Alzheimer’s disease linked with copper

20 August 2013 Last updated at 00:46 Share this pageEmailPrint

Copper linked to Alzheimer’s disease

By James Gallagher

A lifetime of too much copper in our diets may be contributing to Alzheimer’s disease, US scientists say.

However, research is divided, with other studies suggesting copper may actually protect the brain.

The latest study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed high levels of copper left the brain struggling to get rid of a protein thought to cause the dementia.

Copper is a vital part of our diet and necessary for a healthy body.

Tap water coming through copper pipes, red meat and shellfish as well as fruit and vegetables are all sources of dietary copper.

The study on mice, by a team at the University of Rochester in New York, suggested that copper interfered with the brain’s shielding – the blood brain barrier.

Mice that were fed more copper in their water had a greater build-up of the metal in the blood vessels in the brain.

The team said this interfered with the way the barrier functioned and made it harder for the brain to get rid of a protein called beta amyloid.

One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease is the formation of plaques of amyloid in the dying brain.

Lead researcher Dr Rashid Deane said: “It is clear that, over time, copper’s cumulative effect is to impair the systems by which amyloid beta is removed from the brain.”

He told the BBC that copper also led to more protein being produced: “It’s a double whammy of increased production and decreased clearance of amyloid protein.

“Copper is a very essential metal ion and you don’t want a deficiency and many nutritious foods also contain copper.”

However, he said taking supplements may be “going overboard a bit”.

Mixed evidence
Commenting on the latest findings, Chris Exley, professor of bioinorganic chemistry at Keele University, said there was “no true consensus” on the role of copper in Alzheimer’s disease.

His research on human brains reached the opposite conclusion: “In our most recent work we found evidence of lower total brain copper with ageing and Alzheimer’s. We also found that lower brain copper correlated with higher deposition of beta amyloid in brain tissue.

“He said at the moment we would expect copper to be protective and beneficial in neurodegeneration, not the instigator, but we don’t know.

“The exposure levels used mean that if copper is acting in the way they think it does in this study then it must be doing so in everyone.”

Dr Eric Karran, from Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “While the findings present clues to how copper could contribute to features of Alzheimer’s in mice, the results will need replicating in further studies. It is too early to know how normal exposure to copper could be influencing the development or progression of Alzheimer’s in people. ”

Dr Doug Brown, from the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Considering copper is a vital mineral for the body, people should treat these results with caution and not cut it out of their diet. More research is needed to understand the role that copper might play in the brain.”

One comment

  • theunhivedmind

    First of all, copper from copper pipes is not organic and should never enter the human body. In order for any mineral to be properly utilized in the body it must be converted from inorganic to organic by plants. If you wish to remove inorganic copper from the body you can simply take plant based copper and it will remove all over time the inorganic. A herb that is rich in copper would be Red Clover. You could of course just use a homoeopathic preparation of copper instead of the herbs.

    The reason they are putting this information out in the article above is quite simple. The amount of dementia is about to sky-rocket and they want to create a diversion from the real culprits. Instead of copper you should be focusing on aluminium. Why would they want less focus on aluminium? Well take a look at the main component of the Stratospheric Aerosol Geo-engineering and you will see it is aerosolized aluminium. This is being thrown over the populace on a daily basis. Another culprit is the Statin drugs and the brainwashing against eating saturated fats. Take a look at how much better people with dementia get when they simply take virgin coconut oil in large dosages. Drinking alcohol does not help either it is a drying out agent, spill some on your skin and watch what it does. Anything that damages the kidney functioning like almost all drugs can produce brain problems since the kidneys master the brain.

    -= The Unhived Mind

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