Copper is among the essential trace minerals. It is required in the body for maintaining the functionality of the immune and nervous system. It is also needed for the proper functioning of the muscles and formation of the connective tissues. The body requires copper for normal health and growth. It works alongside iron in forming the red blood cells. Copper is also needed for the proper functioning of the arteries and the heart. It is also useful in preventing bone defects such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
Deficiency of copper
The cases of copper deficiency are very rare, but they sometimes occur in people suffering from chronic diarrhea and those who are severely undernourished. These disorders impair the absorption of nutrients thus contributing to the deficiency of copper. The signs associated with copper deficiency include damaged blood vessels, pale skin, enlarged heart, hair loss and bleeding which occurs under the skin. The symptoms include fatigue and susceptibility to infections since the immune system if affected by deficiency of copper.
How much copper is needed by the body?
The daily requirement of copper varies depending on age and sex. The lactating mother who is above eighteen years require 1,300 mcg daily, and adults require 900 mcg while pregnant women aged above 18 years require 1,000 mcg on a daily basis.
Food sources rich in copper
Copper can be obtained from food sources such as legumes, vegetables, nuts, beans, mushrooms, seeds, shellfish, whole gains, and avocado. Farm products which have been sprayed using copper chemicals are additional sources of copper. The availability of copper from food can be decreased by the high level of acid content. However, you should note that large amounts of copper can be toxic to the body. Acute poisoning by excessive copper intake might lead to the following signs; vomiting, kidney damage, death, anemia, nausea, and diarrhea.
What is the role of copper supplements
These supplements are used in preventing and treating copper deficiencies. You should take Copper supplements if you are unable to obtain enough copper from your diet. These supplements are taken orally or by injection. The injectable copper is only administered by a medical professional. This mineral is, in fact, required in the body to help it in utilizing iron.
There are some conditions which might increase the body’s demand for copper which include:
- Stomach removal
- Pancreas disease
- Intestine disease
Some medical practitioners believe that copper supplements can be used in treating skin conditions and arthritis but more research is being done to prove this claim.