Copper’s presence in the food supply is ubiquitous, found in drinking water carried by copper pipes and certain foods like nuts and red meats. The mineral plays a beneficial role in nerve conduction, bone growth, and hormone secretion. Now, copper also appears to be one of the main environmental factors that trigger the onset and enhancement of Alzheimer’s disease by preventing the clearance and accelerating the accumulation of toxic proteins in the brain.
Researchers dosed normal mice with copper over a three month period. They found that the copper made its way into the blood system and accumulated in the vessels that feed blood to the brain.
"It is clear that, over time, copper's cumulative effect is to impair the systems by which amyloid beta is removed from the brain. This impairment is one of the key factors that cause the protein to accumulate in the brain and form the plaques that are the hallmark of Alzheimer's disease,” Rashid Deane, PhD, a research professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center, Department of Neurology, and lead study author, was quoted as saying.