Is Copper Responsible for the Uptick in Alzheimer’s?

Jessica Gwinn
By Jessica GwinnAugust 23, 2013

Alzheimer’s disease is still a mystery in many ways. And with the approach of the Silver Tsunami—aging baby boomers reaching 65+ in record number each day—the government and private researchers are on a mission to learn more about the epidemic and, hopefully, find a cure. Some troubling new findings indicate we now have to look out for a hidden problem: copper found in our drinking water and in the produce aisle. 

There are myriad vitamins, minerals and metals that experts say can play a beneficial role in keeping the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay. Iron, for example, is thought to prevent anemia and new studies are linking anemia to dementia. But a new study shows that copper could prove highly problematic.

This study, conducted at the University of Rochester Medical Center, suggests that copper, a metal that’s found in our common drinking water as well as produce, makes it unfeasible for the body to clear amyloid beta from the brain.

As the findings, published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, suggest that while cholesterol and copper work to ensure normal brain function, “recent evidence indicates they may both be important factors in the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Making matters worse, copper seems to also play a role in the production of amyloid beta in the brain. The study, using both mice and human cells, shows that “the copper accumulated in the vessels going to the brain, is stopping the functioning of a protein called LRP1 that typically works to remove amyloid beta. Researchers found the same action in the human cells, too.”

Based on these findings, we should all be avoiding copper. How can we be more careful about purifying our drinking water and avoiding copper in our produce? What will you be doing to ensure you don’t consume copper?

Jessica Gwinn

Jessica Gwinn

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