Our bodies use copper to help control the growth of yeast. This may be because copper favors aerobic metabolism, the type of cellular metabolism that human beings should have. More specifically, copper, along with iron, is required for the electron transport system, where most of our cellular energy is produced.
In contrast, yeasts and fungi are anaerobic. This means they ferment sugars for their energy production. Thus, when copper is not available to the body in sufficient quantity, aerobic or normal oxygen-using metabolism is crippled to some degree, while anaerobic metabolism or the fermentation of sugars flourishes in such an environment.
For this reason, for example, copper sulfate is often sprayed on crops to kill yeast and fungus. Copper is also used in some swimming pools and hot tubs to control yeast and bacterial growth.
By Lawrence Wilson, MD, Revised July 2011, The Center for Development.