Copper is an essential trace mineral that plays several important roles in the human body. Here are some of the key functions of copper.
Functions Of Copper In The Body
Copper is a cofactor for various enzymes involved in important biochemical reactions. It helps in the production of energy within cells, assists in the synthesis of collagen and elastin (important structural proteins), and supports the formation of connective tissues.
Copper is necessary for the absorption, transport, and utilization of iron. It helps convert iron into a usable form for the body, facilitating its incorporation into red blood cells and enabling the transport of oxygen throughout the body.
Copper is a component of antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), which helps neutralize harmful free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. This contributes to the protection of cells and tissues from damage caused by oxidative processes.
Copper plays a role in maintaining a healthy immune system. It is involved in the development and function of immune cells, such as neutrophils and lymphocytes, which help fight off infections and protect the body against pathogens.
Nervous system function
Copper is necessary for the normal functioning of the nervous system. It supports the production of myelin, a protective sheath around nerve fibers that enhances nerve transmission. Copper is also involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers involved in nerve signaling.
Connective tissue formation
Copper is essential for the synthesis of collagen and elastin, which are important components of connective tissues such as skin, bones, blood vessels, and tendons. It contributes to wound healing, skin health, and the strength and flexibility of various tissues.
Copper is involved in the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for the coloration of the skin, hair, and eyes. It helps regulate melanin synthesis and distribution, influencing the color of these tissues.
It’s worth noting that while copper is essential for various physiological functions, excessive copper intake can be toxic. The recommended daily intake of copper for adults is typically around 900 micrograms per day, and it’s important to maintain a balanced and varied diet to ensure adequate copper intake without exceeding safe levels.