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Could Copper Be Linked to Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's Disease

There may be a new culprit in the development of Alzheimer's disease...copper. Yes, copper. A new research study from the University of Rochester Medical Center indicates that this mineral may have strong links to the degenerative brain disease. Since Alzheimer's disease currently affects an estimated 36 million people worldwide, this research study could be particularly noteworthy.

The study found that ingesting high levels of copper may eventually lead to the development of Alzheimer's disease. Copper is most commonly ingested in our diet, most often in foods like red meat and shellfish. It can also be consumed by eating fruits and vegetables that have absorbed copper from the ground water or even from drinking tap water.

How could copper be linked to Alzheimer's disease? Well, the study found that copper can break down the blood brain barrier. This means that what enters and exits the brain is affected - impacting the mind and body. During the study, researchers gave mice water with copper in it to see how their brains would react. The amount of copper given to the mice was similar to the amount that a human would consume from a regular diet. The results found that copper in the water lead to high levels of beta amyloid, which is a type of protein that commonly leads to a plaque build-up in the brain. This plaque build-up is often linked to Alzheimer's disease.

The research study was conducted by Rashid Deane, a professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center, in the department of neurosurgery. The study was published earlier this month. It found that a high amount of copper ingestion also slowed down the brain's ability to clear out that plaque build-up. What this means is that not only can copper bring on Alzheimer's disease - it can also contribute to the progression of it. This is what the research team is calling a "double-whammy."

Researchers feel their findings indicated that there is "strong evidence that copper is a key player in Alzheimer's disease." They also stated that the link between copper consumption and Alzheimer's disease appeared to take place over a long period of time - hence why the disease would typically occur later on in life.

While this new research indicates a number of interesting connections between copper intake and the development of Alzheimer's disease, a human study has yet to be conducted. So, before you start dramatically cutting down your copper intake, pause. These results are still in the very early stages. Keep in mind that the study indicated that too much copper - or too little - may have negative results on the body. The key is to be mindful, but don't make any major least not yet. The most important thing to do right now is try to find a balance. The researchers responsible for this study are still trying to determine exactly what that balance should be.

Alzheimer's disease is truly painful to endure and to watch. It's no wonder that any and all research is making major waves in the news. When it comes to the link between copper and the development of Alzheimer's disease, the results are promising...but they aren't a done deal. It is important to focus on other forms of prevention - as well as keep up with the latest research studies.

Are you looking for more information about the latest Alzheimer's news, like the link between copper and Alzheimer's disease? Contact the Age Matters Clinic at: 647-268-0620. We understand how to improve the life of Alzheimer's and memory loss patients.