Don’t underestimate the importance of copper in your diet. It’s true that your body only needs it in small amounts, but having the proper copper levels in your body are critical to your long-term survival. The body needs copper for the many tasks it performs, from building the enzyme ceruloplasmin (this carries iron in the blood) to its major role in the production of collagen. But for my money, the most important thing about this little trace mineral is its ability to help produce elastin.
Elastin is found primarily in the artery walls, lungs, intestines, and skin and is a structural protein that gives your body flexibility and healthy connectivity. Copper is absolutely necessary in manufacturing elastin, helping create our elastic fiber. No copper, no elastin, right? It’s easy to see that copper deficiency would lead to a loss of elasticity in the tissues found in your arteries, skin and organs. And if your body goes without normal elastin production, big problems will arise.
Copper deficiency and its link to aneurysm
As elastin production deteriorates, so does the viability, flexibility and connectivity of body tissue. So what happens when tissue in your arteries and organs are weakened? Those weakened tissues become prone to thinning. Arteries will balloon at their weakest point with the possibility of rupturing, kind of like a garden hose with a weak spot bulging in the line… pressure will eventually blow it out. In your arteries, those weak, bulging spots are called aneurysms. Of course, aneurysms can be life-threatening, especially when they blow. I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that weak tissue, resulting because of less elastin, will sometimes cause existing aneurysms to worsen, or new ones to develop. And as shown, less elastin is a direct result of a copper deficiency.
Copper deficiency and its link to hemorrhagic stroke
A blood vessel that leaks or breaks into the brain results in a hemorrhagic stroke, which account for twenty percent of all strokes. Again, without elastin, blood vessels lose elasticity. Tissue starts to harden, fissures form on the inside of the arterial wall, and begin to crack. These cracks are weak spots which slowly get worse, begin to leak, then break. Absence of proper copper levels means less elastin, causing tissues to harden and weaken. There appears to be a correlation here between hemorrhagic stroke and low copper levels in the body.
What other conditions does copper deficiency create?
Did you know that a doctor can tell if you have copper deficiency by looking at the color of your hair? Copper is a crucial component in the creation of hair pigment. White, gray and silver hair are quick give-aways to a trained eye. Here’s something that got me thinking: isn’t it interesting that Albert Einstein, famous for his white crazy hair, dropped dead of an aneurysm when he was 68? What are the chances that he had a copper deficiency?
Varicose veins and hemorrhoids are common conditions too, but they wouldn’t be as common if people would keep a normal level of copper in their systems. These two ailments are caused by weak tissue, tissues that are struggling to maintain their elasticity, but can’t because they lack the trace mineral that can help create the elastin they need. If you suffer from either of these two ailments, you might consider having your copper levels tested.
How do you maintain a proper copper balance in your body?
The body does not manufacture copper, so you must ingest it. There are many foods rich in copper, like pumpkin and sunflower seeds, garbanzo beans, lima beans and soybeans. Do you like cashews? This is one of the best copper foods you can eat, second only to sesame seeds in copper content. If you have copper plumbing, you are getting trace amounts of it in your drinking water. And of course, there are supplements to help you get your daily allowance.
Now, don’t overdo it. Remember, copper is a trace mineral, and your body needs only a small amount daily to ward off any copper deficiency malady. Copper toxicity is not something you want, either, so follow the established guidelines of two milligrams daily. That’s all you need. The important thing here is that your body has a consistent flow of this natural mineral. Avoid copper deficiency in your diet, and you will avoid some of life’s biggest pitfalls.