In January, I talked about the importance of zinc and vaccine effectiveness (read it here). Today, I’d like to continue the immune function discussion, but focusing on copper.
Copper has several important functions in the body ranging from metabolism, to enzyme function, to reproductive performance. Most notably, copper is a key component to proper antioxidant enzyme function (passive immunity, happens in the background) as well as antibody production and phagocyte activity (both are active immunity, happens in response to a pathogen). Cattle with a low to deficient copper status respond poorly to vaccines and disease challenges. This is because copper deficient cattle have decreased immune system protector cells, decreased antibody response to pathogens, and increased susceptibility to infection, including parasites.