Copper: An antioxidant. Helps the body utilize iron. Keeps the immune system healthy.
The role of copper in the blood parallels that of iron. Copper assists in the transportation of iron and the formation of hemoglobin, the part of the red blood cell that carries oxygen from the lungs to all cells in the body. A copper deficiency can lead to anemia, resulting in the blood's decreased capacity to carry oxygen throughout the body.
Copper contributes to the structural integrity of connective tissue throughout the body. Collagen a protein responsible for the integrity of bone, skin, cartilage, and tendons, requires copper. Copper is also important in the structure of elastin, a connective tissue that gives elasticity to the blood vessels, lungs, and skin, allowing them to move and stretch with changes in pressure or movement.
Low intakes of copper may be associated with increased LDL “bad” cholesterol and decreased HDL “good” cholesterol. This may account for low copper levels being a potential contributing factor in heart and circulatory problems, which may lead to full blown heart disease.
A lack of copper in the diet may lower the body's immune system. Normal intakes may help to reduce the risk of infection.
Blood levels of copper are thought to be directly associated with bone mass density; even a mild deficiency of copper may trigger, then worsen, osteoporotic lesions in bones. Boosting poor dietary intakes may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Short-term treatment with copper salicylates has been shown to reduce fever and swelling, and to increase joint mobility in those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.
Wound and Burn Treatment
The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that Colloidal copper promotes healing of skin burns and cuts. The university writes that copper applied directly to the wound promotes faster healing and skin regeneration. In the treatment of burns, copper and other metals may be lost.
Antioxidants protect cells from oxidization. Free radicals float throughout the bloodstream, attacking healthy cells and mutating their DNA. According to researchers at Rice University, free radicals can offer a "pathway for cancer, aging and a variety of diseases." Antioxidants, like those found in Colloidal copper, eliminate free radicals from the body. A 2005 paper published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism concluded that dietary copper improved antioxidant defense.