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Zinc Deficiencies Are A Global Concern

 

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Although other vitamins and nutrients get more attention in the media, experts now believe as many as two billion people around the world have diets deficient in Zinc. Studies at Oregon State University and elsewhere are raising concerns about the health implications this means for infectious disease, immune function, DNA damage and cancer.

One new study has found DNA damage in humans is caused by only minor zinc deficiency. Zinc deficiency is quite common in the developing world. Even in the United States, about 12 percent of the population is probably at risk for Zinc deficiency, and perhaps as many as 40 percent of the elderly, due to inadequate dietary intake and less absorption of this essential nutrient, experts say. Many or most people have never been tested for Zinc status.

“Zinc deficiencies have been somewhat under the radar because we just don’t know that much about mechanisms that control its absorption, role, or even how to test for it in people with any accuracy,” explained an associate professor with the Linus Pauling Institute at OSU, and international expert on the role of dietary zinc.

Studies have shown that Zinc is essential to protecting against oxidative stress and helping DNA repair, meaning that in the face of Zinc deficiency, the body’s ability to repair genetic damage may be decreasing even as the amount of damage is increasing.

Two studies recently published, in the Journal of Nutrition and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found significant levels of DNA damage both with laboratory animals and in apparently healthy men who have low Zinc intake. Zinc depletion caused strands of their DNA to break, and increasing the intake of Zinc reversed the damage back to normal levels.

“In one clinical study with men, we were able to see increases in DNA damage from zinc deficiency even before existing tests, like decreased plasma zinc levels, could spot the zinc deficiency. An inadequate level of Zinc intake clearly has consequences for cellular health.”

Many Zinc studies have focused on prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in American men, because the prostate gland has one of the highest concentrations of Zinc in the body, for reasons that are not clearly known.

When prostate glands become cancerous, their level of Zinc drops precipitously, and some studies have suggested that increasing Zinc in the prostate may at least help prevent prostate cancer and could potentially be a therapeutic strategy. There are concerns about the relationship of Zinc intake to esophageal, breast, and head and neck cancers. And the reduced Zinc status that occurs with ageing may also contribute to a higher incidence of infection and autoimmune diseases, researchers said in one study in the Journal of Nutrition.

Zinc is naturally found associated with proteins in such meats as beef and poultry, and in even higher levels in shellfish such as oysters. It’s available in plants but poorly absorbed from them, raising additional concerns for vegetarians. And inadequate intake is so prevalent in the elderly, the researcher said, that they should usually consider taking a Zinc supplement and multivitamin to ensure adequate levels.

Zinc is an essential micronutrient for numerous cellular processes. “The consequences of Zinc deficiency in adults have not yet been sufficiently studied despite the recognition of symptoms of Zinc deficiency for decades,” researchers wrote in one recent report. “A considerable body of evidence suggests that Zinc deficiency may increase the risk of some chronic diseases, including cancer. This link may be attributed to the role of Zinc in antioxidant defence and DNA damage repair.”

This article is for informational and educational purposes only; It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

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Your Questions About Vitamins & Nutritiona​l Supplement​s Answered

More than 50% of Americans take dietary supplements, yet many people are not sure which ones to take, how much to take or  when to take them. Here are the answers to your most frequently asked questions about vitamins and supplements.

What time of day should I take vitamins and other nutritional supplements?

Most dietary supplements including your daily multiple vitamin, vitamins A,B Complex, C and D or Omega 3 fish oilcapsules can be consumed  any time of day,

Polski: Suplement diety - kwasy omega 3 na baz...

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preferably with your largest meal of the day. Most people prefer to take them with their breakfast or lunch. It’s important to remember that it’s better to take your supplements with food in order to help with proper digestion, absorption and optimum utilization.

However, not all supplements should be taken with food and best utilized when on an empty stomach before a meal. That’s why it’s essential to read the label directions.

As an example, plant sterols and stanols as found in products like Super Sterol Protein Complex and Cholesto-Plex should are best taken before mealtimes. If you are taking plant sterol supplements to help promote healthy cholesterol levels, try to  take them 15-30 minutes before a meal for optimal effectiveness.

How do I decide which vitamin and nutritional supplements are best for me?

Determining which supplements you should take begins with properly understanding your diet. If specific nutrients are missing from your regular diet, it’s best to consult a nutritional healthcare practitioner or talk to your primary health care provider. To help assure fulfillment of nutrient “gaps” many people choose a comprehensive daily multivitamin & mineral supplement. It’s the most convenient and effective way to assure optimal vitamin and mineral levels.

If you are looking for the most appropriate formulation for you, be sure to identify one that is formulated to meet your specific age-related, personal fitness level and basic gender needs. For example, iron requirements for women over age of 50 are typically 8 mg per day while the needs for women under 50 are 18 mg per day. Multivitamins for women over the age of 50 should contain little to no iron because 8 mg per day can usually be acquired through the regular diet.

A multivitamin for men over the age of 50 should not contain iron and may often include other ingredients that may not typically be included in a woman’s multiple vitamin such as Lycopene, L-Carnitine, L-Histidine, Saw Palmetto, etc.

Conversely, a good woman’s multi-vitamin supplement may contain ingredients not included in a man’s formula such as: Herbal Black Cohosh, Gamma Linoleic Acid, Calcium, Iron, etc.

While a multivitamin is ideal for supplementing basic vitamins and minerals, some people need more than one single multi-combination formula. For example, many people today are advised to take extra vitamin C, calcium and vitamin D. Some people cannot tolerate milk or milk products,  the most potent sources of calcium, and many people do not maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D. Although a multivitamin provides these nutrients, it may not supply enough of each to keep your levels adequate.

In addition, a multivitamin is often formulated with a combination of vitamins and minerals only, not other key nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil, protein, amino acids or coenzyme Q10.

If you don’t consume at least two to three servings of fatty fish (i.e. salmon, anchovies, sardines) each week then you should consider taking a daily fish oil supplement. If you take a statin drug to lower your cholesterol levels, you may be at risk of low blood levels of coenzyme Q10, and otherbeneficial antioxidant nutrients that protect your heart. Thus, if you’ve been prescribed statin drug, taking a coenzyme Q10 supplement could be very valuable.

Again, be sure to talk to a nutritional healthcare practioner or your primary physician when deciding on a safe and effective nutritional supplement program.

Can you take too much?

Many supplements can be safely taken in amounts greater than the Recommended Daily Value (DV) or Recommended Daily allowance (RDA). The percent daily value (%DV) displayed on the label denotes what percent of the recommended intake amount for a specific nutrient is met per serving.

Numerous studies have shown that taking certain nutrients in amounts greater than 100% DV may have valuable health benefits. For example… Consuming higher levels of Vitamin C, Beta Carotene and Vitamin E may promote stronger immune function and help protect the body against free radical damage.

When taking supplements including herbs, vitamins, minerals etc. it is important to follow the suggested use, dosage and to consider which is the highest amount that can be safely consumed. Before taking any vitamin or supplement, be sure to carefully review the precautions and instructions  on the product’s label.

Can I take supplements with my prescription medications?

Be sure to inform your doctor or healthcare practitioner about all the dietary supplements you take, even if you take them occasionally. This is especially important because some dietary supplements may interfere with prescription medications and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, perhaps causing those prescriptions and OTCs to be less effective.

Conversely, some medications cause certain nutrients levels to drop and so taking supplements can help support your nutrient status and overall health when taking such drugs. Statin drugs, for example, have been known to lower blood levels of the antioxidant nutrient coenzyme Q10. To that end, individuals taking statin drugs are often advised to supplement with coenzyme Q10.

It’s important to let your doctor know the dosage and the frequency of use for all the supplements you are taking.   Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about potential nutrient depletions that may occur with your medication(s) so you can be sure to  restore those key nutrient levels with proper supplementation.

Can I take supplements after the expiration date?

When a vitamin nutritional supplement expires, it is not necessarily harmful to consume. Expiration dates on most dietary supplements are actually “best if used by” guidelines.

However, the active ingredients may no longer be up to the potency specified on the label. If in doubt about an expired product, you may want  to discard that product and purchase a fresh, new batch.

Can I cut vitamin and nutritional supplement tablets into smaller pieces if I can’t swallow them whole?

Most supplements may be cut in half, milled into powder or chewed if swallowing is a problem.

Softgels (soft gelatin capsules) that are too large for you to comfortably swallow may be punctured or cut in half to empty the contents into a spoon or food.

Two-piece hard shell gelatin capsules may be opened easily to release the contents into food or a beverage.

Be advised, the only products not recommended to cut into smaller pieces are those that are timed-release or enteric coated. Such supplements should be swallowed whole to assure the best performance.

Where is the best place to store vitamins and nutritional supplements?

Storage directions are commonly explained on a vitamin label. Most often, storing the bottles in a cool, dry place with the cap tightly sealed is recommended. Certain formulations may require special storage conditions such as refrigeration.

Always keep these products out of reach of children and pets.

This article is for informational and educational purposes only; It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

 

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