Oyster Extract for Peak Performance

October 10th, 2012

In this article I will be  extoling the virtues of making oyster extract powder part of your heath programme. However there are still many more virtues to be discussed but this article will look at oyster extract from the bodies biochemistry perspective, in particular the concept of balancing trace mineral levels in the body to maintain peak hormonal and enzymatic functioning.

Have you ever had that feeling that you are missing something in your diet, that you are just not up to par, knowing there is some imbalance in there that you just can’t figure out? Well this is a frequent reason many of us attend our GP or therapist. However in some countries certain physicians take a very holistic approach to this and work by a process of elimination to try and figure the problem out, rather than going down the orthodox prescribed medication route straight away.  Oyster extract is one of the tools they often try to eliminate other possibilities.

Many people will present with a biochemical imbalance. Doctors and therapists will try to identify this by various means. They may opt for blood tests, hair analysis and use various other diagnostic tools and methods to reach a conclusion. Some therapists however will use oyster powder.

By advising their clients to try oyster extract powder they know that each and every one of the 59 trace elements the body needs are present in sufficient and extremely bioavailable quantities.  They can begin to out rule certain nutrient deficiencies at which stage if they do not see an improvement then investigations of a different nature become necessary.  This has been observed many times in our clinical experience from clients presenting with trace element deficiencies like zinc, copper, manganese, selenium and so forth.

Furthermore, where deficiencies are identified by the more traditional analytical methods and micro-nutrients are subsequently administered, certain imbalances may result which can lead to more symptoms. With oyster extract capsules this does not happen, as the total array of trace elements are presented in a balanced biochemical matrix. Each and every one of the trace elements we need are presented in the relative concentrations as nature intended.

The results speak for themselves. Improved energy levels, stronger immunity, smoother complexion and better sexual health. All these benefits come from ensuring the trace elements necessary for  peak performance in all these biochemical systems are balanced, by nature-as nature intended. You only get this from oyster extract.

With winter fast approaching and many of use reaching for the zinc lozenges, consider taking a course of oyster extract capsules. Not only are they the highest natural source of zinc, they also contain each and every one of the 59 trace elements we need to get us through the winter months.

Make sure you discuss your oyster extract with your supplier and choose a potent product. Some cheap oyster extract products on the market can have up to 60% tapioca starch mixed in along with other bulking agents. Only choose pure,  high zinc, oyster extract capsules. Think before you zinc!

Natural Zinc Supplement vs. Synthetic Zinc Supplement. Which should I choose?

October 6th, 2010

It’s that time of the year again when we reach for the medicine cabinet and decide what supplement regime we will follow to ward off illness in those dark winter months. As the leaves fall and our sun tans fade, we are conscious of getting enough of the right nutrients to keep our immunity in top condition so as to minimise the threat of flu season and all the plethora of winter ills. One nutrient however that most of us recognise as vital in this fight is zinc. However with so many brands of zinc supplements on the market and so much confusion out there, how do we know if we are taking enough and how do we know if the quality is sufficient to get results?

Let’s start with facts and some recent research. Zinc is a vital trace element in the body and is vital in over 300 enzyme reactions. It has a role in the biochemistry of physiological processes that govern everything from the way we look and feel, to our immunity, to our sexual health. While severe zinc deficiency is rare in developed countries it is sometimes seen in groups with no animal protein intake who are not careful to find suitable vegetable sources in their diet. However, the World Health Organisation estimates that up to 80% of us are mildly zinc deficient and there are very definite symptoms associated with this. Fatigue, lowered immunity, loss of libido, macular degeneration and a host of skin conditions can manifest in this zinc deficient state.

The RDA in the USA for zinc can vary between government agencies but the National Institutes for Health states that it is 11mg for adult men and 8mg for adult women. This figure is also used by the Linus Pauling Institute in OSU which is at the forefront of zinc research. Scientists at this institute found little evidence that zinc lozenges decreased the duration of the common cold and they also found that too much zinc was damaging to the immune system in the same way that too little is. So how much should we take?

Given that the food we eat contains some zinc it is reasonable to figure we need a small amount by way of supplementation to make sure we get enough. Lifestyle is a big factor also. Athletes and sexually active men have an increased need for zinc nutrition as do pregnant and lactating women. However when you take zinc elementally like in lozenges such as zinc gluconate or zinc acetate, you risk interfering with the body’s delicate balance of trace elements. Too much zinc can, for example, lead to copper deficiency. Copper deficiency can affect energy production and neurological processes in the brain. So you take zinc for fatigue, then copper uptake is affected, then we get problems with energy production. Back to square one.

I digress for a moment: This problem exists every time we take minerals elementally. i.e. on their own. Our bodies have never been used to getting minerals or vitamins individually. They come in a matrix in the food we eat. This matrix is usually some kind of protein or fat which is broken down into small sub units during digestion. These sub units with their associated minerals and vitamins are then used to build the complex molecules our bodies need for normal functioning. For those with a limited knowledge of  biochemistry it is not easy to understand. To use an analogy, let’s say you wanted to make a bicycle and I handed you 2 wheels, a saddle, pedals, a chain, brakes, handle bars and a frame, you would put it all together pretty quickly and ride away. It’s like this when you get your minerals and vitamins from a natural, unprocessed, organic source. The body has the building blocks it needs to maintain us. However, imagine  if I handed you instead of 2 wheels, some wire and rubber to make the tyres, some bits of metal to make the spokes, some ball bearings, some nuts, a wheel rim, some rubber for the tube, the different components for the valve etc. Then I did this for all the other parts of the bicycle, you would then have literally thousands of components to put together to make your bike. Think you could manage that? Well it’s a bit like that when we fill our bodies with individual minerals and vitamins and expect to maintain good health.

