Tag Archives: Zinc

Is Zinc Really Good for a Cold?

A review of the medical research on zinc shows that when it is taken within one day of the first symptoms, it can cut down the time you have a cold by about 24 hours. It also greatly reduces the severity of symptoms.

The authors of the review did not make any suggestions as to what type of zinc product to buy. They also did not suggest an optimal dose or formulation, stating that more research was needed before such a recommendation could be made.

Zinc supplements also have downsides — they can cause nausea and a bad taste in the mouth, and they may interfere with your body’s uptake of other key minerals.

According to the New York Times:

“Zinc experts say that many over-the-counter zinc products may not be as effective as those studied by researchers because commercial lozenges and syrups often are made with different formulations of zinc and various flavors and binders that can alter the effectiveness of the treatment.”

Colds are transmitted only by droplets, such as from sneezing, that come from a person who’s infected. These droplets can, however, remain on surfaces for some time. Colds normally last about seven days.

Cold medicines are not recommended for children under 4, and no cold medicines are cures — they only relieve symptoms. Washing your hands is still the number one recommended way to keep yourself free of colds.

Resources:
New York Times February 15, 2011
CNN February 16, 2011
The Cochrane Collaboration Reviews: Zinc

Posted By Dr. Mercola | March 03 2011

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Zinc

Introduction:

Zinc is a kind of metallic chemical element. It is considered to be a transition metal, similar to nickel and mercury. It has the chemical symbol of ZN with an atomic number of 30. In its pure form it has a kind of light blue color. It tends to be quite brittle at room temperature but, once it is heated, it transforms into something very soft and easy to shape. In fact, it is often added to other metals in order to make them more malleable....CLICK & SEE

People have been using zinc for centuries. The ancient Hindi civilization were the first to find many applications for it. By the 1500s, though, it made its way to Europe via trade. There, it was considered rare and was quite expensive to obtain. Today, however, people have found many zinc sources and it is considered a relatively abundant chemical.

Zinc is used to make metal alloys and is usually an ingredient in making batteries and coins. Zinc oxide, on the other hand, is an ingredient in sun screen. Zinc is also needed by the body. An average person needs 11 mg of zinc ever day; lack of zinc can lead to hair loss and diarrhea. Too much zinc, on the other hand, can cause anemia. Luckily it is possible to get the recommended daily allowance of zinc through food. Some foods that are rich in zinc are seeds and whole grains. However, it is also possible to get zinc supplements, or on the other hand, multi-vitamins that are enriched with zinc.

Dietary supplement:
Zinc is included in most single tablet over-the-counter daily vitamin and mineral supplements. It is believed to possess antioxidant properties, which protect against accelerated aging of the skin and muscles of the body, although studies differ as to its effectiveness. Zinc also helps speed up the healing process after an injury.

The efficacy of zinc compounds when used to reduce the duration or severity of cold symptoms is controversial. Zinc gluconate glycine and zinc acetate are used in throat lozenges or tablets to reduce the duration and the severity of cold symptoms. Preparations include zinc oxide, zinc acetate, and zinc gluconate.

You may click to see : Alternative treatments used for the common cold#Zinc preparations

Zinc preparations can protect against sunburn in the summer and windburn in the winter.[51] Applied thinly to a baby’s diaper area (perineum) with each diaper change, it can protect against diaper rash.

The Age-Related Eye Disease Study determined that zinc can be part of an effective treatment for age-related macular degeneration. Zinc supplementation is an effective treatment for acrodermatitis enteropathica, a genetic disorder affecting zinc absorption that was previously fatal to babies born with it.

