Copper is essential for both Iron and Zinc utilization, as well as for maintaining a strong cardiovascular system. Copper, along with Iron, is necessary to produce hemoglobin (the part of the red blood cell that carries oxygen from the lungs to all the cells in the body). Copper is necessary for normal development and maintenance of blood, bone, nerves, connective and other tissues.
Copper functions synergistically with Iron. Iron is the essential element in hemoglobin, but without Copper, Iron is not transported correctly throughout the body. Iron depends upon Copper to become part of the red blood cells. Consequently, the body can’t metabolize Iron without the help it gets from Copper. As blood levels of Copper drop, Iron absorption decreases and red blood cell production is inhibited.
Copper contributes to the structural integrity of connective tissue throughout the body. Collagen, the protein responsible for bone, skin, cartilage, and tendon elasticity, integrity, and strength, requires copper for proper reproduction. It is an important component of elastin (the connective tissue that gives elasticity to the blood vessels, lungs, and skin, allowing them to move and stretch with changes in pressure or movement). Because of Copper’s role in the integrity of connective tissue, even a marginal deficiency could potentially contribute to weak arteries and veins. Copper activates numerous enzymes and is involved in the development and maintenance of the cardiovascular system, the skeletal system, and the structure and function of the nervous system.
The diagnosis of Copper deficiency is based on symptoms and on blood or hair analysis tests that detect low levels of Copper and ceruloplasmin (a protein that contains Copper).
Anemia, fatigue, low body temperature (feeling cold), paleness, bone demineralization, and low immune response.
Food High in Copper:
Oysters and other shellfish, whole grains, beans, nuts, potatoes, organ meats, dark leafy greens, cocoa, black pepper, and yeast.
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