The lesson: Taking our nutrition from healthy natural sources is always going to be the best way to stay healthy. When it comes to maintaining zinc levels, synthetic zinc supplements should be taken with caution. Pumpkin seeds are a good vegetable source for the vegetarians among us while oysters are the best animal source, 10 times higher in fact than the next source which is beef.

This brings me to a close as I want to tell you what I believe to be the best way to supplement zinc in your diet. Oyster extract is the zinc supplement of choice in my house. It contains not only very high levels of organic zinc but all the 59 trace elements our bodies need. All these minerals are already bound in amino acids ready to go to work in our bodies, just like the wheels on the bike. Four capsules of a good quality oyster extract will provide roughly 3mg of top quality zinc. This is a safe supplemental amount. However because all the minerals are bound and balanced, one can take more without the associated risks when you use synthetic alternatives. Caveat emptor – All oyster extracts do not have this zinc potency, some can have as little as 0.1mg in four capsules, not very effective. Always check the amount of zinc with the manufacturer before you make a purchase. Think before you zinc!

Ten reasons why Oyster Capsules are a superior Zinc Supplement.

June 9th, 2010

Zinc deficiency affects over 80% of the adult population. It is a vital trace element required in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body. Athletes, pregnant and lactating women, sexually active males and anyone feeling the stresses and strains of modern life all have increased demands for zinc. The clinical range of the symptoms of zinc deficiency vary from decreased immunity to low libido, from poor skin, hair and nails to macular degeneration, from prostate health issues to hormonal balancing.

However, for those of us who feel they need more zinc than their diet provides the job of choosing the right zinc supplement can be daunting as there are so many brands and stories on the market. Choosing oyster capsules is not something many may have considered, but as natures highest source of naturally occurring zinc, they are certainly worth a try. The rest of this article will give you ten reasons why oyster extract capsules are the superior zinc supplement on the market today.

  1. Oysters are the highest NATURAL source of zinc, tens times higher in fact than the next source which is beef.
  2. Oyster capsules not only contain zinc, they contain all of the 59 trace elements our body needs for the correct physiological functioning of all the biochemical pathways.
  3. The zinc in oyster capsules is naturally bound to amino acids which makes it very bioavailable. This is more effective than chelated zinc supplements and far superior to synthetic zinc supplements.
  4. The zinc in oyster capsules is balanced with other key co-factor elements such as copper, manganese and selenium in a way that makes them work better together. This balancing is done by nature, as nature intended. No other zinc supplement can boast this fact.
  5. Oyster capsules are not only high in zinc, they contain many other interesting compounds which benefit general health. Clinical work has shown they can increase glutathione levels counteracting fatigue, increase immunity and improve sexual health.
  6. Oyster capsules are classed as a Superfood. Because they are not synthetic there is no danger of upsetting the body’s biochemistry by taking more if you so wish. People taking 12-16 capsules daily have reported zero fatigue. Many athletes take higher doses due to their increased demands with amazing results.
  7. The holistic effect on the body’s biochemistry of using oyster capsules has been well documented since ancient times. In traditional Chinese medicine oyster extract has been used for centuries for liver cleansing and sexual health.
  8. Oyster capsules are cutting edge nutrition. Research is currently being carried out in several institutions around the world to investigate what other bio active compounds they contain and to better understand the positive health benefits users report.
  9. Oyster capsules are cost effective. Taking them ensures your body’s biochemistry is well balanced. Taking lots of synthetic, elemental trace element supplements in the hope of achieving the same result is more risky and more expensive.
  10. The production of oyster capsules is sustainable and because the oyster shells lock carbon out of the atmosphere there is a net reduction in atmospheric carbon from the process. The best oyster extract capsules do not include shell. It is usually traded on for other manufacturing processes.

A cautionary note: Not all oyster extracts are the same. Some can be up to 20 times more potent in terms on zinc concentration than others. This is due to differences in region and seasonal harvesting applied by the different manufacturers. This difference is also usually reflected in the price. Check with your supplier before you make a purchase to ensure they are selling a high zinc oyster capsule. Think before you zinc!

The Caviar of Zinc Supplements

May 19th, 2010
There are many, many zinc supplements on the market. So much so that buying the right one can be a very time consuming affair and with so many brands, how do you know which is the right one for you. However, as with all purchasing decisions, there is quality and there is quantity. There is fast food and there is gourmet food. There are synthetic zinc supplements and there is Oyster Extract Powder.

Despite all the marketing blurb, there is only one science of zinc supplementation, and this is it. Zinc is the most ubiquitous element in the body. It is required in and therefore controls over 300 enzyme reactions in the body. It maintains everything from immunity and sexual health to gene expression and neurobiology. Zinc deficiency has been shown to cause a diverse range of conditions from fatigue to poor sexual health, prostate issues, lowered immunity, macular degeneration and many, many more. Having adequate zinc intake is vital to our over all general health and mental and sexual well being. Too much or too little has been shown to have adverse affects on our health. This is a very important point for people taking zinc supplements.

Most zinc supplements give significantly higher amounts of zinc than our body needs. This interferes with the absorption of other key elements such as copper, calcium and iron. This can cause an imbalance in the body’s biochemistry interfering with the many biochemical pathways in the body. There is however one source of zinc that is perfectly balanced for our needs. Balanced by nature, just as nature intended. It not only has zinc in abundance but also each and every one of the 59 trace elements our body needs. This is the caviar of zinc supplements; this is oyster extract powder.

