Copper in Parmesan and other Cheese

Rock_V

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Feb 8, 2017
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I know a lot of Ray Peat followers eat a good bit of Parmigiano Reggiano and other European cheeses so this information may be of use.

culture: the word on cheese (culturecheesemag.com)

"Wheels made in copper vats contained a higher copper content—5.78 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg)—versus 0.40 mg/kg in the stainless steel–produced wheels. Previous studies of Alpine cheeses reveal a similar pattern: In 1996, scientists found 12.7 mg/kg of the element in Comté when copper vessels were used yet only 3 mg/kg when they were not. Gruyère usually contains anywhere from 7.6 to 11.7 mg/kg of copper. The reason? Soft, supple copper oxidizes easily. During cheesemaking, then, copper ions leach from the vat and bind to milk proteins, which remain in the cheese."

"The additive likely influences a cheese’s microflora. Like iodine and iron, copper is a trace element affecting the health of all living things. Consuming a certain amount is essential for life, but too little or too much can have harmful effects—on humans and microbes alike. The Finnish researchers discovered that copper inhibited the growth of C. tyrobutyricum, bacteria often present in raw milk that generate undesired swelling, gas holes, and off-flavors in hard cheeses. Ernst Jakob, a researcher at Agroscope in Switzerland, has found similar effects on Swiss cheeses made with raw milk. “Copper stops the development of bacteria responsible for rancid taste,” he says."

"Since different microorganisms have different thresholds for tolerating the element, copper levels could discourage the growth of some species while promoting the proliferation of others. But even as scientists are unraveling these complex biochemical reactions, Edelweiss Creamery’s Workman is adamant the vats provide the ideal ecosystem for the microbes he uses. “Because of its natural ability to influence the cultures,” he says, “copper adds the right flavor profile.”"

Do we think cheese could be considered a good absorbable source of copper, or are there potential downsides to this?
 
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