Copper: An Antioxidant Essential to a Healthy Body - dummies

Copper: An Antioxidant Essential to a Healthy Body

By Christopher Hobbs, Elson Haas

Copper is a trace mineral—an essential nutrient to humans. It must be obtained through diet or supplements. This antioxidant nutrient helps your body use iron.

Copper is a zinc-balancing mineral important in many enzymes as well as in the production of hemoglobin, the molecule that transports oxygen. It also plays a role in the functioning of the prostate gland and the activity of the oil glands, helping prevent acne. Nerves and joints require copper for healthy functioning.

One source of copper is cacao bean. Who said chocolate is all bad for you?

Key functions of copper include:

  • May lower cholesterol levels.

  • May improve symptoms of arthritis.

The highest concentration of copper is found in oysters. It is also available from nuts and seeds, whole grains and legumes, and in small amounts in most vegetables.

Copper is usually found in multivitamins at a dosage of 1–2 mg per day. Take additional copper if you’re consuming a higher level (50 mg) of zinc for therapeutic purposes. Work with your practitioner to balance your copper and zinc intake.

Adequate levels of copper may prevent your hair from graying prematurely.

Copper toxicity can come from water when it flows through copper pipes, and copper can be found in well water. Too much copper intake can cause various neurological and mental symptoms. Copper deficiency is not uncommon and often joins with iron deficiency in anemia. Copper deficiency can cause symptoms of fatigue, skin rashes, and hair loss, and can contribute to a decrease in the ability to taste and smell.