Oysters contain 10 times more zinc than the next highest source which is red meat. However this zinc, unlike the synthetic versions on the market, is to be found bound in amino acids and other large molecules which makes it very bio available. In order for zinc to be absorbed it has to first bind to such ‘ transport molecules ‘. This is not no easy for the synthetic supplements, but in oyster extract powder the job is already done.

Beware, not all oyster extract powders are the same. The cheaper brands from Korea, China and New Zealand tend to be mainly glycogen starch. Not many of us are starch deficient. The zinc content can be as low as 0.1g per kilogram of powder in such brands. Brands such as OysterMax™ have over 3.0g of zinc per kilogram of powder and are therefore 30 times more potent in terms of zinc concentration. To explain this more succinctly, there is the extracted meat of over 50 large oysters in a bottle of Oystermax™. There is the meat of 4 or 5 large oysters in some other brands. With this you can start to understand the price and quality difference issues.

This 3.0g potency level means 4 capsules (1g of powder) will provide 3mg of zinc. This is a safe supplemental amount of zinc. The high zinc oyster extract powder products are, by default, also more potent in all the other trace elements. This is because these high zinc extracts are mainly protein in nature and all these elements are bound to the amino acids in the proteins and ready for absorption. Combined with the rest of your daily food intake a supplemental amount of zinc of this order should be sufficient to ensure adequate supply. The beauty of oyster extract powder is that you have the peace of mind of knowing that each and every other trace element your body needs is there too. Athletes, sexually active people and those feeling fatigued or stressed can safely up their intake knowing that they will not upset the body’s delicate biochemical balance. Oyster Extract powder is balanced in levels of all trace elements the way nature intended.

Be careful to ask your supplier how potent their oyster extract powder is before you make a purchase. Ask the geographical source of the oysters, the quality of the water the oysters were grown in and how much zinc is contained in each gram of powder. If it is less than 1.5mg it can be considered a cheap brand. If it is over 3mg you are buying caviar. Think before you zinc!

Prostate Health and Oyster Extract

March 2nd, 2010

Prostate problems affect a large percentage of the male population over 50 years of age. These problems manifest as hyperplasia or swelling of the prostate, impotence issues, urinary issues and worst of all, cancer issues. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men and 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Factors such as age, lifestyle and family history are all significant in the onset of prostate problems. However men should be familiar with one very important aspect to prostate health over which they have complete control and this is the area of zinc nutrition.

Research conducted at the Linus Pauling institute in Oregon State University has shown that prostate swelling usually precedes prostate cancer. This swelling or hyperplasia as it is known has also been shown to be associated with zinc deficiency. While they did not conclude that this swelling was a precursor to prostate cancer, it is almost always seen prior to the onset of the disease. They also showed in the course of these investigations (in vitro) that this prostate swelling could be reduced by adequate zinc intake. In fact the prostate cells that were beginning to swell underwent programmed cell death or apoptosis when zinc deficiency was corrected.

The prostate gland contains the highest concentration of zinc of any organ in the human body. Science is unsure of the reason for this but cancerous prostate glands have been shown to have less zinc than healthy ones. Going back to the research in Oregon, it was also noted that the role of zinc might be more of a preventative one as supplementation had little effect on already cancerous prostate cells. That said, zinc has many other important functions in the body especially around immunity so anyone diagnosed with prostate cancer should not ignore zinc nutrition.

So maintaining an adequate supply of good quality zinc would appear to be a good policy in helping to prevent the onset of prostate problems. However deciding on the right zinc supplement is not as easy as you may think. They are many synthetic ones on the market and research has shown that taking zinc on its own may upset the delicate balance it maintains with other trace elements in the body. For example, copper absorption may be affected by taking too much zinc. As copper and zinc are needed together in a large number of enzyme processes in the body, we must be careful to respect the balance.

Oyster extract is a very good source of organic zinc. However it not only contains zinc, but all of the 59 trace elements the body needs. These are balanced by nature, as nature intended. In fact oysters contain 10 times more zinc than the next highest source which is red meat. A good quality oyster extract will contain at least 3mg of zinc for every 1g of powder. Some however can be as low as 0.1mg for every 1g of powder and these brands are obviously less effective. These low potency brands also tend to come from places like New Zealand, Japan and China where oysters are not harvested with this zinc potency in mind.

Ask your supplier if the oyster extract they sell is high in zinc potency before making a purchase. It is a clear contender to be the supplement of choice for those seeking a good preventative therapeutic for prostate problems. It is considered by many to be the caviar of zinc supplements.

New look website

October 6th, 2009

Oystermax will have a new look website from today. To coincide with the launch we will be giving customers a very special offer. Details to follow later.

Zinc supplements and Zinc deficiency.

September 2nd, 2008

As summer rolls on and winter draws near for some us thoughts will turn to making it a time as comfortable as possible in spite of the inclement weather we might expect. For a lot of us this means making sure that our health is in top shape and the medicine cabinet is stocked with all the necessary items to beat the winter blues.

Prospects of the common cold, influenza, sore throats and a plethora of aches and chills are just a few weeks away and this is a good time to think about some strategies to beat the winter blues. However recent studies into one major area of prevention has thrown up some very interesting facts that people should be aware of. It is the whole area of zinc supplements and zinc deficiency.

