Zinc: The Latest Vitamin Superstar

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Modern scientific studies have supported the use of zinc for boosting immune function, reducing infections, decreasing the occurrence of diarrhea, and removing toxic metals from the body. A research review published by Indian researchers earlier this year identified eight more reasons we may want to consider taking zinc: it acts like an antidepressant; it might help regulate blood pressure; it might help prevent zinc deficiency common in those with liver diseases; zinc supplementation during pregnancy may help prevent maternal morbidity and prolonged gestation; it may help prevent several risks associated with diabetes such as coronary artery disease and hypertension; it helps balance the endocrine system in geriatric patients; it may help with wound healing; lastly, it may shorten the duration of severe pneumonia.

Comp Rev in Food Science and Food Safety.July2014;13:4:358–376.

Are All Salts Created Equally?

By Laurel Sterling MA, RD, CDN470569367

No they are not! From what I have researched,you have to consider where they are harvested, how they are harvested, and how they are processed.

Conventional (white) table salt is extremely different from other healthier choices like Celtic sea salt and Himalaya pink salt. It is stripped of most minerals and trace elements during the extensive refining process. They also add anti-caking agents which make up about 3% of the salt. The other 97% of what is left over after the processing is sodium and chloride. THIS is the type of salt that we need to AVOID in our diets!

Most Celtic salt (or gray salt) comes from the northwest coast of France. It is gray in color because it absorbs minerals from clay that lines the salt ponds. Companies that harvest it, still use the traditional Celtic methods where they collect it by hand with wooden tools. Celtic sea salt contains somewhere between 80-90 elements found in sea water. Among the minerals and trace elements included in Celtic salt are: calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc, and iodine. 

Himalaya pink salt is mined from the earth. It is harvested from the foothills of the Himalayas. They also harvest this salt by hand using traditional methods. Himalaya salt is rich in many minerals such as calcium, potassium, and iron, and it is the high iron content that gives this salt its pink color.

Both Celtic salt and Himalaya salt are alkalizing for the body due to all the minerals in them, and they greatly enhance the flavor of many dishes! So enjoy using these salts in your diet in moderation instead of conventional salts.

Saw Palmetto for Prostate Health

By Laurel Sterling, MA, RD155472626

Saw Palmetto is an herb typically associated with alleviating issues associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It is widely used in many formulas for prostate health along with a variety of other compounds such as: stinging nettle, lycopene, green tea, selenium, zinc, vitamin D3, phytosterols, and pumpkin seed oil.

BPH is a nonmalignant enlargement of the prostate. The enlargement of the prostate leads to a narrowing of the urethra. Common signs and symptoms of BPH include: decreased force and stream of flow, dribbling after urination, increased frequency of urination, increased nighttime urination (nocturia), and occasionally painful urination (dysuria).

How do they believe that saw palmetto works? It is believed that the liposterolic (fat-soluble) extract of saw palmetto berries induces inhibition of DHT (dihydrotestosterone) binding to prostate cellular receptors, inhibition of 5-alpha-reductase, and interference with prostate estrogen receptors. Most experts believe DHT to be a major factor in the cause of less-than-optimal prostate health and prostate enlargement. Testosterone is metabolized in your body to DHT, and the enzyme that is responsible for converting testosterone to DHT is called 5-alpha-reductase (Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci.May 2012).

Many clinical studies over the years (30-90 days in length) have demonstrated a significant difference in urine flow, volume voided, dysuria, nocturia, etc. after taking saw palmetto. They have also seen that roughly 90% of men that have mild-moderate BPH feel some improvement in only four to six weeks! More recent clinical studies have observed saw palmetto’s use from six to around twelve months. In a relatively recent study, researchers compared saw palmetto 320 mg/day (Permixon) to the drug Proscar at 5mg/day. There were similar decreases in many of the symptoms of BPH, but saw palmetto did not have the side effect of erectile dysfunction that the drug did. Another similar study using saw palmetto and nettle root (Prostagutt forte) and the drug Proscar came up with similar findings.

There are no known interactions with this herb, but note that most of the clinical trials excluded men taking diuretics, alpha blockers, and anticoagulants. Possible side effects are mild gastrointestinal disturbances. NOTE: Because saw palmetto is used for mild to moderate BPH stages I and II, it is contraindicated with advanced BPH. BPH should be diagnosed by a certified healthcare practitioner or physician.

Recommended use is to take 320 mg of saw palmetto berry extract (standardized to 85%-95% fatty acids and sterols), all at once or in two divided doses with meals. Use at least six months to determine its effectiveness.

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