Zinc lactate is used in toothpaste to prevent halitosis. Zinc pyrithione is widely applied in shampoos because of its anti-dandruff function Zinc ions are effective antimicrobial agents even at low concentrations. Gastroenteritis is strongly attenuated by ingestion of zinc, and this effect could be due to direct antimicrobial action of the zinc ions in the gastrointestinal tract, or to the absorption of the zinc and re-release from immune cells (all granulocytes secrete zinc), or both

Biological role:
Zinc is an essential trace element, necessary for plants, animals, and microorganisms. Zinc is found in nearly 100 specific enzymes (other sources say 300), serves as structural ions in transcription factors and is stored and transferred in metallothioneins. It is “typically the second most abundant transition metal [ sic ] in organisms” after iron and it is the only metal which appears in all enzyme classes.

In proteins, Zn ions are often coordinated to the amino acid side chains of aspartic acid, glutamic acid, cysteine and histidine. The theoretical and computational description of this zinc binding in proteins (as well as that of other transition metals) is difficult.

There are 2–4 grams of zinc distributed throughout the human body. Most zinc is in the brain, muscle, bones, kidney, and liver, with the highest concentrations in the prostate and parts of the eye. Semen is particularly rich in zinc, which is a key factor in prostate gland function and reproductive organ growth.

In humans, zinc plays “ubiquitous biological roles”. It interacts with “a wide range of organic ligands”, and has roles in the metabolism of RNA and DNA, signal transduction, and gene expression. It also regulates apoptosis. A 2006 study estimated that about 10% of human proteins (2800) potentially bind zinc, in addition to hundreds which transport and traffic zinc; a similar in silico study in the plant Arabidopsis thaliana found 2367 zinc-related proteins.

In the brain, zinc is stored in specific synaptic vesicles by glutamatergic neurons and can “modulate brain excitability”. It plays a key role in synaptic plasticity and so in learning. However it has been called “the brain’s dark horse” since it also can be a neurotoxin, suggesting zinc homeostasis plays a critical role in normal functioning of the brain and central nervous system

Enzymes:
Zinc is a good Lewis acid, making it a useful catalytic agent in hydroxylation and other enzymatic reactions. The metal also has a flexible coordination geometry, which allows proteins using it to rapidly shift conformations to perform biological reactions. Two examples of zinc-containing enzymes are carbonic anhydrase and carboxypeptidase, which are vital to the processes of carbon dioxide (CO2) regulation and digestion of proteins, respectively.
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In vertebrate blood, carbonic anhydrase converts CO2 into bicarbonate and the same enzyme transforms the bicarbonate back into CO2 for exhalation through the lungs. Without this enzyme, this conversion would occur about one million times slower at the normal blood pH of 7 or would require a pH of 10 or more. The non-related ?-carbonic anhydrase is required in plants for leaf formation, the synthesis of indole acetic acid (auxin) and anaerobic respiration (alcoholic fermentation).

Carboxypeptidase cleaves peptide linkages during digestion of proteins. A coordinate covalent bond is formed between the terminal peptide and a C=O group attached to zinc, which gives the carbon a positive charge. This helps to create a hydrophobic pocket on the enzyme near the zinc, which attracts the non-polar part of the protein being digested.

Other proteins:
Zinc serves a purely structural role in zinc fingers, twists and clusters. Zinc fingers form parts of some transcription factors, which are proteins that recognize DNA base sequences during the replication and transcription of DNA. Each of the nine or ten Zn2+ ions in a zinc finger helps maintain the finger’s structure by coordinately binding to four amino acids in the transcription factor. The transcription factor wraps around the DNA helix and uses its fingers to accurately bind to the DNA sequence.

In blood plasma, zinc is bound to and transported by albumin (60%, low-affinity) and transferrin (10%). Since transferrin also transports iron, excessive iron reduces zinc absorption, and vice-versa. A similar reaction occurs with copper. The concentration of zinc in blood plasma stays relatively constant regardless of zinc intake. Cells in the salivary gland, prostate, immune system and intestine use zinc signaling as one way to communicate with other cells.

