Zinc

The Health of Hair Depends on Internal Nutrients. Hair is Dead!

By Ben Fuchs | PharmacistBen

The Health of Hair Depends on Internal Nutrients. Hair is dead!

(PharmacistBen) Hair is dead! By the time the skin appendage has left its hidden home and birthplace in the follicle, and becomes a visible strand of substance, it is nothing more than a hard shell. Because this shell is largely composed only of dead cells filled with protein, the same stuff that makes up human fingernails as well a horse hoofs and rhino horns, trying to enhance hair’s appearance and texture with topical products is like putting lipstick on a corpse. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try!

Throughout history luxurious locks have been honored as a sign of fertility, virility, overall vigor and well-being. Men and women around the world have used a wide range of materials to improve its appearance. From ingredients, like the olive oil infused dead lizards or boiled bulls blood (!) used by ancient Egyptians and Greeks, to the more sophisticated high tech chemicals with difficult to pronounce monikers, like “quaternary ammonium complexes” and “polysiloxanes”, all manner of substances synthetic, natural, benign and toxic have been applied to the tresses to encourage growth, shine, thickness and bounce among other desirable characteristics.

Hair is mostly made up of protein. That’s why the more popular hair care ingredients found in modern shampoos and conditioners are the chemically modified extracts of protein-rich grain and seeds. These derivatives purport to enter into the surface of the nonliving hair shaft to provide support and protection by filling in gaps and repairing microscopic defects. Most include an amino acid called “cysteine”. Cysteine contains a little piece of sulfur, the element that is responsible for hair’s resilience and strength. From a quantum chemistry perspective the electronic nature of sulfur makes it very magnetic. It holds on to things and doesn’t let them go, like a really powerful heavy duty magnet. This micro-magnetic grip creates hardness on the macro level. Thus defining cysteine’s role in strengthening the hair shaft (as well as bone, joints and cartilage).

There are various ways manufacturers can leverage the power of cysteine for their hair care products. While you’ll rarely see the actual amino itself listed on your product’s ingredient deck, what you will often find is some kind hydrolyzed protein. Whether it’s from wheat, barley, soy or some other plant product, these hydrolyzed proteins, which contain a significant amount of the hair hardening amino acid, can, theoretically at least, be released and delivered into the hair shaft as your shampoo or conditioner is being applied.

The major cysteine containing protein in the hair (and for that matter in nails and skin) is called “keratin” and oftentimes shampoos and conditioners manufacturers will include it as an ingredient in their formulations. L’Oréal, Jason and TRESemme among other companies all have hair products that feature keratin and there’s also hair styling products that have keratin in them. If you do a google search for keratin and shampoo, you’ll find over 5 million hits and if you just take a walk through the shampoo section at Walmart or your favorite grocery store you’ll find dozens of shampoos with names like Keranique and Keralique and Suave with keratin as well as keratin hair oils and keratin conditioners.

Do they work? Probably not. Remember, hair is dead and while keratin is composed of cysteine it isn’t going to be able do much to permanently change the quality of hair by simply applying it topically via a shampoo or conditioner. Keratin containing hair products are more about marketing and misinformation than actual keratin effects; at best keratin may soften hair a little bit by acting as a moisturizer. It’s possible that keratin may get deposited in the hair shaft allowing for a temporary strengthening effect, although that too is unlikely.

In the salon world hair stylists CAN make use of keratin and cysteine in a product called the Brazilian Blowout, which is basically a hair straightening treatment utilizing heat and cysteine that breaks and reforms the protein bonds in curly frizzy hair, turning it into smooth straight hair that can last for weeks. Previously most hair relaxers and straighteners simply used heat with a very harsh “alkalinizer” like lye and potassium hydroxide. As it turns out, by using cysteine, typically in in the form of keratin, Brazilian blowout and similar products manage to avoid the use of harsh chemicals and still achieve good hair straightening results. However in recent years it has come to the attention of the FDA and OSHA and other researchers that the Brazilian Blowout product actually achieved their fantastic results with formaldehyde, a not very pleasant carcinogenic chemical that’s used to preserve corpses. An OSHA study found 60 times the allowable level of Formaldehyde in one Brazilian blowout product, which comprised, at least according to OSHA, 12 % of the product. That’s a lot of formaldehyde! In any case whether or not there is formaldehyde in these kinds of products, hair straightening is by its very nature an aggressive procedure, because the hair’s natural cysteine bonds are so darn strong it takes really aggressive treatments to break them.

