Copper is not only used to make pennies! It is also a trace element and anti-oxidant that is good for you. Copper is essential for creating red blood cells and a healthy immune and nervous system.
What Are Trace Elements?
Trace elements are those elements humans need only in minute amounts for normal growth, development and good health. But just because your body only requires a small amount of these elements, does not mean you can ignore them.
What Are Antioxidants
Antioxidants are molecules that can counteract the damaging effects of molecules that cause oxidation in the body. This means it helps remove potentially damaging agents from your body.
Some other examples of antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and vitamin A. Eating foods rich and antioxidants helps to stop free radicals in the body and reduces the risk of certain diseases, like cancer, heart disease and macular degeneration. They also help boost immune function.
Reasons to Take Copper
Because copper help with immune function, it can be beneficial in preventing and fighting bacterial infections, viruses, and fungal infections. It may also help lower high cholesterol levels.
Studies concerning cholesterol and copper show that people with copper deficiency do have higher cholesterol levels.
Recommended Daily Allowance
The recommended daily allowance for adult men and women 19 years of age or older is 900 micrograms a day. You should have no problem getting this amount from foods you eat daily.
What Happens If I Take Too Much?
Since you only need a minute amount of copper, you can get too much. If you get upwards of 10,000 micrograms a day, that is way too much. If you are taking too much copper, you may notice headaches, dizziness and a metallic taste in the mouth.
Excess copper in the body from supplements or from pipes in the home can cause health problems. Some signs of high copper levels include vomiting and diarrhea. Copper toxicity can lead to kidney damage and anemia and, in severe cases, death.
Who's At Risk for Deficiency?
Because you only need a trace amount of copper, it is not common for people to become deficient. People who take zinc or vitamin C supplements can become deficient. This is because taking too much zinc or vitamin C may cause people to have trouble absorbing copper.
People who do not eat enough copper-rich foods can also become deficient in this important element.
Symptoms of copper deficiency include
• Low body temperature
• Thyroid disorders
Natural Food Sources of Copper
Liver is an excellent source of copper, but not everyone likes liver. Fortunately, there are other good sources of copper that are also tasty:
• Peanut butter
• Whole grains
Don't ignore this important trace mineral, but don't supplement your diet with copper unless you first talk with your doctor. You don't want to risk copper toxicity and the adverse effects that it can have on the body.