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The Relationship between Copper and Diabetes

Diabetes is on the rise across the globe. In 2015, there were already 3.5 million diabetic adults in the UK, and it’s estimated that over 5 million people will be suffering from the disease by the year 2020.

The number of diabetes related prescriptions jumped from 26 million in 2011 to 35 million in 2015.


While there is no cure for diabetes yet, the condition can be managed with proper monitoring, medication, diet, and exercise. Research shows that essential minerals such as copper may also be helpful at treating the symptoms and associated conditions.

Let’s learn a little more about the disease and how copper could help you manage it.


What is Diabetes?

Diabetes occurs when your body cannot effectively process glucose from the food you eat. In a healthy person, the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin, which turns glucose into energy to be used by the cells. In diabetics, the body stops producing insulin, doesn’t make enough of it, or doesn’t use it properly. Glucose remains in your blood instead of reaching the cells, leading to high levels of blood glucose or “blood sugar”.

This can cause a wide range of health issues over time, such as:

  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Kidney Disease
  • Eye Problems
  • Dental Issues
  • Nerve Damage
  • Foot Problems
  • Types of Diabetes

There are basically three types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes

This is considered an autoimmune disorder, where the beta cells (insulin-producing cells) in the pancreas are attacked and destroyed by the immune system. Your body cannot produce insulin as a result, and the effects are permanent. You need to take insulin daily to avoid serious complications and remain alive.

This type of diabetes may be caused by genetic or environmental conditions, but the risk factors are not perfectly understood yet. It can appear at any age but is generally diagnosed in children and young adults.


Type 2 Diabetes

This is the most common type of diabetes and starts as a condition where your body cannot process or use insulin effectively. As a result of insulin resistance, your pancreas is stimulated to produce more insulin until it can no longer do so. Production of the hormone then decreases and blood sugar levels go up.

The risk factors for this condition include environmental and health issues, such as excessive weight, lack of exercise, high blood pressure, certain genetic conditions, and family history of diabetes.

It’s mostly seen in middle-aged people or seniors but can occur at any age. Today, Type 2 diabetes is becoming increasingly common among younger adults and even children, primarily because of sedentary lifestyles, obesity, and poor diets.


Gestational Diabetes

When you’re pregnant, your body produces hormones that may block insulin production in some cases.

Generally, this type of diabetes only lasts during your pregnancy but may increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes during your lifetime. Type 2 diabetes is sometimes inaccurately diagnosed as gestational diabetes.

Other types include inherited conditions such as monogenic diabetes as well as cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, but these are not so common.


Did You Know?

Every day, 65 people die from diabetes-related complications in the UK.

The Type 1 strand only occurs in 10% of diabetics, while 85-90% have Type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms of Diabetes

For Type 1 diabetes, symptoms include weight loss, vitiligo, and diabetic ketoacidosis, where the body has little to no insulin and very high blood sugar levels.

With Type 2 diabetes, you may experience painful or numb feet, or find dark patches in the folds of neck/armpit skin.

Other symptoms of diabetes commonly include:

  • Excessive thirst/hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue/drowsiness
  • Skin irritation, dryness or itchiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing wounds

You should also be aware of prediabetes, where blood glucose levels are not yet high enough to indicate diabetes, but higher than they should be. In most cases, people with prediabetes are unaware of the condition, but 15-30% of them develop Type 2 diabetes in under 5 years.

Additional Health Issues Related to Diabetes

Diabetes can cause numerous health issues, right from brain or heart disease to nephropathy (kidney disease), neuropathy (nervous system disorders), retinopathy and other eye problems, etc. One of the most common and early complaints among diabetic patients, however, is the rise in skin problems.

Here are some of the top skin complications faced by diabetics:

Itchy Skin (Pruritus) – If your skin feels itchy all the time, it could be dry or you may have an infection. People with diabetes are particularly prone to yeast infections, because of a decrease in immunity and rise in blood sugar levels.

