You can find this anti-aging secret in your walls or in your wallet. It's the foundation for the most under appreciated currency while building pipes worthy of theft. It's copper -- you may think you know what it does, but if you can't see metal in your health and beauty routine, get ready to be surprised.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, copper does occur naturally in the earth, associated with sulfur. In order to produce pure metal, ores are first mined that have the correct amount of copper sulfide minerals. These ores then go through a process of smelting -- melting and fusing the ores to separate their key components -- followed by electrolytic refining, which passes an electrical current through the copper. This process can make the copper up to 99.999% pure, which is particularly important when making copper wiring.
Pretty As a Penny
When it comes to your skin, associating it with metal may have you thinking of the tin man, but don't worry, no metal suit is required to the get the benefits of copper. Copper is vital in the production of collagen, which is the foundation for healthy skin, bones and connective tissues, like those found in your joints. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, collagen is an insoluble fibrous protein and the most abundant protein found in the animal kingdom. Several collagen molecules connect to form long, thin strands called fibrils. These strands join together to form a support structure for your tissues, that help your skin remain resilient with stretching, allowing it to "spring back."
This action helps the skin become tighter and firmer for a smoother complexion. Copper also contributes to skin's tone. Wrinkles can be prevented or become less noticeable over time. Now that you know how to boost it naturally, you can avoid running out for painful injections to get that younger, more refreshed look.
Why else should you love copper?
Copper supports healthy joints by strengthening the connective tissues. According to the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, copper does this by joining with the mineral zinc and vitamin C to form elastin, the specific protein found in your joints. Elastin, too, forms fibrous strands that connect in a lattice-like formation to provide structural support to the connective tissues. Elastin also supports the tissues of the blood vessels and vital organs like the heart and lungs along with skin -- your body's largest organ.
Copper doesn't just help with "soft" tissues, it also supports the growth and development of strong bones. This metal also helps the body utilize iron properly and supports nerve function for a healthy central nervous system.
How to Add Copper to Your Routine
Copper can be found naturally in foods like seafood, nuts, whole grains, beans and organ meats. Not into eating cow's liver? Supplements are available in capsule form. According to the Mayo Clinic, the recommended daily amounts for copper are:
Newborns to three years of age -- 0.4 to 1 mg
Ages four to six -- 1 to 1.5 mg
Ages seven to 10 -- 1 to 2 mg
Adult and teenage girls -- 1.5 to 3 mg
Adult and teenage boys -- 1.5 to 2.5 mg
Follow dosing instructions carefully and consult with your doctor if you're unsure about whether or not you're deficient in copper. Possible side effects include digestive issues, headaches, dizziness, fainting or changes in appetite or taste (metallic).
Copper is also available in skin care products. If you're interested in taking copper for your complexion, as opposed to joint health (i.e. if your doctor has told you you aren't deficient in copper), this is the best way to go to avoid any potential side effects while getting the results you desire. Masks, creams, peels, serums and lotions containing copper are a topical way to boost collagen production. Follow application instructions carefully and do not ingest the product.
Copper is one of the most common metals you encounter in your daily life. Didn't think it could help your health? Now, pass it on. Consider it a new meaning to "paying it forward."