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Health Benefits of Utilizing Copper

When researchers reported last month that the novel coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic survives for days on glass and stainless steel but dies within hours after landing on copper, the only thing that surprised Bill Keevil was that the pathogen lasted so long on copper.

Keevil, a microbiology researcher at the University of Southampton (U.K.), has studied the antimicrobial effects of copper for more than two decades. He has watched in his laboratory as the simple metal slew one bad bug after another. He began with the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s Disease and then turned to drug-resistant killer infections like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). He tested viruses that caused worldwide health scares such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and the Swine Flu (H1N1) pandemic of 2009. In each case, copper contact killed the pathogen within minutes. “It just blew it apart,” he says.

In 2015, Keevil turned his attention to Coronavirus 229E, a relative of the COVID-19 virus that causes the common cold and pneumonia. Once again, copper zapped the virus within minutes while it remained infectious for five days on surfaces such as stainless steel or glass.

“One of the ironies is, people [install] stainless steel because it seems clean and in a way, it is,” he says, noting the material’s ubiquity in public places. “But then the argument is how often do you clean? We don’t clean often enough.” Copper, by contrast, disinfects merely by being there.

Ancient Knowledge

Keevil’s work is a modern confirmation of an ancient remedy. For thousands of years, long before they knew about germs or viruses, people have known of copper’s disinfectant powers. “Copper is truly a gift from Mother Nature in that the human race has been using it for over eight millennia,” says Michael G. Schmidt, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina who researches copper in healthcare settings.

The first recorded use of copper as an infection-killing agent comes from Smith’s Papyrus, the oldest-known medical document in history. The information therein has been ascribed to an Egyptian doctor circa 1700 B.C. but is based on information that dates back as far as 3200 B.C. Egyptians designated the ankh symbol, representing eternal life, to denote copper in hieroglyphs.

As far back as 1,600 B.C., the Chinese used copper coins as medication to treat heart and stomach pain as well as bladder diseases. The sea-faring Phoenicians inserted shavings from their bronze swords into battle wounds to prevent infection. For thousands of years, women have known that their children didn’t get diarrhea as frequently when they drank from copper vessels and passed on this knowledge to subsequent generations. “You don’t need a medical degree to diagnose diarrhea,” Schmidt says.

And copper’s power lasts. Keevil’s team checked the old railings at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal a few years ago. “The copper is still working just like it did the day it was put in over 100 years ago,” he says. “This stuff is durable and the anti-microbial effect doesn’t go away.”

The East Tower of the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh. The contrast between the refurbished copper installed in 2010 and the green color of the original 1894 copper is clearly seen.
The East Tower of the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh. The contrast between the refurbished copper installed in 2010 and the green color of the original 1894 copper is clearly seen. (Wiki Commons)

Long-Lasting Power

What the ancients knew, modern scientists and organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency have confirmed. The EPA has registered about 400 copper surfaces as antimicrobial. But how exactly does it work?

Heavy metals including gold and silver are antibacterial, but copper’s specific atomic makeup gives it extra killing power, Keevil says. Copper has a free electron in its outer orbital shell of electrons that easily takes part in oxidation-reduction reactions (which also makes the metal a good conductor). As a result, Schmidt says, it becomes a “molecular oxygen grenade.” Silver and gold don’t have the free electron, so they are less reactive.

Copper kills in other ways as well, according to Keevil, who has published papers on the effect. When a microbe lands on copper, ions blast the pathogen like an onslaught of missiles, preventing cell respiration and punching holes in the cell membrane or viral coating and creating free radicals that accelerate the kill, especially on dry surfaces. Most importantly, the ions seek and destroy the DNA and RNA inside a bacteria or virus, preventing the mutations that create drug-resistant superbugs. “The properties never wear off, even if it tarnishes,” Schmidt says.

Schmidt has focused his research on the question of whether using copper alloys in often-touched surfaces reduces hospital infections. On any given day, about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control, costing as much as $50,000 per patient. Schmidt’s landmark study, funded by the Department of Defense, looked at copper alloys on surfaces including bedside rails, tray tables, intravenous poles, and chair armrests at three hospitals around the country. That 43-month investigation revealed a 58 percent infection reduction compared to routine infection protocols.