Poor blood circulation, scratches, and friction from ill-fitting clothing/footwear can also cause itching, especially in your feet and lower legs. It’s essential to keep your skin hydrated and treat any skin problems causing itchiness early before they get any worse and raise the risk of serious infections.

Bacterial Infections – People with long-term blood sugar imbalances and poorly controlled diabetes are far more likely to face a bacterial skin infection such as staph. Staphylococcus bacteria typically affect irritated hair follicles, causing boils, inflammation and swelling around the affected area.

Bacterial infections may also occur in the glands of your eyelids (causing styes), under your nails, and other vulnerable areas of your body. The symptoms and progress of a skin infection may also be more serious among diabetics and often require medical attention.

Fungal Infections – Fungal infections tend to affect warm and moist parts of your body, such as folds of skin. These provide the ideal breeding environment for fungal pathogens, causing problems like:

  • Athlete’s foot, an infection that affects the skin between your toes.
  • Jock itch, which causes red and itchy patches near your genitals or inner thighs.
  • Ringworm, which causes itching or blistering with scaly, ring-shaped patches on your scalp, chest, stomach, groin, feet or nails.
  • Vaginal infections caused by Candida albicans, a yeast-like fungus.
  • Angular cheilitis, which affects the corners of the mouth and feels like small cuts.
  • Onychomycosis, which is a fungal infection that affects your nails and causes discoloration, thickening, and separation from the nail bed.

Foot-Related Problems – For most diabetics, their feet become a particularly sore point because of slow healing and low immunity. Elevated glucose levels in the blood affect circulation, leading to frequent swelling (oedema), pain, loss of heat, foot ulcers, bacterial/fungal infections, and slow healing.

It can also cause nerve damage, which causes you to lose feeling in your toes or other parts of your feet. Foot ulcers and open wounds can get infected if they are neglected, and may even lead to amputation in severe cases.

Why Do Diabetics Need Proper Foot Care?

Proper foot care and hygiene is crucial for diabetics, especially since they may not feel pain or any other sensation indicating common problems like:

Foot Ulcers –

Diabetic foot ulcers are a common problem, and one that requires careful attention and medical care. If small cuts, scratches or scrapes caused by injury or ill-fitting footwear are neglected, they may ulcerate and expose you to severe danger of losing the limb or even your life.

Don’t think a tiny cut can be all that serious? Here are some statistics to consider:

  • Close to 25% of all diabetic patients develop foot ulcers at some point
  • Healing is slow, and over 50% of these open wounds become infected
  • Of all these infections, 20% lead to amputation of the affected limb

Medical professionals claim that a limb may be lost to diabetes every 20 seconds, but all of these amputations could be avoided with proper preventive care and timely treatment.

Oedema 

Venous insufficiency is a condition where the valves in leg veins become damaged or weakened, allowing blood to flow both ways instead of back toward the heart. This leads to blood pooling and collecting in the limb, which causes swelling (known as peripheral oedema) in the legs, ankles, and feet.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) – Poor circulation in the limbs combined with venous insufficiency makes diabetics more prone to DVT as well. High blood sugar can also cause dehydration, which causes your blood to get thicker and raises the risk of clotting.

If a blood clot forms in your leg, it can travel up to your lungs and block an artery, causing heart attack-like symptoms such as rapid pulse, shortness of breath and chest pain. This is known as a pulmonary embolism, and can kill you within seconds. You may also develop Post Thrombotic Syndrome (PTS) a long-term condition that causes painful skin changes, ulcers, etc.

Make sure you inspect your feet for wounds, scratches, and sores on a daily basis, and visit a podiatrist regularly. You should also keep your feet clean and dry, and wear special diabetic footwear if your podiatrist recommends it. Compression socks are a great way to improve circulation in your feet and legs, especially if they are made of copper-infused fabric.

How Could Copper Help You Manage Diabetes?

According to various health studies conducted over the last three decades, copper can help with the prevention and treatment of a wide range of diseases. It used to be considered the cause of various health problems, till research in the 90s showed that copper is an essential mineral that our bodies need for over 50 enzymatic processes.

