Myelin is the white, fatty sheath that covers the axon area of a neuron, supporting the rapid transmission of information from one neuron to another. After a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury, myelin concentration can be significantly reduced, sometimes limiting recovery.
Some scientists believe that myelin is also dependant on the mineral copper for its activity and defense, and that our population may show general deficiencies in copper levels in the brain. Although the hypothesis has not yet been tested, some scientists feel that copper levels could be important to assess in people who have survived a traumatic brain injury. Clinical trials in the future may help to determine if copper levels are related to brain injury severity, and if copper treatment could aid in recovery.
Until such research is completed, however, the idea that a copper deficiency may negatively affect recovery is still a hypothesis. Excessive copper consumption can also be dangerous, and it is therefore important that medical advice is sought for any supplemental intake.
Klevay, LM. Myelin and traumatic brain injury: The copper deficiency hypothesis. Medical Hypotheses. (December 2013).