Zinc is an essential trace mineral that occurs in greater amounts than any other trace mineral except iron. Its functions are varied and numerous, including synthesis of cholesterol, protein and fats, releasing vitamin A from the liver, assisting the immune system and cell growth, being required for vision, taste perception, prostrate reproductive health and insulin function, metabolizing alcohol, and protecting against copper and heavy metal toxicity such as cadmium and lead.

Zinc absorption is enhanced by soy protein, red wine, glucose, and lactose. Iron, copper, calcium and phytates inhibit absorption.

The Recommended Daily Amount is 15mg; the optimal daily intake is 30-50mg; the average daily intake in the U.S. is 10mg per day. Therapeutic doses are 30-350mg but care must be taken to avoid toxicity. Signs of toxicity include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Watch for copper deficiency if supplementing zinc for an extended period of time.

Zinc at doses of 20mg and above may cause stomach upset and/or nausea so it should always be taken with food. Long-term zinc supplementation above 50mg has been shown to decrease HDL cholesterol and increase total cholesterol. This may be due to an induced copper deficiency. In addition, copper deficiency anemia can occur as well. Zinc should always be taken with copper in a 10 to 1 through 30 to 1 zinc to copper ratio. Large doses of zinc may also promote folate deficiency.

The best natural sources of zinc include: oysters, meats, wheat germ, hard cheeses, Swiss chard, lima beans, potatoes, oats, green leafy vegetables, pumpkin and squash seeds, soy beans/foods, tuna, kidney beans, ginger root, peas, leeks, lentils, cashews, sunflower seeds (and tahini), pecans, peanuts, filberts. Other sources include herring, poultry, eggs, buckwheat, brown rice, millet, corn, black-eyed peas, green beans, chickpeas, spinach, green onion, and sprouted grains.

Note  Food processing removes a large amount of zinc as well as other trace elements. For example, whole brown rice has more than 4 times the zinc that polished white rice has. Molasses has 42 times more zinc than an equal amount of white sugar. By weight, the germ part of wheat has 15 times more zinc than can be found in white flour.

Symptoms of deficiency include growth retardation (as related to protein metabolism), delayed sexual development, mild anemia, decreased taste sensation, decreased or loss of sense of smell, delayed wound healing, glossitis, angular stomatitis, and diverse forms of skin lesions (including eczema, psoriasis, acne). Night blindness, associated with an inability to mobilize retinol from the liver, may also be caused by zinc deficiency. About 25% of people who have an impairment in taste and or smell are suffering from an outright zinc deficiency.

Another common condition that can develop is Acrodermatitis Enteropathica, an autosomal recessive disease that is characterized by zinc malabsorption. This results in eczematoid skin lesions, alopecia, diarrhea, and concurrent bacterial and yeast infections. Gastrointestinal malabsorption can lead to deficiency.

Other symptoms often associated with decreased zinc include hang nails, inflammation of nail cuticles, white spots on fingernails, transverse lines and poor nail growth, sleep and behavioral disturbances, psychiatric illness, all types of inflammatory bowel disease, impaired glucose tolerance, dandruff, arthritis and alcoholism.

Supplemental treatment with an intranasal zinc gluconate preparation for nine days (3 days before, and 6 days after, inoculation with rhinovirus) with had no effect on total symptom scores, rhinorrhea, nasal obstruction, or the rate of

infection in a placebo-controlled study of 91 volunteers experimentally infected with rhinovirus.


Alcohol, chelating compounds, diuretics, oral contraceptives, penicillamine (causes zinc to be chelated and excreted along with intended heavy metals), prednisone/prednisolone: causes increased urinary excretion of zinc (Buist, 1984; 4 (3): p.114)


Copper, calcium and iron taken in large doses can interfere with zinc absorption and induce a deficiency, especially in pregnant women. People who take large doses of iron to correct anemia when they are already borderline zinc deficient can easily create a true zinc deficiency.