The reason behind this confusion is that inflammation and disease, including diabetes, may falsely increase levels of copper in the body. Older studies also used free copper ions, plasma copper and ceruloplasmin instead of copper bound to peptides such as GHK or proteins like albumin.

In reality, there is hardly any free copper in the human body, with approximately one copper ion per cell. Close to 95% of copper is bound to ceruloplasmin and not easily available, but protein or peptide bound copper is easily metabolized by our bodies. Most copper-rich foods, supplements, cosmetics and other products are rich in the latter, which is often called “bio-copper” because of its natural health benefits.

GHK-bound copper (GHK-Cu) is a tripeptide found in human plasma, saliva, and urine. While free copper ions oxidize low-density lipoproteins, GHK-Cu blocks their oxidation. Along with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, this tripeptide improves wound healing, immune function, development of red blood cells and skin cells, etc.

Since diabetics often suffer from skin problems, inflammation, and slow healing, copper can help them manage the symptoms of the disease. And, along with other essential minerals such as zinc, magnesium, chromium, manganese, and vanadium, copper may also help with regulation of blood sugar.

The Copper-Zinc Balance in Our Body

Zinc is one of the most important minerals for people with blood sugar imbalances since it helps beta cells in the pancreas produce insulin. It also helps insulin bind to cell membranes, where it transports glucose from the blood for conversion into energy. The mineral is essential for the metabolism of glucose and part of antioxidant enzymes as well.

Not only are copper and zinc essential for our health, but the two minerals balance each other. People with diabetes often have a zinc deficiency, as well as decreased levels of copper. Healthy diets and mineral supplements can help maintain a balanced intake of both, reducing the risk of diabetes and managing the symptoms of the disease.

With low levels of zinc/copper in the blood, there may be an increase in blood sugar as well as insulin resistance, leading to diabetes and atherosclerosis or other cardiovascular problems. These minerals also fight free radical damage, which can raise the risk of diabetic neuropathy, retinopathy, and nephropathy.

How Does Copper Help with Diabetic Health Complications?

In addition to helping you manage your blood sugar, copper has many health benefits, especially for your skin. Copper-infused compression socks and accessories can help improve blood flow as well as foot health, making it easier to prevent diabetes-related problems or manage existing ones.

Here’s how:

Copper is anti-microbial, and effectively kills bacteria, viruses or fungi that cause skin infections or bad odours, within hours of contact.

The mineral also makes skin plumper, stronger and more flexible, by boosting the production of collagen and elastin in skin cells.

Copper-impregnated fabric aids with the development of new skin cells, promoting faster wound healing and protection from pathogens.

Fabric infused with copper ions helps with insulation and thermal regulation, keeping your legs and feet warm and reducing the risk of damage.

Copper socks with graduated compression help blood flow back toward the heart, reducing peripheral oedema and the risk of blood clots/DVT.

How Can You Harness the Power of Copper?

The best ways to make use of copper for its health benefits include:

Diet

Include a lot of copper-rich foods in your diet, such as organ meats, seafood, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes, whole grains, mushrooms, soy products and certain fruits. You could also take a mineral supplement with balanced copper and zinc, drink water that’s stored in copper containers, or use copper cookware for preparing meals.


Copper Clothing

Other than copper compression socks and sleeves, diabetics can benefit from wearing other copper-infused apparel too. Modern technology allows copper ions to be harnessed in a wide range of materials. These are used to create everything from hospital clothing and bed linen to tops, pyjamas, underwear and more. Check out the Copper Clothing range here.

Copper Infusion Clothing – Athletes Love It, and Here’s Why

Among the many fans of compression sportswear and clothing, elite athletes top the list. The popularity of compression sleeves received a major boost when Allen Iverson used one in 2001. The sleeve was created by the NBA star’s doctor, to provide relief from bursitis and swelling in the elbow.

After Iverson scored 51 points in that game, compression sleeves became the next big thing for other players as well. Today, pro basketball players like LeBron James swear by compression gear, as do runners like London Marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe and 2012 Olympics 800m finalist Andrew Osagie.

