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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Benefits of Zinc

UPDATE: 6/4/10 - Zinc Reduces Oxidative Stress

An article published in the June, 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition describes a clinical trial involving older men and women which found reductions in markers of oxidative stress and inflammation among those who supplemented with zinc. Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation are risk factors for atherosclerosis, and zinc deficiency has been observed in a number of other diseases associated with these conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and cancers. "We previously observed that healthy elderly subjects had increased concentrations of plasma lipid peroxidation byproducts and endothelial cell adhesion molecules compared with concentrations in younger adults," the authors write in their introduction. "Zinc was proposed to have an atheroprotective function because of its antiinflammatory, antioxidant, and other properties."
In a double-blinded trial, 40 healthy men and women between the ages of 56 and 83 were randomized to receive 45 milligrams zinc from zinc gluconate or a placebo for 6 months. C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 and other markers of inflammation were measured before and after treatment, as were malondialdehyde and hydroxyalkenals, which are markers of lipid peroxidation.
Zinc concentrations were higher in the zinc group by the end of the study, while remaining relatively unchanged among those who received the placebo. Plasma antioxidant powers were higher, and malondialdehyde and hydroxyalkenals were lower in the zinc supplemented subjects after 6 months, indicating a reduction in lipid peroxidation. Additionally, plasma C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and other inflammation-associated factors were reduced among those who received zinc. “To our knowledge, this is the first documentation to show the down-regulation of plasma CRP concentrations by zinc supplementation in human subjects,” the authors remark.
In another experiment involving cell cultures, zinc also reduced indicators of inflammation and lipid peroxidation as well as the activation of nuclear transcription factor kappa-beta, which is involved in the initiation and development of atherosclerosis.
"This study showed that zinc increased antioxidant power and decreased CRP, inflammatory cytokines, adhesion molecules, and oxidative stress markers in elderly subjects after 6 months of supplementation," the authors write. “These findings suggest that zinc may have a protective effect in atherosclerosis because of its antiinflammatory and antioxidant functions,” they conclude.
Zinc is an important mineral for immune health. It is however one that is hard to absorb. Because of this issue we always suggest to use a low dose, food-based compound, taking several daily.

On the other hand, too much zinc can suppress your immune system so we do suggest not taking more than 50-60 mg a day.

Zinc is helpful for people with diabetes and any hormonal imbalance (think endocrine system and glands). It is good for teens with acne and is the generally considered to be the key nutrient for prostate health. Additionally, loss of taste is related to zinc deficiency.

While some people may have developed some sort of a problem with Zicam, a 2X dilution of a substance in a homeopathic remedy is not a very high dose.

What concerns me more is the total avoidance by the FDA of the issue of common steroid and fluoride-containing nose sprays and the over-prescribing of antibiotics and antihistamine drugs that lead to more serious problems, including loss of function of the natural body protective mechanism that causes the mucous membrane lining of the nose (and respiratory system) to secrete more mucus in order to keep invading irritants and allergens out of the body. These drugs also have been known to interfere with the function of nasal hairs as part of this process.

So, FDA, how about blocking all these Rx drugs while you're blocking Zicam? Your Big Pharma bias is just too prevalent.

And if you'd like to know more about natural ways to take care of your cold or allergy, you can find more information at our main domain. Add a little vitamin C and vitamin A to the mix and you'll always come out ahead.

If you need clinical information please refer to our ASK program.
FDA: Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell
WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumers should stop using Zicam Cold Remedy nasal gel and related products because they can permanently damage the sense of smell, federal health regulators said Tuesday.

The over-the-counter products contain zinc, an ingredient scientists say may damage nerves in the nose needed for smell. The other products affected by the Food and Drug Administration's announcement are adult and kid-size Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs.

The FDA says about 130 consumers have reported a loss of smell after using Matrixx Initiatives' Zicam products since 1999. Shares of the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company plunged to a 52-week low after the FDA announcement, losing more than half their value.

"Loss of the sense of smell is potentially life threatening and may be permanent," said Dr. Charles Lee, of FDA's compliance division. "People without the sense of smell may not be able to detect dangerous life situations, such as gas leaks or something burning in the house."

Matrixx defended the safety of its products, but said late Tuesday it will withdraw Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs and Zicam Cold Remedy Gel from the market.

The FDA said Zicam Cold Remedy was never formally approved because it is part of a small group of remedies that are not required to undergo federal review before launching. Known as homeopathic products, the formulations often contain herbs, minerals and flowers.

A warning letter issued to Matrixx on Tuesday asked the company to stop marketing its zinc-based products, but the agency did not issue a formal recall. Instead, regulators said Matrixx would have to submit safety and effectiveness data on the drug.

"The next step, if they wish to continue marketing Zicam intranasal zinc products, is for them to come in and seek FDA approval," said Deborah Autor, director of FDA's drug compliance division.

The agency is requiring formal approval now because of the product's safety issues, she added.

"It won't bring my smell back, but at least I feel like there's some justice that's starting to take place," said David Richardson, of Greensboro, N.C., who lost his sense of smell after taking Zicam for a cold in 2005. He said he hopes the product will be formally banned.

Medical records appear to support Richardson's claim that his lost sense of smell was linked to using Zicam.

The global market for homeopathic drugs is about $200 million per year, according to the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists. The group's members include companies like Nutraceutical International Corp. and Natural Health Supply.

Matrixx has settled hundreds of lawsuits connected with Zicam in recent years, but says on its website: "No plaintiff has ever won a court case, because there is no known causal link between the use of Zicam Cold Remedy nasal gel and impairment of smell."

The company said in a statement Tuesday that the safety of Zicam Cold Remedy is "supported by the cumulative science and has been confirmed by a multidisciplinary panel of scientists." Matrixx said it will comply with the FDA's requirements, but will seek a meeting with the agency to "vigorously defend its scientific data."

But government scientists say they are unaware of any data supporting Zicam's labeling, which claims the drug reduces cold symptoms, including "sore throat, stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing and congestion."

The products accounted for about 40% of Matrixx's $111.6 million in sales last year.

Health officials said they have asked Matrixx executives to turn over more than 800 consumer complaints concerning lost smell that the company has on file. A 2007 law began requiring manufacturers to report such problems, but FDA regulators declined to say Tuesday whether the company broke the law.

The 130 reports received by the FDA came entirely from physicians and patients, not the manufacturer.

Regulators said the relatively small number of complaints accounted for the agency's lengthy investigation.

"FDA doesn't take action against drug products without evaluating all of the circumstances surrounding the issues with the product," Lee said.

Shares of Matrixx Initiatives Inc. plummeted $13.46, or 70%, to $5.78 Tuesday. The company said based on the FDA's recommendation, consumers should discard any unused product or contact Zicam at 1-877-942-2626 or to request a refund.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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