The Zinc Link to Health
At Atrium Health Services

"Put your heart, mind and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success" –Swami Sivananda


Background:


     Nutritional deficiency has reached epidemic proportions globally and is the root cause of an alarming number of diseases and health disorders. Early research conducted by such notable pioneers as William Albrecht of the University of Missouri, Weston A. Price and Royal Lee (the founder of Standard Process Inc.) all resulted in similar conclusions: there is a direct relationship between the nutritional content in agricultural soil and the health of the population as a whole. 

 

     Overutilization of farmland worldwide has depleted the soil of many essential nutrients. Researchers claim that for the optimal health of plants and the animals that consume them, the soil must contain at least 100 essential nutrients. This is in stark contrast to the current trend toward hydroponic food production where plants are grown in water containing only 16 of these essential nutrients.


     To complicate matters further, researchers noted that the loss of essential nutrients in the soil caused the plants to become sickly, reducing yields. To combat the resulting revenue losses, hybridization of food stocks became prevalent. Hybrids are simply a form of genetic modification. These genetically modified organisms (GMO's) are specifically designed to grow in soil containing less nutrition.

 

 

Our foods have become dangerously deficient in essential nutriets

 

 

 

 

 

 


The bottom line is that our foods have become dangerously deficient in essential nutrients. While this view may not be embraced by mainstream medical nutritionists, the evidence is nevertheless compelling to anyone who takes an unbiased look at the research.


Most medical professionals claim that it is best to obtain vitamins and minerals from the foods we eat instead of from supplementation. Unfortunately, all the essential nutrients our bodies require simply do not exist in the food supply anymore. For optimal health and optimal nutrition, supplementation, preferably with whole food supplements, is absolutely essential.


Zinc Deficiency:

 
An essential component of the immune system, zinc is necessary for the production of over 300 known enzymes in the body. Zinc plays an important role in protein synthesis, wound healing, and is required for proper sense of taste and smell. Insufficiencies are implicated in a whole laundry list of other symptoms and conditions.


The scientific experts have concluded that approximately 25% of the world's population is zinc-deficient. This is probably a conservative estimate given the fact that it is based on the signs and symptoms of severe deficiency such as diagnosable disease processes and physical deformities. To complicate matters, it is estimated that approximately 50% of the agricultural soil worldwide is also zinc-deficient. If it is not in the soil, then the plants will likewise be deficient in zinc.


Mild zinc deficiencies or insufficiencies have been linked to a variety of health problems. For example, zinc insufficiency has been strongly connected to depression. Other conditions associated with zinc deficiency include skin problems such as acne, eyesight problems, taste and smell issues, appetite disorders such as anorexia, certain cancers, memory loss and difficulties with thinking, emotional sensitivity and attention deficit disorders. Zinc deficiencies can also result in pneumonia, dysmenorrhea, increased appetite and prostate issues in men. Some research has associated zinc deficiency with macular degeneration, low birth weight and a range of other health issues, including the flu. It is no coincidence that popular cold/flu remedies contain zinc.


Doesn't it make more sense to prevent zinc deficiency in the first place and fight off these diseases before they occur? Hopefully, this discussion will serve as motivation to determine whether you or members of your family are deficient in this essential nutrient.


Nutrition:


In order to fully appreciate the complexity of human nutrition, a brief review of its essential components may be helpful. The five phases 

of nutrition are:

 
Ingestion
Digestion
Absorption
Utilization
Excretion


Each phase is essential and must properly complement all of the other phases. For the nutritional process to be effective, all components must be fully functional. While this discussion focuses on the specific nutrient, zinc, the same is true for each and every one of the countless vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, factors and cofactors that your body needs in order to function properly.


Ingestion:


For zinc to be properly processed and utilized in the body it must be of the proper form and must have the other essential components for this trace mineral to be effective. Many individuals will take large amounts of dietary zinc for many months and still demonstrate deficiency. This is because the zinc contained in the supplement is of an inappropriate complex or it is not a complete whole food supplement.


Digestion and Absorption:


For minerals to be properly digested and absorbed into the body, they must first go through the acidification process, which occurs in the stomach. If there is not enough stomach acid present, digestion and absorption will be compromised. Therefore, another factor in nutritional deficiencies may be the use of antacids. Using such products can increase the need for higher concentrations of minerals.


The essential processes in the stomach also involve what is known as the intrinsic factor secreted by the stomach. This allows zinc and other minerals to be properly absorbed through the intestinal lining into the bloodstream for distribution throughout the body.


