Copper, which is found in anything from drinking water to red meats, may be an environmental trigger of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study.
The study, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests copper keeps toxic proteins from leaving the brain.
It is clear that, over time, copper impairs the systems through which amyloid beta is removed from the brain, said Rashid Deane, a research professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Neurosurgery, member of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine, and lead author of the study. This causes the protein “to accumulate in the brain and form the plaques that are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.”
Copper is usually found in drinking water that is carried by copper pipes. It is also found in shellfish, meats, nuts and many vegetables and fruits. The mineral is important for the body because it helps with the development of the nervous system, along with bone growth and hormone secretion.
Researchers looked at the effect of copper-laced drinking water on mice. They used low doses of copper over a three-month period. The dose was 10% of the maximum contaminant level set by the Environment Protection Agency.
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