It"s no secret that metallic elements like iron and zinc are essential to human health. But did you know that our metabolisms also require a certain level of copper to maintain good health? The amount of copper found in the human body (50-120 milligrams) is tiny, but it plays a critical role in a variety of biochemical processes.
Copper forms part of at least 13 different enzymes, and its presence is needed for each if they are to function properly. These enzymes promote energy production, prevent anemia and bone disease, battle cell damage and assist in fetal and infant development.
The National Academy of Sciences includes copper on its Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) list, affirming its importance as part of a balanced diet. However, because the body can absorb but not produce (synthesize) copper, our diet must resupply regular amounts of food rich in this mineral. Oysters, chocolate, avocado, peanuts and beef are just some of the natural and processed foods in which copper is abundant.
As with many things, the minerals in our diet must be regulated to be effective. In large amounts, copper can be toxic, but nutritionists argue that too little of this essential element can be just as unhealthy as too much. An optimal balance is necessary for optimal health! Scientists around the globe are actively researching copper's important place in the body and its many benefits, so that we can continue to lead long, healthy lives.