Another factor in proper digestion and absorption relates to the nutrient source. Atrium Health Services highly recommends whole food concentrate as opposed to their chemical counterparts. The vast majority of over-the-counter supplements are at least partially, if not totally, chemically produced. These molecules simply do not behave the same way in the body as whole food concentrates and therefore may be of limited effectiveness.


One obvious example is ferrous sulfate. This is the compound used in most over-the-counter iron supplements. It is famous for causing constipation and, according to the Annals of Biochemistry, 0.00% absorbable by the human body. That is why we recommend nutritional supplements produced by Standard Process, Inc., the pioneer in whole food concentrates.


Research shows that absorption of zinc is directly related to the amount taken. While some nutrients are not as easily absorbed by the body, which means that higher dosages will not produce better results, this is not the case for zinc. Our dosage recommendations are therefore dependent upon the degree of zinc deficiency, activity levels, and age of the patient.


Research also shows that while absorption is not affected by age or sex, the more active we are, the more the body will use. Also, zinc requirements in younger people are higher because the body is rapidly metabolizing, building muscle, bone, and other important structures.


Utilization:


The effectiveness of any given nutrient depends upon how well the body can utilize that nutrient. The first and foremost consideration is whether or not the nutrient is truly an organic whole food substance or a chemically-produced one. The latter is not used as effectively in the body, if at all. Proper utilization is also dependent upon the other vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, factors, and cofactors which are required for the target nutrient to work properly. One simple example is that of nutritional iron. The trace mineral copper is essential for incorporating the iron molecule into the red blood cell. We can take all of the iron we want, but if we are deficient in copper, none of the iron will get into the red blood cells.


That is why researchers have always cautioned against ingestion of most singular nutrients, particularly chemically-produced ones and why we believe whole foods nutrition is the gold standard of nutritional supplementation. When supplements are concentrated from the whole product as found in nature, they contain all of the essential components required to work properly.


In the case of zinc, we know that how the body utilizes this trace mineral depends upon proper liver function. That is why Standard Process developed the supplement Zinc Liver Chelate™. It contains all of the essential ingredients required by the body, including the liver, to utilize zinc properly and reach the cells where it is needed.


 

Atrium's Additions

 

Conservative estimates conclude that at least 25% of Americans are zinc deficient. In a one-month test about 200 individuals, our estimates are closer to 90%. This includes 12 individuals who have been supplementing with 50 to 75 mg of zinc from major reputable brands on a daily basis for a minimum of 1 to 2 years and still tested severely deficient. We theorize that this is largely due to the type of zinc being used. It was not absorbed, metabolized or utilized properly. It is likely that the formulations did not contain the full complement of essential ingredients required for zinc to be used properly. This is why we recommend the whole-food supplement Zinc Liver Chelate™ by Standard Process.

Some will argue that Standard Process products contain very small amounts of the target nutrient, so how can they be effective? The reason for these small amounts is that whole food concentrates work so much better in the body that high concentrations are not required. The whole food product is far more efficient; therefore, mega doses are unnecessary.


For example, Cataplex C™, the vitamin C product from Standard Process, has 3 mg of vitamin C. This may not seem like enough to be effective; however, it has the biological activity of 1000 mg of ascorbic acid. In other words it is so efficient in its digestion, absorption, utilization, and excretion that it does the same job as the thousand milligrams of ascorbic acid.


Excretion:


The last component of essential nutrition is excretion, which is dependent upon the body's ability to get rid of waste products and excess substances. If one is using organic and whole food concentrates, this potential problem is eliminated. Whole food concentrates are processed the same as food, so there is no excess buildup in the body.


Zinc Deficiency Testing:

 
Various methods exist to measure the amounts of zinc in the body, including blood analysis (costing from $60-$150) and tissue analysis, which is far more expensive. However, neither provides reliable information as to how well the body is actually utilizing the zinc.


The testing method recommended by Atrium Health Services is the taste test procedure. This type of testing, which provides a ballpark estimate of the zinc status in your body has been used for decades with great success. While some may argue that the test is not specific enough, because this nutrient is so critical, we feel it much wiser to err on the side of the getting a little too much zinc as opposed to being deficient.


There is a consensus opinion that all testing procedures are somewhat limited in their ability to give us precise and exacting information concerning nutritional levels in the body. In other words, even if all of the standard testing looks normal, there is the possibility that a person is deficient in specific nutrients. This is why we recommend a certain amount of preventive nutrition to insure that deficiencies are not developing.


