The Examine.com page on copper has been completed and our researchers have turned up some interesting results in the process.
The body needs dietary copper for cognitive development during infancy, as well as for optimal immune and bone health.
Too much copper, however, has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease progression. That doesn’t mean copper causes Alzheimer’s disease. Instead, some people appear to have a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease, which causes copper to harm neurons. Too much copper increases the damage done to neurons in these people.
Copper is abundant in developed countries, where it is found in most food, as well as drinking water. Copper deficiencies in otherwise healthy adults are unheard of, so supplementing copper to prevent a deficiency is not a good idea.
Although copper does play a structural role in the makeup of a potent antioxidant enzyme, Cu,Zn,-superoxide dismutase (SOD1), supplementing copper does not result in increased antioxidant defense.
Copper is an important part of a healthy diet, but supplementing copper may not provide much of a practical benefit. Though some research suggests copper may play a role in fighting heart disease, much more research is needed to confirm this hypothesis. Since too much copper can have negative health effects for older people, copper is not recommended for supplementation at this time.