Ultimately, like everything else in the body, the health of hair depends on internal nutrients that are ingested, digested and delivered through the blood. That means eating cysteine is a way more important and better option for taking care of your tresses than applying it directly to your hair. Once a hair pokes out of a follicle on the head it is dead tissue. Now that’s not to say that nothing can be done with the appearance of the hair once it leaves the scalp. While it may not be living tissue, it is porous and can absorb certain materials from topical products to improve its appearance. But if your hair doesn’t seem to be healthy, if it’s limp or brittle and dry, you are probably dealing with an internal issue more than a topical hair issue.

Most importantly, hair structure depends on protein, especially the sulfur containing proteins found largely in animal foods, dairy (especially whey), eggs fish and meats. For vegetarians, beans and grains can provide sulfur proteins. Consider using digestive enzymes and apple cider vinegar with protein foods to help release the amino acids and make them more accessible to the hair making cells in the scalp. Using supplements like NAC (as a source of cysteine) and MSM (readily usable sulfur) as supplements can contribute to the pool or raw material for making hair, without violating vegetarian vows. Follicular health depends on Vitamin C, so make sure you’re eating lots of veggies and citrus fruits. You might want to think about supplementing with a gram or two on a daily basis. The B-vitamins, most especially biotin and pantothenic acid has historically been recognized as important for improving cellular energy. Because hair growth is typically rapid, improving the energy levels of follicular cells may provide significant benefits. No nutrient is more important for the hair than zinc, which not only stimulates its synthesis and growth inside the hair follicle, but also helps balance out the excess male hormones that are associated with hair thinning and loss. Zinc is also involved in hundreds of different biochemical reactions associated with health. Using 50mhg a day of the picolinate form (Zinc Picolinate) will not only keep hair healthy but can also provide general salutatory benefits for the whole body.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Glycation of Sugars

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

One of the most important and under-recognized causes of accelerated aging is a chemical process called “glycation” (also known as “glycosylation”). Best thought of as a reaction between sugar and protein (and sometimes fat). Glycation can be thought of as a type of caramelization, a candy making technique that creates a characteristic confectionary quality that candy cooks have exploited for centuries. During the caramelization process, sugar is heated to high temperatures until it turns brown. And it’s not just candy that caramelizes, or glycates. The same phenomenon occurs when bread is toasted, or onions or potatoes are grilled. French toasted bread, fried onions and French fried potatoes, also are among culinary delights that are carmelized.

Glycation of sugarsIn the body, caramelization/glycation of sugars can occur in conjunction with proteins, and as with caramelization of foods this can manifest itself as browning and subsequent degradation of various structures. Smaller systems are especially likely to be damaged; most especially tiny blood vessels and capillaries. Glycation is a leading cause of blindness and kidney diseases. Both structures are packed with thousands of miles of microscopic circulatory vessels. The net effect of this kind of damage can result in pockets of oxygen deprived, nutritionally starved, and toxin drenched tissue. Not good!

Even worse, there an important relationship between glycation and oxidation, which is thought to play an important part in accelerated aging. As it turns out, glycated proteins can be a source of free radicals that are responsible for the oxidation, which can be thought of as a type of “biological rusting”. In an article published in the journal “Glycobiology”, researchers claimed that glycated proteins produce 50 times more free radicals than non-glycated proteins. According to the article, free radicals amplify the production of inflammatory peptides and the net result is not only rapid aging of organs and tissues, but also many health challenges including diabetes, neuro-degeneration, and kidney failure.

The best way to protect yourself from glycation is to keep your blood sugar concentration as low as possible. There should only be around one (1) teaspoonful of sugar floating around in the blood at any given moment. It’s not uncommon for blood sugar concentration to double after a carbohydrate-laden meal. Reducing your intake of refined carbs (flour, fruit juice, cereals, dessert, etc.) should be a priority, making sure you’re taking in lots of water, especially after drinking a soda pop or indulging a sweet or a starchy bread-filled meal. Supplements can also be beneficial. The B-complex stands out in importance, especially Vitamins B1 and B3. Use a B-100 or something like Youngevity’s Beyond Tangy Tangerine. Vitamin C is important too, 1000mg maybe. Minerals like Magnesium Glycinate, Zinc , Selenium, Chromium, and Vanadium are known to help the body process sugar. Arginine and Taurine are two amino acids that improve sugar metabolism and the B-vitamin-like substance choline can be helpful, too.