Many of us run for the zinc lozenges zinc tablets and zinc sprays and gels at the first sniffle or the first sign of a flu or cold. But wait here a moment. Research has found that we may be doing more harm than good. While zinc is indeed important for a healthy immune system in that zinc stimulates the thymus gland to produce thymulin. Thymulin in turn stimulates T-cell and T4 helper cells to fight infection. These cells can be present in low numbers when individuals are zinc deficient, increasing the risk of contracting infections during the winter.

The problem is, as recent research has shown, is that the immune system is sensitive to zinc concentrations in the blood. Too little or too much zinc can have a negative effect on the immune system response. So before you race to the cabinet and take 25 or 50 mg of zinc remember that fact and also remember that excessive zinc consumption can lead to neuro degenerative problems as it is toxic in high doses.

So how much is enough I hear you say? Firstly remember that the WHO (World Health Organisation) estimates that up to 80% of Western society may be zinc deficient. This is mainly due to the poor nutrient availability in processed foods and fast food which are so common place nowadays and also to poor eating habits that are associated with modern lifestyles and corporate advertising. Meanwhile, the RDA for zinc is 11mg per day for men and 9 mg per day for women. This RDA actually varies between Governments and some set it as high as 15mg for both men and women and slightly higher again for pregnant and lactating women.

Based on this these facts alone a daily supplement of zinc should really provide no more than 3 or 4 mg of zinc with the rest coming from diet. Then one has to assume how bio available the zinc supplement in question is. If it claims to be highly bio available and a tablet contains 25 mg of zinc gluconate or zinc sulphate or some chelated form of zinc then one can immediately see the problem. How can one be sure of how much of the zinc they take is actually absorbed?

The bio availability issue is a very pertinent one and the bioavailability of many synthetic zinc supplements is very questionable. However there is a solution that many may not consider and it comes from beneath the waves of an ocean near you. It’s called oyster extract powder. Oysters are the highest natural source of zinc. This zinc in oyster extract powder is highly bio available as it is already bound to active transport molecules making it easily absorbed. Another important aspect is also that along with the zinc you have zinc co-factors like manganese, copper and selenium and all the other 59 trace elements the body needs for proper physiological functioning.

If you want to try an oyster extract powder supplement email the manufacturer and ask them how much zinc is in each capsule of the product. Only the more conscientious brands will know this, be aware of this and be able to recommend a daily dosage based on this. With some brands you may have to take 20 capsules to get 3 or 4 milligrams of organic zinc while with some of the better brands this could be only 3 or 4 capsules daily assuming they have manufactured the powder with zinc potency in mind.

The bottom line is that taking an oyster extract powder supplement to increase the immune system response in winter is probably one of the safest and most effective ways to augment what should be a healthy lifestyle during those months when we are at risk.

Oyster extract can boost the immune system response.

July 15th, 2008

When one thinks of fresh oysters the mind usually races to images of Casanova, seduction and sexual libido. Not many people think immunity, cold and flu prevention or infection resistance. And yet, down there in the depths of the ocean, the oyster has an incredible story to tell about it’s own immunity and it also has some pretty remarkable benefits for those bold enough to partake of this delicacy. And for those who just can’t handle that slithery sensation, happy days, oyster extract has arrived to boost the immune response and lift those winter blues.

Oyster extract is the dried meat of the oyster. It is then powdered and placed in a capsule or made into a tablet. Assuming it is manufactured with due regard for the time of harvest, it contains all 59 of the trace elements needed by the body, vitamins, amino acids, taurine, omega 3 & 6 fish oils and it is the highest natural source of the trace element zinc. Only oyster extract harvested at times of the year when zinc potency is highest can boast this claim, and very few of the companies making oyster extract recognise this.

It is this natural, organic, bio available zinc which is of great interest to us. The oyster accumulates zinc to much higher levels than any other animal known. The reason for this, while not clearly defined by science, has a lot to do with the oysters own immunity. The oyster operates an open circulation system and when invading bacteria enter it, the oyster’s immune response springs into action. During this defence a process called the ‘metabolic burst’ occurs which results in the destruction of the invading pathogen but also results in the release of large amounts of free radicals which could harm tissues and organs if not eliminated. To mop up these free radicals the oyster produces large quantities of an anti-oxidant called SOD or superoxide dismutase. However to make SOD the oyster needs lots of zinc, and this is most likely the reason they have such high levels of zinc in the body.

The good news for us is that if we take an extract that is produced with due regard for these SOD molecules, we will be taking a very potent form of zinc supplement that will have a very beneficial effect on our own immunity. This zinc will come bound in transport molecules that will make it highly bio available as opposed to the many synthetic and chelated alternatives available.

This zinc stimulates the immune response by causing the Thymic gland to produce thymulin. Thymulin stimulates the T-Cells and the T4 helper cells and both these cells are critical to a healthy immune system. This same zinc also helps our bodies produce human SOD just like in the oyster, and when our bodies are fighting infection and producing free radicals, it mops these up preventing further tissue damage in our bodies.

A strong immune system can help offset the common cold and influenza when winter looms large. An improved immune system response is also of great benefit to anyone with compromised immunity like HIV patients or people undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Certain groups who are prone to zinc deficiency will also benefit greatly from a course of oyster extract. These include the elderly whose zinc absorption slows with age, alcoholics, and athletes who secrete a lot of zinc during training.

Finally, a cautionary note for those planning to take a course of oyster extract. Not all oyster extracts are the same. In the last year alone 2 products of Chinese origin have been taken off the market because of contamination from banned substances. Only use an extract which comes from manufacturers with proper certification such as FDA or European Union approval. Both these entities have similar high standards. Ask your supplier where the oysters used to make the extract come from, if it is a pure extract with no additives, and then make an informed decision.