Zinc may be held in metallothionein reserves within microorganisms or in the intestines or liver of animals.[156] Metallothionein in intestinal cells is capable of adjusting absorption of zinc by 15–40%. However, inadequate or excessive zinc intake can be harmful; excess zinc particularly impairs copper absorption because metallothionein absorbs both metals

Dietary intake
Foods and spices containing zincIn the U.S., the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 8 mg/day for women and 11 mg/day for men. Median intake in the U.S. around 2000 was 9 mg/day for women and 14 mg/day in men.[159] Red meats, especially beef, lamb and liver have some of the highest concentrations of zinc in food.

The concentration of zinc in plants varies based on levels of the element in soil. When there is adequate zinc in the soil, the food plants that contain the most zinc are wheat (germ and bran) and various seeds (sesame, poppy, alfalfa, celery, mustard). Zinc is also found in beans, nuts, almonds, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and blackcurrant.

Other sources include fortified food and dietary supplements, which come in various forms. A 1998 review concluded that zinc oxide, one of the most common supplements in the United States, and zinc carbonate are nearly insoluble and poorly absorbed in the body. This review cited studies which found low plasma zinc concentrations after zinc oxide and zinc carbonate were consumed compared with those seen after consumption of zinc acetate and sulfate salts. However, harmful excessive supplementation is a problem among the relatively affluent, and should probably not exceed 20 mg/day in healthy people, although the U.S. National Research Council set a Tolerable Upper Intake of 40 mg/day.

For fortification, however, a 2003 review recommended zinc oxide in cereals as cheap, stable, and as easily absorbed as more expensive forms. A 2005 study found that various compounds of zinc, including oxide and sulfate, did not show statistically significant differences in absorption when added as fortificants to maize tortillas. A 1987 study found that zinc picolinate was better absorbed than zinc gluconate or zinc citrate. However, a study published in 2008 determined that zinc glycinate is the best absorbed of the four dietary supplement types available.

Deficiency:
Zinc deficiency is usually due to insufficient dietary intake, but can be associated with malabsorption, acrodermatitis enteropathica, chronic liver disease, chronic renal disease, sickle cell disease, diabetes, malignancy, and other chronic illnesses. Symptoms of mild zinc deficiency are diverse. Clinical outcomes include depressed growth, diarrhea, impotence and delayed sexual maturation, alopecia, eye and skin lesions, impaired appetite, altered cognition, impaired host defense properties, defects in carbohydrate utilization, and reproductive teratogenesis. Mild zinc deficiency depresses immunity, although excessive zinc does also. Animals with a diet deficient in zinc require twice as much food in order to attain the same weight gain as animals given sufficient zinc.

Groups at risk for zinc deficiency include the elderly, vegetarians, and those with renal insufficiency. The zinc chelator phytate, found in seeds and cereal bran, can contribute to zinc malabsorption in those with heavily vegetarian diets. There is a paucity of adequate zinc biomarkers, and the most widely used indicator, plasma zinc, has poor sensitivity and specificity. Diagnosing zinc deficiency is a persistent challenge.

Nearly two billion people in the developing world are deficient in zinc. In children it causes an increase in infection and diarrhea, contributing to the death of about 800,000 children worldwide per year. The World Health Organization advocates zinc supplementation for severe malnutrition and diarrhea. Zinc supplements help prevent disease and reduce mortality, especially among children with low birth weight or stunted growth. However, zinc supplements should not be administered alone, since many in the developing world have several deficiencies, and zinc interacts with other micronutrients.

Zinc deficiency is crop plants’ most common micronutrient deficiency; it is particularly common in high-pH soils. Zinc-deficient soil is cultivated in the cropland of about half of Turkey and India, a third of China, and most of Western Australia, and substantial responses to zinc fertilization have been reported in these areas. Plants that grow in soils that are zinc-deficient are more susceptible to disease. Zinc is primarily added to the soil through the weathering of rocks, but humans have added zinc through fossil fuel combustion, mine waste, phosphate fertilizers, limestone, manure, sewage sludge, and particles from galvanized surfaces. Excess zinc is toxic to plants, although zinc toxicity is far less widespread.