*Did you know that the sugar beet and sugar cane are excellent sources of many of the nutrients that the body needs to process carbs?*

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Lupus is a Disease of the Immune System

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Lupus is a non-tissue specific (it can show up in many parts of the body) autoimmune disease with broad based symptoms, the most common of which is a butterfly shaped pattern of redness that appears on the face. At one time physicians used to believe it was caused by a bite from a wolf (lupus is the Latin word for “wolf). Today doctors and other medical geniuses will tell you that there is no known cause, but I’m only a simple little pharmacist so I’m going to tell you that there is. Lupus is a disease of the immune system. It represents a characteristic immune system malfunction called autoimmunity, which simply means the body’s defensive chemistry turns on itself (auto = “self”). According to the Lupus Foundation website the symptoms of lupus “mysteriously” show up. They claim that they are “devoted to solving the mystery of lupus”. Oh really? Well, perhaps they should listen to The Bright Side where we talk about the real causes of lupus and other autoimmune diseases, which is quite obviously a jacked up and malfunctioning immune system. The only mystery is what exactly is it that is causing this hyperactive and misguided immune initiation.

Lupus is a Disease of the Immune System

Drawing of the typical “butterfly rash” found in lupus. By National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Ok, good question. What is it that causes a confused defensive response? That is, a defensive response that instead of focusing its wrath on an enemy instead turns its considerable biochemical firepower on the organism that it’s supposed to be defending. Well, in order to answer that question we have to understand where in the organism the immune system is located.
The vast majority of the immune system, anywhere from 70 to 80 percent, is located in a specialized tissue of the digestive tract. It’s technically called “Gastro Intestinal Lymphoid Tissue”, or GALT, and it’s responsible for initiating all immune responses to troublesome foods that pass through the digestive tube called the intestine. The most significant GALT response involves increasing the permeability of the digestive lining thereby allowing immune cells, which live in the blood, to have access to said troublesome food.

Unfortunately this permeability of the digestive lining is a two way street. In addition to allowing immune system cells to enter into the intestine from the blood, it unfortunately also permits food particles to enter into the blood from the intestine. Big problem!

Once food particles enter into the blood, a second defensive response is then initiated within the blood. And now we really have problems! The immune system is intelligent; it learns and “remembers”. Foods have a chemical constituency and the immune cells learn to respond to and can “remember” the specific chemical constituency of a food particle. Once the offending food structure is “remembered”, the immune system will become activated by ANY similar chemical structure. In other words, it will attack any substances with that same or a similar chemical constituency. Because chemical constituencies are consistent throughout nature and biology, there are many organs and systems in the body that “look” like foods that the immune system has learned to react to. The immune system will then react to those tissues too. If, for example, the immune system learns to react to a chemical structure in hamburger particles that have entered in to the blood AND those hamburger chemical structures are similar to patterns of chemicals in the skin, the immune cells can (cross-) react to the skin, in addition to hamburger. Thus will be born an autoimmune disease of the skin perhaps psoriasis or vitiligo or scleroderma. If you’re eating soy and a defensive response is triggered, the immune system can learn to respond that troublesome legume’s chemical makeup. Soy’s chemical structure may resemble the structure of the thyroid, which can then become a victim of the immune activity that was supposed to be defending the body from soy. That’s called autoimmune disease of the thyroid, or Hashimoto’s Disease, which is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. If you eat bread or pasta and a wheat particle get into the blood, the immune system can learn to react to the chemical makeup of the wheat particle. Wheat particles may resemble the chemical structure of the intestine, and voila, autoimmune disease of the intestinal lining which is known as Celiac Disease. Sometimes learned immune reactions to food can affect connective tissue which provides structural support for everything in the body. If this occurs the disease is given the term “lupus”, which is essentially an autoimmune disease that can affect anything, including the joints, kidneys, lungs, blood and heart. In other words lupus can be a big autoimmunity mess!

