Is Copper Beneficial For Your Bones?

Copper: does the word make you think of bright, shiny pennies, plumbing pipes, or jewelry? Actually, this versatile mineral is very important for the health of your bones and your whole body.

Many biological processes, including bone formation, depend on it – that’s why it’s a Foundation Supplement on the Save Our Bones Program. And it’s found in delicious foods like almonds, sesame seeds, and a variety of seafood.

Today we’re going to take an in-depth look at copper, starting with its role in reversing and preventing osteoporosis and osteopenia.

How Copper Helps Your Bones

While you don’t need a large amount of this mineral, it’s nonetheless crucial for youthful, fracture-resistant bones, and here’s why.

  • Connective tissue formation relies on copper, and your bones rely on connective tissue. As a functional component of several coenzymes, copper is critical for the coenzyme-dependent process of the cross-linking of collagen and elastin. The specific coenzyme involved in this process is lysyl oxidase, which depends on copper for its proper function.

    Collagen and elastin make up your strong, flexible connective tissue. It actually forms the bone matrix where minerals are deposited, and its tough, flexible nature is largely responsible for bone’s tensile strength and fracture resistance (it helps bones bend instead of break, in other words).

  • Copper interacts with other trace minerals, such as manganese, iron, and zinc. Copper is the third moiety in a trio of minerals (manganese, zinc, and copper) that make up an extremely important antioxidant called Superoxide Dismutase. This antioxidant is a key player in saving your bones from oxidative damage and restoring their youthful integrity, and without copper, Superoxide Dismutase simply can’t form.

    Additionally, copper is required for the proper uptake of iron (more on that below) and zinc, with excessive zinc supplementation resulting in decreased copper absorption. On the other hand, deficient zinc skews the copper-zinc balance, with zinc supplementation actually restoring plasma levels of copper.1

  • Iron metabolism depends on copper. There are actually four enzymes, all of which contain copper, that convert iron from its ferrous form (Fe2+) to its ferric form (Fe3+). This is important, because it is the ferric form of iron that your cells can use, particularly in the formation of red blood cells and the conversion of iron into hemoglobin. Without copper to convert the iron to a usable form, it lodges in soft tissues. This is why low plasma copper has been linked to iron accumulation in the liver, brain, and retina.2

    This is also why copper deficiency can cause anemia and low levels of white blood cells that fight infection. Additionally, sufficient copper is necessary for oxygenation of tissues, including bone.

    Oxygenation contributes to body alkalinity. In Chapter 14 of the Save Our Bones Program, deep breathing is included as an important stress-reducing technique that boosts bone health. That’s because, besides relaxing you, breathing deeply increases the pH of the blood (alkalizes it) by raising its oxygen content. But this is compromised without copper.

  • Various antioxidant actions, such as the formation of Superoxide Dismutase mentioned above, depend on copper. An enzyme called ceruloplasmin, which is the major copper-carrying protein in the blood, has copper as one of its components.

    According to research, ceruloplasmin appears to have antioxidant functions in the body. For one thing, ceruloplasmin bonds with free-radicalized copper ions to prevent them from doing oxidative damage. For another, ceruloplasmin may perform a similar function with unstable iron ions.3

Antioxidant action also benefits your whole body, protecting tissues besides just bone from oxidative damage. There are other ways that copper benefits overall health, too.

Overall Health Benefits Of Copper

  • Synthesis of myelin, the fatty sheath that covers nerve axons, requires a copper-dependent enzymatic process. There are other ways that copper contributes to the proper function of the central nervous system, such as the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine. For this conversion to happen, a copper-containing enzyme, β-hydroxylase, must catalyze the process.
  • Copper helps form the pigmentation in skin (melanin), hair, and eyes.
  • Copper regulates the transcription of various key genes, mainly by increasing oxidative stress that stimulates an increase in genes whose role is to detoxify free radicals.
  • Copper helps regulate your heart’s rhythm and your thyroid glands, and it is utilized by the body in wound healing.

Including Copper In Your Bone-Healthy Diet

As with other minerals, it’s vital to ingest a bioavailable form of copper, and the most bioavailable form of any nutrient is found in foods.

Here are some of the richest food sources of copper:

*Foundation Food

How Much Copper Do I Need?

The US RDA for copper is 0.9 mg, or 900 micrograms, but given its important role in bone matrix synthesis, I recommend around 2 mg a day. For example, one ounce of sunflower seeds contains 519 micrograms, and one ounce of beef liver has 4,128 micrograms.

When you choose a copper supplement, make sure it’s a chelated form. Chelated copper can be found combined with various amino acids, but the bisglycinate amino acid complex ensures the best bioavailability of this important mineral.

Beyond Calcium: The Save Our Bones Program Recognizes Nutrient Synergy

You might be surprised to see a post on copper on an osteoporosis site. After all, isn’t calcium the mineral you need for stronger bones? While calcium is very important, it does not work in isolation.

Bone health is dependent on the interplay of many biological processes involving multiple nutrients, enzymes, proteins, and more. Calcium and copper are just single nutrients that deserve periodic emphasis and explanation like all Foundation Supplements on the Save Our Bones Program.

Stop Worrying About Your Bone Loss

Join thousands of Savers from around the world who have reversed or prevented their bone loss naturally and scientifically with the Save Our Bones Program.

