As some of you may have picked up, I am a big fan of using a hair mineral test to visualise our mineral status over the last three months and importantly understand the balance of minerals within the body, to fully grasp how your body is functioning and utilizing its energy supplies.
One hugely overlooked and underrated mineral is Copper. I find so many patients will tell me symptoms suggesting they are low in iron, typically low energy, poor thyroid health and hair thinning and they will subsequently be supplementing with Iron orally. Often this gives them tummy problems and doesn’t stop their symptoms. What is overlooked is the need for Copper in the body to be able to utilize iron properly. Poor intake of iron, or low levels, is very rarely the case given that the body has its own iron production system – that works very well if given the right tools!
By looking at the hair mineral test we can see the balance between copper and iron in the body, in conjunction with other minerals, such as zinc, that can affect and drive down our copper levels. Therefore, the overview of all the minerals is important to fully know what you are missing.
Another concern, especially for women, is that we are often not educated on how the use of hormonal contraception, particularly the combined oral contraceptive pill, can drive up our copper levels long term. This has a long term implication on our health and well being and effects our hormones.
Similarly, people often supplement with certain minerals in isolation, however the body is a fine matrix that works in synergy, and by supplementing with zinc and vitamin C independently (in the form of Ascorbic acid) will deplete your copper stores.
In this blog, we will explore some of the benefits of copper in the human body. It is necessary for the production of red blood cells, the maintenance of healthy bones, and the proper functioning of the immune system.
1. Helps in the production of red blood cells
Copper is an essential mineral that is required for the production of red blood cells. These cells are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. Without adequate levels of copper, the body may not be able to produce enough red blood cells, leading to anemia. Copper also helps to increase the absorption of iron, which is necessary for the formation of red blood cells.
2. Maintains healthy bones
It plays a vital role in the maintenance of healthy bones. It is necessary for the formation of collagen, a protein that provides strength and structure to bones, cartilage, and connective tissues. Copper also helps to increase the absorption of calcium, which is essential for bone health.
3. Boosts the immune system
Copper is necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system. It helps to activate white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off infections and diseases. Copper also has anti-inflammatory properties, which help to reduce inflammation in the body and promote overall health.
4. Acts as an antioxidant
It is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect the body against free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to the development of various diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease. Copper helps to neutralize these free radicals and prevent cellular damage.
5. Regulates the nervous system
Copper is necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system. It helps to maintain the myelin sheath, a protective layer that covers nerve fibers and helps to transmit nerve impulses. Copper also plays a role in the production of neurotransmitters, which are essential for the communication between nerve cells.
In conclusion, copper is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in various bodily functions. It helps to produce red blood cells, maintain healthy bones, boost the immune system, act as an antioxidant, and regulate the nervous system. It is important to ensure that you are getting enough copper in your diet to promote overall health and well-being. Some good sources of copper include seafood, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and dark leafy greens.
Undertanding your mineral status and balanve is key to addressing any health realted concerns you may have. If you think you could benefit from knowing yours, book a test and a consult with us. If there was one test to do a couple times a year, it would be this one!
Until next time,
Dr Lizzie Almas