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Why is Zinc So Important for Your Heart Health

Zinc is a mineral well known to help fight infections. It is also involved in numerous aspects of cellular metabolism and is required for the activity of approximately 100 enzymes. 

Given how important zinc is to health, many people do not get enough from their diet to meet the body demands. Don’t fret. I have ideas for you. 

Why is Zinc So Important?

As stated above, zinc plays an important role in immune function and also protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis, and cell division. Zinc also supports normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence and is required for proper sense of taste and smell. (Ref)

A wide variety of foods contain zinc. Oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food, but red meat and poultry provide the majority of zinc in the American diet. Other good food sources include nuts, certain types of seafood (such as crab and lobster), and raw dairy.

Phytates—which are present in whole-grain breads, cereals, legumes, and other foods—bind zinc and inhibit its absorption. Thus, the bioavailability of zinc from grains and plant foods is lower than that from animal foods.(Ref).

Not many doctors equate zinc with heart health, but I certainly do. That is why I use the Vibrant Micronutrient test to look at blood and intracellular zinc levels. 

How Zinc Helps Your Heart

Cardiomyopathy- many studies link zinc to cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure. Human and animal studies confirm that good heart function depends on adequate zinc. One recent study found that low zinc was linked to diabetic cardiomyopathy. Another study found that zinc supplementation prevents diabetic cardiomyopathy

Low zinc levels were found in two recent human heart failure studies (ref and ref). Zinc supplementation was found to lower BNP, a marker of heart stress. The lower the better. The same study found lower levels of cellular apoptosis (death!) in the zinc supplemented group. 

A group of heart failure patients who received zinc had actual recovery of cardiomyocytes along with improvement in heart size and function. Cell membrane function was improved. 

Lipids- multiple studies demonstrate that zinc improves lipid markers such as total cholesterol, LDL, and HDL. Zinc may also lower triglyceride levels. 

Glucose/Insulin/Metabolic Syndrome- Zinc helps control the cells in the pancreas responsible for insulin. Studies show improved blood sugar control and lower insulin in groups given zinc supplementation. Zinc can also help women with gestational diabetes

Inflammation/Oxidative Stress- Zinc deficiency is common among pesticide sprayers. Supplementation improves markers of inflammation/ox stress in pesticide sprayers. Another study found zinc improves oxidative stress

Atrial fibrillation- Low zinc was more common in patients with post CABG atrial fibrillation (AFIB). Whether or not zinc supplementation prevents post-op AFIB remains to be seen (can’t hurt!)

Stroke- Adequate zinc levels are linked to a decreased stroke risk 

Determine Your Zinc Level

One of my favorite tests is the Vibrant Micronutrient. It looks at all your vitamins and minerals…outside the cell AND inside the cell. Intracellular is where all the “action” takes place. How do you know if you don’t test? Buy the test here and go over the results with a Wolfson health coach.

Get Zinc From Food

Check out this post about the Top 10 Best Paleo Foods to Get Zinc, written by staff nutritionist, Ashley Swanson. 

Supplement

Our zinc supplement has served our patients well for many years. Whether immune support or for cardiovascular health, zinc is an excellent addition to your supplement regimen. 

Buy yours as zinc gluconate and zinc citronate here

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