12 Reasons to make sure you are getting enough Zinc

What is Zinc good for?

The Autoimmune Disease Series

Image result for zinc quote

Today I thought that I’d share with you some thoughts around this incredibly important mineral.

Before getting overly concerned with symptoms, it may be worth getting this mineral tested to check your levels, because too much zinc can have its issues too, yet so many of us are deficient.

A Serum Alkaline Phosphatase Reactivation Test, which can be ordered through your doctor will indicate whether or not you require more zinc.

If you need to take more zinc, be sure to also take Vitamin B6 – they work best together.

Zinc is necessary for so many functions in the body that it is hard to know where to start.  If you have an autoimmune disease or other chronic disease addressing nutrient deficiencies can be an excellent place to kick off from, as it can help to clear up some fundamental symptoms.  With zinc in particular you will benefit from a potent immune system boost, by getting your levels into the optimum range.

One thing to remember is that if you are deficient in zinc, it can take a long time to build back up in your system, so supplementation will need to be consistent and medium to long-term.  Keep testing periodically to keep an eye on your levels.

So, what is zinc good for? Here are 12 key reasons to make sure that you are getting enough zinc:

  1. Antioxidant  Zinc is a powerful antioxidant, that means that it can help improve your immune function and help you to fight off a cold, but will also help you to combat oxidative stress that we see in more chronic conditions such as cancer.
  2. Fights Diabetes It helps to balance insulin in the body.  It allows for the adequate storage mechanism of insulin in the pancreas and then ensures that insulin can bind to cells by helping to activate digestive enzymes.  In this way glucose is used as fuel rather than stored as fat in the body.
  3. Mood stabiliser Zinc Balances other hormones.  It is not just insulin that zinc helps to regulate.  It has an effect on fertility hormones too.  In men a deficiency can negatively impact testosterone levels and with it fertility diminishes.  In women it is involved in oestrogen and progesterone production.  If we have to much or too little oestrogen circulating in our body it can manifest as moos swings, menstruation and fertility issues and can also increase the risk of some cancers.  It is also required in egg production so offers a double whammy of protection for anyone trying to conceive.
  4. Fertility  Zinc is needed for the production of estrogen and progesterone in women, which both support reproductive health. Either too high or too low levels of oestrogen can cause problems with menstruation, mood swings, early menopause, infertility and possibly even increase the risk for certain cancers.
  5. Cardiovascular health  It protects our blood vessels.  The very fine lining of cells that line our blood vessels require enough zinc to be maintained.  It helps to maintain healthy arteries thereby reducing blood pressure and boosting the health of our circulatory system.
  6. Digestion Zinc is also implicated in chronic digestive issues and as such zinc can be used to settle the effects of diarrhea.
  7. Fatigue  Energy production.  Help your body to absorb nutrients.  Zinc allows us to access amino acids from foods it also helps in the breakdown of carbohydrates, releasing a valuable source of energy.  Low zinc levels can be a contributing factor for chronic fatigue and adrenal dysfunction.
  8. Liver support  Protects the liver.  Having enough zinc is implicated in reduced levels of infection and liver damage.  It also reduces inflammation in the liver contributing to  more efficient nutrient absorption and metabolism and ensuring adequate elimination of waste from this incredible organ.
  9. Bulging biceps  Muscle regeneration. A key player in cell division and growth, zinc enables cellular development of the muscular and skeletal systems, boosting both strength and muscle mass.
  10.  Skin care Zinc also contributes to the health of your skin, both acne and eczema can improve when zinc levels are optimised
  11. Ease your mind Mental health, cognitive function and sense of taste and smell can improve with adequate B6 and zinc levels.
  12. See better Eye health is also improved with zinc.

I hope that this focus on just one small mineral can show you just how important nutrient levels in your body are.  Get one out of balance and your whole system can go out of whack!

Gemma x

 

Eyebrows thinning? Thyroid issues? Could it be your daily bread (I’m not talking gluten?)

How to protect your Thyroid

The Autoimmune Disease Series

Dear All,

Your thyroid gland is responsible for metabolism in your body…if it slows down, you feel fatigue, can put on weight and start losing hair (check the last quarter of your eyebrows).  If it speeds up, you can get hand tremors, suffer from anxiety and insomnia and have a rapid heart beat.

