Why do rheumatoid arthritis patients wear copper bracelets?
Copper bracelets were used by the ancient Greeks for their healing powers. Copper salts have been used for the treatment of RA, achieving generally favorable responses, unfortunately along with significant side effects. Copper in bracelets is absorbed through the skin (turning the skin green) and is said to improve arthritis symptoms in some patients, perhaps by binding oxygen free radicals. Interestingly, d-penicillamine, a proven therapy for RA, binds copper, which would suggest that copper is not a useful therapy.