Natural Healing and Prevention with Dr. Joseph Russo — By on February 1, 2009 11:51 AM


Zinc is an essential element for various functions in the human body. It is necessary for the functioning of over 300 different enzymes controlling an enormous number of biological functions. It also plays a critical role in growth and wound healing.
What are signs of Zinc deficiency?

Slowing of growth and development, skin rash, chronic diarrhea, immune system deficiencies ( recurrent infections), slow wound healing, impaired taste, night blindness. Also, the National Cancer Institute has found that Zinc deficiency is associated with an increase risk of esophageal cancer.
Who is at risk for Zinc deficiency?

How do we measure for Zinc levels?
                                                Male                    Female
Adults                                   11mg/day                   8mg/day
and adolescents
Children   9-13 yrs          8mg/day                        8mg/day
Children   4-8 yrs            5mg/day                         5mg/day
Children  1-3yrs              3mg/day                         3mg/day
Infants 7-12 mo             3mg/day                          3mg/day
Infants 0-6 mo                2mg/day                         2mg/day
Zinc supplementation and research.

A study was performed in the Denver area involving children with growth delay and it was discovered that Zinc supplementation resulted in increased growth rates.
Zinc also reduces the frequency, severity and duration of diarrhea episodes in children under five years old. Numerous studies in developing countries have shown unequivocally that routine oral Zinc supplementation reduces the incidence of diarrheal disease. The results were so remarkable that the WHO (World Health Organization) recommends Zinc supplementation as part of the treatment for diarrheal diseases in young children in third world countries.
Additionally, An analysis of a number of studies in developing countries demonstrated a reduction in the number of cases of pneumonia in children who were given Zinc supplements.
It has also been proven that Zinc helps slow the progression of Age-related Macular Degeneration.  A leading cause of blindness in persons over 65 in the USA.
Does Zinc supplementation help the common cold?

All those Zinc lozenges and nasal gels and sprays that are marketed to help resolve colds are not supported by unequivocal research. Evidence for effectiveness in reducing the duration of the common cold is still lacking.  Some studies show that Zinc helps while other studies show that it did not.  The nasal sprays should be avoided. The recent research does not show any improvement with the uses of nasal sprays or gels and there have been reports of people using the Zinc nasal gels in their nasal passages and experiencing loss of smell that did not return to normal. Avoid putting Zinc into your nose! 
What are good sources of Zinc?              

Believe it or not Oysters are the food source with the highest Zinc content.
Six medium oysters (cooked) provide a person with approximately 76milligrams of Zinc. One Oyster 12.6 mg Zinc. Considering that the daily requirement of Zinc for women is 8 milligrams (mg) per day one Oyster would provide all the Zinc that one would need in a day. Other good sources of Zinc are: Dungeness Crab( 3oz.) 4.7mg,  Alaska King Crab(3oz) 6.5mg, Beef shanks(3 oz.)8.4mg,  Turkey dark meat(3 oz.) 3.8mg.  one cup (8oz) yogurt  1.8mg. Cheerios (1 cup) 3.7mg, Hamburger (3.5oz) 4.9mg.
A number of Zinc supplements are currently on the Market. They include Zinc Acetate, Zinc gluconate, Zinc picolinate and Zinc sulfate. In terms of better absorption and less side effects no one formulation stands out. All formulations appear equal.
Can a person take too much Zinc supplementation?

Sure. Zinc toxicity has occurred at very high levels of consumption between 225 and 500mg per day. This has caused vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
The US Food and Nutrition Board has set the upper limit of Zinc intake at 40mg per day. This means that a person should not consume more than 40mg per day as a supplement.
What is the Skinny on Zinc?
As always, the best source of Zinc can be found in a well balanced diet. Zinc can usually be found in most multivitamins and taking a multivitamin is a great way not only to obtain Zinc but other essential vitamins and minerals. If you are a person who is at risk for a low zinc level you may want to consider a zinc supplement, please check with your physician for the correct dose.

So considering that we are well into the “cold and flu” season, the next time you are at a holiday party or seafood restaurant be sure to sample those delicious cooked oysters, knowing that your immune system will thank you.
Next issue I will include an incredible oyster recipe.

Until next time, fly low and avoid the radar.

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