Zinc can help with the following


Allergic Rhinitis / Hay Fever

Zinc is recommended at 20 to 30mg per day.


Allergy / Intolerance to Foods (Hidden)

Please see the link between Food Allergy and Digestive Enzymes.


Crohn's Disease

Tissue damaged by Crohn’s disease has an enhanced recovery rate with adequate zinc.


Gluten Sensitivity / Celiac Disease

Tissue damaged by Celiac disease has demonstrated an enhanced recovery rate with adequate zinc intake.


Ulcerative Colitis

Zinc supports tissue regeneration and can be especially useful if levels are deficient.


Poor/Slow Wound Healing

Zinc can be used topically or orally to encourage wound healing.



Anemia (Iron deficiency)

Supplemental zinc (zinc gluconate, 22mg per day) improved zinc levels but reduced iron levels in a study of 11 young women with low iron stores (plasma ferritin< 20 µg/L), but who were not yet anemic. [ J Nutr 2002;132(7): pp.1860-1864]



Gastric/Peptic Ulcers

In a double-blind study on 18 patients, those taking zinc sulfate supplements had a gastric ulcer healing rate three times that of patients treated with a placebo. [The healing of gastric ulcers by zinc sulfate. Med J Aust 2(21): pp.793-6, 1975]

But, Zinc Carnosine is much better.

Nutraceutical Therapy for Ulcers (and Gastritis). Excerpted from Holistic Primary Care, a Summer 2004 Special Report published by Metagenics. The report in its entirety may be viewed at www.needs.com

Zinc carnosine, a patented combination of two nutrients that have beneficial effects on the gastrointestinal mucosa, represents an important advance in the management of peptic ulcers. Widely used in Japan, where it is recognized as a drug by regulatory authorities, zinc carnosine given alone was shown by endoscope to resolve ulcers by 60 to 70%, a result comparable to conventional drug therapies and with a safety profile as good as or better than commonly used pharmaceuticals.

This novel compound contributes to ulcer healing through a number of different mechanisms, including the inhibition of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) – a bacterial strain thought to be causative of ulcers. Zinc carnosine has been shown to promote wound healing, reduce inflammation, improve secretion of the protective mucosal lining, and possess antioxidant effects. It can be used as a natural therapy, an antibiotic, or an alternative to conventional pharmaceuticals, such as proton pump inhibitors (i.e., Nexium) and H2 receptor antagonists (i.e., Pepcid), both of which serve to decrease hydrochloric acid (HCl). It can also be used as adjunctive therapy in combination with conventional ulcer drugs. Moreover, patients can safely take zinc carnosine with non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as a way of preempting their adverse gastric effects.

In many ways, zinc carnosine is an ideal complementary therapy for ulcers. Conventional allopathic medicines are suppressive and address the problem of peptic ulcers by controlling the corrosive aspects of stomach function (i.e., reducing acid secretion and eliminating H. pylori). Zinc carnosine enhances and strengthens the stomach’s natural defensive and self-protective capacities. It thus provides benefits characteristic of natural products and holistic strategies by treating the cause of the problem, but with the strong scientific pedigree of a pharmaceutical.


Elemental zinc is known to speed healing of mucosal wounds and damaged cells, particularly in the gut. Carnosine is a naturally-occurring dipeptide, comprised of the amino acids, beta-alanine and L-histidine. It is a strong free-radical scavenger capable of blocking free radical chain reactions, inhibiting cell damage. It is also essential for DNA and RNA polymerase activity to aid cell damage.

Zinc carnosine was developed in an effort to provide a therapy that bolsters the ability of the gastric lining to repair and protect itself. A chelate of elemental zinc and carnosine in a 1:1 ratio, zinc carnosine entered the Japanese market as a pharmaceutical for ulcer treatment in the early 1990s and has been marketed there under the trade name Polaprezinc.


