Copper has had a serious moment recently. From homewares to eye makeup, the dark horse of the metal world was pretty much everywhere in 2016. But this year, a different type of copper is about to have its moment in the sun – the type you ingest! Don’t worry, we’re not going to suggest you take a bite out of your metallic goods (in fact, we strongly advise against it!) We’re talking about dietary copper, the next big thing in the wellness world.
As wellness tonics and drinks become more popular, we’ve also seen a big rise in copper ingestibles- as well as gold and silver. These metallic formulas are basically just high-quality water, flecked with the precious metals. Mix them into alkaline water or green juice and the result is super gorgeous. But are these shiny, gilded drinks actually healthy?
Before you shell out your hard-earned cash on the latest health craze, here’s what you should know about drinking food-grade heavy metals.
By far the most popular of the ingestible metals, colloidal silver is easy to find in the supplement aisle of your local health food store under the “antibacterial” category. Silver in all forms is naturally antifungal and antibacterial. For this reason, it’s often woven into athletic garments to help beat lingering sweaty odours. But silver that’s safe for human consumption is particularly good at destroying pathogens. In fact, a UCLA Medical School study found that colloidal silver killed over 650 types of disease-causing bacteria and viruses after just a few minutes of exposure.
Because it’s so good at destroying nasty bacteria that would otherwise require an antibiotic, colloidal silver is often used to treat topical wounds and issues. For those struggling with acne, it’s excellent to drink or apply topically to kill the bacteria in pores results in pimples.
Honestly, there aren’t too many completed studies or experiments available that decidedly prove gold to be beneficial to the body. Other than a 1997 study in the Journal of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, which found that patients suffering from chronic inflammation (arthritis, bursitis, rheumatism, or tendonitis) reported that ingesting colloidal gold helped with pain more than a placebo, there’s no hard evidence that it works.
Anecdotally, fans say that sipping on gold-infused beverages helps to boost mood and improves cognitive function—but there isn’t enough strong evidence one way or another to support either statement.
Unlike gold or silver, our bodies do actually require trace amounts of copper for optimal health. The keyword, though, is trace—the body needs just 2 mg daily. For context, the daily recommended of calcium is 1000 mg. Big difference, right? Most people absorb all the copper they need through food, but some have existing conditions like Celiac or cystic fibrosis that make it difficult to process and utilise the nutrient simply through food. In these cases, colloidal copper can help.
Copper acts as a natural antioxidant, fighting against cellular free radical damage in the body. Free radical damage is linked to many serious, chronic illnesses—from cancer to depression. And like colloidal silver, copper speeds skin and cell healing. Basically, apply it to a cut or wound and skin will rejuvenate more quickly.
A final note: None of these colloids are necessary for maintaining health. But it seems that in moderation, they probably won’t hurt you. And yeah, they look pretty cool, too. If you have preexisting conditions it’s worth checking in with your doctor before you begin a supplement regimen. Stay gold!