KNOWN HAZARDS:

Toxicity:

Although zinc is an essential requirement for good health, excess zinc can be harmful. Excessive absorption of zinc suppresses copper and iron absorption. The free zinc ion in solution is highly toxic to plants, invertebrates, and even vertebrate fish.[173] The Free Ion Activity Model is well-established in the literature, and shows that just micromolar amounts of the free ion kills some organisms. A recent example showed 6 micromolar killing 93% of all Daphnia in water.

The free zinc ion is a powerful Lewis acid up to the point of being corrosive. Stomach acid contains hydrochloric acid, in which metallic zinc dissolves readily to give corrosive zinc chloride. Swallowing a post-1982 American one cent piece (97.5% zinc) can cause damage to the stomach lining due to the high solubility of the zinc ion in the acidic stomach.

There is evidence of induced copper deficiency at low intakes of 100–300 mg Zn/day; a recent trial had higher hospitalizations for urinary complications compared to placebo among elderly men taking 80 mg/day. The USDA RDA is 15 mg Zn/day. Even lower levels, closer to the RDA, may interfere with the utilization of copper and iron or adversely affect cholesterol. Levels of zinc in excess of 500 ppm in soil interfere with the ability of plants to absorb other essential metals, such as iron and manganese. There is also a condition called the zinc shakes or “zinc chills” that can be induced by the inhalation of freshly formed zinc oxide formed during the welding of galvanized materials.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that zinc damages nerve receptors in the nose, which can cause anosmia. Reports of anosmia were also observed in the 1930s when zinc preparations were used in a failed attempt to prevent polio infections. On June 16, 2009, the FDA said that consumers should stop using zinc-based intranasal cold products and ordered their removal from store shelves. The FDA said the loss of smell can be life-threatening because people with impaired smell cannot detect leaking gas or smoke and cannot tell if food has spoiled before they eat it. Recent research suggests that the topical antimicrobial zinc pyrithione is a potent heat shock response inducer that may impair genomic integrity with induction of PARP-dependent energy crisis in cultured human keratinocytes and melanocytes.

Poisoning:
In 1982, the United States Mint began minting pennies coated in copper but made primarily of zinc. With the new zinc pennies, there is the potential for zinc toxicosis, which can be fatal. One reported case of chronic ingestion of 425 pennies (over 1 kg of zinc) resulted in death due to gastrointestinal bacterial and fungal sepsis, while another patient, who ingested 12 grams of zinc, only showed lethargy and ataxia (gross lack of coordination of muscle movements). Several other cases have been reported of humans suffering zinc intoxication by the ingestion of zinc coins.

Pennies and other small coins are sometimes ingested by dogs, resulting in the need for medical treatment to remove the foreign body. The zinc content of some coins can cause zinc toxicity, which is commonly fatal in dogs, where it causes a severe hemolytic anemia, and also liver or kidney damage; vomiting and diarrhea are possible symptoms. Zinc is highly toxic in parrots and poisoning can often be fatal. The consumption of fruit juices stored in galvanized cans has resulted in mass parrot poisonings with zinc

You may click to see :Use  Zinc For Cold & Flue
Resources:

http://brainz.org/what-zinc/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zinc

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Zinc Can Cure Diarrhea

Zinc supplements reduce both the severity and duration of acute or persistent diarrhea in children, according to researchers from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.

The study included data from 22 studies, including 16 that focused on children with acute diarrhea, and six that focused on children with persistent diarrhea.

Compared to placebo, the zinc supplements reduced the occurrence of both types of diarrhea by about 18 percent. The supplements also reduce stool frequency by about 19 percent in children with acute diarrhea, and 13 percent in those with persistent diarrhea.

