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Tuesday 19 February 2019

Copper Gloves: Real Benefits or Real Snake Oil?

*I was sent a pair of Copper Clothing semi-compression gloves to try. They sent for free and I don’t get paid for reviewing them but I was asked to pop a review on for them. It’s an unbiased review – I’m saying exactly what I think.*

You know me. I love trying out a bit of snake oil. Anything that might possibly work and means I get to sit down more and not actually work harder in training has to be worth a shot, right? That’s how it works, isn’t it? I spend a fortune on kit and then sit around wearing it waiting to improve?

That being said, I am a proud owner of lucky pants, lucky run tights and a magic magnetic band … so I’m probably not the most unbiased person to ask. “I LOVE something that I can be convinced will give me an edge” she says as swigging her beetroot infused green tea with chia seeds floating in it through a biodegradable straw made from the pubes of a hermit living in a cave in Scotland.

Copper Clothing Company says this about the gloves:
  • 30% Copper fibre
  • Totally skin rejuvenating
  • Can help with dry, itchy skin, self hydrating
  • Anti Inflammatory
  • Promotes blood flow
  • Designed to be worn in / out of bed 24hrs
  • No need to wash as often as other gloves – self cleansing / anti microbial
  • The power of copper will stay with you for the life of the garment

There is a disclaimer though which states ‘There is no evidence to suggest that all the benefits of these products continue whilst not in contact with the skin’.

These are quite big claims just from wearing some gloves! And they’re retailing at 13 euros rather than the 1300 euros you’d expect for a product which has all these benefits. If only they’d make me cycle quicker I’d buy a pair for my feet as well. That would improve my race photos.

Let’s take a look at a couple of the stated benefits: 

Anti-microbial / No need to wash so frequently: Our tests show that Copper destroys 99.9% of bacteria, fungi and viruses within minutes of contact, preventing the risk of infections. Perfect for opening doors.
To me this sounded a little suspect. I’d heard about nurses using copper infused dressings but this sounded a little too convenient. However, a quick look online (Yes I know …) showed multiple sources for the antimicrobial properties of copper including a study fromFebruary 22, 2011 from American Society for Microbiology stating that metallic copper surfaces kill microbes on contact, decimating their populations, according to new research. They do so literally in minutes, by causing massive membrane damage after about a minute's exposure, says the study's corresponding author, Gregor Grass of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.(1) Oh ok. Whether this translates to wool and copper mix gloves having the same effect I don’t know but it’s interesting. 

Also I’m sure not actually touching a door handles with your bare hands stops you getting the germs on your hands. So a tick for the gloves on that point. 

Helps with blood flow / Itchy Skin / Self Hydrating: Promotes blood flow & can help with dry, itchy skin, self hydrating. 
There are plenty of articles online which state the benefits of these but it’s difficult to find many without a conflict of interest. There appears to be alink between dietary copper deficiency and heart disease (2) but I couldn’t find anything compelling about blood flow. I wonder if maybe it works from the same magic which fires my magnetic band …?

Touch Screen: One claim which is important to me and which I could find any evidence for based on my own research is that the gloves work on touch screens. Not on mine they didn’t. No taking photos instead of running for me.

There do seem to be lot of articles stating the benefits of copper online. Whether this translates to wearing it in fibres near and on the skin, I don’t know. I do know that the gloves fit nicely and feel thick and warm. They’re a nice weight and seem fairly strong – I’m not worried about the wool unravelling mid-run or the ends of the fingers getting a hole in. With regards to the evidence, I’m not convinced yet as there seem to be a lot of studies funded by grants which have an interest in promoting the benefits of copper (one study was authored by the Chief Medical Scientist of Cupron Inc., who uses copper oxide as its active ingredient)However, if you’re on the fence about it, it might be worth giving the gloves a try. They’re cheap, might give you some benefits to your skin, circulation and it’ll definitely stop door handle germs getting on your skin. 

Take a look and decide for yourself here

The Copper Clothing Co also have a few social media sites if you're interested in taking a peek and learning a bit more: Facebook Instagram Twitter Pinterest

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