Supplementation:


As you may have guessed by now, your health partners at Atrium Health Services believe that supplemental zinc is important in maintaining adequate levels of this important mineral. There are many products advertised to provide an easy fix for nutrient-deficient individuals. Unfortunately, most are of low quality and deliver nutrients in a form that you cannot actually absorb.


The doctors at Atrium endorse the Standard Process whole food concentrate form of supplementation for zinc. It is called Zinc Liver Chelate™. The benefit of a whole food concentrate is that the nutrient (in this case zinc) is presented into the digestive tract in a form to which we are already adapted. To put it simply, whole food concentrates take existing food sources that are already high in specific nutrients and then carefully condense that food source to preserve all the nutrients, enzymes, and cofactors (known and unknown) that are also found in that source. At a time when the nutrient levels in our food are in question due to decreasing soil quality, whole food concentrates just make good sense.


Dosage is dependent upon age, activity level, and the results of the taste test. The zinc status in your body is rated according to four levels.


Optimal
Grade I Deficiency
Grade II Deficiency
Grade III Deficiency


Once your deficiency level is determined recommended dosage levels are as follows:

 
Optimal (ideal levels) indicate that you do not demonstrate any indications of significant deficiency. As a preventive measure, we recommend a maintenance dosage of 1 to 2 tablets per week. If you are athletically inclined or a child or young adult ranging in age from 10-20 years of age, an additional 1 to 2 tablets daily is recommended.

 
Grade I Deficiency (mild) - take 1 to 2 tablets daily for 4 to 6 months. After that either re-test or continue with maintenance levels. Increase dosage for higher activity levels and other factors as noted above.


Grade II Deficiency (moderate) - take 3 to 4 tablets daily for the first 4 to 6 months. Then take the dosages as described for the Grade I Deficiency followed by maintenance dosage.


Grade III Deficiency (severe) - take 4 to 6 tablets daily for the first 4 to 6 months. Then follow the Grade II protocol followed by the Grade I protocol then maintenance dosages.


Dosages may also be altered or increased dependent upon such factors as severe symptoms or family history of any of the target conditions discussed previously. For example, if prostate issues run in your family, you may choose to add increased amounts of Zinc Liver Chelate™ as part of your routine program to prevent diseases and conditions from arising in the first place.

 
Zinc Link Mental Health

 
What on earth does stress, anxiety, low energy, and depression have to do with ZINC? The Zinc Link to health expands to diets lacking in zinc potentially being direct causes of depression, anxiety, increased levels of stress, and fatigue.

 
Improving your zinc status from deficiency to sufficiency can improve your mental function! Current clinical trial evidence shows an undeniable correlation with the levels of zinc and depression severity. The research indicates that the lower the zinc level, the worse the severity of depression. Furthermore, a double-blind and placebo controlled study of patients with depression of varying severities concluded that patients who received zinc supplementation felt better after 6 weeks of taking zinc supplements.

 
The zinc-depression link is strongly associated with brain function as well. Researchers have found that zinc acts as a neurotransmitter. The second most predominate neurotransmitter in the brain, Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), regulates mood states. Low levels of zinc can also cause irritability. Out of the 300 enzymes that require zinc for production, zinc stimulates a crucial enzyme, pyridoxal kinase, which is directly involved in the synthesis of GABA. Hence, a deficiency in zinc can have such a profound imbalance on brain function. Depleted zinc levels can disrupt healthy mental function.

 
Zinc is also necessary for the synthesis of serotonin, which is just one of the many proteins that require zinc for protein synthesis. Anxiety, stress, and depression are often symptoms of dysfunction in the serotonergenic system.

 
The zinc link to mental health and function cannot be denied. Zinc is not the only essential nutrient that the human body requires. Other nutrients such as copper, magnesium, calcium, and manganese are also important. Recent studies have shown a connection between behavioral problems and imbalances with zinc, copper, magnesium, calcium, and manganese. The interrelationship with zinc and copper is even more compelling. Zinc balances with copper in the body. Research reveals that a deficiency in zinc implies a higher level of copper in the body. Excess copper in the body is linked to depression, violence, and learning disabilities. Through the efforts of the Zinc Link to Health at Atrium Health Services, we strongly urge you to get your zinc taste test today. Having an unknown zinc deficiency has the potential to cause devastating consequence.

