Life Choice – Zinc Picolinate
Zinc is an essential trace mineral, which is second only to iron as the most plentiful trace element in the body. It aids in the absorption of B vitamins, and is a constituent of at least 25 enzyme systems, as well as being a component of insulin and of superoxide dismutase. Zinc is essential for growth and development of sexual organs, is important in nucleic acid synthesis and plays a role in carbohydrate and phosphorus metabolism.
The relationship between zinc, testosterone, and reproductive health is fairly well known—a 1996 study found that young men with normal testosterone status who avoided getting zinc in their diets for 5 months experienced a dramatic drop in total testosterone of more than 50 percent. Giving zinc over the same period to older men who had low testosterone resulted in doubling the men’s testosterone levels.
Similarly, more recent data support the relationship between normal testosterone and higher zinc, and conversely low zinc and low testosterone, which puts men at risk of male menopause. Research shows that having adequate zinc available in the body allows for a more robust release of testosterone, and the related athletic performance hormones, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). For example, a 4-week study that gave athletes a zinc supplement resulted in a significant increase in testosterone after an exhaustive exercise test. Although, not tested in this study, adequate zinc has also been found to improve release of IGF-1, and together testosterone and IGF-1 are principal hormones in ensuring recovery from exercise.
Know that low zinc will be devastating to your health and training results, it’s MUCH more common than people realize, and it affects men and women equally. Lack of zinc makes both sexes infertile and increases cancer risk significantly. Zinc plays other roles that directly influence your whole hormonal cascade including the following:
• Low zinc leads to an increase in estrogen receptors and a decrease in androgen receptors.
• Zinc is necessary for androstenedione to be converted to Testosterone.
• Low zinc may increase aromatization of Testosterone to estrogen, just like vitamin D.
• The male prostate tissue requires 10 times more zinc than other cells in the body for health. Once the prostate cells become cancerous they lack the ability to accumulate zinc, leading to the faster spread of cancer in the prostate.
• Low zinc increases breast cancer risk in women (and men, although this is less common than prostate cancer risk in men) because of how it can lead to abnormal estrogen action in the body, and because zinc minimizes inflammation, which is a principal cause of cell damage.
There is concern regarding the absorption of zinc, both from dietary intake and nutritional supplements, because of zinc’s essential role in human nutrition and metabolism, and because of evidence that some population groups have a marginal-to-deficiency condition: not all zinc preparations have equal bio-availability.
Acrodermatitis enteropathica (AE), a rare genetic disorder characterized by a severe zinc deficit, provides an excellent model for understanding zinc deficiency and absorption in humans. Patients with AE have a defect in tryptophan metabolism, which may predispose them to producing decreased levels of picolinic acid (PA). PA, a natural product of normal tryptophan metabolism in the body, has been shown to be an important, if not an essential component of zinc absorption. Zinc picolinate appears to have the greatest efficacy in reversing the zinc deficiency of AE and is also absorbed to a higher degree in normal subjects than other zinc supplements.
Unlike supplementation with many other mineral chelates, use of zinc picolinate may actually provide the compound normally created by the body in the intestinal tract to facilitate absorption.
Zinc may be useful for the following conditions: retarded growth, delayed sexual maturity, slow healing, prostate problems, immune system deficiency, and anorexia nervosa. Several factors, including calcium, naturally decrease zinc’s bioavailability in the diet. Today, with more people supplementing their diets with calcium, the need to provide this highly bioavailable form of zinc is well warranted.
Raw materials are only purchased in the US, Japan, the EU, or Argentina.