Why Do Elite Athletes Use Compression Garments?

Compression clothing is believed to offer many health benefits for those involved in active sports. It’s equally popular among professional athletes and amateur sports enthusiasts, because of the boost it provides to performance, endurance and recovery.

Graduated compression applies different levels of pressure to your legs, arms, torso or other parts of the body. This helps to improve blood circulation, venous return and muscle oxygenation in that specific area. For an athlete, this means reduced joint/muscle pain, soreness, and stiffness after a game or training session.

So, Why the Fuss Over Copper-Infused Compression Clothing?

The use of copper-infused materials in compression garments takes the benefits to another level. Here’s an overview of how it helps when you’re playing sports, working out or leading an active lifestyle:

  • Athlete’s Foot

    A study conducted on collegiate football players revealed that they are at an increased risk of athlete’s foot due to their training environment. Copper has powerful anti-microbial properties, which helps to keep Athlete’s Foot and other infections that are triggered by sweaty feet at bay.

    If copper compression socks are worn during training, they have the potential to prevent bacterial and fungal infections that thrive in warm and humid environments. This also prevents the itchiness, burning, dryness, scaling, and blistering associated with infections.

  • Body Odour

    Foul foot and body odour are common problems among athletes. When sweat combines with heat, it creates an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. A foul odour can also be attributed to poor hygiene, the regularity of wearing closed toe shoes, and foot infections. When athletes wear the same item of clothing and sweat for hours together, it gives rise to unpleasant smells.

    Since copper kills bacteria, fungi, and viruses upon contact, it prevents these microbes from feeding on your sweat and emitting nasty odours. It’s the most natural way to stay fresh, even if you’ve been sweating for hours! Copper is essentially self-sterilizing and so, even if copper compression socks or boxer shorts or gloves are washed less often, they will still efficiently keep unpleasant odour under control.

  • Heat Regulation

    Humidity and intense heat give rise to two problems in an athlete’s body – dehydration and increased body temperature. The increase in core body temperature decreases muscles endurance. Due to this, the muscle’s ability to contract sustainably over a long time period suffers significantly during a longer athletic event and adversely impacts athletic performance.

    Increased body temperature reduces the flow of blood to the heart and the blood starts pooling in the limbs. This makes it difficult for the heart to pump oxygenated blood back to the muscles. Copper is highly effective at thermal regulation. Wearing copper compression fittings boosts blood circulation and keeps hands and feet warm in any weather.

  • Faster Recovery

    If you are a weightlifter or a bodybuilder, you cannot escape post-workout soreness and muscle strains, and sprains. Compression socks and leggings can help stabilize your lower leg after an injury, allowing you to recover faster. Copper compression fittings also fight inflammation and its antibacterial and anti-odour properties keep infections at bay. This makes the healing process even faster.

    Copper clothing for athletes is also suitable for those recovering from calf pain or shin splits. But, wearing copper compression fittings can help accelerate the recovery by:

    • Keeping your muscles in their correct position during and after workout
    • Lowering the risk of strain by ensuring correct placement of muscle
    • Increasing oxygenation and blood circulation to promote faster healing
    • Eliminating lactic acid and reducing muscle pain
    • Lowering muscle soreness caused by weightlifting

    Copper compression shorts are also worn by athletes to prevent friction and chafing in sports like tennis, swimming, and cycling.

  • Better Performance

    Runners who are training for distance need tools that can help reduce the risk of injury and accelerate recovery to maintain consistency. Copper compression socks helps with long-term training by helping runners prevent calf cramps and reducing the risk of ankle oedema.

    Graduated compression improves blood flow, which can have a positive effect on your stamina and endurance. Copper compression socks for running also reduce vibrations in the lower leg, preventing tired/heavy feet.

