Copper Health Benefits
Copper health benefits include help in preventing BPH and prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), and involvement in the formation of red blood cells, brain function, and hormone and antioxidant activities. Although the body has only a tiny amount of copper, this mineral is important if you are taking zinc supplements, because zinc inhibits absorption of copper and may lead to a deficiency.
In fact, people who take zinc supplements often need to take copper to ensure the body gets enough because it competes with zinc for absorption and utilization in the body. Zinc is a mineral that plays a significant role in prostate health. Copper health benefits regarding prostate health, BPH, and prostatitis is related to its association with zinc. That’s why it’s important to maintain a healthy balance of zinc and copper, which is about a 10:1 ratio.
Another reason to maintain a healthy balance of zinc and copper was revealed in a 2012 study. The authors reported that “low levels of selenium and zinc and high levels of copper, iron and manganese appear to be associated with the risk of prostate cancer.”
In addition to failing to balance copper intake with zinc intake, a copper deficiency can be caused by high consumption of vitamin C or iron. Both of these nutrients can decrease copper absorption. If you are older than 60, you may have an inadequate amount of stomach acid, which hinders the body’s ability to absorb minerals like copper and zinc. A copper deficiency is characterized by fatigue, skin sores, slow wound healing, hair loss, diarrhea, and edema.
The RDA for copper in men is 900 micrograms daily. Copper is found in significant amounts in crimini mushrooms, sesame seeds, and a wide variety of leafy greens (e.g., Swiss chard, turnip greens, kale, spinach, mustard greens). Men who want to explore copper health benefits should consult their healthcare provider before beginning supplementation.
Karimi G et al. Association between trace element and heavy metal levels in hair and nail with prostate cancer. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention 2012; 13(9): 4249-53
University of Maryland Medical Center: