Zinc study demonstrates a potential new health benefit

The winter storms have brought us some crazy weather over the last few months, whether it’s the rain in California or the snow storms on the east coast, the additional stress can weaken our immune system. This is when I tend to notice all the additional supplements at stores that are marketing the health benefits of zinc. Many of these products promising quickened recovery from the common cold. While most studies are inconclusive about the increased recovery period zinc may have; zinc has been shown to catalyze more than one hundred enzymes and assist in the cascade reactions which are necessary for the immune system to fight off pathogens.


New research

Zinc has become more intriguing after a recent study published last month by the Children’s Hospital Research Institute (CHORI). The study demonstrated that a moderate increase in dietary zinc reduced the breaks in the DNA strands that make up leukocytes (immune system cells). The double-blind study tested the supplementation of zinc in hopes to replicate the effects of fortified crops that could, in turn, be used in regions that are zinc deficient. It is estimated that 25% of the world population suffers from zinc deficiency. Modern societies that are becoming dependent for zinc by additional cereal grains within the diet have demonstrated the lack of zinc within the diet and reduced levels of zinc absorption.

While the study was small, with just eighteen men and a duration of 6 weeks, the blood samples which were taken before and after the experiment displayed interesting results. The blood samples measured zinc homeostasis, DNA damage, DNA inflammation, and oxidative stress levels. Results found that while zinc levels increased, inflammation decreased, oxidative stress decreased, and leukocyte DNA damage decreased. These benefits from increased zinc consumption can in result help cure/prevent certain cardiovascular diseases and cancers.


While this is exciting, more studies, with larger samples need to replicate the results before we start major changes in how we look at zinc. Zinc should be easy to obtain while following a well-balanced diet. For anyone that follows a heavy grain or vegan diet should take watch for zinc deficiency.


Natural foods high in zinc include most of your meats, seafood, dairy, eggs, nuts, tofu, and beans. Feeling adventurous try something different, like an oyster or lobster. For those following a vegan or vegetarian diet, it is recommended to eat whole grains as opposed to refined products which are reduced in overall nutrient content. You may want to try PJ & J energy balls which will provide plenty of zinc in a tasty bite.


Association, A.O. (2017) Zinc. Available at: http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/diet-and-nutrition/zinc?sso=y.
Saper, R.B. and Rash, R. (2009) Zinc: An essential Micronutrient. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2009/0501/p768.html.
Wessells, R.K., Singh, G.M. and Brown, K.H. (2012) ‘Estimating the global prevalence of inadequate zinc intake from national food balance sheets: Effects of methodological assumptions’, PLoS ONE, 7(11), p. e50565. doi:  10.1371/journal.pone.0050565. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3510072/
Zyba, S.J., Shenvi, S.V., Killilea, D.W., Holland, T.C., Kim, E., Moy, A., Sutherland, B., Gildengorin, V., Shigenaga, M.K. and King, J.C. (2016) ‘A moderate increase in dietary zinc reduces DNA strand breaks in leukocytes and alters plasma proteins without changing plasma zinc concentrations’, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,, p. ajcn135327. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.135327. Available at: http://www.childrenshospitaloakland.org/Uploads/Public/Documents/Media/PDF-Media/Am%20J%20Clin%20Nutr-2016-Zyba-ajcn.116.135327.pdf

Meat and Cancer: Are We Safe?

When the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) a branch of the World Health Organization reported that hot dogs, bacon, and other processed meats* cause cancer, a lot of people wondered, would I think twice before purchasing a hot dog at an Angel’s baseball game?

But in all seriousness, this report shouldn’t have come as a surprise because, for years the IARC has been publishing statements on over 1,000 different things; from chemicals to foods on a 5-tier system.

Group 1: Carcinogenic — causes cancerprocessedmeat
Group 2A: Probably causes cancer
Group 2B: Possibly causes cancer
Group 3: Can’t tell — not enough evidence
Group 4: Doesn’t cause cancer

Processed meats have long been linked to certain cancers of the digestive tract, especially colorectal and stomach cancers. However, scientists don’t have a definitive answer as to how much meat is too much. But they point out that your risk rises the more processed meats you eat.

So far so good right?

Well, after this report was released, the IARC determined there was enough evidence to put processed meats in the top-tier of cancer risks (group 1) alongside tobacco smoke and asbestos.

So does that means smoking is as risky as eating a hot dog?

No, instead it means that scientists are certain something causes cancer, not that the risks of eating processed meats and smoking are equal. In fact, there is evidence that certain chemicals are created when meats are cured and smoked, which are known to increase cancer risk. Some cuts of red meat are higher in saturated fat, which is also linked to cancer. Even some cooking methods like grilling or frying can create cancer-causing chemicals in meat.

In the end, we simply don’t have enough information to know if one type of processed meat is worse than another. There are different kinds of processing, so it’s unclear which processing method may be more hazardous than others.

At the same time, the report is a good reminder to make red and processed meats occasional treats, not mealtime staples, according to Marion Nestle, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University.

He advises sticking close to dietary guidelines like those from the USDA: Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and stick to low-fat or fat-free dairy; cut back on sodium, saturated and trans fats, and added sugar.

*The IRAC defined processed meats as those that are salted, cured, fermented, smoked, or otherwise treated either to enhance their flavor or keep them from spoiling.

More information can be found here!

Does Diet Really Help Lower Cardiovascular Disease?

Some people that I know seem to think that the way they eat is okay and that nothing will come from it.For example, people who are diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure continue eating foods that they should not and well in some cases they are okay and do not actually worsen their condition.  In a recent study, they took data on several healthy men and women to correlate whether eating a healthy diet based on the health food guidelines will actually reduce the risk of something like cardiovascular disease.

They used a random controlled trial of 165 healthy non-smoking men and women in their 40’s up to  70 years of age. Throughout the study they measured blood pressure, vascular function and risk factors for cardiovascular disease at the beginning and 12 weeks after the trial. They all had differences in blood pressure, cholesterol, insulin sensitivity, ecetera. For some of these differences it was clear that following the proper diet can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease because for example, in the control group their systolic blood pressure was 4.2 mmHg lower and cholesterol was also .13 lower in ratio. The study concluded with stating that following a diet consistent with dietary guidelines can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 1/3.

This article shows that nutrition is a very important and valuable part of living a longer and healthier life. Sometimes it’s hard to stay on the right path, but studies like these go to show that instead of eating better after we are diagnosed with a disease, that we should start eating better before we develop health issues. Nutrition is a large field and we get to learn more and more everyday about how we can help not only ourselves, but others to follow a healthier life track.

To learn more about this study, go onto the link below and read the full article:


Can Eating Eggs Increase Your Risk of Diabetes?

We always hear how eggs are a great source of protein, but in moderation because of all the cholesterol it does contain. Cholesterol is known to elevate blood glucose which also increases the risk for type two diabetes. In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition there is a article in which they look at whether or not egg consumption has a direct effect on the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in older men.

The study used 2332 men between the ages 42-60 in a heart disease study. They looked at their food records to see the consumption of eggs in a 4 day range and assessed their incidence of type 2 diabetes with a 2 hour oral glucose tolerance test, self administered questionnaires and by checking on any medical incidents from the hospitals that are diabetes related. These were checked 3 different times within a  20 year span. They also used an analysis database to estimate the rate of risk of type 2 diabetes in these men. Overall, there were  incidences of type 2 diabetes during the average follow up of  years. The study actually showed that those who ate more eggs had a 38% lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Most people would assume higher consumption would lead to higher risk, but not in this study.

To learn more about this study or get further details visit


Valentine’s Day Chocolate; How Bad is it for Your Health?

Valentine’s Day is coming up very quickly and that means flowers, cards and chocolate! What person doesn’t love chocolate as a gift; it is sweet, smooth and just delicious. Well as we all know sweets in general are associated with a higher risk of diabetes, but in one article, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, they tested whether or not chocolate has a direct effect on diabetes mellitus.

The experiment started with analyzing data from 18,235 participants in the Physician’s health study who were free of diabetes mellitus. They then obtained chocolate consumption data from a food questionnaire and each participant self reported the amount of chocolate consu

med on a regular basis. With this information they wanted to know whether chocolate consumption is inversely related to DM risk. In the end, they found that the inverse association between chocolate and diabetes is stronger in people with no history of cardiovascular disease or heart failure and varied between different age and BMI as well. Enjoy your Valentine’s day and just remember there is such a thing as to much chocolate!

For more on this article, view the link below


Is Staying Up Late Making You Fat?


Are you struggling with keeping off those extra, unwanted pounds? What if I told you that diet and exercise are not the only necessary steps you need to keep your BMI as low as you would like. That’s right, there are actually three things you need in order to be able to keep your weight where you want it, those are diet, exercise and sleep! Yes, habitual sleep has been shown  to help with keeping a low BMI.

In The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, there was a study done in which, they had fixed-effect meta-analyses from 9 studies which included up to 14,906 participants from the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. After analyzing all the data they identified how sleep duration affected BMI, macronutrient intake and the modification that CLOCK variants have on them.  Based on this research they concluded that age and gender play roles in the macronutrient intake such as younger adults have lower saturated fatty acid intake when they have longer sleep duration. Lastly, longer sleep duration was concluded to lower BMI in all types of participants. So, if you are struggling with weight loss make sure that not only are you eating healthy, exercising, but also getting enough sleep to keep your body healthy and rested. So no more late night cramming!

