Function – Copper contributes to:
The normal function of the immune system – A Copper-related enzyme (cytochrome c oxidase) is needed for energy production of immune cells. Moderate and even marginal copper deficiency affects some activities from different immune cells adversely.
Maintenance of normal connective tissues - Copper supports an enzyme (lysyl oxidase) that is critical to the formation and function of connective tissue throughout the body.
Normal energy-yielding metabolism - Copper supports the cellular energy production.
Normal functioning of the nervous system - Copper is required for the formation and maintenance of myelin (which is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system)
Normal skin and hair pigmentation - The role of copper in the pigmentation of skin, hair, and eyes is related to the requirement of the cuproenzyme for melanin synthesis.
Normal iron transport in the body - Copper is required for iron transport to the bone marrow for red blood cell formation. During severe copper deficiency, iron transport within the body is adversely affected, and iron tends to accumulate in many tissues.
The protection of cells from oxidative stress - Copper functions as a component of a number of enzymes (IoM, 2001). One of these enzymes provides a defense against oxidative damage from superoxide radicals.