Looking to lose weight? Your new best friend could be copper. According to research, copper plays a vital role in helping the metabolism in your body, especially when it comes to breaking down fat so that it can be used for energy, an advance that may provide new target to treat obesity.
You may have heard of the beneficial properties of copper in electronics, but it’s a key element in synthesizing iron in the blood, helping in iron absorption, developing connective tissues in muscles, and also supports the immune system. It is also known that copper is needed to form red blood cells.
“We find that copper is essential for breaking down fat cells so that they can be used for energy. It acts as a regulator,” said Chris Chang from University of California, Berkeley, is quoted as saying in a PTI report. “The more copper there is, the more the fat is broken down. We think it would be worthwhile to study whether a deficiency in this nutrient could be linked to obesity and obesity-related diseases.”
Copper is found in rich quantities in foods such as oysters and other shellfish, in addition to leafy greens, mushrooms, seeds, nuts and beans. It’s not an element that’s produced naturally in the body, so we need to incorporate it in the diet to get its full benefits.
Researchers including Lakshmi Krishnamoorthy from University of California made the copper-fat link using genetically mutated mice, which had accumulation of copper in the liver. These mice also have larger than average deposits of fat compared with normal mice. This condition, known as Wilson’s disease, also occurs in humans and could be deadly if not treated. “The abnormal buildup of copper was accompanied by lower than normal lipid levels in the liver compared with control groups of mice,” the report adds.