b>Zinc Deficiency Causes Spontaneous Cell Death in Mice
Studies involving zinc deficiency have highlighted how various nutritional deficiencies can trigger a programmed death of otherwise healthy cells, an incident that is only supposed to occur in senescent, diseased, or abnormal cells. In mice, zinc deficiency caused a 300% increase in the death and destruction of pre T-cells (future infection fighting immune cells). This destruction of the T cells lead to the shrinking of the thymus gland (this is an event that usually occurs with aging) and decreased immune protection. Cells in mouse embryo that form the nervous system died, as did cells in the brain and eyes, and embryos failed to form in zinc deficient mice. In otherwise healthy mice, cells of the liver, kidneys, brain, and testicles spontaneously started to die. Monocytes, a type of white blood cell that is a major factor in killing bacteria spontaneously started to die, as did fibroblasts - cells that create collagen and connective tissue. The impact was felt on development, growth, immune function, and overall health. The research was performed at Michigan State University and the study is published in the March 2005 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, the journal of The American Society for Nutritional Sciences.
Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.
There are many types of cells and many types of spontaneously programmed cell death. Research is showing a clear cut connection between nutritional shortfalls and poor health with resulting damage to important organs and functions. Simply taking a well made multiple-vitamin and mineral would be a first great leap in helping to prevent unnecessary damage to your health and lifespan due to nutritional imbalances.
Higher Levels of Zinc Decreased the Risk of Esophageal Cancer in a High Risk Group
In animal studies, animals with deficient levels of zinc are prone to developing esophageal cancer, possibly due to nitrosamines in foods. In this study, 132 residents in Linzhou, China had a tissue biopsy of there esophagus performed in 1985. Levels of zinc were noted from the biopsy. The subjects were followed for 16 years. The people in this region have a high risk for developing esophageal cancer. Eventually 60 of these subjects developed esophageal cancer and 72 did not. Those people with the highest levels of zinc in their esophageal tissue had a 79% decreased risk of developing esophageal cancer. The researchers conclude that high levels of zinc are strongly connected to a decreased risk of developing esophageal cancer. The study was performed through researchers at the Cancer Prevention Studies Branch of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland and is published in the February 16th, 2005 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer institute.
Arsenic is a known cause of cancer. In parts of the world, especially in parts of Bengal, arsenic contaminated drinking water is a major health hazard. After reviewing literature these researchers came up with the idea that the polyphenols in green tea and in black tea may protect humans from the cancer causing effects of arsenic. In testing the cancer causing potential of arsenic when faced with the protective effects of both Green Tea and Black tea it was found that the polyphenols from both teas helped prevent cancer causing damage to the cells and both also speeded up the rate of repair of the damaged cells. The study is published in the March 2005 issue of the Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology, and Oncology: the official organ of the International Society for Environmental Toxicology and Cancer.
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