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Copper is absolutely critical when it comes to living long and strong in vibrant health. Too much of a good thing can, well, be too much of a good thing! Copper can either be out of ratio with zinc, it can be hidden copper, or it can be the wrong kind.
Let me explain…
You see, copper comes in two forms, food-based and synthetic. Food-based, or monovalent, is found in foods such as avocado, asparagus, liver, mushrooms, nuts, and chocolate. It’s considered an essential nutrient and is used to help form red blood cells as well as perform many other important roles in the body. Food-based copper is bioavailable and it’s critical for your body to build collagen – which we all need for radiant, wrinkle-free skin, among other things.
But synthetic, or divalent, copper is bio-unavailable and is found mainly in environmental sources, like drinking water coming from copper pipes and many multivitamin/mineral supplements. Copper-lined cookware, copper intrauterine devices, dental amalgams, fungicides for swimming pools and copper wiring often found in homes and offices are other common sources.
The problem is that this divalent copper accumulates silently and stealthily over a period of many years. Symptoms associated with copper toxicity include depression, insomnia, anorexia nervosa, anxiety, various skin disorders, hair loss, and allergies. Weight gain as well as food cravings, mood swings, fatigue and yeast infections are also common symptoms. And if that’s not enough, consider that copper overload causes serious neurological damage by switching on an inflammatory response in the brain that begins to fuse beta-amyloid to plaque, eventually leading to the destruction of brain cells.
Copper toxicity alters our brain and changes the way we age because unlike monovalent copper, some divalent copper is absorbed directly into the blood, slowly causing cognitive decline. In fact, there is a very real link between copper toxicity and Alzheimer’s disease. I’ve long noted how the rise of Alzheimer’s seemed to mirror the use of copper plumbing introduced in the 20th century.
Dr. George Brewer, a professor at the University of Michigan Medical School, agrees. Considered one of the country’s leading experts on copper toxicity, Dr. Brewer explains that “when I educated myself about the history and current status of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), two facts made a huge impression on me. These facts were that while we had an epidemic of AD in developed countries, this epidemic wasn’t occurring in undeveloped countries. Second, the epidemic was new, starting during the 1900s. These facts gave me what I like to call my first epiphany about AD – namely, some environmental cause of the disease had occurred in developed countries during the 1900s.”
Dr. Brewer summarizes his findings in the science communication publication Scientia Global, where he asserts that excess inorganic (divalent) copper (or copper-2) has a direct link to Alzheimer’s. He remarks that, “Ingestion of divalent copper in the form of copper-containing supplement pills has been shown to decrease cognition at six times the normal rate.”
In my new book, Radical Longevity, you’ll find ways to deal with copper toxicity to greatly reduce your chances of developing dementia and other debilitating health problems. Plus, you’ll discover six targeted copper solutions like how to test your drinking water and how to balance copper with the right foods and supplements.
Best of all, when you’re searching for a copper-free supplement, consider UNI KEY Health’s Advanced Daily Multivitamin. This copper-free plus iron-free formula is truly remarkable! It contains highly absorbable forms of all the essential vitamins and minerals as well as additional research-proven, key nutrients for enhanced immune support. It has the ideal ratio of calcium to magnesium to optimize calcium absorption for strong bones and relaxed muscles, chromium for healthy blood sugar support, iodine to support the thyroid, increased vitamin D for immunity and brain health, as well as plant-based enzymes to assure delivery of these nutrients into your system.
To learn more about staying sharp for the long game, read my blog, The Number 1 Way to Stave Off Cognitive Dysfunction. And, for a fun and informative age-defying boost in the kitchen, listen to my recent podcast A.G.E.-less Chef with Sandra Woodruff.