Further research stalled when the DOD focused on the Zika epidemic, so Schmidt turned his attention to working with a manufacturer that created a copper hospital bed. A two-year study published earlier this year compared beds in an intensive care unit with plastic surfaces and those with copper. Bed rails on the plastic surfaces exceeded the accepted risk standards in nearly 90 percent of the samples, while the rails on the copper bed exceeded those standards on only 9 percent. “We again demonstrated in spades that copper can keep the built environment clean from microorganisms,” he says.

Schmidt is also a co-author of an 18-month study led by Shannon Hinsa-Leasure, an environmental microbiologist at Grinnell College, that compared the bacterial abundance in occupied and unoccupied rooms at Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s 49-bed rural hospital. Again, copper reduced bacterial numbers. “If you’re using a copper alloy that’s always working,” Hinsa-Leasure says, “you still need to clean the environment, but you have something in place that’s working all the time (to disinfect) as well.”

The Benefits of Working With Copper

Too much copper have adverse effect on our body, but drinking out of a copper vessel or cup up to 4 times a week will ensure getting its benefits. This simple lifestyle change is able to make huge difference in your overall health!

How Does Copper Affect Our Bodies?

Besides being used for tools and jewelry, copper has been used for is medicinal properties. Vedic people and ancient Egyptians have noticed that copper vessels keep the water fresh and safe to drink, so they used them to store large quantities of water.

This ancient belief is confirmed by the modern science, according to which large amounts of this heavy metal aren’t safe for our health, but on the other hand, small ones might show incredible results. Therefore, get yourself a copper mug and read how drinking from it can be beneficial for your overall health.

1. Stimulates The Brain

In days when you feel slow and sluggish, copper might help you to speed up your brain. The body can be stimulated to produce and restore myelin sheaths, which take significant part of the brain’s nervous system, as well as to enable synapses transferring from one point to another with the help of copper as a micronutrient. Copper will enhance the health of your myelin sheaths, thus enabling those synapses to jump from one place to another with a lightning speed.

2. Soothes Joints

Wearing copper around the skin or consuming it, has been considered to effectively treat joint pain, especially if it oxidizes and becomes green, coloring the skin around it too. Although this might be more folktale treatment rather than a real remedy, the belief is that it can stimulate the growth of lost cartilage, thus relieving some pain related to joint pain such as arthritis. The scientific community is still questionable regarding this theory, but the longtime practitioners on the other hand are swearing that copper has helped them with their swollen and sore joints.

3. Helps the Digestive System

Copper is able to stimulate the digestive muscles’ contractions which in turn helps waste move quicker through the intestines, towards its final elimination from the organism. That’s why consuming copper in small amounts can lead to more efficient digestion. Moreover, copper destroys bacteria, which can be beneficial for elimination of harmful microorganisms that can result in upset stomach. However, the consummation of copper should also be limited to avoid harming the “good” gut bacteria.

4. Balances the Thyroid

One of the many trace nutrients required by the body for performing the daily functions is copper. Copper deficiency is often linked to thyroid disorders like hyper- or hypothyroidism. This condition is related to major hormonal fluctuations, weight changes, and mood changeability, so your body might balance the thyroid function if you use some copper supplements, and thus restore the order in your body.

5. Support Cardiovascular System

U.S. Department of Agriculture has proved that supplementary copper might improve the vascular and heart health, although this doesn’t mean that copper is solution to all cardiovascular issues. Although copper can’t be regarded as a replacement for a prescribed medication or a healthy lifestyle, still supplementary copper might help decrease the plaque in arteries and open up blood vessels, thus helping to avoid or enhance blockages.

6. Strengthenes Hair

Cooper micronutrient is a crucial component in the melanin production, and since it is important part of the hair health, it can be really beneficial for restoring thinning hair. It also increases the hair follicles and lowers the time needed for hair growth and length, so copper can help in regrowing hair after chemo. Copper increases melanin in hair so it can also slow down the graying process.

7. Supports the Spleen and Liver

According to the Vedic wisdom, copper is beneficial for the spleen, liver, and lymphatic system. However, this belief is probably true only in times of copper deficiency as the liver filters out the excess metals like copper in the blood.

8. Improves Skin

The production of melanin beneficial for the hair is equally beneficial for the skin too. Copper peptides can help stimulate production of healthy skin cells and smoothness, and are also beneficial for healing dry or damaged skin. Moreover, they stimulate the production of collagen, which improves the health and elasticity of skin.

Source: http://www.littlethings.com