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Eating diets rich in zinc stops genetic material’s damage

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Zinc is an essential mineral that supports human growth and development, as well as helps to keep the body’s immune system healthy. New research suggests that even a small increase in daily zinc intake can help the body to protect its Deoxy riboNucleic Acid (DNA)/genetic material.

Zinc is vital for human development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence; it is involved in many aspects of cellular metabolism and cell division.

The mineral also plays a role in DNA synthesis, protein synthesis, and helps our body to heal its wounds. Zinc can limit inflammation and oxidative stress, which means that it may also protect against cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

With time, our DNA deteriorates, but the human body also has the ability to regenerate it until late adulthood. However, insufficient zinc compromises the body’s ability to repair everyday DNA “wear and tear.”

New research – published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition – suggests that an additional intake as small as 4 milligrams per day can have a positive impact on cellular health, as well as help the human body to fight off infections.

Researchers from the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) in California set out to determine the impact of a small increase in dietary zinc on metabolic functions and measures of zinc status in the body.

Led by CHORI Senior Scientist Janet King, Ph.D., the team tested the effect of an increase equivalent to that which biofortified crops provide in the diet of populations that are nutrient-deficient.

The authors explain that while food fortification slightly raises the zinc content of cereals such as wheat and rice, few studies have shown a positive effect on the functional indicators of zinc levels in the human body.

Researchers designed a randomized, six-week controlled study where 18 men consumed a low-zinc, rice-based diet.

The diet consisted of six milligrams per day for two weeks and continued with 10 milligrams daily for the remaining four weeks.


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