Acne treatment, in a shell.

July 2nd, 2008

From the depths of the ocean comes a product that few have considered as a possible treatment for acne. However sitting there in it’s shell on the bottom of the ocean, the oyster possesses some remarkable properties that can have a marked effect on the progression of acne and other skin disorders. Fresh oysters are of course delicious but are hard to get and are not to every ones liking. Oyster extract offers a way to get all the benefits without the oral sensation.

The reason for this is because the oyster has very high levels of key trace elements and bioactive enzymes, which can be very useful in the treatment of acne. One of these is zinc. Not just any zinc, like the synthetic zinc supplements one finds in the health food store or pharmacy, but natural, organic, bio available zinc. And not just zinc alone, but zinc with co-factors like copper, manganese and selenium. All bound in protein structures which make them highly bio available.

Do not underestimate the bio availability issue. Zinc uptake is greatest in the jejunum, which is the part of the intestine directly after the stomach. However for uptake to occur the zinc must first bind to active transport molecules. For synthetic zinc this is a problem, but for zinc from an oyster it is not, as that zinc is already bound to these transport molecules and ready for uptake. This raises certain issues about the efficacy of synthetic zinc supplements.

So why is this zinc so important I hear you say eagerly? Zinc plays a key role in almost 300 enzyme reactions in the body. Many of these happen in the skin. For example, zinc enzymes control the production of collagen and elastin in the skin, both of which keep it supple and young looking. For acne sufferers the major issues are the flare-ups and the scarring.

Acne is caused when pores get clogged and sebum production runs riot. The ensuing infection is what causes the redness and soreness. The scarring can be permanent in severe cases. Zinc helps in several ways.

  1. Zinc controls the production of vitamin B6. This vitamin in turn helps regulate the production of sebum.
  2. Zinc stimulates the immune system to produce thymulin with activates T-cells and T4 helper cells. These can help fight any infections, which might be threatening in an infected follicle.
  3. If a flare up has occurred, zinc can reduce scarring as it is essential for new cell growth and it is involved in many enzymes, which regulate tissue repair and tissue regeneration.

So how do you know if you are zinc deficient? The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that up to 80% of Western society may suffer from mild zinc deficiency. It is caused mainly by poor nutrition and certain groups can be more prone than others can. Athletes loose more zinc through sweat than normal people and should therefore be careful about zinc supplementation. Sexually active males, alcoholics and the elderly are also groups that have a higher incidence of zinc deficiency than normal. However poor nutrition and processed foods depleted of micronutrients are the biggest culprits. This is a big problem nowadays as corporate agriculture and corporate food processors are more concerned about profits and less concerned about nutrient availability in the products they create.

The solution is to seek out fresh ingredients and try to have a healthy diet. Think Slow Food not Fast Food. Taking a good zinc supplement is also wise if you suspect you are zinc deficient. Oyster extract is by far one of the best forms of zinc supplement available on the market today. However, beware of cheap products that come from countries with dubious records on environmental quality. Oysters must be grown in clean waters and the process must be conscious of preserving the key elements in high concentrations to be effective.

Some oyster extracts can have 20-30 times less zinc than others as they process the oysters not for nutrient concentrations but for bulk yields and profits. The bulkier extracts can be high in glycogen but low in the micronutrients that can aid acne treatment. Much research has been carried out on zinc and acne and the results are very encouraging. If you wish to try an oyster extract find one that is high in zinc and be prepared to pay that little extra for the extra benefits you’ll receive. Lastly, try to remember that oyster extract is not just the best form zinc supplement you can take, it is a whole food supplement that contains 59 trace elements, vitamins, amino acids and omega 3 & 6 fish oils. Quite a big offering from the little oyster.

Zinc & Testosterone in Healthy Adults

June 25th, 2008

This article, co-authored by a team of five researchers headed by Ananda S. Prasad, M.D., Ph.D., has enormous implications for all bodybuilders, especially those who are “natural.” It was originally published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Nutrition, Volume 12, No.5, 1996, pp. 344-348.

Dr. Prasad is considered to be the world expert on the trace mineral zinc and its metabolic effects on human beings. He has somewhere between 200 and 300 peer-reviewed publications to his credit and knows very well how to design a research project. He notes at the beginning of the research report’s abstract that “Zinc deficiency is prevalent throughout the world, including the USA.”

In this article, Dr. Prasad discusses an investigatioin of the effect of “mild zinc deficiency” on the serum testosterone levels of men.

BACKGROUND: Testosterone, as the reader may know, is the male sex hormone that many steroids are formulated to mimic. It is produced naturally in men and signals the body to develop male characteristics, including increased muscle mass. Certain background information here is very important. At BALCO Laboratories, Inc., of Burlingame, California, where the trace mineral levels of more than 200,000 people, including thousands of athletes, have been measured, a test called multi-element analysis has shown that approximately 70% of all athletes tested have been shown to have either a depletion (which is what Prasad calls a “mild deficiency”) or an outright deficiency. In either case, in one or more ways health and performance may be impaired. In the case of a deficiency, the individual will have one or more overt symptoms identifiable by any knowledgable physician.

Let us emphasize this point more strongly. Over 70% of the serious athletes BALCO has tested have proven depleted or deficient in zinc. This includes entire professional football and basketball teams, many amateur and professional bodybuilders, hundreds of Olympic athletes scattered among many different events, karate champions, and even elite tennis players.

