Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Zinc and Colds

I've kept zinc supplements and lozenges on hand for years, taking some whenever I've had a cold coming on, but never looked into exactly how and why it works. I never take it in a daily basis because I think I get enough in my foods.

Scientists at the University of Adelaide, AU have discovered how Zinc interplays with one of the deadliest bacteria, Streptococcus pneumoniae, which kills more than one million people a year by causing pneumonia, meningitis and other serious infectious diseases.

Zinc starves the bacteria that need to feed off manganese (an essential metal), bacteria that can to thrive and attack the body. By blocking this process, Zinc weakens the bacteria and makes the job of the immune system so much easier.

The essential mineral Zinc, is one of the very best anti-bacterial agents.

Food Sources:
Beef and Lamb
Pork & Chicken
Wheat Germ
Spinach and Silverbeet (Chard)
Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
Cocoa and Chocolate (Cocoa Powder)
Dry Beans or Legumes

Zinc - An Essential Mineral

Zinc is an essential mineral present in nearly every cell of your body. Zinc stimulates the work of about 100 enzymes that keep your body functioning normally. In addition, your body needs zinc to use nutrients for immunity, for wound healing and for maintaining your senses of taste and smell. Food is the best source of zinc, as supplements have not proven (to date) to be a sufficient source. It is very difficult to get too much zinc in your diet; however, supplements may cause harmful side effects: Lowering of HDL (good) cholesterol levels, weakening of immune response and impairment of copper absorption. Zinc is found in many different foods from both animal and plant sources so you can usually get all you need from a variety of foods.

Foods of animal origin are the best sources: Lean meat, poultry, and some seafood, liver and, in small amounts, milk and eggs. In fact, the body absorbs zinc better from a diet rich in animal protein than from one high in plant protein. You also get zinc from whole-grain foods, nuts, fortified breakfast cereals and some legumes, but phytates in those foods can decrease its rate of absorption.

If you are deficient in zinc, symptoms include reduced immunity, appetite loss, skin changes and impaired growth - and, during pregnancy, birth defects. The causes are poor intake, poor absorption, zinc loss or increased need. Vegetarians may need more since zinc from plant sources is not absorbed as well as zinc from other sources. Fortified cereal may be the best source.

There are some health-conditions linked to poor zinc status: Digestive diseases, alcoholism, inadequate calorie intake and poor infant and childhood growth. The USDA found that high fat, low-carbohydrate diets do not provide an adequate supply of zinc. If you suspect a deficiency, talk to your doctor about your symptoms before trying a supplement. Should you and your doctor decide you need a supplement, read the label's Supplement Facts to help keep your daily zinc intake under the UL.

1 comment:

  1. I started with a sore throat on the 23rd and immediately started my zinc. It's cool to know exactly how and why it works.Except for the wheat germ, cocoa/chocolate, and legumes, I eat the rest regularly and many we raise right here on the farm. I'd been craving pumpkin seeds too, so now I know why.

    Another excellent post, a keeper!!


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