The most common trace element deficiencies in Australia are zinc, manganese, copper and molybdenum. As this is a short blog, I am ONLY focussing on ZINC in this article.
Zinc deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in the world. It is estimated that up to two billion people have diets poor in zinc, a condition that can lead to a host of problems such as poor immune function, DNA damage, infertility, slow wound healing, cancer, and other diseases.
Though the body uses zinc in minute doses only, it is one of the most important trace elements needed. It is essential in protecting against oxidative damage from free radicals and in helping to repair DNA. Even a minor zinc deficiency has been found to cause DNA damage, according to some studies. (source)
You may ask yourself if you could be deficient in zinc – and if so, surely it is simply a matter of popping a zinc supplement, or eating foods higher in zinc to correct such a deficiency. That seems so logical doesn’t it?
But did you know that studies on zinc deficient mice have shown that their offspring exhibited a malfunctioning immune system for the first six months of life.(source) More alarming, the second and third generations also showed signs of poor immunity – even though they were fed a zinc-plentiful diet. Now that is quite something to be both aware and concerned about. I have written before about heath beginning in the womb and the effects it may have on subsequent generations.
From watching health and fitness TV and reading popular food and industry magazines, I have seen a strong push for us to decrease the amount of animal proteins in our diets and to increase our grain consumption. Leaving vegetarianism alone as that is a way of life I neither understand nor ascribe to – (I am an omnivore), I cannot understand the push for us to eat so many grain foods, unless it is a political thing!
Dangerous Grains turns the U.S. Food Guide Pyramid upside down by exposing the myriad health risks posed by gluten grains (wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, and triticale). The authors, leading experts in the field of food allergies, and celiac disease, present compelling evidence that our grain-centered diet is to blame for a host of chronic illnesses. Largely misunderstood and frequently misdiagnosed, these disorders can be prevented and reversed………
Generally speaking, grains have high levels of phytic acid, a substance that reduces our absorption of minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium. As an example, compare the milligrams of phytic acid in grains to a random collection of other foods. (This is a small sample of phytic acid levels as listed in a review article by Harland and Oberleas in a 1987 article.) See the list here: phytic acid in grains.
The list will basically tell you that, yes, grains do have a lot of phytic acid.
But there is more to this where grains are concerned as anyone who has gluten sensitivity will be able to tell you. Gluten containing grains must be avoided totally for life by those with diagnosed Celiac Disease.
Unfortunately many medical professionals do not know that the chemicals in grain (foods) can be responsible for many other health disorders and a deficiency in zinc may well be connected.
Some of the links found here will be informative where zinc/grains/health disorders are concerned.
According to Ananda S. Prasad, MD, PhD, at Wayne State University, the Western world’s shift from consumption of meat proteins to cereal proteins containing high levels of fibers known as phytates may precipitate a general increase in zinc deficiency. Other known causes of zinc deficiency in man include surgery, malabsorption syndrome, being an athlete, frequent ejaculation (most often by homosexuals), excessive alcohol intake, fasting, institutional diets, illegal drug use, chronic diseases (including sickle cell anemia, Wilson’s disease, renal and liver diseases), lack of zinc in food crops grown in zinc depleted soils, a poor diet, dependance on processed foods, vegetarianism, and long term exposure to environmental toxins.
DANGERS OF ZINC DEFICIENCY: Continued increase in zinc deficiency may be dangerous to humanity because dietary zinc deficiency — dependent upon severity and other factors — can result in: (a) primary T-cell lymphocyte immune system dysfunction (failure to terminate incipient malignancies, viral and fungal infections), (b) inability to protect cell membranes from viruses, toxins, complement, and venoms, (c) poor appetite (particularly in the young and aged), (d) mental lethargy, (e) abnormal neurosensory changes, (f) chronic diarrhea, (g) growth failure (dwarfism), (h) vision problems, (i) fertility problems (including hypogonads, failure of sexual maturity, benign prostatitis in men, and menstrual cramping and bloating in women), (j) essential hypertension, (k) angina pectoris, (l) ischemia of effort, (m) delayed wound healing, (n) free radical damage, (o) frequent opportunistic infections, (p) scleroderma, (q) systemic scleroderma (including lethal pulmonary hypertension), (r) respiratory and skin allergies, (s) asthma, (t) premature aging, (u) loss of hair color, (v) anemia, striae (stretch marks), (x) joint pain, (y) loss of taste, and (z) birth defects. In chronic zinc deficiency, smoking tobacco can result in absent zinc being replaced with toxic cadmium from cigarette smoke eventually resulting in lung disease. Lead, cadmium, and mercury toxicity can be treated by displacing those elements by therapeutic doses of dietatry zinc. It is probable that each of these disorders will respond to, be prevented by, or be cured by daily therapeutic doses of zinc (ten times the U.S. RDA 15 mg for zinc).
|Do you have symptoms linked to a connective tissue disorder? A number of the following features? Common features of connective tissue disorders include:|
There are some logical nutritional and biomechanical reasons why these symptoms often appear together and many dietary and body alignment changes people can make to try to correct a number of the problems listed above. Could they be related to zinc deficiency?
I will end today with a mention of a blog which also is investigating Zinc, albeit from a different perspective….. Zinc and the common cold.
I think you will enjoy what the author has to say particularly when he (almost) prefaces his article with a quote from the The NIH Office of Dietary Supplements.
“Severe zinc deficiency depresses immune function , and even mild to moderate degrees of zinc deficiency can impair macrophage and neutrophil functions, natural killer cell activity, and complement activity . The body requires zinc to develop and activate T-lymphocytes [2,50]. Individuals with low zinc levels have shown reduced lymphocyte proliferation response to mitogens and other adverse alterations in immunity that can be corrected by zinc supplementation [49,51]. These alterations in immune function might explain why low zinc status has been associated with increased susceptibility to pneumonia and other infections in children in developing countries and the elderly [52-55].”
Don’t be put off by the technical language in the above quote; the Author (Dr. Paul) is a Medical Doctor, and former FDA employee, who now terms himself a Skeptic – as I do myself! Enjoy his writings they are most refreshing!