Copper, being a malleable, conductive metal has a wide industrial application and is used in cookware, electronics and plumbing. Its association in jewellery making is well-known. From metallurgical point of view copper is a versatile one. So far unknown is the fact that in the past one decade its role in certain biological functions is gaining importance. Copper is vital for the formation of red blood cells, absorption of iron, development connective tissue and sustains the immune system. A research study done at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and at the University of California, Berkeley, has shown that copper plays a vital role in metabolizing fat, supporting the view that it is an essential nutrient for human physiology. The team of researchers from the Berkeley Lab's observed in their publication July print issue of Nature Chemical Biology July 2016:
"We find that copper is essential for breaking down fat cells so that they can be used for energy," said Chang (lead researcher). "It acts as a regulator. The more copper there is, the more the fat is broken down. We think it would be worthwhile to study whether a deficiency in this nutrient could be linked to obesity and obesity-related diseases." It was the first report on the role of copper in fat metabolism.
The sources of copper in food are many such as oysters and other shellfish, leafy greens, mushrooms, seeds, nuts and beans. Its role in restoring a natural way to burn fat is quite indispensable.
An adult's estimated average dietary requirement for copper is about 700 micro-grams per day, according to FNBIM - the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. The institute estimates only 25 percent of the U.S. population gets enough copper daily.
"Copper is not something the body can make, so we need to get it through our diet," said Chang. " Unlike the typical American or any western country's diet Asian diet includes many green leafy, green vegetables rich in copper."
Based on a detailed study of Wilson's disease in mice (accumulation of copper in liver) and mechanism by which copper influences lipolysis, researchers noted that the mice with Wilson's disease exhibited less fat-breakdown activity compared with control mice. The further study of cell culture analyses of the link between copper and fat breakdown found that copper binds to phosphodiesterase 3, or PDE3, an enzyme that binds to cAMP, halting cAMP's ability to facilitate the breakdown of fat.
"When copper binds phosphodiesterase, it's like a brake on a brake," said Chang. "That's why copper has a positive correlation with lipolysis."
The researchers actually found hints of the link in the field of animal husbandry. Addition research needs to be done in this area. This study has already opened new channels in the area of obesity
(Story Source: Materials provided by DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
Lakshmi Krishnamoorthy, Joseph A Cotruvo, Jefferson Chan, Harini Kaluarachchi, Abigael Muchenditsi, Venkata S Pendyala, Shang Jia, Allegra T Aron, Cheri M Ackerman, Mark N Vander Wal, Timothy Guan, Lukas P Smaga, Samouil)