By and large, these athletes are people who pay careful attention to their diet, yet the majority are still they are depleted or deficient in zinc.

According to a conversation we have had with Dr. Prasad, bodybuilders are prone to zinc depletion or deficiency for a number of reasons.

First, one of the best sources of zinc is red meat. Many bodybuilders eat a reduced amount of meat, concentrating instead on chicken and fish as their main protein sources.

Second, bodybuilders lose more zinc than do non-exercisers. Zinc exits the body in a number of ways, including through sweat. On an exercise day, an athlete will lose 50% more zinc through sweat than on a non-exercise day.

Third, bodybuilders require significantly more zinc than do non-exercisers.

In fact, because bodybuilding involves the infliction of a great deal of micro-damage to cells and tissues that must be repaired, and because the muscle are stimulated through exercise to grow, the director of BALCO Labs estimates that bodybuilders may require up to twice as much zinc as do non-exercisers.

This means that if you are a bodybuilder, you are very likely to have either a zinc depletion or deficiency. And if you are using steroids, which depress the body’s zinc, magnesium and copper levels, you are even more likely to be zinc deficient.

PRASAD’S METHODS AND FINDINGS:
Dr. Prasad’s study involved several different populations.

The most important for bodybuilders is the group of four normal adult men approximately 27 years old. He measured their serum testosterone levels, then fed them a diet low in zinc for six months, thus inducing a “mild zinc deficiency” in them. As they progressed through the diet, he measured their serum testosterone levels two more times, once after eight weeks and once again after 20 weeks. As these men became progressively zinc depleted, their serum testosterone concentrations dropped. The chart Dr. Prasad has included on page 347 of the study indicates that by the end of the 20 weeks they had approximately ¼ the testosterone that they had had at the study’s beginning.

The implictions of this for bodybuilders and other athletes is clear. If you are depleted or deficient in zinc—and BALCO’s clinical experience indicates that you probably are—you can significantly increase your testosterone level through zinc supplementation.

In another group of nine older men 55 to 73 years old, Prasad and his fellow researchers measured serum testosterone levels. These men, he notes, were “marginally zinc deficient” (what BALCO calls “depleted”) at the time of the first measurement. After three to six months of zinc supplementation, he measured their serum testosterone levels again. Their testosterone levels had approximately doubled.

For many bodybuilders, this also has important implications. As you get older, your testosterone levels decline. That’s one reason why older bodybuilders have more difficulty adding muscle mass than the younger men in the gym. Many bodybuilders begin to sense at the age of 35 or 40 that adding muscle has become more difficult. For someone around this age who is zinc depleted or zinc deficient, supplementation with a highly absorbable form of zinc (monomethionine or asparate or a combination of the two) can make a noticeable difference.

Warning: Do not buy an ineffective zinc supplement. Do not buy tablets. Capsules are more absorbable. Do not buy zinc oxide. This is not a very absorbable form of zinc. Do not buy any zinc supplement that lists any calcium compound in the ingredients because the presence of calcium will reduce your absorption of zinc.

If the capsule contains a filler, it is probably a calcium compound, which will reduce your absorption of the zinc. Fillers are often not mentioned on the list of ingredients. If you are buying a supplement from a health food store and the clerk doesn’t know what the filler of a product is, ask him or her to call the company to find out.

Zinc – Natures Most Precious Metal

June 25th, 2008
Zinc, often described as the most ubiquitous trace element in the body, is of great importance in human nutrition. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that up to 80% of western society may be mildly zinc deficient. More severe zinc deficiency can be seen in developing countries where the population eats less meat and more vegetables.

Who is at risk?

In Western society moderate to severe zinc deficiency is restricted to certain groups. These include the elderly who have a reduced ability to absorb zinc, vegetarians who are not diligent on zinc intake, alcoholics who excrete a lot of zinc via the kidneys, and athletes and body builders who loose more zinc through sweat and have an increased demand to their exercise regimes.However, most of us at some time or other experience stress, fatigue, overwork and may not eat, or may not have time to eat, a proper balanced diet. It is at these times that we all run the risk of becoming zinc deficient. As zinc is involved in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, the symptoms of zinc deficiency are very diverse.

What are the symptoms?
One of the first areas to suffer from zinc deficiency is our immune system. Zinc helps the thymus gland to produce thymulin which in return promotes T cell and T4 helper cell production. For this reason zinc is very beneficial for anyone with compromised immunity. It is also the reason a large percentage of the population decide to take zinc lozenges and zinc supplements of all kind coming into the winter to help off set the common cold and the flu.

Zinc helps the skin to maintain it’s elastin and collagen supply. It can improve wound healing and in certain conditions like acne, psoriasis and dermatitis it has proven benefits to help prevent flare-ups. It has a triple role in the case of acne as:

  1. It controls the production of sebum, the oily liquid which clogs the pores before a flare-up.
  2. It can help prevent or control the ensuing infection by stimulating the immune response.
  3. It can improve wound healing and therefore reduce scarring from any such flare-ups.

Zinc is very important for keratin production and both nails and hair are the first to suffer, even in mild zinc deficiency. Brittle nails, spilt ends, lack lustre hair, falling hair and nails that peel are but a few symptoms of zinc deficiency.

One of the very common symptoms of zinc deficiency is fatigue. Zinc is very important for testosterone production and when levels of the hormone fall in both men and women fatigue and exhaustion can result, especially when coupled with a hectic modern lifestyle. Because zinc is so important for testicular health it can help increase free testosterone in the blood and thereby re-invigorate and increase energy levels. It is also essential for prostate health and the prostate gland has more zinc in it than any other organ in the body. In women, whose testosterone levels are about one tenth that of males, the increase in testosterone not only improves energy levels but it can help prevent osteoporosis.

