Skin, Hair, Health and the Connection to Copper


By Raghav Bachas

Trace elements in the human body are essential for proper functioning. Copper is a trace element which is essential for metabolism functions regulation in human body. It is the most abundant element in the body after Zinc and iron. The major portion of this trace element is stored in liver, though it is present in all tissues but in very small quantity. Unlike iron, copper cannot be produced by the body and regular intake is required to maintain the balance.

It is utilized to manufacture various enzymes and hormones in the body and some of these acts as anti-oxidants. The enzymes play a crucial role in formation of essential compounds like hemoglobin and collagen. Working together with iron copper aids in formation of red blood corpuscles and also plays a vital role in formation of nerve fibers and the membrane material collagen.

Use of copper by humans can be traced back to earliest civilizations, much before the discovery of microbes. Copper was believed to be pure metal and copper utensils like copper jugs were used to store drinking water. When the microbes were discovered, the scientists discovered that copper had microbial fighting capacity. Anti-microbe properties of copper are being used in industry by making pesticides, fungicides and medicines that contain copper. It also acts as an anti-corrosive agent.

Food Sources of Copper – It is found in liver of all animals and hence is present in abundance in meat. However vegetarians can eat wholegrain cereals, cherries, fruits, green veggies and nuts which are good sources of copper too. Oyster has the most copper by percentage of body weight. The daily intake varies from person to person but the maximum requirement is only 1.5 mg/ day in Adult humans.

Benefits of Copper for Skin – Peptides of copper are elixir for the skin. They help in removing scars and regenerating skin cells. It is the binding material of these peptides. There are many benefits of copper for skin. The main ones are:

  • The anti-inflammatory properties help treat skin irritation and swelling.
  • Helps in Producing elastin and collagen which make the skin firm resulting in young skin.
  • The collagen also helps to reduces lines and wrinkles on the skin.
  • The skin looks clearer due to regeneration of cells and reduced oxidation.
  • Helps to repair protective skin barrier which helps the skin to be scar free.

Benefits for Hair – It helps in formation of melanin the colouring matter in our bodies. SCRP (Skin remodeling copper peptides) are especially beneficial for inhibiting hair growth by healing the scalp and the hair follicles. It is beneficial in following cases:

  • Hair Growth after Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy results in healthy cells dying which include the hair follicles. Copper peptides help in re-growing hair by increasing the subcutaneous fat which protects the follicles.
  • Transplants of Hair – Copper inhibit the re-growth of transplanted hair and reduce the scars developed during the transplant. It peptides are used during the transplant to quicken the healing process.
  • Scalp Medicine – It peptides are used to make hair tonics which increase the number of hair follicles.
  • Reverses Graying – Copper aids in production of melanin which is the pigment which provides cloud to hair. Thus graying of hair can be reversed along with growing a healthy crop on the head.

Benefits for Health – Since copper is vital to the metabolism in our body, it should be supplemented regularly. Not only does it help in metabolism but it also has many other benefits for the body. Some of the benefits are:

  • Promoting Growth – Copper is essential for the growth of body parts and organs. Hence a child should take food rich in copper to avoid copper deficiency.
  • Iron Utilization – Copper aids the body to absorb and effectively use iron. Iron is a crucial component of red blood cells which carry oxygen to all other cells. It also helps to release energy by oxidizing glucose.
  • Strengthens Bones – Copper helps in making collagen a binding sheath between bones and muscles. Hence joints and bones are healthier and symptoms of arthritis and osteoporosis are reduced.
  • Brain Stimulant – By aiding in proper blood flow and oxygen distribution copper helps the brain to work at full potential. Hence it is known as a brain stimulant.
  • Reduces Cholesterol – It breaks down the LDL Cholesterol and thus increases healthy HDL cholesterol. This helps the heart to be healthy and prevents clogging of nerves and arteries.

There are many other benefits of copper like aiding in enzyme production and regulating the thyroid gland. Drinking water kept in copper vessels is very beneficial for health. It also purifies the environment round it by getting rid of harmful microbes. It is indeed the purifying metal as seen by our ancestors thousands of years ago.

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