Though often thought of in conjunction with the penny, copper is a trace mineral that provides numerous benefits to the body. Minerals, like copper, often go unnoticed in health discussions, overshadowed by the more prominent vitamins, like vitamin C and zinc. Despite its forgettable nature, copper is vital for proper cellular health and function. This article will explore copper’s connection to various physiological systems and how it benefits cellular function in the body. By the end of this article, you will have a greater understanding of how trace minerals, like copper, play a role in our overall well-being.
Understanding Copper for Health
Copper, in its pure form, is a malleable and ductile metal used in electrical wiring, plumbing, and other applications. Beyond its traditional applications, copper is an essential trace mineral in various biochemical processes. Though we only need small amounts for survival, our bodies do not naturally produce copper, so ensuring your diet contains this essential trace mineral is important. This element can be found in shellfish, whole grains, and nuts.
Copper deficiency is a common problem across the world. When the body lacks the necessary amount of copper, it can result in various symptoms and consequences. For example, anemia, a condition where your body does not produce enough red blood cells, can be caused by a lack of iron and copper. Additionally, as copper plays a vital role in synthesizing collagen, lacking this mineral can lead to connective tissue disorders and injuries. Though it is a small part of your diet, your copper intake can significantly impact your cellular function and overall health.
Copper’s Role in Cellular Function
Copper plays several important roles in cellular function, ensuring the body’s various cells are in working order. This trace mineral is essential for producing red blood cells, which carry oxygen through the body. Additionally, this mineral keeps immune and nervous cells healthy and functional, allowing them to continue protecting the body. Copper is also responsible for enzymatic reactions in the body, particularly those involving the creation of collagen. These processes are essential for forming healthy bones and connective tissues and provide individuals with a full range of motion. Overall, copper is an essential nutrient that ensures cells can do their jobs and keep the body healthy.
Benefits of Copper for Cellular Function
Proper copper intake provides individuals with several benefits, including immune system support, reduced inflammation, and more. This metal serves to protect the body’s cells in many ways. Here are some of copper’s essential roles and functions in the body.
Support Immune System
The immune system is the body’s primary defense against viruses and pathogens. Copper plays an important role in keeping immune cells healthy and functioning. One study shows that interleukin 2 and T-cell production is greatly reduced when an individual has a copper deficiency. These cells are types of white blood cells responsible for fighting off germs and ridding the body of pathogens. Additionally, other studies show that copper deficiency can reduce neutrophils, leading to neutropenia. This condition is marked by too few neutrophils and greatly weakens the immune system, leaving the body susceptible to infection.
Because copper plays a vital role in creating and maintaining red blood cells, it is considered an antioxidant. By improving the function of red blood cells, this mineral reduces oxidative stress and free radicals in the body. This helps to balance the body’s natural inflammatory response.
Improve Gut Health
Since copper is an immune system booster, it also helps other cell types with their immunity. Studies show that copper may improve gut microbiome’s health by improving gut cells’ resilience, thus preventing infection. Other studies conducted on animals reveal that this mineral has antimicrobial effects and may improve the diversity of the gut biome.
Lower Risk of Heart Disease
This mineral may also lower one’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Copper is essential to creating healthy cells in the heart and blood vessels. It is also responsible for helping the blood vessels dilate, allowing for adequate blood flow. Copper is also required to create blood cells and assists those cells with oxygenation.
Chronic fatigue may affect up to 2.5 million Americans. Fatigue is often caused by a deficiency of several vital nutrients, including copper. Studies suggest that increased copper intake can improve energy levels by encouraging enzymatic activity. Additionally, copper allows the body to absorb iron, another essential nutrient for energy production, reducing the likelihood of developing conditions such as anemia.
Provide Nervous System and Brain Development Support
Copper is also essential for various neurological functions, including central nervous system development and regulating intracellular signal transductions. These cellular processes allow cells in the nervous system to communicate with one another and allow individuals to physically function. Studies also show that copper deficiency can lead to cellular degeneration in the brain, resulting in nervous issues like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Copper is essential for cellular function in several systems in the body. By contributing to the development of healthy cells and enzyme reactions, this mineral keeps the body in tip-top shape. Ensuring your copper intake is up to par is crucial for maintaining your well-being. Wisdom in Wellness is dedicated to creating all-in-one supplement solutions that help you receive vital nutrients and support optimal cellular health. Shop our supplements today!