, blackstrap molasses, beets, lentils and oysters. Copper also enters the human body through drinking water in copper pipes and by using copper cookware.