How to Boost Your Copper Intake to Support Red Blood Cell Production
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Ever heard of copper? It may not be one of the popular mineral nutrient, but it’s super important for your body’s well-being.
Why? Well, one of its major benefits is to help your body make red blood cells. You know, those little oxygen carriers that keep you alive and kicking.
But here’s the thing: if you lack a certain amount of copper in your body, it might lead to problems like anemia and other health issues.
So, in this article, we’re going to discuss about copper, why it’s good for red blood cell production, and share some nifty ways to boost your copper intake.
Before we begin, here are a few things we’re going to cover in this post:
- How copper helps make red blood cells
- What are the symptoms of copper deficiency?
- What are the food and supplement sources of copper?
- How much copper do you need each day?
- How can you boost your copper intake naturally?
Let’s get started!.
What Does Copper Do for Your Red Blood Cells?
Red blood cells, or erythrocytes, are the primary carriers of oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
Copper is a co-factor in hemoglobin synthesis.
In fact, copper is an important component of many enzymes and proteins involved in this process.
This mineral is a key player in red blood cell production, including:
- Iron absorption. Although vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron, copper also does the same. But the only thing is, copper aids the body to absorb iron to produce healthy red blood cells.
- Hemoglobin production. Copper is a cofactor for several enzymes that are involved in hemoglobin synthesis, such as ceruloplasmin, hephaestin, and cytochrome c oxidase. These enzymes with the help of copper convert iron into a form that is used in hemoglobin synthesis.
- Red blood cell maturation. Copper is also necessary for the maturation of red blood cells in the bone marrow. If there’s no copper in your body, red blood cells are more likely to be destroyed before they are released into the bloodstream.
- Antioxidant protection. Copper protects your red blood cells from oxidative damage. It acts as an antioxidant, helping to keep the integrity and function of these vital cells.
Symptoms of Copper Deficiency
Copper deficiency is rare, it occurs in people with menkes disease, wilson’s disease, and malabsorption syndromes.
Copper deficiency also occurs in people who have undergone bariatric surgery or who have had prolonged intravenous feeding.
Some common symptoms include:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Frequent sickness
- Weak and brittle bones
- Problems with memory and learning
- Difficulties walking
- Increased cold sensitivity
- Pale skin
- Premature gray hair
- Vision loss
- Low body temperature
- Bone fractures and osteoporosis
- Low white blood cell count
- Irregular heartbeat
- Loss of pigment from the skin
- Thyroid problems
Copper deficiency can be treated by increasing copper intake through diet or supplements, and in severe cases, it may be given intravenously.
What Happens When Your Body Doesn’t Have Enough Copper?
Copper deficiency can have severe consequences for red blood cell production and your overall health.
When the body lacks copper, several issues can arise:
- Anemia: Copper deficiency may lead to anemia, resulting in fatigue, weakness, and other symptoms.
- Impaired iron absorption: Without sufficient copper, the body’s ability to absorb and use iron from dietary sources diminishes. This therefore exacerbate anemia and further weakens the body.
- Poor hemoglobin synthesis: Copper aids in the synthesis of hemoglobin, so a deficiency can reduce your hemoglobin levels and oxygen-carrying capacity.
- Oxidative stress: Copper deficiency can lead to increased oxidative stress and damage to red blood cells, making them less effective at their oxygen-carrying function.
What is The Recommended Daily Intake for Copper?
The RDA for copper is the amount of copper that most healthy individuals need to meet their nutritional requirements.
The RDA for copper is different, and it depends on age, sex, and pregnancy status:
- Adults: 900 micrograms (mcg) per day
- Pregnant women: 1,000 mcg per day
- Lactating women: 1,300 mcg per day
- Children and adolescents:
- Age 1–3 years: 340 mcg per day
- Age 4–8 years: 440 mcg per day
- Age 9–13 years: 700 mcg per day
- Age 14–18 years: 890 mcg per day
The amount of copper you need for optimal health depends on your age, sex, activity level, and health status.
But most people can still meet their copper needs by eating a well-balanced diet that includes different copper-rich foods.
How to Boost Your Copper Intake
Ensuring that you get enough copper is important for making red blood cells and staying healthy.
Here are some easy tips to help you increase your copper intake.
1. Dietary Sources
The most natural way to increase your copper intake is through your diet. Foods rich in copper include:
- Shellfish (oysters, crabs)
- Nuts and seeds (cashews and sunflower seeds)
- Organ meats (liver, kidney)
- Legumes (lentils, chickpeas)
- Dark chocolate (in moderation)
- Whole grains (brown rice, barley)
The recommended daily intake of copper for both adult men and women is 900 mcg and 700 mcg respectively.
Here are some of the recipes and meal ideas to help you increase your copper intake:
- Oatmeal with berries, nuts, and seeds.
- Whole-wheat toast with avocado and eggs.
- Smoothie made with spinach, banana, yogurt, and milk.
- Salad with grilled salmon, spinach, avocado, and almonds.
- Lentil soup with a side salad.
- Quinoa bowl with chickpeas, roasted vegetables, and tahini dressing.
- Stir-fry with shrimp, broccoli, and cashews.
- Roasted chicken with roasted vegetables.
- Beef liver tacos with guacamole and salsa.
Tips for Incorporating Copper-Rich Foods into Your Diet:
- Make copper-rich foods a regular part of your meals and snacks. Add a serving of copper-rich food at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as at snack time.
- Choose different copper-rich foods. This will help you ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients that copper has to offer.
- Cook copper-rich foods in healthy ways. Steaming, baking, and grilling are all good cooking methods for copper-rich foods.
- Pair copper-rich foods with other nutrient-rich foods. Eg; you could pair a serving of copper-rich seafood with a serving of spinach or a whole grain.
By following these tips, you can easily add copper-rich foods into your diet and reap the many health benefits that copper has to offer.
If you struggle to get enough copper through your diet, consider copper supplements:
- 4-In-1 Bio-Active Copper Hydrosol Liquid For Daily Wellness (16 Fl. Oz.)
- 4-In-1 Bio-Active Copper Hydrosol Liquid For Daily Wellness (8 Fl. Oz.)
- Calcium Pro+ With Magnesium, Zinc, Copper, Boron, Vitamin D3 + K2 (120 Capsules)
- 4-In-1 Bio-Active Copper Hydrosol Liquid For Daily Wellness (4 Fl. Oz.)
- Zinc And Copper + Probiotics 2 Billion CFUs – Vegan (90 Capsules)
4. Water Supply
Some regions have water supplies with naturally occurring copper, and drinking water can be a source of this essential mineral.
If your water supply is copper-rich, it may also contribute to your daily intake.
5. Maintain Balance
It is important to have the right amount of copper and zinc in your diet. Zinc competes with copper for absorption, so high intakes of zinc might lead to copper deficiency.
In a nutshell, copper might not be a well-known mineral nutrient, but it’s essential for your body’s health by producing red blood cells.
If you lack copper in your body, you might have issues like anemia and other health problems. Remember these key takeaways:
- Copper is important for red blood cell production.
- Copper deficiency can lead to anemia, weak iron absorption, and more.
- Know the recommended daily copper intake.
- Boosting your copper intake naturally is easy with foods like shellfish, nuts, and legumes.
- Supplements and even your water supply can also help.
Taking all these steps to keep your copper levels balanced will support the efficient transport of oxygen in your body, and help in the making of red blood cells.