Like most trace minerals, copper acts as an enzyme cofactor in several key metabolic processes in the body. Among its many functions, copper aids in the formation of bone, hemoglobin and red blood cells, therefore enabling the efficient transport of oxygen throughout the body.
In addition, copper works in balance with vitamin C and zinc to manufacture elastin (skin protein) as well as collagen and other structural proteins in cartilage and tendons. It is also involved in the healing process, energy production, hair and skin coloring (production of melanin) and taste sensitivity.
Copper stimulates the absorption of iron through the copper transport protein ceruloplasmin. Copper also aids in the metabolism of several fatty acids and helps prevent oxidative damage by serving as a cofactor to superoxide dismutase. In addition, copper is needed for proper insulation (mylination) of nerve cells and serves as a cofactor for the synthesis of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine.
Due to copper's role in the formation of collagen, copper deficiency can manifest as osteoporosis. Other possible signs of deficiency include anemia (due to its role in hemoglobin formation), baldness, diarrhea, general weakness, impaired respiratory function, myelopathy, decreased skin pigment, reduced resistance to infection and increased triglyceride levels. Evidence also links copper deficiency with increased oxidative damage to cell membranes.
Download SpectraCell's Nutrient Correlation Chart on Inflammation and Hypertension, both handouts provide information as to how important is Copper in maintaining overall health.
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