For more information on this study follow the link below!


Lower Your Risk of Hearing Loss… With Fish?


“What?” “I can’t hear you?” “Can you speak up?”

These are some common things that one might say on a regular basis if they had bad hearing. But did you ever think that what you ate might be affecting your hearing somehow? I surely didn’t. Hearing loss as we all know does get worse as you age regardless if it’s a significant amount or a small amount. What not one really thought about was if there was anyway that we can lower the risk of hearing loss as we get older. Luckily, there was a study that did just that.

In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, there was an article on a study done that tried to find the correlation between eating fish and fatty acids had on hearing loss. The study was done by collecting data from the Nurse’s health study II, where there were about  65,215 women who self-reported any sort of hearing loss and the amount of fish they ate on a weekly basis from 1991-2009. After some updated questionnaires there were about 11,606 cases of hearing loss in women. Once  they analyzed the data further, they discovered that women who ate 2 or more servings of fish a week had a lower risk of hearing loss. Not only was this proven, but also certain types of fish had a greater advantage in reducing hearing loss and this was fish with a high amount of long chain omega-3 fatty acids.

Overall, having a regular amount of fish and omega-3 fatty acids can have one more health benefit that all women could use. There are still more studies to be done to have more specific information on types of fish and what other types of omega-3 fatty acids could be used to prevent hearing loss, but this one surely is enough to get women to increase their fish intake if they don’t eat it regularly already or even have supplemental omega-3 fatty acids. This way we can have clear hearing for a lot longer than we might have anticipated.


Here is the link to the article for more information.



Recent Research: New Gluten Allergies?


Have you noticed the accumulative rise of grumbling voices regarding wheat gluten these days?

I certainly have.

Why now? Is it feasible to think that so many people could truly have some degree of Celiac disease (a true intolerance to gluten)? If NOT, then what gives? I mean… could it all just be in their bread-defying heads ?!

Maybe not.

A recent study reported by the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology suggests that in this modern day of processed foods, we may now be dealing with TWO types of gluten allergy categories; the allergy to whole wheat gluten (Celiac disease) and now also an allergy to ‘deamindated gluten’ or ‘DG’ (deamindated meaning that due to process such as acidic washes, part of the protein was removed or reconstructed from its original form).   So aha! Perhaps then there is more to this grumbling than mental mishaps. Perhaps something new has begun.


The objective was to compare the differences of IgE (antibody) binding towards native gluten (non-processed) and deamidated (processed) gluten proteins between Celiacs and DG allergy participants. The primary method used was an ‘oral challenge’ carried out by a “double-blind, placebo-controlled test”. The test included three weeks of strict avoidance of gluten products both participant groups, followed by a slow reintroduction of the allergy suspecting foods. At this time blood serums were collected and IgE antibody binding patterns from both groups were carefully mapped, and analyzed. The results were definitely interesting! IgE antibody bindings for participants allergic to DG were found to be almost completely the same; all but one showed IgE binding to DG proteins. Serum of the control group showed no binding. As for the Celiacs, only five out of nine expressed IgE binding, and of the ones that did their IgE bindings towards the processed DG proteins were found to be notably LOWER than their collective responses towards native wheat gluten. Revealing for the Celiacs a differing reaction toward processed ve non-process gluten variations.

OK. What does this all mean? According to this particular study, it means that we are beginning to see evidence that this allergic response to deamidated gluten (DG) may indeed be ‘operating as a separate entity’ as to the Celiacs with their native wheat allergy. The fact that all but one DG participant expressed an allergic reaction to the deamidated gluten (DG) and also the fact that this number was notably greater (almost 50%) than what was expressed in the Celiacs group, is what allows for this interesting suggestion.

The last important thing to note here is that the CAUSE of this possible new allergy, is not a natural one.  No, the study itself shamelessly concludes that this is a product of ‘modern food technologies being applied to industrial food products’.  Put plainly, evidence suggests that changing natural food structures, via food processing prcedures, may very well be introducing brand new food allergies the Americans public – without warning.

Pretty interesting.

Arguably, concerning.

If this is true of wheat gluten.. what else could this be true of?   Honestly we may never fully know due to it’s charged complexity.

However a rising theme seems to be that the more we alter whole foods, the more complicated health maintenance can often become.

(we’ve seen this with highly processed foods such as hydrogenated fats,  high-fructose corn syrup,  now possibly deamidated gluten…)

Who else is ready for some RE-simplification ?

Ah, to Simplify.

A soothing concept.  ..No?

In closing, if you’re one of those who don’t have Celiacs disease and yet can’t seem to tolerate modern day gluten foods very well…..finding yourself strangely perplexed (to be honest I’ve been there myself), maybe don’t be.  Listen to your body, and know that cutting out gluten could still be very well justified.