The Essentiality of Copper

Q Why is copper used in Personal Radical Shield when it is an inhibitor of hesperidin?

STEVE, Poplar Bluff, MO

A Copper is an essential trace element that is vital to the health of humans, and all living things, including plants, animals, and microorganisms. Normally our bodies contain copper at about 1.4–2.1 mg for each kg of body weight. Within the body, copper is distributed widely and can be found in liver, muscle, bone, and elsewhere. When copper is initially absorbed in the gut, it travels to the liver bound to albumin. Thereafter, it is transported through the bloodstream for metabolism. Eventual excretion is controlled by the liver, where it is emitted in bile.

Dietary standards for copper have been set by various health agencies around the world. The Institute of Medicine has given copper a daily value of 2 mg. Based on Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw’s analysis, 3 mg is about right for most people.

With most trace elements, there is a pro-oxidative effect if too much is ingested. Copper is no different. However, copper is essential for proper cardiovascular and immune functions. Also, it is needed for the endogenous (in the body) production of copper-zinc superoxide, an important antioxidant enzyme for detoxifying oxygen radical species. A copper deficiency impairs the function of this enzyme and leads to problems that affect the blood, the cardiovascular system, the skeleton, and the central nervous system. Adequate intake of copper is especially important for obese women during weight loss, and it has been known for decades that a copper deficiency can cause bone frailty. Copper is also used by your body, along with phenylalanine, folic acid, and vitamin B6 to produce noradrenaline and dopamine in your brain.

Copper does not inhibit the effects of hesperidin; it is the other way around. When an abundance of copper (as Cu2+) exists in the body, it can serve to oxidize both LDL (the bad cholesterol) and even HDL (the good cholesterol). Hesperidin can inhibit this process. Hesperidin also helps protects against myocardial ischemia/reperfusion damage and apoptosis (a form of programmed death) in heart cells. Along with copper, hesperidin is also found in Personal Radical Shield.

Not everyone should take copper supplements. Wilson’s disease is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder in which copper accumulates in tissues. This can manifest as neurological or psychiatric symptoms and liver disease. Normally, this condition is treated with drugs that reduce copper absorption or remove the excess copper from the body, but occasionally a liver transplant is required. Wilson’s disease occurs in 1 to 4 per 100,000 people. If you have it, or suspect that you might, see your doctor.

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