The digestive tract has a curious challenge. It must produce caustic matter (stomach acid, pepsin, enzymes, bile) capable of breaking down many different substances, including animal tissue much like those comprising the digestive organs themselves. Consequently, the mucosa must produce sufficient quantities of mucus and other protective factors to keep digestive juices from going to work on its own walls. Digestive health hinges on the balance between secretions of digestive substances and maintenance of the mucosal wall.

Peptic ulcers are best understood as the net result of an imbalance between the caustic processes of digestion and stomach-wall maintenance. When the latter can’t keep up with the former, the stage is set for stomach-wall disruption and ultimately ulceration.

And even with the best pharmacotherapy, ulcer recurrences are common, suggesting that acid suppression and eradication of microbial pathogens are insufficient.

Hyper-secretion of stomach acid may play a role in some cases and this is clearly stress-related. However, under-secretion of mucus and/or a breakdown in stomach cell repair mechanisms likely play an equal, if not more significant, role. The current therapeutic challenge is to restore the delicate balance by addressing the factors that impair healing of the gastric lining and improve mucosal integrity.


Pharmacologic treatment of ulcer disease is big business. Aside from costs, long-term treatment with acid-suppressing drugs can result in a number of untoward effects, many of which run counter to the primary objective of restoring digestive health.

Effective digestion is based upon maintaining strongly acidic pH in the stomach and a base pH in the intestines.Many people with heartburn and indigestion actually tend to have too little gastric acid, rather than too much, a condition especially common among the elderly. Thus, many older individuals with ulcers are already acidsuppressed before being given acid-suppressing drugs.

Further suppression via pharmacotherapy has downstream consequences, including poor digestion, malabsorption, and gradually deteriorating nutritional status. Acidsuppression therapy also reduces the secretion of gastric mucus, a natural response to reduced stomach acidity. However, when a patient discontinues acid suppression drugs and returns to normal acid secretion levels, the gastric lining is left even more vulnerable than it was initially. This accounts for the high recurrence rate following treatment cessation.

Bear in mind that stomach acid is among the body’s primary defense strategies, providing a way to destroy pathogens ingested with food. By reducing HCl, suppressive therapies increase the possibility that pathogenic organisms will be able to pass through the gastric phase and colonize the lower GI tract.When stomach acid production is deficient and gastric digestion incomplete, it is more difficult to maintain a healthy intestinal ecology. Similarly, antibiotics that kill off H. pylori knock off a lot of friendly flora as well, increasing the chances of intestinal overgrowth with pathogenic bacteria or yeasts. Plus, gastric acid triggers the release of enzymes in the small intestine, and reducing this stimulus results in an inadequate release of digestive juices.


In rats subjected to aspirin-induced gastric mucosal injury, zinc carnosine markedly reduced lipid peroxidation, neutrophil accumulations, and inflammatory factors. The net result was significant reduction in mucosal erosions. A separate study, also in rats, showed that zinc carnosine could prevent the reduction in gastric mucus secretion that follows the exposure to alcohol, another ulcer trigger.


To date, there have been eight clinical trials of zinc carnosine for the treatment of peptic ulcers. Initial dose-ranging and safety studies evaluated doses of 75 to 600 mg per day, given under fasting conditions, as well as at meal times. The data indicate that zinc carnosine is entirely safe up to 600 mg per day. The only adverse effects were mild heartburn-like symptoms in two patients on the highest dose taken without food. There was no toxic accumulation of zinc in the lood, and the compound was readily excreted in urine and stool without adverse kidney or lower GI effects. Researchers demonstrate zinc carnosine to be highly effective when used continuously for 8 weeks. A fitting recommendation is one tablet, twice a day, of Zinlori 75 from Metagenics Inc. Beyond its applications in the management of peptic ulcers, zinc carnosine may have a role in treatment of gastritis and stomatitis.



