If copper has so many beneficial actions on its own, why do we need GHK? Copper is a very active element and as such it has to be handled carefully.
Think about fire. When it burns on a stove top or in the fireplace, it brings warmth and life. But this same fire burning freely in a house brings destruction. Now think of electricity. When it is safely contained within electrical wires, it can work for us, lighting our houses and powering our appliances. But this same electricity in a form of a lightning bolt can be deadly. Even oxygen, this indispensable element of life, can be dangerous and toxic.
Copper is similar. Even though copper salts are often used to supplement copper without any side effects, it is still better to have it enter the body in the form of “bio- copper” or “innocuous copper”, which is copper (II) bound to a protein/peptide. This is the form of copper that you will typically find in foods and the type of copper found in most copper peptides.
In the human organism there is very little free ionic copper (estimated 10-18 molar), approximately one copper ion per cell. Nearly 95% of copper in plasma is bound to ceruloplasmin, however this copper is not readily available.
Of more importance is the portion of copper that is bound to albumin, because it constitutes labile, metabolically active copper. A very small amount of metabolically active copper is exchanged between plasma and tissues in form of low molecular weight copper complexes. A complex network of copper “chaperones” (carriers and receptors) ensures the safe exchange of copper between plasma and tissues disease as well as copper delivery into the cells. Any extra copper entering the body is instantly interiorized, packaged, and safely distributed. The same proteins that ensure targeted and safe copper delivery detoxify excess copper (Cabrera et al 2008, Boal & Rosenzweig 2009).
Today our knowledge about this wonderfully complex system of copper delivery and regulation is still very limited. But from clinical observations and animal experiments, we can conclude that copper (either in foods that naturally contain copper or in the form of GHK-Cu) is the most safe, beneficial and smart way to deliver copper to your skin.