Wellness Wednesday: A Copper State of Mind


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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
A table strewn with walnuts, chestnuts, and other nuts

Arizona is The Copper State. This proud heavy metal is part of the literal bedrock of our state. It’s in our batteries, threaded through our walls, and helping to power the circuitry that animate our computers and cars. Did you know that copper also has a critical function in helping to keep our bodies running just as smoothly as our technology? Read on as we break down the benefits of copper.

What is Copper

Copper is a naturally occurring metal that’s highly valued for its ability to act as a conductor of heat and electricity. It’s also remarkably flexible as an alloy component, and is often fused with other metals to create substances like sterling silver and cupronickel. Due to copper appearing in soil, rocks, and water, trace elements of the mineral end up in our food supply. We would be in trouble if that wasn’t the case, because copper has an important role to play in our bodies!

It Forms Collagen

Copper helps produce collagen and elastin in the body. These two elements help our skin maintain its elasticity. Copper is able to bolster these elements thanks to its antioxidant properties. The collagen it helps maintain does more than keep your skin looking healthy: collagen has a major impact on bone mass. An insufficient amount of copper in the body could lead to weaker, more injury prone bones.

Good For Your Blood

Copper is critical for its ability to make red blood cells, protect them from damage, and by acting as an absorbing agent for iron. Copper helps the body absorb iron, which in turn helps stave off anemia. Anemia can lead to a host of minor and major health complications, so making sure that you have enough copper and iron in your body to keep your red blood cells plentiful and healthy is very important.

It Energizes 

Copper helps the body convert sugar into energy, which in turn can amp up our metabolism. That energy production in the body has a cascading effect, impacting brain health, immune functions, and dismantling free radicals in the body. 

Where Can You Get Copper

Foods that are rich in copper include:

  • Organ meats (esp. liver) 
  • Potatoes
  • Shellfish 
  • Spirulina 
  • Nuts 
  • Sunflower Seeds 
  • Shiitake mushrooms 
  • Lobsters 
  • Spinach 
  • Kale 
  • Swiss chard 
  • Dark chocolate
  • Tofu

How Much Do I Need

The recommended daily dietary allowance for adults 19+ is 900 micrograms daily for men and women (pregnant adults require 1,300 micrograms). Talk to a doctor before taking any copper supplements. While it is rare, it is possible to consume too much copper which can lead to health complications. Heavy amounts of copper buildup in your body could cause copper toxicity. Copper toxicity is very rare but life-threatening as it can lead to yellowing skin, heart failure, kidney failure, liver damage, brain disease, and/or coma. 

When You Need More Copper

How can you tell when you’re copper deficient? There are some telltale signs. If you experience any of the following symptoms, this can be a sign that you need to add some more copper-packed foods into your diet:

  • Anemia
  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Brittle bones 
  • Frequent sickness 
  • Memory lapses 
  • Difficulty walking
  • Pale
  • Vision loss


Article by Austin Brietta

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