However, most of the studies also found that zinc supplements were more likely to cause vomiting than placebo.
Sources:
Reuters February 19, 2008
Pediatrics February 2008, Vol. 121 No. 2, pp. 326-336

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Diabetes

Approximately 16 million people in the United States suffer from diabetes. Many would do well to consider the use of herbs and nutritional supplements, which can complement conventional medical treatment and help prevent some complications of this chronic but manageable disease……….click & see


Symptoms

Excessive thirst.
Frequent and excessive urination.
Extreme fatigue and weakness.
Unintentional weight loss.
Slow healing of cuts and wounds.
Recurring infections, such as urinary tract infections or vaginal yeast infections.
Blurred vision.
Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet.

When to Call Your Doctor
If you experience any of the symptoms listed above.
Reminder: If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements.

What It Is
A person with diabetes doesn’t produce enough of the hormone insulin or is unable to use it effectively, which causes high blood sugar (glucose) levels. Over time, this imbalance can lead to heart disease, nerve damage, kidney disease, vision loss, and other complications. There are two types of diabetes. Less common is insulin-dependent diabetes (type 1), which usually develops before age 30. Non-insulin-dependent diabetes (type 2) accounts for 90% of cases; it usually appears after age 40.

What Causes It
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas stops producing insulin. No one knows exactly why this happens, but some experts believe a virus or an autoimmune response, in which the body attacks its own pancreatic cells, is responsible. People with this type of diabetes must take insulin for life. Type 2 diabetes develops from insulin resistance. Here the pancreas secretes plenty of insulin, but the body’s cells don’t respond to it. Obesity plays a major role in most cases of type 2 diabetes. Genetic factors, however, can contribute to the onset of both types.

How Supplements Can Help
All the supplements can be used along with prescription drugs and by people with both types of diabetes. Taking some supplements may require altering dosages for insulin or the hypoglycemic drugs used for type 2 diabetes. Dosage changes must be supervised by your doctor.

What Else You Can Do
Exercise regularly. Those who burn more than 3,500 calories a week through exercise are half as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as those burning less than 500. People with type 1 can benefit from exercise too.
Lose weight. Being overweight is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
Eat whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to keep blood sugar in check.
People with diabetes may find it beneficial to add soy foods to their diet. These products — including tofu, soy protein, soy milk, and soy flour — may improve glucose control, protect against heart disease, and lessen the stress on the kidneys.
The herb ginkgo biloba is useful for two common side effects of diabetes: nerve damage and poor circulation in the extremities. If you have signs of either complication or if you have trouble controlling your blood sugar levels, try taking ginkgo biloba at a dose of 40 mg three times a day.


Supplement Recommendations

Vitamin B Complex
Chromium
Gymnema Sylvestre
Essential Fatty Acids
Antioxidants
Zinc/Copper
Bilberry
Taurine


Vitamin B Complex

Dosage: 1 pill each morning with food.
Comments: Look for a B-100 complex with 100 mcg vitamin B12 and biotin; 400 mcg folic acid; and 100 mg all other B vitamins.

Chromium
Dosage: 200 mcg 3 times a day.
Comments: Take with meals.

Gymnema Sylvestre
Dosage: 200 mg twice a day.
Comments: May require change in insulin or diabetes medication. Talk to your doctor.

Essential Fatty Acids

Dosage: 1,000 mg evening primrose oil 3 times a day; 1,000 mg fish oils twice a day.
Comments: Or use 1,000 mg borage oil once a day for primrose oil.

Antioxidants

Dosage: 1,000 mg vitamin C, 400 IU vitamin E, and 150 mg alpha-lipoic acid each morning.
Comments: Alpha-lipoic acid may affect blood sugar; use with care.

Zinc/Copper
Dosage: 30 mg zinc and 2 mg copper a day.
Comments: Add copper only when using zinc longer than 1 month.

Bilberry
Dosage: 160 mg twice a day.
Comments: Standardized to contain 25% anthocyanosides.

Taurine
Dosage: 500 mg L-taurine twice a day on an empty stomach.
Comments: If using longer than 1 month, add mixed amino acids.

Source:Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs (Reader’s Digest)

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Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.