How do I know if I have a zinc deficiency?
Zinc deficiency is very hard to quantify. It varies from individual to individual and depends a lot on life style and diet. A normal adult consuming a well-balanced diet and not abusing alcohol or drugs should at worst be very mildly zinc deficient. For most of us it gets worst from there.
What are the best sources of zinc?
The best sources of zinc are from diet. For correct absorption of zinc into the bloodstream, that zinc must first bind to active transport molecules during the process of digestion. Zinc uptake is also inhibited by compounds called phytins ( phytic acid) which are found in wholegrains and plant fibres. This is where the efficacy of many synthetic zinc supplements is questioned. These large pills have to disintegrate and bind to transport proteins before leaving the stomach or the zinc is useless. The zinc receptor cells are located in the duodenum and once it passes here very little uptake can occur.

This is why eating foods rich in zinc is the best policy. These foods have the zinc already bound to active transport molecules such as amino acids and certain acids. Red meat and poultry provide much of the zinc in the Western diet but fish, nuts and some cereals are also good sources, just don’t forget the phytic acid dilemma.

The world is your oyster!
One of the best sources of zinc are oysters and oyster extract powder is an excellent supplemental source of zinc. However not all oyster powders are the same. Most use oysters harvested when the oysters meat yield is high and this is when the zinc concentration is lowest. These tend to be the cheaper ones from New Zealand, China and Japan. Water quality from the growing areas is also something not easily traced in countries who do not have trade agreements with the US and Europe. Other oyster extracts are in pill form so half the weight is binding agents and excipients with no nutritional value.
Which brand is best?
There are however some very potent ones on the market who harvest the oysters at the right time and process the oysters with this same potency in mind. While more expensive, they far out weigh the synthetic alternatives on the market and are ultimately money well spent. If you feel you are zinc deficient or have any of the symptoms of zinc deficiency consult your health adviser and decide on a zinc replenishment plan that is suitable for your lifestyle. Think before you zinc!

Oyster Extract Improves Mens Sexual Health

June 25th, 2008

For centuries many have debated as truth or myth the fact that oysters are an aphrodisiac. The oyster lover will always agree, the oyster hater will always refute the claim. The problem for the poor old oyster in claiming it’s well deserved title, is that eating one can be quite a disconcerting experience for the not so seasoned gourmet. The taste and texture are most definitely an acquired taste and if eaten at the wrong time of the year when they are slightly milky, the virgin oyster eater may never wish to repeat the experience. However when eaten in season with a few condiments to ease the novice on board, they are quite simply an experience, the very thought of which, will cause the thinker to salivate with all the gusto of a ravenous canine. Many gourmets throughout history report them as being the ultimate hors d’oeuvres and no food can compare to them for setting the gastric juices flowing.

What’s the Alternative?
Ok, you say, they still look like something an emphysema patient coughed up. There is an alternative for those of you who want the effect but just can’t endure the oral sensation. It’s called oyster extract powder and it is available at a web site near you.

What is it and what does it do?
Usually, but not always it is the dried meat of the oyster, which is then powdered and put into a capsule. Some brands include the shell and are of very dubious quality. Others are in pill form where half the pill weight is made up of binders and excipients of no nutritional value whatsoever. Some however are from very reputable sources and contain all the ingredients of the fresh oyster, minus the taste and texture of course.

Are all brands the same?
Very few of the oyster extracts available really measure up however in terms of potency and this is because the oysters are harvested at times of the year when the oysters are very full of glycogen starch. This leaves very low concentrations of trace minerals and as such they lack potency. These tend to be the cheaper brands from China, New Zealand and Japan. Others recognise this fact and harvest when trace elements like zinc are at their maximum and these oyster extracts are very powerful and closest to the raw oyster in effect.

Ze Zinc, Monsieur!
It is these trace elements that give the oyster it’s potency and in particular the trace element zinc. Oysters are the highest natural source of zinc and they accumulate large quantities of it to help regulate certain physiological functions unique to the oyster. Science remains unclear on the exact functions but the levels of zinc are certain. In relation to men’s sexual health, zinc is very important for testicular health and prostate health. The prostate gland contains more zinc than any other organ in the body. Zinc supplementation has been shown to increase free testosterone levels in the blood which increases libido, reduces fatigue, and improves overall sexual health. Zinc deficient men develop a condition called hypogonadism in which the testicles shrink and loose function. Another interesting aspect of this zinc is that sperm contain very high levels zinc, 700 times more than in blood plasma. Again the reason for this is unclear but with every ejaculation an adult males looses approximately 0.7mg of zinc per ml of semen. Therefore each ejaculation can result in a loss of several mg’s of zinc for the adult male. The cumulative effect is a decrease in overall libido if suitable replenishment of zinc is not observed. So while it is this high level of natural zinc that can enhance the sexual vigour by way of free testosterone, it also improves testicular and prostate health resulting in fuller ejaculations which ultimately enhance sexual well being.

What about other sexual health supplements?
While many of the herbal supplements on the market report sex enhancing benefits none can compare to the oyster for nutrient values specific to men’s sexual health. And while many of the synthetic sex enhancing drugs of the Vxxx genre make wild claims none can replace the nutrients the body looses during sexual intercourse.