Your thyroid gland relies on iodine to produce it’s thyroid hormones, that control this metabolism.

An inadequate or an overabundant supply can result in your thyroid hormone production going awry, presenting you with tell tale symptoms.

In this post I am going to suggest some likely culprits that can affect your iodine supply.

I have talked in previous posts about some triggers that can lead to autoimmune disease, but in this post I would like to  highlight exposure to certain chemicals, namely chlorine, fluorine and bromine that seem to be everywhere in the environment and are posing a very real threat to your health.

These halogen chemicals are found in the bread that you eat, your shower, bath and drinking water, your toothpaste, pesticides on your fruit and vegetables, your furniture and in the plastics that you eat and drink from.

The problem with these halogens, and with bromine in particular, is that they compete for and displace the all important iodine in your system, disrupting your thyroid hormone production and in turn sending your whole endocrine system into imbalance. You can read more about this issue at Mercola.com

You see it is not just your thyroid gland that suffers.  There is a cascade effect throughout your body, as each gland in turn tries to take up the slack from the under performing thyroid gland.

For example your adrenal glands may also become overworked resulting in stress and then fatigue and also raised food sensitivities and immune function issues.   Your sex hormones may also be affected, resulting in mood swings and poor sex drive.  Depression is another common side effect to thyroid problems.

So what to do?

  • Go organic – look for organic breads that are bromine free, but also use organic fruits and vegetables to minimise your risk.
  • Use glass bottles rather than plastic
  • Get outside more –  furniture, paints, upholstery and appliances contain  flame retardant chemicals, dyes, plastics and additives that make your inside environment far more toxic than your outside world.  If you can’t spend more time in a park or in the woods, then leave a window open to freshen up that air.
  • Work with a nutritional adviser or functional medicine Doctor to detoxify your body from such toxic chemicals and help you to stabilise your system. (Sign up to my newsletter on the form to the right for more information)

Of course avoiding bread could also be the best thing that you do for your autoimmune condition due to the gut damaging gluten that it contains, but that is a whole other story!

Please let me know of any ways that you have managed to clean up your environment and how this has helped your symptoms.

Gemma x

 

 

 

“I’m walking on sunshine!” Vitamin D and autoimmunity.

The Autoimmune disease series.

Hello sunshine!

When you go outdoors in the summertime, eat certain foods or take a supplement you should be stocking up on your body’s stores of this vital vitamin.

If you wear suntan lotion, do an indoors job, or don’t get out much, have poor digestion or don’t supplement – you could be increasing your risk of developing (or exacerbating) autoimmune disease symptoms along with other diseases.  Also remember that the darker your skin, the harder it will be for you to absorb the vitamin D from sunlight.

Some symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:

  • muscle/joint pain and weakness.
  • bone pain.
  • tiredness or fatigue.
  • depression.

Vitamin D has a role in regulating our immune system:

“has been shown to be involved in the prevention of certain pathological immune reactions leading to various autoimmune disorders (Type 1 diabetes, colitis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and graft rejection) and asthma (and other atopic diseases)”

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/776915_7

The question is once you have an autoimmune condition, can you use vitamin D to get better?

In an Australian Study on Lupus patients, they decided that yes, indeed you can improve your symptoms by bringing your levels up to normal:

In systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) low vitamin D status is associated with higher disease activity and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), while over time, an increase in serum vitamin D levels correlates with reduced SLE activity.

http://lupus.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000064.abstract

I don’t suggest that you immediately go and buy yourself a supplement.  I do suggest that you absolutely make the best of the sunshine when it is there in your life.  It is the very best form of Vitamin D for your body.  Yet I do suggest that you get yourself tested; and while you are at it also test for:

  • B12
  • Ferritin
  • Alkaline Phosphatase

Too much Vitamin D can also be detrimental, (although relatively hard to do).

The following chart shows suggested levels:

vitamin d levels

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/21/how-to-get-your-vitamin-d-to-healthy-ranges.aspx

If you choose to supplement, use Vitamin D3(rather than 2) it is much better utilised.

I recently had an elderly gentleman contact me after I suggested that he get his levels checked and his levels were shockingly low.

So get tested and get your elderly relatives checked and then please let me know.  What are your levels?

Gemma x