If you’ve been diagnosed with lupus (or any other auto immune disease) there are NO curative medications. But that’s not a problem because immune system issues need not be medical issues. By definition, an immune health condition is a defensive (immune) response to an offending agent. An immune (and autoimmune) disease means we’re doing something that is activating the immune system. Best bet is to figure out what the heck we’re doing to activate the immune system and then STOP DOING IT! Clue: it usually involves food. Eliminate foods that cause any digestive distress. Using nutrition to build up the digestive tract is also important. Probiotics are always helpful. Glutamine powder can help rebuild the digestive lining, and polysaccharides from aloe, noni and ocean vegetation can have a wonderful soothing and supporting effect for digestive tissue. And strengthening the immune system with Vitamins E, C, and A; and minerals like selenium and zinc is a good idea for any autoimmune or immune health condition.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Health

Peanuts & Peanut Butter

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

The PeanutThere is no food that speaks to the American childhood experience more clearly than the peanut, the source of that quintessential piece of culinary Americana, peanut butter. Peanuts were originally cultivated in South America by Peruvian Indians who are considered to be the first indigenous groups to domesticate the legume and archaeologists have traced the original specimens to around 5000 BC. From South America the Spanish brought the humble bean to Europe and to their colonies and outposts in what is today the south eastern part of the United States.

Peanuts really caught on during the civil war because they considered to be good, cheap protein. Farmers in the South had pretty much depleted their land of vital nutrients over farming cotton the lowly peanut had come to the rescue as an alternative crop. During and after the civil they ended up in the Northern states where they were sold, freshly roasted by street vendors in NYC and Boston and Philadelphia and a new American love affair was born.

Farming peanuts was a limited and labor intensive affair until the industrial revolution began to change agriculture around the turn of the 20th century. Right around that time George Washington Carver was developing all kinds of stuff from the peanut. All told, Carver, who was the head of the agricultural department at Tuskegee Institute, developed 300 different products with the peanut including various types of soaps and cleansers and milk and even ink! The reason Carver could make so many things out of the peanut is because there are so many incredible chemical active compounds in the plain old peanut.

Their complex nature is also is why peanuts can be such a problem food. In addition to the potentially thyroid suppressing compounds in peanuts, along with grains, dairy, and eggs are one of the most important of all food allergens. While peanut allergies are not as pervasive as as significant as dairy or grain the affect up to 6 million Americans and they be potentially life threatening. I remember when I was a pharmacy student working at an asthma hospital, a kid got an injection that was made with peanut oil and had an allergic reaction that was so severe it killed him. Peanuts can also be source of a toxic mold called aflatoxin that’s been associated with cancer. And unfortunately, peanuts are also a source of really problematic compounds called lectins that trigger various immune and autoimmune reactions.

One of the more common yet underappreciated reactions to peanuts involves the skin. For some sensitive folks, dermatitis can occur by simply by touching or breathing in peanut dust. And ingestion of peanuts has been linked to acne in susceptible children and teenagers.

If you’re looking for concentrated nutrients however, and you’re not concerned with allergic reactions, you’d be wise to add a handful or two of peanuts to a meal a couple of times a week. You can also throw some into a smoothie to enhance its nutritional value. Peanuts are a good source of protein and vitamins, including hard to find vitamin E (one ounce of peanuts contains 29% of the Reference Daily Intake level) as well as minerals like copper, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, potassium, selenium, zinc and calcium. All told, a couple of tablespoonfuls of peanuts contains nearly half of the 13 vitamins necessary for the body’s growth and maintenance and more than one third of the 20 minerals needed! Peanuts are even a good source of resveratrol; one ounce contains approximately 73 mg. A naturally occurring plant compound resveratrol intake is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and increased longevity.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Nutrition

Zinc’s Powerful Hormone Balancing

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

We’ve discussed all the ways zinc and the lack of it can affect the body: skin health, bone, health and immunity are just some ways this essential nutrient can impact health. taking a daily 50mg dose of Zinc can prevent colds, eliminate acne and improve eczema. Zinc’s powerful hormone balancing properties can help improve prostate health and prevent male pattern baldness. All in all, for hundreds of different biochemical reactions, this stuff is amazing!

Zinc's Powerful Hormone BalancingThis is what I mean when I talk about the importance of nutrition supplementation. Think about the leverage here: one little pill with 50mg of Zinc in it (about the amount of zinc that would fit on the head of a pin) can control and stabilize and spark several hundred chemical processes in the body. Now that is some serious clout! And the most incredible part how little 50mg
of Zinc costs. What would you expect to pay for a (magic) pill that could keep hair on your head, cure your acne, strengthen your bones, build your immunity, enhance your digestion, strengthen your heart and make you think better?