  • Less Swelling

    Sore muscles and swelling after training sessions and heavy-impact sports can be fatal especially if you’re dehydrated. Copper compression socks, gloves, and shorts are a great way to avoid delayed onset muscle soreness. According to an article published in the Men’s Health Magazine, wearing copper compression fittings during running, training, biking or playing sports can help reduce muscle soreness and swollen ankles or feet.

  • Improved Muscle Oxygenation

    A publication by Research Gate revealed that compression garments are scientifically designed to boost the flow of oxygen in the muscle tissues. Your muscles need oxygen to perform at peak efficiency during intense workouts. Copper clothing for athletes is designed to promote blood flow and oxygenation in the body. This in turn, enhances athletic performance during short training sessions.

  • Comfort

    Copper-infused boxer shorts apply pressure on the butt and thigh area. Athletes may find such garments with little wind resistance more comfortable. Compression shorts also cause less friction as compared to conventional athletic shorts. Copper compression fittings also don’t rise up when you are stretching, squatting, jumping, running or doing other exercises.

  • Moisture Wicking

    Staying dry and comfortable is crucial during sports, especially to prevent chafing and irritation. Copper-embedded compression garments wick moisture away, and allow complete mobility no matter how long you wear them. Copper clothing for athletes is designed to wick sweat and stickiness away from the body through evaporation and avoid bad odour while keeping you cool and comfortable.

The pros know what they’re doing. If you want to experience what they do, check out

Copper for Anti-Aging ad Beauty

Copper for Anti-Aging and Beauty – The New Skin Saviour

In the quest for more youthful-looking skin, people will try everything from the latest beauty products hitting the shelves to surgical procedures that may or may not work at all. Surprisingly, the best anti-aging ingredient might be one that’s found in our own bodies, as well as pipes, wiring and other household materials – copper!

Copper is one of the few trace minerals naturally found in our bodies, and among various other benefits, it plays an important role in skin and hair health. It’s been used in wound care for over 50 years and shows tremendous promise in other areas as well.

Copper and Your Skin

Copper aids with the development of collagen and elastin, which strengthen and tighten skin. It also helps with the production of hyaluronic acid, naturally plumping your skin to make it look and feel younger. That’s not all, though. It also fights infection and inflammation, as well as wrinkles, fine lines and other signs of aging.

Modern scientists might just be catching on to copper’s skincare benefits, but this precious metal has been considered the “fountain of youth” throughout history. Its anti-microbial powers have already been well-explored, but copper is also becoming a major ingredient in skin creams, serums and other beauty products, as well as naturally anti-aging fabrics.

Health Benefits of Copper-Infused Fabric

Here’s how copper-impregnated fabric in clothing, bedlinen and accessories can help turn back the clock for your skin:

  • Copper works with other anti-oxidants and minerals such as zinc and vitamin C to form elastin, which makes skin strong and supple.
  • Copper is essential for maintaining healthy skin and hair, since it helps with the development of collagen as well as proper pigmentation.
  • Copper boosts the elasticity of skin so it looks and feels firmer, and it can also help you fight wrinkles, fine lines and hyperpigmentation.
  • Copper has powerful anti-microbial properties to fight acne, Athlete’s Foot, and other infections or inflammations caused by bacteria, fungi and viruses.
  • Copper helps skin heal faster from injuries or surgery, rehydrates dry skin and contains natural anti-aging properties to help you look more youthful.
  • Copper is easily metabolized by the body, unlike other heavy metals, so the risk of toxicity is very low with topical applications.
  • Copper-infused clothing and accessories are a completely safe and natural way to treat your skin to this health-promoting mineral.
  • Copper clothing can be used to treat specific concerns such as dry or smelly feet, poor circulation, cold hands and feet, varicose veins, and more.
  • Copper-enhanced fabric in eye masks, pillows and bedlinen can help rejuvenate and refresh your skin while you sleep. That’s what we call beauty sleep!

Copper might just be the health miracle we’ve overlooked all our lives, especially in terms of skincare. It’s never too late, though. There’s still time to put the anti-aging and restorative powers of this precious metal to use. Check out the range of copper clothing and bedding at Copper Defence today!