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Venerable copper… our friend and healer

Copper is one of the oldest metals to be mined and by alloying it with tin (another metal mined thousands of years ago) early man gave us the bronze age. Both on its own and as an alloy, copper has been used as a cooking utensil, for weapons and for healing purposes

We need trace quantities of copper in our diets to ensure that our bones grow healthy and strong. Copper helps promote the formation of collagen and (in conjunction with vitamin C) creates elastin, a protein  required by connective tissue. It plays an important role in the synthesis of chemicals required by the brain, heart and immune system. It is necessary for the production of haemoglobin and myelin (the sheath that covers nerve fibres). It is also an important element for the skin, helping in the synthesis of melanin, the chemical that gives colour of the skin (and hair). Furthermore, copper is also an antioxidant, getting rid of harmful molecules called free radicals which are like saboteurs inside the human body.

Thousands of years before we knew this, early man was able to take in the copper he needed by using the element in cooking utensils. When such utensils were heated, some of the copper got into the food.

Copper also helps to fight bacteria and destroy harmful fungi. Consequently copper was used by healers to treat wounded soldiers, preventing their wounds from becoming infected. Today copper is used by alternative medicine both on its own and in conjunction with magnets to treat anaemia, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. The reason for this effect is that copper can be absorbed through the human skin and one can absorb up to 40% of the daily recommended dose of copper from a copper bracelet.

Now obviously one can also absorb the mineral through ones diet. Red meat (especially liver), shell fish (and other fish), beans, lentils, cereals, nuts, fruits and vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables) all contain copper. On the other hand, other eating practices that are otherwise healthy – such as a high fibre diet – can actually reduce the amount of copper one takes in. The reason for this is that the copper binds to the fibre and the fibre passes through the system. (Remember that the purpose of eating fibre is to increase the speed at which the waste products of digestion are eliminated from the body.) Vitamin C and zinc, though good in themselves, can also reduce the amount of copper that the body retains through the digestive system.

But by adding a source of copper that comes from something other than the digestive system, one can increase the amount of copper in the body. And because magnetism has also been shown to be beneficial to human health, the combination of magnetism and copper can offer added health benefits. One can buy a copper bracelet with embedded magnets from a magnetic products store. And this is not only for women. Magnetic bracelets for men are becoming increasingly popular because of their proven health benefits.