Should you be drinking from a Copper Vessel?
With everyone going crazy over drinking water from copper bottles, is this something that is really the next magic potion or can it be harmful for someone?
Copper has suddenly made a big comeback hasn’t it? I started finding it being sold in Yoga stores, Organic stores, all the spiritual franchises of ashrams and even on Amazon! It’s definitely not a whimsical purchase for anyone, given that it is not cheap. I found friends making recommendations to their friends, and when I heard someone close to me telling me that i absolutely must drink my water from a copper bottle, my functional nutrition mind and my itchy blogger fingers were on fire! So, here you go, I’ve broken it down into the areas of caution, so that you can make an informed decision after you are empowered with the knowledge.
From ancient times and through ancient scriptures of India, we’ve come across copper vessels. Perhaps our own grandparents stored water in copper vessels and we’ve seen this. You might have read that drinking from a copper bottle helps in purification, digestion, is anti microbial and anti fungal, helps weight loss, helps hypertension, slows down aging due to being an antioxidant, protects you from infection and illness, helps cool down the fires of inflammation and help arthritic joints, helps anaemia, gives you glowing skin, takes away chronic fatigue and much more! It is said to happen when water is stored in a copper vessel overnight, and a very small amount of copper ions gets dissolved into the water. This process is called Oligodynamic effect. Yes Copper is required for energy, formation of connective tissue, used in Iron metabolism and is essential to the nervous system. Ayurveda even says that drinking water from a copper vessel balances all three doshas of Vatha, Pitta and Kapha. That makes us even more reassured , since it seems as if it is the miracle drink for every single person! Is this really so?
What is really ironic is that a large number of places promoting copper bottles are also those places where consumers are perhaps likely to be vegan or vegetarian. Zinc and Copper are antagonistic minerals, meaning they are two minerals on either side of a balancing scale, so to speak. If one gets overloaded, then the other gets deficient. Vegetarian diets, where proteins come from beans, lentils, nuts and seeds, are mostly high in copper, which often leads to Zinc deficiency in this population. Zinc is instrumental in making new cells, enzymes and hormones, is required for immune function, is vital for fetal development, and helps wounds heal. When it is deficient, it can cause a loss in taste, poor immunity, reduced fertility, lack of appetite, poor skin, and even panic attacks or the fear of speaking in a crowd. With so many vegetarians opting for the copper bottle to drink their water from, they end up risking a further imbalance in Zinc and Copper, and becoming Copper toxic! Copper toxicity can cause fatigue, feelings of doom, multiple anxiety and mental health issues, headaches and migraines, sluggish thyroid, cold extremities and feeling over sensitive and weepy. If you have any of these symptoms, think back to when you started using a copper water bottle and see if the dots connect. This is in no way saying that a vegetarian or vegan diet is not optimal, but rather caution on what to be careful about.
Further, even in Ayurveda, it is not meant to be stored in a bottle all day long and constantly drinking the same water. It is only meant to be stored overnight and had in the morning on an empty stomach, and that was more than enough to provide the trace requirement of Copper. Also it was not meant to be a constant lifelong practice. The ideal way was to use this for a month to three months and then give a break. This was to give your body an apportunity to excrete excess Copper. Another thing to watch out for is Copper that is not pure. Finding it from a good source is crucial!
So if you are a Vegetarian or Vegan who has not been extra cautious and seen that you do not become Zinc deficient, a common concern in these diets, or you have any of the symptoms of Copper toxicity, drinking water from a Copper bottle is something that should be done with some amount of caution!