Do copper bracelets really help with arthritis? Here’s what you need to know 20



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Ever wondered why copper bracelets are promoted for arthritis relief and if they really work? I’ve done the research to give you the low-down on this debate.

Copper is a metal, which has been used for diverse items such as tools, weapons and jewellery for thousands of years. In the body, copper is a vital trace element that supports iron absorption and the nervous system.

For optimum health, copper works in synergy with zinc. Research suggests the ideal zinc to copper ratio is approximately 10:1. Both trace minerals are so-called ‘antagonists’. This means if your zinc level is low, your copper level is likely to rise and vice versa.

Both zinc and copper deficiency can lead to significant health issues, such as low immune response, digestive issues and increased inflammation. Copper deficiency in particular is linked with arthritis, which is why some people wear copper bracelets. The theory is that small particles of copper are absorbed through the skin and into the blood stream.

Is there any evidence behind this? No, not really. Research has not found any connection between copper bracelets and relief of arthritis symptoms. The most recent study, conducted by the University of York in the UK, found no difference in symptoms between wearers of copper, magnetic and placebo bracelets.

Why do some people swear by them? Reviews from buyers of copper bracelets, on shopping websites, paint a mixed picture. Some people are absolutely convinced it helps with their arthritis, in particular of the wrist. Others report no change in symptoms.

Doctors explain this with the ‘placebo effect’ working for some people. If you believe something will help, it may make you feel better, regardless of any real benefit. It’s just your thoughts. Another reason is the fluctuation of symptoms for chronic disease patients. If you buy a bracelet when you feel at your worst (a natural time to look for additional help) and the end of your flare-up coincides with wearing the new bracelet, you might think it helped.

I am all for trying alternative therapies and finding new ways to decrease arthritis symptoms. However, copper bracelets are not on my list of recommendations. Instead, have your copper and zinc levels checked by your doctor. That way you know whether you have a deficiency or not – much better than guessing.

If you are deficient, check your diet first. There are plenty of foods to help you get more copper into your system, such as seafood, nuts, legumes and – yay! – dark chocolate. All of these foods are part of a balanced, anti-inflammatory diet, which is crucial for arthritis sufferers anyway.

What is your experience with copper bracelets? Have they worked for you?

Sandra Witzel

Sandra Witzel is a certified Health Coach who has lived with arthritis for over a decade. She is a member of the International Association of Health Coaches and works to help people with arthritis through, an 8-week online program packed with meal plans, recipes, latest research on supplements, exercise tips and a forum to connect with others.

  1. Really it s what we put in our body that can make a difference to arthritis – for instance a high acidity makes arthritis worse, become more alkaline – then a high dose of vitamin C certainly helps more than any anti inflammatory that can affect the gut lining. Overall I prefer magnetic pain relief methods.

  2. I have been experimenting with using copper to keep mozzies from breeding & it really seems to be working, so if you are going to throw away your bracelets (or any old 1 & 2 cents etc) put them in your bird baths or under plants etc.. the copper has to be in there for a couple of days to work. I haven’t as yet put any in my tank — couldn’t be any worse than copper pipes??

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  3. Very true. My husband has bad arthritis, has tried several versions of copper trinkets. Never worked.

  4. My mum was so crippled with arthritis in both legs and both hands. My dad made a large copper bracket for her thigh and a smaller one for her wrist. I can’t remember the time frame, but in a short while mum was able to walk as good as ever, and she was able to use her fingers and wrists. We couldn’t believe the change in her. On the other hand, my dads mother didn’t have any success, so I suppose every body is different. It’s worth trying, you never know until you do. By the way we had a healthy diet. Coming from the farm, Mum was a top notch gardener growing veggies, fruit, gristing our own flour and our meat was mutton, beef, chooks etc.
    The green yuk underneath the copper bracelets I was told was the toxins leaching out of her body.

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