Colds and Flu

Sooner or later, just about everyone comes down with a miserable cold or case of the flu-and some unfortunate people seem to get infected again and again. Vitamin C is probably the most familiar natural remedy for these viruses, but it’s not the only one.

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Symptoms
Head and chest congestion.
Sneezing and cough.
Sore throat.
Watery nasal discharge.
Muscle aches.
Fever and chills.
Headache.
Fatigue.

When to Call Your Doctor
If your temperature is above 100F for three days or ever goes to 103F or higher.
If you have a sore throat combined with a fever that stays above 101F for 24 hours — it may indicate strep throat, which requires antibiotics.
If mucus is green, dark yellow, or brown — this may be a sign of a bacterial infection in the sinuses or lungs.
If you have chest pain, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing — this may mean you have pneumonia, especially if you also have a high fever.
Reminder: If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements

What It Is
Because the common cold and the flu are both respiratory infections, determining which you have may be difficult. Generally a cold comes on gradually, and the flu strikes suddenly — you can feel fine in the morning and lousy by afternoon. The classic cold symptoms — congestion, sore throat, and sneezing — are usually less severe than those of the flu, which often include fever, extreme fatigue, muscle aches, and headaches.
The amount of time needed to recover is different too. In general, a cold lasts about a week, but symptoms may trouble you for only three or four days if your immune system is in good shape. You can be sick with the flu for up to 10 days, and fatigue can persist for two to three weeks afterward. A cold rarely produces serious complications, but the flu can lead to bronchitis or pneumonia.

What Causes It
Both colds and flu are caused by viruses that attach themselves to the lining of the nose or throat and then spread throughout the upper respiratory system and occasionally to the lungs as well. In response, the immune system floods the area with infection-fighting white blood cells. The symptoms of a cold or the flu aren’t produced by the viruses but are actually the result of the body trying to stave off the infection. Colds and flu are more common in winter, when indoor heating reduces the humidity in the air; this lack of moist air dries out the nasal passages and creates the perfect breeding ground for the viruses.

How Supplements Can Help
The supplements listed in the chart assist your body in combating cold and flu viruses, rather than suppressing symptoms. For this reason, you may not feel better immediately after taking them, but you’ll probably recover faster. In some cases, prompt treatment may prevent a cold or the flu from fully developing. Start the supplements when symptoms first appear and, unless otherwise noted, continue until the illness passes.

What Else You Can Do
Wash your hands often to reduce your chances of catching an infection.
Use a humidifier or cool-mist vaporizer in winter to keep indoor air moist.
Consider getting a flu shot. It takes six to eight weeks to build up a viral immunity, so get vaccinated in late fall before the flu season begins. Different flu strains emerge each year, so you’ll need to have an annual shot.
Don’t smoke. Smokers are twice as likely to catch colds as nonsmokers, according to a study from the Common Cold Unit of the Medical Research Council in Salisbury, England.

Supplement Recommendations

Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Echinacea
Zinc Lozenges
Garlic
Goldenseal

Vitamin A
Dosage: 50,000 IU twice a day until symptoms improve; if needed beyond 7 days, reduce dose to 25,000 IU a day.
Comments: Women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy should not exceed 5,000 IU a day.

Vitamin C
Dosage: 2,000 mg 3 times a day until symptoms improve; if needed beyond 5 days, reduce dose to 1,000 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Reduce dose if diarrhea develops.

Echinacea
Dosage: 200 mg 5 times a day.
Comments: For prevention, take 200 mg a day in 3-week rotations with the herb astragalus (400 mg a day).

Zinc Lozenges
Dosage: 1 lozenge every 3 or 4 hours as needed.
Comments: Do not exceed 150 mg zinc a day from all sources.

Garlic
Dosage: 400-600 mg 4 times a day with food.
Comments: Each pill should provide 4,000 mcg allicin potential.

Goldenseal
Dosage: 125 mg standardized extract 5 times a day for 5 days.
Comments: Don’t use during pregnancy or with high blood pressure.

Source:Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs