Many Americans Need More Zinc

Many people in the US -- particularly young children, female teenagers and those over age 70 -- may not be getting enough zinc in their diets, nutritionists said Friday at a National Institutes of Health conference. Zinc is considered one of the most essential trace elements, and is thought to play a crucial role in cell growth and differentiation, in regulating normal cell death -- a process known as apoptosis, and in mounting the immune response. There are more biological roles for zinc than for all other trace elements put together. Adults over age 70, and female teenagers also tended to have inadequate zinc intake.

Zinc requirements are higher in developing fetuses, and infants, and potentially in the elderly. Studies have indicated that zinc absorption is greatest when taken as a supplement with water. On average, 50% to 60% of zinc will be absorbed with supplements, but it can range as high as 90%. Breast milk is the next best source, with half the available zinc being absorbed.

Women planning to become, or who are already, pregnant should consider taking zinc supplements. Zinc appears to be an essential component in the growth and differentiation of embryos. Women with low plasma-zinc levels in the first and third trimesters tend to have babies with defects or low-birth weight, and there is some evidence that women who take supplements during pregnancy have better outcomes. He said that he would recommend that women who are planning to become pregnant or who are already pregnant consider zinc supplements. He speculated that zinc might prove efficacious in treatment of a number of infertility problems.

COMMENT: Think zinc. It is one of the more important minerals which one can take. I am particularly fond of the liquid mineral set that we distribute in our office which was developed by Dr. Patricia Kane. They consist of a set of six minerals in solution. One puts several drops of the minerals into a glass of water and tastes the solution. If a person is low in the mineral, the solution will have no taste or may even taste sweet. If the solution tastes bitter or has a metallic taste, one does not need that mineral. This is an elegant system that prevents overdose. The fact that they are in liquid, as the information above states, maximizes the absorption. However, the danger of reading information like the article above is that one can just start popping zinc supplements and actually develop zinc toxicity. If one incorporates a feedback loop, though, this is prevented. Our six bottle set has zinc sulfate which has been the basis for a test called the zinc tally taste test which has been used by many physicians for some time. The advantage with this system is that it also has five other minerals, including cooper, which can become unbalanced if one consumes excessive zinc.

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