 
Zinc Link Soil

 
There is a worldwide zinc deficiency in soil thus in plants, animals, and human beings. The truth of the matter is you are what you eat and unfortunately you may be severely deficient in zinc that is not available in the soil your food is grown in. Research states that zinc deficiency in soil has exponentially increased since the 1950's to an alarming amount. A recent global soil survey study revealed 50% of soils worldwide were deficient in zinc! Such a deficiency of zinc in soil of such a large scale and in plant foods has been suggested to be one of the major causes of the widespread global occurrence of zinc deficiency in humans.

 
Most extremely affected by this depletion of zinc are wheat and the nutritional quality of grains. Grains are a major worldwide calorie source and provide nearly 50% of daily calorie intake on average and research shows a likely increase to more than 70% in the near future. Soil zinc concentrations are inherently low, growing grains in deficient soil further decreases grain zinc and also the daily intake of zinc through diet. With soil levels lacking sufficient quantities of zinc, zinc related health problems have increased tremendously.

 
Foods that are obtained from wheat and other grains are not only low in zinc but are also rich in compounds depressing the bioavailability of zinc to human beings. Furthermore, the zinc depleted soil that our food is grown in yields plants that are stunted in growth, malformed, and have purple to brown colored leaves if the plant food even survives.

 
Current statistical consensus identified zinc deficiency in soil a top priority global issue. There is an enormous challenge to get zinc into the human diet. Researchers have found a direct relationship between zinc deficient soils and the incidence of zinc deficiency in humans. What is not in soil may be a deficiency for you!

 

 

The Zinc Link
The Rest of the Story


By now you may be asking "What other minerals and nutrients besides zinc are required for optimal function and health of the human body?" Good question! The soil and the crops grown on them contain critically low quantities of these nutrients, and their bioavailability is usually poor to negligible in most dietary supplements.


Not only do you have to do the right thing,
but you need to do the thing right!


Since it is not possible to get complete nutrition from food, it must come from supplementation. To be truly effective, therapeutic food concentrates must contain the full complex of known, as well as the elusive unknown nutrients. The Standard Process philosophy and production methodologies insure that the full range of essential nutrition is provided.


Basic Essential Nutritional Supplementation


The following is the Atrium Health Services minimum recommendations for health maintenance and prevention of nutritionally-induced diseases. Individual circumstances must be considered to devise an optimal program.


Catalyn™: introduced in 1929, Catalyn™ is the basic whole food vitamin mineral complex. It contains hundreds of essential ingredients. While the concentrations are not sufficient to reverse deficiencies or to address conditions therapeutically, it is the most important preventative. Dosage: 2 to 3 tablets per meal.


Organically Bound Minerals or Trace Minerals-B12™: whole food extract providing protection against the deficiencies found in our agriculture and food source.  Dosage: 2 to 4 tablets daily of either or in combination.


Omega-3 Essential Oils™: proper fatty acid intake is a key component in many nutritional processes, preferably derived from the following sources: Cataplex F™: the organic and vegetable sources. 3 to 6 tablets daily on an empty stomach. Tuna Omega Oil™: 2 to 4 pearls daily with meals. Calamari Omega-3 Oil™: 1 to 2 teaspoons per day with meals.


Phytonutrients: antioxidants help combat free radicals in the body that are often due to toxins and have been linked with many degenerative diseases. Antioxidant intake is essential in today's life and environment. Cruciferous Complete™: 3 to 9 capsules daily.


Sufficient Fruits and Vegetables: preferably raw and of an organic source grown on nutrient rich soil from heirloom seed stock. Good luck! For the rest of us SP Green Food™ is an excellent source of these essential nutrients. 3 to 9 capsules daily.


Detoxification: 45 years ago medical research claimed that at least 90% of cancer was due to environmental toxicity. At that time the FDA allowed about 5,000 toxic substances in the food, air, and water. Today, reviewing all of the additional research, the NIH claims that at least 90% of cancers are due to environmental toxicity. Now there are approximately 50,000 toxic substances allowed in our environment, or 10 times as much! Just one generation ago cancer was experienced by about one in five individuals in the United States. The following generation was one in four. The next generation is estimated to rise to one in three.


Toxicity is implicated in many chronic diseases that are affecting greater numbers at earlier ages. Periodic systemic detoxification is an essential health measure. Periodic systemic cleansing is mandatory. SP Cleanse™ and the Standard Process Purification Program™ are the best methods.

For more information contact your Standard Process healthcare provider. Additional information concerning detoxification is also available through Atrium Health Services and at www.atriumhealthservices.com


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