Is Copper Causing Alzheimer’s?

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brainplaqueAccording to a recent study from the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Neurosurgery Department, copper seems to be one of the main environmental factors to trigger the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The results of the study point to the accumulation of toxic proteins within the brain, which are prevented from escaping — thanks, in large part, to the accumulation of copper.

It appears that copper, which is found in drinking water and nutritional supplements, as well as red meat, shellfish, nuts and certain vegetables and fruits, accumulates in the brain over time. The accumulation of a lifetime’s worth of copper is detrimental to the body’s ability to flush out certain proteins (including amyloid beta). An accumulation of these proteins and toxins will lead to the formation of the plaques that cause and accelerate Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s widely known throughout the medical and neuroscience communities that copper plays an important role in the proper and healthy development of bone growth, nerve conduction, hormone secretion, and the formation of connective tissue. However, the neurological study seems to point out that the mineral also accumulates over time, causing a breakdown in the blood-brain barrier. This barrier is the brain’s system for controlling exactly what enters and what is flushed from the brain. With a breakdown in the blood-brain barrier, toxic levels of proteins build up and Alzheimer’s follows.

For now, the neuroscience study and its findings must be met and interpreted with extreme caution. Copper is essential to many of the body’s functions. The negative effects only appear after years and years of exposure and the subsequent accumulation. The key for future scientific studies will be learning to strike the perfect balance between too much copper consumption, and not enough.

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