And, with no down side when taken as directed. Would you expect to pay 100 dollars for a month supply? It would be worth it! In fact, for all those benefits, 100 dollars would be an incredible bargain. Well, surprise, surprise! A 30 day supply at a health food store will typically cost less than 5 bucks!

You can tell if you’re deficient in zinc by doing the “Zinc Taste Test”. You can use a solution of zinc sulfate and water (available online) or you can place a zinc sulfate tablet on your tongue. If you are not instantly repelled by a strong metallic taste chances are pretty good that you’re suffering from a lack of zinc.

The best way to get zinc is supplementally in the picolinate and monomethionine forms. These are available in most health food stores, but they are harder to find at drug stores where the typical forms available are zinc gluconate and zinc sulfate. The bioavailability of these cheaper zinc varieties is less than satisfactory and many people find that they can cause nausea or other digestive distress. A good daily dose is 50mg a day. Interestingly the signs of zinc deficiency (such as acne, hair loss, frequent colds and flues) can be duplicated by taking too much zinc (100mg a day or more). It’s also important to note than there is an antagonistic relationship between zinc and copper and it’s probably a good idea to take 2 mg of copper with every 50mg of zinc.

Look for chelate or glycinate forms of copper which are easily handled by the body. For those of you who want to try to obtain zinc through diet, in addition to the aforementioned oysters and the Rocky Mountain variety, the best sources include liver, lamb, venison, and seseme and pumpkin seeds. However, it should be noted than even the highest zinc concentration foods provide 10mg or so per serving.

SUMMARY:
– Zinc deficiency is relatively common.
– It’s important for hundreds of different biochemical systems to work effectively
– Deficiencies can show up in dozens of different ways including depressed immunity, bone problems, skin rashes and acne, digestive distress and hormone issues.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Nutrition

Think Zinc! Part 2

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

Last post we discussed all the ways zinc and the lack of it can affect the body. Skin clarity, bone health and immune system integrity are just some of the ways this essential nutrient can impact health. Taking a daily 50mg dose of zinc can help prevent and reduce the duration of colds (as I write this post, there’s a television commercial running that promotes the use of a cold remedy called “Cold-Eeze” which contains a small amount of zinc gluconate), eliminate acne and improve eczema. Zinc’s powerful hormone balancing properties can help improve prostate health and prevent male pattern baldness. And zinc is important for the health of sperm cells and may improve male fertility. All in all, zinc is important for hundreds of different biochemical reactions; this stuff is amazing!

Think ZincThat’s what I mean when I talk about the importance of nutritional supplementation. Think about the leverage here: one little pill with 50mg of Zinc in it (about the amount of zinc that would fit on the head of a pin) can control and stabilize and spark several hundred chemical processes in the body. Now that is some serious clout!

And, the most incredible part is how little 50mg of zinc costs. What would you expect to pay for a (magic) pill that could keep hair on your head, cure your acne, strengthen your bones, build your immunity, enhance your digestion, improve the function of your heart and help you think more effectively? And, with no downside when taken as directed. Would you expect to pay 100 dollars for a month supply? It would be worth it! In fact, for all those benefits, 100 dollars a month would be an incredible bargain. Well, surprise, surprise! A 30 day supply of zinc at a health food store will typically cost less than 5 bucks!

You can tell if you’re deficient in zinc by doing the “zinc taste test”. You can use a solution of zinc sulfate and water (available online) or you can place a zinc sulfate tablet on your tongue. If you’re not instantly repelled by a strong metallic taste chances are pretty good that you’re suffering from a lack of zinc.

The best way to get zinc into the body is supplementally in the picolinate and monomethionine forms. These are available in most health food stores, but they are harder to find at drug stores where the typical forms available are zinc gluconate and zinc sulfate. The bio-availability of these cheaper zinc varieties is less than satisfactory and many people find that they can cause nausea or other digestive distress. A good daily dose is 50mg a day and once you get going you can skip a day or two here and there. Interestingly the signs of zinc deficiency (such as acne, hair loss, frequent colds and flues) can be duplicated by taking too much zinc (100mg a day is too much). It’s also important to note than there is an antagonistic relationship between zinc and copper and it’s probably a good idea to take 2 mg of copper with every 50mg of zinc. Look for chelate or glycinate forms of copper which are easily handled by the body.

