In 1550 BC, the oldest known book, Ebers Papyrus, expounded on the benefits of copper for wound healing and skin health. As far back as 1350 BC, Egypt’s Queen Nefertiti’s selection of copper and malachite eye shadows were likely intended to maintain her youthful beauty.
Copper peptides are becoming increasingly popular in anti-aging products such as skin cream and lotions.
As an essential mineral, copper is utilized by all the tissues of your body. It is critical to overall health because it plays a major role in the absorption of iron, the formation of red blood cells, heart function, muscle strength and immunity.
Copper in the Diet
By eating a balanced diet you can get sufficient amounts of copper through food sources.
If you aren’t getting enough, the symptoms of copper deficiency are similar to anemia – bruising easily, hair loss, weakness, joint pain, tiredness and a flagging immune system, which makes you more susceptible to colds and flu.
Research published in the Journal of Neural Transmission found that copper skin is also beneficial for brain protection because it blocks the buildup of plaque that results in Alzheimer’s Disease.
Zinc is also an essential mineral but it can lower the normal levels of copper in your body so you may need more copper to compensate. These two minerals work in tandem for skin health.
Zinc provides natural sun protection and copper repairs the damage. Zinc can be found in oysters, lobster, crab legs, Angus beef and roasted chicken.
The typical American diet does not contain enough copper or zinc.
Nuts, avocados, whole grains, seeds, oysters, mushrooms, beans and legumes are the best sources of copper.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that adults consume 900mcg of copper daily while women who are pregnant or breastfeeding consume between 1000-1300mcg.
The Importance of Copper Peptides for Youthful Skin
Copper is important to healthy connective tissues throughout the body. Ligaments, tendons and blood vessels internally…hair, skin and nails externally. Copper promotes the production of collagen and elastin.
Young people have an abundance of both compounds – the skin of a 5-year-old is made up of 90% collagen. As we age, our bodies produce less and less – by age 60 our skin contains less than 10% collagen – causing our skin to line, spot, dry and lose elasticity.
Dr. Loren Pickart, PhD first discovered copper peptides – proteins containing copper ions – in the 1970s when he was doing research on body tissue regeneration. He found that the copper peptide GHK-Cu sped the healing of wounds and lesions.
Dr. Pickart’s work is the basis for the use of copper to reduce the appearance of scaring and wrinkles.
He states, “Copper peptides trigger a response that actually removes skin damage and replaces it with newer skin.” Wrinkles and scars are damaged skin cells that grow more apparent with age.
Not only are copper peptides anti-inflammatory, but they also boost the effectiveness of other antioxidants present in the body. GHK-Cu protects your skin from further damage by repairing the skin barrier as it heals already damaged cells, seals in moisture and regenerates new healthy cells.
Going Too Far: Copper Underwear?
Just in case you don’t think you’re doing enough to retain your youth through diet, supplements and skin creams…there is also a new line of undergarments made from fabric that is 66% copper. Yes.
Copper-infused clothing claims to make skin look more youthful, diminish age spots and give skin a healthy ‘glow.’ Manufacturers currently offer shorts, capri leggings, and long-sleeve t-shirts.
Unless manufacturers create a head-to-toe version that resembles a wet suit, it is unclear how the benefits will spread over all of your outer body.
In addition, there’s very little data regarding whether ‘infusing’ your skin with non-stop copper skin could result in toxic levels being absorbed through contact.
Stick with Diet
Best to stick with what nature does best: Food. Eating right for one result – such as anti-aging – will give your entire body benefits. Healthy, youthful skin is just the beginning.