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Thyroid and Copper Relationship

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On an estimate, over 27 million Americans have suffered from thyroid disorders. Out of this number, there are about 13 million who are left misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. The numbers have been rising due to the fact that the modern world has negatively influenced the thyroid’s ability to perform optimally and the way the cells utilize its hormones.

The thyroid is basically a butterfly-like gland that sits above the trachea in the throat. It secretes three major hormones – calcitonin, triiodothyronine (T3), and thyroxine (T4). These hormones, apart from vitamin D, are the only hormones that affect every cell of the body.

Hence, underproduction (hypothyroidism) or overproduction (hyperthyroidism) can cause a variety of symptoms, like pains and aches, infertility, constipation, digestive issues, mental fog and poor concentration, fatigue, etc.

There are several minerals, especially copper, that play important roles when it comes to the proper functioning of the body. You need copper in sufficient levels to ensure that the thyroid gland is performing properly and preventing thyroid problems.

Background of Copper

According to ancient Egyptian tradition, copper was denoted using the Ankh symbol, which meant eternal life. Ancient Egyptians believed that copper could prolong life if used properly. Copper was used to make utensils for food and water because of its antibacterial properties.

Benefits of copper for the thyroid gland

Copper is a very important mineral that is required for the healthy sustenance of the body. Without this mineral, there would be a lot of issues in the body. It is a must for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Minerals, like zinc, iron, and copper, are known to influence the thyroid function in many ways, such as:

  • They support the functioning of antioxidant enzymes, which helps protect the thyroid gland from oxidative damage, other than many other functions.
  • They help synthesize phospholipids, a type of fat that interacts with the thyroid-stimulating hormone.
  • They support the metabolism of the amino acid called tyrosine, which is required for the production of the thyroid hormone.
  • Copper is needed more by women than men for the production and balance enzymes that convert progesterone into estrogen.
  • Copper works alongside trace minerals, like calcium, potassium, and zinc, to maintain a healthy thyroid gland.
  • Copper is necessary for brain development since its deficiency can leave the hypothalamus unable to regulate the thyroid hormone effectively, according to studies.
  • Since copper is considered a neurotransmitter or a chemical messenger that allows our brain cells to communicate with each other, an imbalanced thyroid gland can lead to depression, anxiety, migraine, etc.

Other benefits of copper

Copper is responsible for over 50 different metabolic reactions that take place in the body. These reactions are the reasons why various organ systems in the body work smoothly and keep the metabolism running.

Copper is also important for the digestive, cardiovascular, and nervous system because of its impact on metabolic processes. A lack of copper nutrients will result in poor metabolic health and its corresponding symptoms, like low energy, sluggish metabolism, etc.

The mineral has an impact on certain pathways of the brain that involve galactose and dopamine. They are neurotransmitters that are essential to keep the energy up and maintain a positive outlook and happy mood.

A lack of copper can result in low metabolic functions, like poor concentration, fatigue, etc. Some studies have shown that copper is also used to utilize antioxidants, like vitamin C, tyrosinase, ascorbate oxidase, and superoxide dismutase.

Copper plays an important role when it comes to growing bones, muscles, and connective tissues. According to a research, deficiency in copper can also result in brittle bones that are not fully developed and prone to breaking, weak joints, muscle weakness, and a lot more.

Foods rich in copper

There are a lot of food items that are rich in copper. Although some foods might not be as enjoyable as others, they are extremely rich in nutrients and minerals like copper. Some of the most common food sources for copper are beets, avocados, nuts, seafood, meat, almonds, grains, and liver.

More specifically, consuming food materials, like sunflower seeds, lobsters, cocoa powder, sesame seeds and oysters, can be your source of copper as well.

Copper interaction

Although copper is good for your thyroid and overall health, consuming the mineral in large amounts can prove to be fatal. Therefore, it is very important that you stick to the recommended level as prescribed by your physician or doctor. High levels of copper can cause anemia, kidney damage, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, etc.

An overload or deficiency of copper can lead to two genetic disorders called Wilson disease and Menkes disease respectively.

However, these diseases are rare and inherited disorders. Those who are affected by either of the two diseases have excessive amounts of copper accumulated in their brains or livers.

Final thoughts

Copper is one of the most important nutrients required by your thyroid gland and body. You need to make sure you are consuming foods with proper levels of copper. But, as stated above, you need to watch how much copper you end up consuming as it could lead to further complications in your body.

A good healthy dose of copper daily is good enough for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland.

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