For those of you who want to try to obtain zinc through diet, in addition to the aforementioned oysters and the Rocky Mountain variety, the best sources include liver, lamb, venison, and sesame and pumpkin seeds. However, it should be noted than even then highest zinc concentration foods provide only 10mg or so per serving.

SUMMARY:
-Zinc deficiency is relatively common.
-It’s important for hundreds of different biochemical systems to work
effectively.

-The zinc taste test can alert you to deficiencies.
-Deficiencies can show up in dozens of different ways including depressed immunity, bone problems, skin rashes, eczema and acne, digestive distress and hormone issues.-The zinc taste test can alert you to deficiencies.
-All you need is a couple cents worth of zinc (50mg a day) to meet your zinc requirements and prevent the signs of deficiency.

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Nutrition

Think Zinc! Part 1

By Ben Fuchs | Pharmacist Ben

In Dr. Ananda PrasadIn’s seminal book “The Biochemistry of Zinc”, the nutritional chemist’s go-to guide for all things zinc, there is ample picture proof of the tragedy of deficiencies in the super, unbelievable important mineral. Page after page of photographs taken of children and adults who suffer from nutritional lack of zinc depict the impact of deprivation of this vital nutrient. Stunted growth, skin lesions, hair loss, wasting away syndromes, where the body becomes emaciated and frail, are all vividly portrayed. And zinc deficiency can cause less dramatic health problems too: immunity, skin and bone, the brain, the eye, reproductive and general hormone health, and blood sugar balance and insulin and digestive integrity largely depend on the presence of this incredibly important nutritional metal.

Think ZincThe scariest thing about zinc deficiency is its frequency, which makes it one of the most significant and widespread nutritional deficiencies in the world. 1 out 3 people world-wide is at risk for zinc deficiency and in developing countries, where cereals and grains (which contain zinc-binding compounds and are often-times grown on zinc deficient soils) provide the bulk of caloric intake, it is the 5th leading risk for disease.

Zinc is involved in over 200 different enzyme systems in the body. In other words, if there is any manner of deficiency, literally hundreds of biological systems will be operating at less than peak efficiency. The net result of zinc deficiency is a body that is dramatically less effective at growing, repairing and cogitating and is less able to perform, thrive and resist stress and disease.

Zinc is a key component of the body’s wound healing system. This can be especially helpful pre and post surgery. And, one of the best ways to help heal a sore throat and shorten the duration of a cold or a flu) is to suck on zinc lozenges. Most people notice relief within a day.

Zinc may be the single most important nutrient for acne-prone skin. In a laboratory, acneic lesions can be induced in animals by creating zinc deficiencies. Anyone who suffers from acne or acne-like blemishes should consider add a daily 50mg dose of zinc to well-rounded supplement program.

Pregnant women would be especially wise to watch out for zinc deficiencies. Not only does the developing fetus benefit from this critical nutrient, but deficiencies are associated with the development of stretch marks. And mothers to-be should be aware that there is scientific literature that indicates that zinc deficiency may persist for generations. In an article published in the journal “Science”, test animals who were deprived of zinc demonstrated a depressed immune system that persisted for 3 generations! Men get special benefits too. Supplementing with zinc is one of the best ways to protect the prostate. It’s important for improving sperm count, semen is especially rich in zinc. And, zinc’s supportive role in testosterone metabolism has given the mineral a well-deserved reputation as nutritional support for libido. Perhaps this accounts for the notoriety that oysters and the Colorado variety, Rocky Mountain oysters (which are both relatively high zinc) get for being aphrodisiacs.

Zinc is plays a critical part brain function and mental health. It’s been used to treat autism, ADHD and depression. Low levels in children have been associated with learning disabilities. In the 1970’s Dr. Carl Pfeiffer reported that zinc supplementation, when taken with Vitamin B6 was 95% per cent successful in treating certain types of schizophrenia.

There’s an important relationship between zinc and vitamin A. Zinc is required for Vitamin A to be activated and transported in the body. In the absence of zinc, Vitamin A deficiency is sure to follow. Vitamin A is required for eye, skin, bone, and heart and brain health and is also an important part of the immune system. In other words, in addition to all of the problems directly associated with a lack of zinc, deprivation of this key mineral can also induce a long list of Vitamin A deficiency symptoms as well.

We’ll continue with some practical ways to maintain Zinc health in a coming post…

Posted by Ben Fuchs in Nutrition