Flatulence / Gas

Soy products inhibit a zinc-containing enzyme known as carbonic anhydrase, which helps transport gases across the intestinal wall. If carbonic anhydrase is neutralized, gas builds up in the colon. Hydrogen sulfide in the cecum has been reduced fivefold by supplementing with zinc, a mineral blocked by the phytates in soy and in short supply anyway in many soy-eaters’ diets. Obviously, avoiding soy products will help, if the gas is due to soy consumption.

Environment / Toxicity  

Copper Toxicity

Zinc and manganese with vitamin C remove copper from the tissues.


Heavy Metal Toxicity

Zinc inhibits the uptake of cadmium and lead by various tissues in the body. Zinc is a well known antagonist to copper. It has been used to treat Wilson’s Disease (in which there is an excess of copper).



Histapenia (Histamine Low)

Zinc should be given once testing confirms a low zinc or high copper level. Zinc and manganese allow for the normal storage of histamine in both basophils and the brain. During treatment, the largest tissues of the body – namely the liver and muscles – are flushed of their copper first so that the serum copper may rise to aggravate mental symptoms. If this occurs then the dose of zinc should be reduced for a two week period.


Wilson's Disease

Supplemental zinc therapy (in capsules or tablets of 50mg of elemental zinc, 3 times daily, separated from food by at least 1 hour) was found to be an effective sole therapy in the long-term treatment of Wilson’s disease. This study was a ten year follow-up of 141 Wilson’s disease patients. Zinc helps block the absorption of copper and acts to remove accumulated copper from the body as well as prevent its accumulation. [J Lab Clin Med, 1998;132: pp.264-278]



Elevated Insulin Levels

56 obese women with insulin resistance, but normal glucose levels, experienced reduced insulin levels with 30mg per day of supplemental zinc, in spite of having normal zinc levels at the beginning of the trial. [American Diabetes Association June 14-18, 2002. San Francisco, California]


The Immune System  

AIDS / Risk

Blood levels of selenium are frequently low in people with HIV infection. Zinc supplements (45mg per day) have been shown to reduce the number of infections in people with AIDS. [Int J Immunopharmacol 1995;17: pp.719-27]



Zinc lozenges have been found to be effective when locally applied to an inflamed throat. Lower dosages of zinc (10mg) with more frequent application are best, and may help avoid any nausea which might result from higher doses.


Colds and Influenza

There has been controversy over whether oral zinc is useful in reducing the incidence and duration of colds. A zinc nasal gel spray did reduce the duration and severity of common cold symptoms in a study of 80 volunteers who presented within 48 hours of the start of illness. This study was placebo controlled. [ Q J Med 2003;96(1): pp.35-43]

Use of zinc gluconate glycine lozenges, once daily during the cold season for prevention and one lozenge QID for treatment, reduced the number and duration of colds in an open-label study of 178 children. 134 successfully completed the trial. [Am J Ther 2003;10(5): pp.324-9]

2011. Depending on the total dosage of zinc and the composition of lozenges, zinc lozenges may shorten the duration of common cold episodes by up to 40%.

Harri Hemila, from University of Helsinki (Finland), completed a meta-analysis of placebo-controlled trials that have examined the effect of zinc lozenges on natural common cold infections. Of the 13 trial comparisons identified, five used a total daily zinc dose of less than 75 mg and uniformly those five comparisons found no effect of zinc. Three trials used zinc acetate in daily doses of over 75 mg, with the average indicating a 42% reduction in the duration of colds. Five trials used zinc salts other than acetate in daily doses of over 75 mg, with the average indicating a 20% decrease in the duration of colds.

“This study shows strong evidence that the zinc lozenge effect on common cold duration is heterogeneous so that benefit is observed with high doses of zinc but not with low doses,” the study author urges that: “The effects of zinc lozenges should be further studied to determine the optimal lozenge compositions and treatment strategies.” [Harri Hemila. “Zinc Lozenges May Shorten the Duration of Colds: A Systematic Review.” Open Respiratory Medicine Journal, Volume 5 2011, pp 51-58, 23 June 2011.]



STD Herpes II

Zinc orally or topically may be useful in the treatment of herpes.