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You’ll find the list of bone-building nutrients known as Foundation Supplements to be quite extensive. Yet the Program simplifies this vast information so it’s not overwhelming. Instead, it’s clearly presented with scientific studies supporting every point, and all Foundation Supplements are accompanied by lists of alkalizing and acidifying foods that contain them.

If you have any recipes or ideas for using some of the foods in this list, please feel free to share with the community for more delicious ways to get plenty of copper.

Till next time,

References:

1 Guo, CH and Wang, CL. “Effects of zinc supplementation on plasma copper/zinc ratios, oxidative stress, and immunological status in hemodialysis patients.” Int J Med Sci. 2013;10(1):79-89. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23289009

2 Kono, S. “Aceruloplasminemia.” Curr Drug Targets. 2012;13(9):1190-1199. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22515740

3 Johnson, MA, Fischer JG, Kays SE. “Is copper an antioxidant nutrient?” Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1992;32(1):1-31.

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17 comments. Leave Yours Now →
  1. John December 15, 2015, 10:09 pm

    Disapointingly from 2013 to 2015, my spine L1 – L4 has gone from -3.2 to -3.3, I do not think that I’ve been deficient in any minerals, (though I do take some extra ones now, inc. AlgaeCal, though I refuse their Strontium) I eat mainly a raw vegan diet, only drink Pure water, do exercise, never have any of the fosamax etc. , injections (poisons), processed foods or dairy. I think my Osteoporosis is not caused by anything I can do anything about or hormones but that I’m in a wheelchair (SCA genetic) & my bones do not do any weight bearing. I give up & will just have to wait ’till my bones start breaking (although I’m careful)
    But thankyou.

  2. Tina December 12, 2015, 9:24 pm

    Copper and Iron are thought to be the greatest enemies of our brain health. Can you find out more about it ?

    Thank you Vivian.

  3. bj hutter December 7, 2015, 2:00 pm

    I’m 65 and still don’t have a gray hair on me. Doctor said it was because I probably have too much copper in my system… go figure!

  4. rolando December 7, 2015, 1:52 pm

    I’m just new in the community but honestly I’m starting to learn in this “save the bones program” of yours. Thanks Mam for taking the initiative to be able for us to learn how to take care of our bones.God bless!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA December 8, 2015, 10:00 am

      Welcome, Rolando. 🙂

  5. Julie December 7, 2015, 12:26 pm

    Thank you for the recent reminder that cows milk is wrong for humans, like I have always said.. “Cows milk is for baby cows”!!!!
    I have been using what I feel is assisting the promotion of calcium uptake in my body, it’s found in most health food stores, it’s plant based & from the “Garden of Life” company: Vitamin Code- Raw Calcium. I will look at supplementing this product with a good trace mineral tablet & or add some of the foods & nut/seed ideas you have supplied in your email blasts…
    I have recently been to my Primary care Dr. and she asked me whether I’ve been taking my Fosamax as I was given the prescription six months ago. I told her no I have not and she tried again to convince me that with my osteoporosis I should be on the Fosamax! I left with another prescription and again went on the Internet and found that I could not under any circumstances follow her advice. I have been diligently and daily taking the raw calcium formulation that I’ve described above for the last six months instead. However I have not been diligent about my dairy and alcohol intake!!! I will be conforming to more serious & watchful reduction & or elimination of these two products starting today! I appreciate you!

    Thank you for your dedication to a natural organic form of fighting this disease & making it your life’s work!!!
    Julie

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA December 8, 2015, 10:00 am

      Good for you, Julie, for being unafraid to think for yourself and take your health into your own hands!

  6. ela December 7, 2015, 9:02 am

    Yes Coleen, I would like also to know name of right supplement .To me is imposible go only by proper diet to much eating and time chasing right food.

  7. Maureen December 7, 2015, 8:21 am

    Any proof in wearing of copper bracelets, beads that claim effect joints?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA December 7, 2015, 10:35 am

      Hi Maureen,

      Copper is absorbed into the skin and actually retained in tissue, as this study shows:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2945467/

      While it is hard to quantify the amount of copper you absorb this way, transdermal absorption is a valid way to get copper into your system.

  8. Rosemary December 7, 2015, 7:25 am

    I was looking at buying a copper teapot but was worried about getting too much copper in. Years ago, when we didn’t seem to have so many crazy types of diseases, they were cooking with copper. Maybe a cup of tea from a copper teapot might be the ticket. Years ago, there was also an abundance of minerals in our water that seems to have disappeared. With that disappearance comes bone problems today.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA December 7, 2015, 10:36 am

      Interesting point, Rosemary!

  9. regina December 7, 2015, 6:27 am

    most of us are ignorant of how the type of food and medicine . affect our health. Vivian does all the hard work & pass the info to us making it easier to ‘digest ‘The right kind of knowledge will help to keep illnesses at bay.
    thanks for sharing

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA December 7, 2015, 9:42 am

      You are welcome, Regina, and I am glad you find the information “easy to digest”!

  10. Colleen December 7, 2015, 5:52 am

    What is the best vitamin supplement to get all the minerals in the correct form I need to protect my bones ?

    • QuebecCity December 7, 2015, 9:55 am

      Mercila’s multivitamins are the best overall. I have no financial interest in this. Mercola.com

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA December 7, 2015, 9:39 am

      Stay tuned, Colleen – I am not recommending a particular multivitamin at this time, but when I find one that meets the high Save Our Bones standards, the community will be the first to know. 🙂

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