Copper is a chemical element of the periodic table at number 29. The Latin name Cuprum comes from the name of the island of Cyprus, known for the deposits of this useful trace element.
The name of this microelement is known to everyone from school. Many will remember chemistry lessons and formulas with Cu, products made from this soft metal. But what is its use for the human body? How does copper affect our health?
It turns out that copper is one of the micronutrients most needed by humans. Once in the body, it is stored in the liver, kidneys, muscles, bones, blood, and brain. Cuprum deficiency leads to disturbances in the functioning of many systems in the body.
According to the average data, an adult human body contains from 75 to 150 mg of copper (the third largest after iron and zinc). Most of the substance is concentrated in the muscle tissue - about 45 percent, another 20% of the trace element is stored in the bones and liver. But it is the liver that is considered to be the copper "depot" in the body, and in case of an overdose, it is she who suffers in the first place. And by the way, the liver of the fetus in pregnant women contains ten times more Cu than the liver of an adult.
Nutritionists have determined the average intake of copper for adults. Under normal conditions, it ranges from 1.5 to 3 mg per day. But the children's norm should not go beyond 2 mg daily. At the same time, babies up to a year can receive up to 1 mg of a trace element, children under 3 years old - no more than one and a half milligrams. Copper deficiency is extremely undesirable for pregnant women, whose daily intake is 1.5-2 mg of the substance, since cuprum is responsible for the proper formation of the heart and nervous system of the unborn baby.
Some researchers believe that dark-haired people need more copper than blondes. This is explained by the fact that in brown-haired Cu is more intensively spent on hair coloring. For the same reason, early gray hair is more common in dark-haired people. Foods high in copper can help prevent depigmentation.
It is worth increasing the daily intake of copper for people with:
- rheumatoid arthritis;
- heart disease;
- periodontal disease.
Benefits for the body
Like iron, copper is important for maintaining normal blood composition. In particular, this trace element is involved in the production of red blood cells, is important for the synthesis of hemoglobin and myoglobin (oxygen-binding protein found in the heart and other muscles). Moreover, it is important to say that even if there are sufficient iron stores in the body, the creation of hemoglobin without copper is impossible. In this case, it makes sense to talk about the complete indispensability of Cu for the formation of hemoglobin, since no other chemical element can perform the functions assigned to cuprum. Also, copper is an important component of enzymes, on which the correct interaction of erythrocytes and leukocytes depends.
The indispensability of Cu for blood vessels lies in the ability of the microelement to strengthen the walls of capillaries, giving them elasticity and proper structure.
The strength of the so-called vascular framework - the inner coating of elastin - depends on the content of copper in the body.
Without copper, the normal functioning of the nervous system and respiratory organs is also difficult. In particular, cuprum is a significant component of the myelin sheath that protects nerve fibers from damage. Benefit for the endocrine system is a beneficial effect on the hormones of the pituitary gland. For digestion, copper is indispensable as a substance that affects the production of gastric juice. In addition, Cu protects the organs of the digestive tract from inflammation and damage to the mucous membranes.
Together with ascorbic acid Cu is able to strengthen the immune system, protect the body from the harmful effects of viruses and bacteria. Enzymes that fight free radicals also contain copper particles.
As a component of melanin, it affects the processes of skin pigmentation. The work of the amino acid tyrosine (responsible for the color of hair and skin) is also impossible without Cu.
The amount of this micronutrient in the body depends on the strength and health of bone tissue. Copper, contributing to the production of collagen, affects the formation of proteins necessary for the skeleton. And if a person has frequent fractures, it makes sense to think about a possible deficiency of Cu in the body. Moreover, cuprum prevents the leaching of other minerals and trace elements from the body, which serves as a prophylaxis for osteoporosis and prevents the development of bone diseases.
At the cellular level - supports the functions of ATP, performs a transport function, contributing to the supply of necessary substances to each cell of the body. Cu takes part in the synthesis of amino acids and proteins. It is a significant component for the formation of collagen and elastin (important components of connective tissues). It is known that cuprum is responsible for the processes of reproduction and growth of the body.
