Sunday, February 11, 2007

Copper For Optimum Health And Performance

Copper is a trace element mineral that serves a wide variety of purposes within the body, both on its own and as a cofactor, meaning it is an essential part of chemical processes that involve other vitamins, minerals, other nutrients or other substances. Although the body requires a comparatively tiny amount of copper per day, even that little bit is essential to optimum health and performance.

Copper came to be recognized as in the 1870’s as a basic part of our blood. This mineral is called an elemental because it is a metal. In terms of concentration, it is the third greatest metal present in our bodies.

Copper is present throughout the body, and serves many purposes that influence physical and mental health and function. In addition to the influence it has independently, it acts as a cofactor, or partner, in many enzymes and processes, affecting a wide variety of bodily functions and systems.

Copper works with Vitamin C in the production of collagen and elastin, which are connective tissues that, quite literally, hold the body together. In addition to this aspect of wound healing, copper also has a role in the first step to wound healing – blood clotting.

It also partners with iron in the making of red blood cells, which serve the essential purpose of bringing oxygen throughout the body, as well as helps the body to absorb and use iron. It is helps to make bones, working with calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, Vitamin D and Vitamin C.

Melanin, the substance that gives skin and hair their color, requires copper for its production. Copper has a role in the production of hormones that come from the thyroid, and thus is important to the body’s rate of metabolism, which in turn affects body weight. Body weight affects the start of puberty and the onset of sexual maturity.

Copper has a role in the nervous system, as well. It is necessary in the creation of the myelin sheath, which protects nerves and enhances their communication. The connective tissues and nerves in the brain require copper for both structure and function. Copper also serves as a cofactor in the production of the body’s important antioxidant enzymes, making a significant contribution to the control of damaging free radicals.

Copper has a role in each of the body’s major systems and processes. As a trace element, the body requires just a tiny bit of copper daily. Adults should have just 1.5mg to 3mg per day. It is important to note that too much copper can be toxic to the body’s system. The body’s systems are basic are regulated by chemical reactions, and the chemicals in the body are a delicately balanced group.

Nutritional supplements can offer a safe and reliable means of making sure that the body receives all the nutrients that it needs daily. However, when using supplements, it is important to be aware of the upper levels of tolerance, and to make sure that your dietary supplement dosages fall within that range, staying well below toxic points and maintaining the system’s healthful balance.

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