Archive for the ‘Oyster Extract’ Category

Zinc supplements and Zinc deficiency.

Tuesday, 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: The Whole Food Supplement

Wednesday, 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.