The World is Your Oyster
Oyster extract is a very clear contender to be the supplement of choice for those seeking good sexual health. It is in reality a whole food which contains amino acids, vitamins, omega 3 & 6 fish oils and all of the 59 trace elements the body needs including very high, the highest in fact, levels of natural organic zinc known in any foodstuff. Be sure to source a brand of reputable quality and origin, and one that shows respect and knowledge of the micro nutrient levels in the finished oyster extract. Think before you zinc!

About the Author
Stephen Kavanagh is a Marine Biologist and nutrition activist. His company, Gaia Biotechnology Ltd. is developing a range of bio active whole food supplements.

Oyster Extract: The Whole Food Supplement

June 25th, 2008

The food supplement business is booming, No where is this more evident than on the internet where thousands of companies compete to offer the latest cure all’s and at the best discounted prices. Americans will spend $30 billion this year alone on anti-oxidants. Europe is catching up fast with growth in the bio actives market reaching 35% last year. <!–more–>All very good news for the manufacturers and large multinationals who have jumped on the band wagon, but what about the unfortunate consumer who wants to augment their nutrition with a supplement, but doesn’t want to waste half their life searching through thousands of identical brands, gaining a PhD in nutritional studies along the way, before purchasing that all important anti-oxidant, which promises to be the elixir they have been searching for all along.

The Solution
The answer, in a nutshell, is not in fact in a nutshell, it may in fact, be in an oyster shell. There are few supplements on the market that contain the variety and quality of micro nutrients, in the one place, as oyster extract.

The Product
Oyster extract is the dried meat of the oyster, usually but not always excluding the shell. It is then powdered and placed in a capsule or made into a tablet and packaged ready for oral consumption. Assuming it is manufactured with due regard for the time of harvest, it contains all 59 of the trace elements needed by the body, vitamins, amino acids, taurine, omega 3 & 6 fish oils and it is the highest natural source of the trace element zinc. Only oyster extract harvested at times of the year when zinc potency is high can boast this claim, and very few of the companies making oyster extract recognise this.

The History
Oyster extract has been used for centuries in eastern medicine for liver cleansing and healthy male sexual functioning. In recent decades however our knowledge of micro nutrients has grown. Research in the last 50 years into the role of zinc in human biochemistry has drastically increased the uses to which oyster extract can be put in human nutrition.

The Science
We now know that zinc controls over 300 enzyme reactions in the body. These enzymes govern the way we look, feel and think. Everything from immunity, to sexual health, to skin condition and DNA synthesis rely on the correct levels of zinc for proper physiological functioning. However oyster extract also contains all of the 59 trace elements the body needs, vitamins, fish oils, amino acids and good levels of taurine. It is this combination of essential nutrients that make it a whole food and a food supplement all in one.

The Co-factors
One of the unique aspects of oyster extract powder is that it contains not only high levels of zinc but also significant levels of zinc’s co-factors. These include copper and manganese. This is a very important fact as taking zinc on it’s own can lead to imbalances in other trace elements in the body as they can have a negative feedback effect on each other. For example taking zinc on it’s own can lead to copper deficiency. Oyster extract has both elements in a balanced form, just as nature intended.

The Various Brands
Not all oyster extract powders are the same. Most use oysters harvested when the oyster’s meat yield is high and this is when the zinc concentration is lowest. These tend to be the cheaper ones from New Zealand, China and Japan. Water quality from the growing areas is also something not easily traced in countries who do not have trade agreements with the US and Europe. Other oyster extracts are in pill form so half the weight is binding agents and excipients with no nutritional value. Some brands actually include the shell, which means there is very little extract in the product and even less potency.

The Best Brands
There are however some very potent ones on the market who harvest the oysters at the right time and process the oysters with this same potency in mind. While more expensive, they far out weigh the synthetic alternatives on the market and are ultimately money well spent when one considers the benefits of taking a superior product.

The Alternatives
There are many synthetic zinc supplements on the market. The efficacy of many of these synthetic zinc supplements is questionable. These hard pills and lozenges have to disintegrate and bind to transport proteins before leaving the stomach or the zinc is useless. The zinc receptor cells are located in the duodenum and once zinc passes here very little uptake can occur. This is why eating foods rich in zinc is the best policy. These foods have the zinc already bound to active transport molecules such as amino acids and certain acids. This makes zinc from natural sources much more bio available. This is the case with oyster extract powder.

The High Risk Groups
In Western society moderate to severe zinc deficiency is restricted to certain groups. These include the elderly who have a reduced ability to absorb zinc, vegetarians who are not diligent on zinc intake, alcoholics who excrete a lot of zinc via the kidneys, and athletes and body builders who loose more zinc through sweat and have an increased demand to their exercise regimes. Sexually active males should also be careful about zinc intake.

The Benefits
High potency oyster extract is a very good supplement to treat any of the symptoms of zinc deficiency. These include skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis and psoriasis. Likewise brittle nails and weak or falling hair are early signs of zinc deficiency.People with compromised immunity or those trying to prevent and eliminate infection can use it as an immune booster. For men’s sexual health it is excellent for prostate health, testicular health and better all round libido. In women it can also boost hormone levels which counteract osteoporosis and increase libido. Oyster extract also contains useful amounts of taurine which has a cardio protective effect.

The Conclusion
If you feel you are zinc deficient or have any of the symptoms of zinc deficiency consult your health adviser and / or decide on a zinc replenishment plan that is suitable for your lifestyle. Think before you zinc!

About the Author
Stephen Kavanagh is a Marine Biologist and nutrition activist. His company, Gaia Biotechnology Ltd. is developing a range of bio active whole food supplements.