Lately, we’ve been seeing a myriad of water bottles grace the scene on both social media and real life that is giving us life! But one in particular have been catching our eyes that we can’t stop thinking about. As a sucker for shiny things, we’ve been drawn to beautiful copper water bottles popping up all over our feeds that touts amazing health benefits for our mind and body. Copper plays an important role in our overall health. As the third most prevalent mineral within the body, it helps our metabolism, cell growth, also keeps our hair and skin in good condition.
As adults, the human body requires about 900 micrograms of copper daily for healthy function, and women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need more. Sufficient copper intake is vital for infants and children as it is needed for the creation, growth and maintenance of bones, connective tissue in our hearts and arteries up through our adult lives.
Used in India and other south Asian countries for thousands of years, the practice of drinking water from copper vessels, or tamra jal (therapeutic water in Sanskrit) have been long recognized for its health benefits according to Ayurveda, the oldest holistic medical science. But is there a danger in consuming too much copper? Is copper toxicity a thing?
Upon further reading, we found a host of concerns about ingesting copper. To get to the bottom of the bottle, we researched everything we could on the topic. Below we point out the pros and cons of whether or not you should be using copper water bottles.
Why It’s Good For Your Health
Copper is the only class of metal registered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to continuous kill bacteria, yeasts and viruses on contact. When water is stored overnight in copper, a small amount of ions dissolve into the water and destroys bacteria, in a process called oligodynamic effect.
Studies have shown antibacterial and antimicrobial benefits from this age old Ayurvedic practice and asserts that drinking from a copper vessel helps to boost the immunity, aids digestive tract, reduce inflammation in the body, and balances all three doshas – vata, kapha, and pitta – in the body.
As copper positively charges the water, practitioners consume an energized daily dosage to recharge the body. It also acts an an antioxidant, which reduces free radical damage in the body and promotes longevity (read, slowing down aging like the appearance of fine lines) and stimulates the brain.
Why It Can Be Harmful
While copper is an essential element necessary for our bodies, it can be poisonous if swallowed or inhaled. Last year, reports surfaced on the potential hazardous effects of consuming food or beverage in copper cups. Health officials examined what can happen when copper mixes with food, and declared that “high concentrations of copper are poisonous and have caused foodborne illness.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions have issued warnings that drinking water containing elevated amounts of copper could cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. However, copper mugs—like those fancy Moscow Mules we love so much—lined with other metals like stainless steel or nickel are completely safe. Excess body copper consumption can be removed by high levels of zinc, another crucial mineral our body needs. It bears noting that copper poisoning is rare as the ability of healthy human livers to excrete copper is considerable.
What The Expert Says
Nomita Hathiramani, a Hong Kong-based integrative wellness consultant, believes copper vessels should be used with guidance. As the World Health Organization concluded it is safe for the body to consume up to 2.6 mg/liter of copper-infused water, Hathiramani who has a line of Ayurvedic copper bottles, Coco Glo, suggests storing water overnight (at least eight to ten hours) and drinking it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. “It is one of the gentlest ways of replenishing the body with mineral,” explains the holistic nutritionist, and recommends her clients not to exceed more than one liter a day, “which equates to about four glasses of 250ml a day, is enough. You won’t need more than that to reap the benefits.”
Hathiramani continues: “In recent studies, the World Health Organization has concluded that is safe for the body to consume up to 2mg of copper per liter of water. Water stored in the copper vessel for several hours absorbed less than 1.20th of that amount of copper, very far below safe limited.” Another suggestion Hathiramani recommends is to purchase your copper bottles from a reputable source. Bottles should be above 98.3% copper to take full advantage of all the health benefits, with Coco Glo bottles 99.5% pure. A simple internet search will yield a ton of copper bottles for you to choose wisely and drink happy.
Images courtesy of Coco Glo (lead), Pexels, youtube/naturalways, and Coco Glo.