Can copper ingestion link to Alzheimer’s?

Can copper ingestion link to Alzheimer’s?

Is there a relationship between copper intake and developing Alzheimer’s? A new study finds too much ingested copper can be harmful to the brain. Scientists at the University of Rochester in New York theorize that high levels of copper interfere with the brain’s blood barrier.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, roughly 5.2 million Americans have this disease or some form of dementia. The disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.

People with Alzheimer’s develop plaques in the brain, microscopic clumps of a protein called beta-amyloid peptide. These plaques are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Neuroscientist Rashid Deane, lead researcher of the study, found that a “steady diet of copper, even at entirely allowable levels, breaks down the barrier that keeps toxins from penetrating the brain, and that it fuels an increase in production of beta-amyloid but impedes the performance of proteins that clear the stuff from the brain.”

The study raises as many questions as it tries to answer. How much copper is enough and how much is too much? The results of the study didn’t lead to any conclusions on the optimal level of copper. The study suggests that in the future, diet may be a critical factor in preventing Alzheimer’s.

According the National Institutes of Health (NIH), copper can be found in many foods making it very difficult to remove from your diet entirely. Trace amounts are found in water flowing from copper pipes. But also copper can be found in oysters, shellfish, whole grains, beans, nuts, potatoes and organ meats like kidneys and liver. The NIH says that copper works with iron to assist the body to make red blood cells and to keep blood vessels, nerves, the immune system and bones healthy.

Deane believes that copper’s cumulative effect can impair the systems by which amyloid beta is removed from the brain leading to plaque formations.

 

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.