In the HTMA world, copper often gets a bad rap (and rightfully so) because when biounavailable, the body cannot use it properly and things tend to go haywire.
To review, whether copper shows low or high on a hair tissue mineral analysis, both are actually a representation of a copper deficiency.
In both cases, copper is not being properly utilized by the body and is therefore biounavailable.
But what does it look like when someone has enough bioavailable copper?
In other words—what is copper’s role in the bodily system?
Well, copper is actually crucial to the proper functioning of at least 5 bodily systems such as the circulatory, skeletal, nervous, reproductive, and endocrine systems.
Having enough bioavailable copper allows the circulatory system to work effectively.
Copper increases the absorption of iron, which it works with to form hemoglobin and build red blood cells.
Without enough copper, hemoglobin cannot be properly synthesized, thus not enough oxygen can be carried throughout the body leading to anemia.
Copper is also needed in collagen synthesis to form connective tissue (arteries, veins, ligaments, tendons, skin, hair, and nails) and bones.
Collagen is what keeps the skin elastic and strong and also makes up 90% of your bone matrix proteins.
So, without the proper amount of bioavailable copper, you’re more prone to break bones and nails as well as worsen conditions like scoliosis and increase cardiovascular problems.
Because copper raises estrogen levels, it plays a key role in women’s fertility and maintaining pregnancies.
However, an excess of copper can cause PMS symptoms, cysts in the reproductive organs, infertility, miscarriages, and a low libido.
Copper stimulates brain function via the enzyme monoamine oxidase (needed to produce serotonin) and the neurotransmitters epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenaline), and dopamine (activated in the reward-center of the brain).
Thus, any improper amount of copper can cause a ruckus in the central nervous system— causing disorders like depression, anxiety, ADD, schizophrenia, and autism.
A final example is copper’s role in energy production.
It is necessary in the electron transport system of the Krebs cycle and provides up to 40% of the body’s energy.
Someone who does not have enough copper will not be producing enough energy and will likely be experiencing adrenal fatigue.
As you can see, bioavailable copper plays a major role in keeping us healthy through a variety of ways.
It may only be needed in small amounts, but those small amounts keep your bones and arteries in tact, your brain functioning, all while maintaining your energy and libido levels.
So while we acknowledge the problems caused by biounavailable copper (AKA copper toxicity) let’s remember that copper is only an issue when it can’t be utilized by the body to get us through our day to day lives.
Find out if your chronic symptoms are being caused by copper toxicity and sign up for a free consultation with Dr. Robert Selig to see if you would be a fit for a custom care plan where we work one-on-one with you to help improve your chronic health issues.