Functions of copper in the body

Copper is an essential trace element present in all body tissues. A small amount is needed for the body to function, but the body cannot make its own copper. Most copper in the body is found in the liver, brain, heart, kidneys, and skeletal muscle.

An average adult human ingests about 1 mg of copper per day in the diet; about half of which is absorbed. It plays a role in making red blood cells and maintaining nerve cells, and the healthy bones. Copper also aids in iron absorption.

Human body uses copper to carry out many important functions, including making energy, connective tissues, and blood vessels. Copper also helps maintain the immune systems, and activates genes. Human body also needs copper for brain development.

The part copper plays in immune system maintenance and activation, it helps to ensure a healthy supply of white blood cells, many of which are phagocytes that protect the body by engulfing bacteria, foreign particles and dying cells.

As a cofactor for apo-copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (apoCuZnSOD), copper protects against free-radical damage to proteins, membrane lipids, and nucleic acids in a wide range of cells and organs.

The richest dietary copper sources include shellfish, seeds and nuts, organ meats, wheat-bran cereals, whole-grain products, and chocolate.
Functions of copper in the body

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