Lower levels of copper in cells might make fat cells fatter, a new Johns Hopkins Medicine study says.
By studying mouse cells, scientists saw that lower levels of copper in fat cells alter how those cells process metabolic fuels like fat and sugar. The discovery may lead to strategies to fight metabolic disorders, including obesity, though researchers caution the need to study copper levels in human cells further before any strong conclusions can be drawn.
A diet high in nuts, vegetables, and even chocolate, helps maintain healthy copper levels, said Svetland Lutsenko, Ph. D., a professor of physiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a senior researcher on the study. Copper is an essential element in human biology as it helps facilitate and maintain processes like the formation of color pigments in hair and eye color to the creation of new blood vessels. Copper imbalances are already associated with neurological disorders. Altered levels of copper are linked to depression and sleep pattern changes as well.