As you may know, oxidation is to your body as rust is to metal. It's a natural process, but it's not a process you want your body to go through. Remember, rust is what breaks down metal and it's a sign of degeneration. So oxidation is a similar sign of degeneration — and a process you want to halt. Fortunately, there's a mineral that can do just that — and it doesn't take much.
A new study showed for the first time that you can reduce oxidative stress and damage to your DNA using the mineral zinc. And, according to the researchers, you don't need very much to make it happen.
The study was randomized, controlled, and lasted six-week. The goal was to evaluate the impact of zinc on human metabolism. Instead of looking at zinc levels in the blood or using stunting and morbidity for assessing zinc status, the researchers counted DNA strand breaks. By using the parameter of DNA damage, they were able to assess the influence of a moderate amount of zinc needed to make a difference in oxidative stress.
They found that all you need is just 4 mgs daily of extra zinc. The researchers said they were "pleasantly surprised to see that just a small increase in dietary zinc can have such a significant impact on how metabolism is carried out throughout the body."
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What I love about this study is that it shows the direct impact of the zinc on your DNA. By focusing on the DNA, the researchers were able to document fairly concrete effects of taking extra zinc. These weren't subjective results.
The take-home message from this is pretty obvious: Make sure you're taking enough zinc. The researchers were primarily focused with getting your zinc from food. In fact, the study was geared toward proving the value of genetically modified "biofortified" foods like zinc rice and zinc wheat. The lead researchers said, "These results present a new strategy for measuring the impact of zinc on health and reinforce the evidence that food-based interventions can improve micronutrient deficiencies worldwide."
If Big Agriculture wants to fortify its rice and wheat, they don't need to genetically modify it. Rice is a metal scavenger. If the soil you grow it in is rich in zinc, the rice will naturally absorb it. Of course, some rice fields have arsenic and cadmium — two dangerous elements — so you have to know your soil before planting rice. The rice doesn't discriminate between good and bad metals. That's why I don't think rice is the best way to get your zinc. Wheat isn't great either, as a lot of people are sensitive to gluten.
The best foods to eat for their zinc content are spinach, beef, shrimp, kidney beans, and flax seeds. If you don't eat a lot of these — and most people don't get enough zinc from their diet — then take a zinc supplement, such as Advanced Zinc Lozenges. One a day can be a vital part of helping your body fight off oxidative stress and the infections and disease it causes.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening, ND