Parasite Infection

Tissue damaged by intestinal parasites demonstrates an enhanced recovery rate with adequate zinc intake.

Lab Values  


Low T-Helper Cell Level

Low levels of zinc are associated with a drop in T-cell function.



Kryptopyrrole is a reacting agent which combines irreversibly with active vitamin B6. The resulting molecule then chelates zinc, the combined product appearing in the urine. The whole syndrome is stress-induced so the susceptible patient, when stressed, quickly becomes vitamin B6 and zinc deficient.




Anorexia / Starvation Tendency

In anorexia nervosa, especially if zinc is deficient, supplementation may improve appetite, taste sensitivity and mental state.

45-90mg of zinc daily resulted in a weight gain of 0.7 kg/ month in a study of 5 patients. [Am J Psychiatry 143( 8): p.1059, 1986]







Organ Health  

Enlarged Prostate

Zinc supplementation has a clearly documented usefulness in shrinking an enlarged prostate. Research has shown that zinc and essential fatty acids are important to help prevent prostate problems that affect men as they grow older. Many studies confirm that a lack of these two nutrients in the diet could be associated with prostate enlargement.

Zinc has been found to inhibit the activity of 5-alpha reductase, the enzyme that irreversibly converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, a form which binds more avidly to the prostrate and stimulates greater growth. It also decreases prolactin secretion by the pituitary gland, thus decreasing its binding to the prostate, both of which prevent prostatic enlargement.



Tissue damaged by esophagitis has demonstrated an enhanced recovery rate with adequate zinc intake.


Macular Degeneration

Oral use of zinc has produced improvement in vision. Intravenous administration along with selenium have demonstrated benefits in the treatment of macular degeneration. According to researchers at Harvard University, however, zinc has shown mixed results. [Arch Ophthalmol 1988:106, pp.192-8]




In spite of the fact that no research has examined the effect of zinc supplementation on prostatitis, many doctors of natural medicine recommend zinc for this condition. Zinc levels are significantly reduced in both chronic bacterial prostatitis (CBP) and non-bacterial prostatitis (NBP), so supplementation would seem wise. [Int J Androl 1982;5: pp.487-96] [Fertil Steril 1975;26: pp.1057-63]


Increased Risk of Alzheimer's / Dementia

Maintain adequate zinc status: Reduced levels of zinc are being linked to Alzheimer’s disease. In one study, 38 elements were evaluated by neutron activation and mass spectrometry in the post-mortem brain tissue of eleven Alzheimer’s patients and six controls. An increase was found in aluminum, silicon and calcium; a significant decrease was found in zinc and selenium. The lower level of zinc in all areas of the tissue studied correlates with reports indicating low serum levels of zinc in other dementia studies. [Reduction of Zinc and Selenium in Brain Alzheimer’s Disease: Corigan, et al., Trace Elements in Medicine, 91;8(1): pp.1-5]


Increased Risk of Lymphoma

It was found that the copper to zinc ratio was significantly higher in patients with lymphoma or acute and chronic leukemias compared to control subjects. A person at increased risk of one of these cancers should check blood levels of copper and zinc to rule out abnormalities and make adjustments accordingly. Since zinc and copper are antagonistic, and zinc deficiency is relatively common, supplemental zinc is often used to improve this ratio. Zinc helps block the absorption of copper and acts to remove accumulated copper from the body as well as prevent its accumulation. [Rev. Invest. Clin, Nov-Dec. 1995;47(6): pp.447-52]


Increased Risk of Leukemia

It was found that the copper to zinc ratio was significantly higher in patients with lymphoma or acute and chronic leukemias compared to control subjects. A person at increased risk of one of these cancers should check blood levels of copper and zinc to rule out abnormalities and make adjustments accordingly. Since zinc and copper are antagonistic, and zinc deficiency is relatively common, supplemental zinc is often used to improve this ratio. Zinc helps block the absorption of copper and acts to remove accumulated copper from the body as well as prevent its accumulation. [Rev. Invest. Clin, Nov-Dec. 1995;47(6): pp.447-52]


