Vitamins And Minerals: Copper And Nutrition

Are you getting enough vitamins and minerals? Find out about the importance of copper to the human body.

Copper comes in two forms, copper gluconate and copper sulfate. Copper is a trace element that is found in virtually every cell of the human body. It is a primary element in the production of melanin in the human body. Melanin is responsible for pigmentation in the eyes, hair and skin.

Copper is active in many ways in the human body. It is a powerful antioxidant which acts on the body to remove free radicals and help prevent cell structure damage. It is also thought to have anticarcinogenic properties, and unlike the copper bracelets sold as an arthritis cure, copper inside the body can help to alleviate some arthritis pain.

In the human body, copper assists the utilization of iron. The copper balance is the body can be upset by extremely high intakes of high fiber diets, iron or vitamin C, all of which interfere with the way the body metabolizes the copper. Prolonged intake of zinc which is at a ratio greater than ten to one of intake of copper can also interfere with absorption and metabolism in the body.

You can meet the body's requirement of copper intake by eating shellfish. You can also get your dietary copper from many forms of nuts such as brazil nuts and hazelnuts. Cocoa also contains copper, as do honey, dried beans and whole wheat products. If you don't get enough copper from your diet, you should only supplement copper in a multiple-vitamin and mineral supplement which also contains the proper ratio of zinc.

Recommended intakes of copper vary, but the common agreement among professionals seems to be between 2 to 3 milligrams daily, most of which is obtained from dietary sources. Of course, before starting any form of supplementation you should consult your health care practitioner.

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