Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Micro-minerals : Copper

Micro-minerals, like minerals, are organic elements present in the soil. Plants absorb them from their growth medium. We need very small amounts of each micro-mineral in our diet, but they are just as essential to maintain all nerve and muscle function, teeth, bones and body cells as all the other nutrients. Micro-minerals are insoluble in water and need to be bonded with a soluble compound before they can be properly utilised. That is why foods are the very best sources.

Functions of Copper:
  • Required for iron absorption
  • Needed for haemoglobin production
  • Helps with nerve transmission
  • Transfers oxygen to muscles
  • Aids in the production of melanin (skin and hair colouration)
  • Essential for the production of collagen (bones) and elastin (skin)
  • Involved in immune function
  • Anti-oxidant
  • Prevents hypothyroidism
  • Protects myelin sheaths around nerves
Sources of Copper:
  • Liver
  • Shellfish
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Poultry
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Tofu
  • Yeast
  • Vegetables and fruits
Deficiency symptoms:
  • Osteoporosis
  • Growth retardation
  • Bone formation abnormalities
  • Hair loss
  • Fragile blood vessels
  • Fatigue
  • Skin sores
  • Anemia
  • Lack of taste sensation
  • Increased risk of heart disease

Supplements are unnecessary provided the diet includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Always check with your doctor before taking supplements of any kind. An excess of any vitamin, mineral or micro-mineral can have unpleasant side effects.


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