According to recent studies, Cu is a necessary compound for the production of endorphins, hormones that improve mood and relieve pain.
And one more good news about copper. A sufficient amount of microsubstance will protect against early aging. Copper is part of superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant enzyme that protects cells from destruction. This explains why cuprum is included in most cosmetic anti-aging products.
Other beneficial functions of copper:
- enhances immunity;
- strengthens the fibers of the nervous system;
- protects against the development of cancer;
- removes toxic substances;
- promotes proper digestion;
- takes part in tissue regeneration;
- activates insulin production;
- enhances the action of antibiotics;
- has bactericidal properties;
- reduces inflammation.
Lack of copper
Deficiency of copper, like any other trace element, causes the development of various kinds of disorders in the functioning of human systems and organs.
But here it is important to note that the lack of Cu is practically impossible under the condition of a balanced diet. The most common cause of Cu deficiency is alcohol abuse.
Insufficient consumption of cuprum is fraught with internal hemorrhages, increased cholesterol levels, and pathological changes in connective tissues and bones. The child's body most often reacts to Cu deficiency with growth retardation.
Other symptoms of Cu deficiency:
- cardiac muscle atrophy;
- decrease in hemoglobin, anemia;
- sudden loss of weight and appetite;
- hair loss and depigmentation;
- chronic fatigue;
- frequent viral and infectious diseases;
- depressed mood;
An overdose of copper is possible only with the abuse of synthetic bioadditives. Natural sources of the trace element provide an adequate concentration of the substance necessary to maintain body functions.
Excess copper can be signaled by the body in different ways. Cu overdose is usually accompanied by:
- hair loss;
- the appearance of early wrinkles;
- sleep disorders;
- menstrual irregularities in women;
- fevers and profuse sweating;
In addition, the toxic effects of copper on the body can cause kidney failure or gastroenteritis. There is a risk of epileptic seizures and mental disorders. The most serious consequence of copper poisoning is Wilson's disease (copper disease).
At the level of “biochemistry”, an overdose of copper displaces zinc, manganese and molybdenum from the body .
Copper in food
To get cuprum from food, you do not need to make a special diet - this microelement is found in many daily foods.
It is easy to replenish the daily norm of a useful substance: it is enough to take care that there are a variety of nuts, legumes and cereals on the table. Also, there are impressive reserves of the nutrient in the liver (the leader among products), raw egg yolk, many vegetables, fruits and berries. Also, do not neglect dairy products, fresh meat, fish and seafood. Oysters (per 100 g), for example, contain from 1 to 8 mg of copper, which fully satisfies the daily needs of any person. Meanwhile, it is important to note that the concentration of copper in seafood directly depends on their freshness.
Vegetarians should pay attention to asparagus, soybeans, sprouted grains of wheat, potatoes, and from bakery products, preference should be given to pastries made from rye flour. Excellent sources of copper are chard, spinach, cabbage, eggplant, green peas, beets, olives, and lentils. A tablespoon of sesame seeds will provide the body with almost 1 mg of copper. Also, pumpkin and sunflower seeds will benefit. There are also Cu reserves in some plants (dill, basil, parsley, marjoram, oregano, tea tree, lobelia).
It is also interesting that ordinary water also contains impressive reserves of copper: on average, a liter of pure liquid can saturate the body with almost 1 mg of Cu. There is good news for those with a sweet tooth: dark chocolate is a good source of copper. And when choosing fruits and berries for dessert, it is better to give preference to raspberries and pineapples, which also have copper deposits.
|Product (100 g)||Copper (mg)|
|Bovine brains||0, 20|
Ka we see, you should not particularly "bother" about the question "What is the most copper?". To get the necessary daily allowance of this useful microelement, it is enough to follow the only rule from nutritionists: eat rationally and balanced, and the body itself will “pull” exactly what it lacks from the products.