A copper peptide is a protein compound that contains the metal alloy copper. Some foods naturally contain copper, considered one of the minerals essential for human health. Foods do not contain copper peptides since scientists produce the copper peptides in the laboratory.
You most commonly find copper peptides as an ingredient in skin care products. Introduced in 1997, copper peptides are often referred to as the most effective skin regeneration product, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Copper peptides help make your skin feel smooth and soft while also making it more firm. As an active ingredient in creams and lotions, copper peptides function as antioxidants, which mean they help protect cells from damage caused by negatively charged particles in the body. Antioxidants may help fight the signs of aging. Copper peptides also promote the production of collagen and elastin, the proteins that give skin strength and flexibility.
The naturally occurring copper mineral performs many of the same functions in the body as the copper peptides used on the skin. Copper functions as an antioxidant, ridding the body of the harmful negatively charged particles and protecting cells from damage. Copper also promotes the production of collagen, the main component of connective tissues including muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones and skin. Copper also helps your body produce healthy red blood cells, therefore preventing anemia, and plays a role in keeping your nerves and immune system healthy.
Your body needs very small amounts of copper to support these functions. The Institute of Medicine recommends adults consume 900 micrograms of copper per day. Because many foods naturally contain copper, a true copper deficiency that causes health concern is rare, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. A severe copper deficiency may cause anemia, low white blood cell count, irregular heartbeat, thyroid problems, bone fractures and osteoporosis.
Many different types of foods contain copper. Foods from the sea, including shellfish and oysters contain copper. Cereal grains such as wheat, rice and barley contain copper making whole grain foods and cereals a good source of copper. Dark green leafy vegetables, like spinach and kale, also contain copper. A survey of Americans over the age of 60 found the main sources of copper in the American diet to include beef, potatoes, nuts, seeds and legumes, which includes beans and peas, according to a study published in the May 2000 issue of "The Journal of Nutrition." To find copper peptides; however, you must leave the food aisles of your local market and check the labels on popular skin care and anti-aging products.
- Cleveland Clinic: Understanding the Ingredients in Skin Care Products
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Copper
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes
- The Journal of Nutrition; Zinc and Copper Intakes and Their Major Food Sources for Older Adults in the 1994–96 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals; J. Ma and N. Betts