Adult Acne

Zinc is important in the treatment of acne. It is involved in local hormone activation, retinol binding protein formation, wound healing, immune system activity, and tissue regeneration. There have been inconsistencies in the results from studies using zinc as a treatment, but this may have been due to different forms of zinc having been used. If zinc insufficiency is suspected, use the more absorbable forms. Treatment may require up to 3 months of supplementation before good results are seen. Success or failure of zinc treatment of acne depends on whether a zinc deficiency is present. [Z Hautkr 1987:62(14): pp.1064, 1069-71, 1075]


Adolescent Acne

Zinc inhibits 5-alpha reductase, which prevents the formation of DHT and thus decreases the production of sebum. Curiously, blood levels of zinc tend to be lowest in 13 and 14 year old boys. Zinc picolinate (30-60mg/day) is a good type of zinc to try.



One university study found that in subjects suffering from marginal zinc status, an enzyme involved in cell reproduction was uniquely impaired in the skin. Clinical experience has shown zinc supplementation to be particularly valuable in treating eczema, probably due to its being a common deficiency and its importance in delta-6-desaturase. Zinc may provide some benefit either orally or topically.


Boils, Abscesses, Carbuncles

Zinc orally or topically may be effective for the treatment of boils and furuncles.



Conventional systemic treatments for psoriasis have significant side effect considerations. Consequently, any effective and safe topical agent is a welcomed addition to the therapeutic armamentarium.

The effectiveness of zinc pyrithione topically to treat seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis has been well documented. The mechanism of action of zinc pyrithione on psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis has been reported to be anti-proliferative via “DNA interactions”, anti-yeast, antiseptic, and keratinolytic mechanisms.

A report describes the use of a preparation containing zinc pyrithione (0.25% – which is also recognized as the active ingredient in a major anti-dandruff shampoo) in a vehicle containing isopropyl myristate to treat a case of psoriasis. Solution was sprayed on one elbow, but not the other, twice daily for 3 weeks. Itching disappeared in 3 days and there was obvious improvement at 3 weeks. [Dermatology Online Journal: 3(1) : 3]

There are OTC preparations available containing zinc pyrithione, sometimes referred to as zinc omadine, such as Skin Cure.


Body Odor

Zinc with magnesium may help balance the body’s metabolism and reduce the cause of bad odor. Studies have shown that taking 30 to 50mg daily or zinc will dramatically reduce certain body odors, although less may do the job too. Zinc may also reduce perspiration and sweaty feet.

Tumors, Malignant  


It was found that the copper to zinc ratio was significantly higher in patients with lymphoma or acute and chronic leukemias compared to control subjects. A person at increased risk of one of these cancers should check blood levels of copper and zinc to rule out abnormalities and make adjustments accordingly. Since zinc and copper are antagonistic, and zinc deficiency is relatively common, supplemental zinc is often used to improve this ratio. Zinc helps block the absorption of copper and acts to remove accumulated copper from the body as well as prevent its accumulation. [Rev. Invest. Clin, Nov-Dec. 1995;47(6): pp.447-52]


Premenstrual Syndrome / PMDD

A study was conducted at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas to determine whether changes in peripheral zinc and copper levels are associated with symptoms of PMS. Ten PMS patients and ten controls gave blood at 2 to 3 day intervals through three menstrual cycles. Lower levels of zinc were noted during the luteal phase in PMS patients compared with the controls. Copper levels were noted to be higher during the luteal phase in PMS patients compared with the controls. The researchers concluded that zinc deficiency occurs in PMS patients during the luteal phase, and the elevated copper further reduces the availability of zinc in PMS patients during the luteal phase . The recommended dose of elemental zinc is 30 mg daily to help relieve PMS symptoms. [Chuong and Dawson, 1994]


Possible Pregnancy-Related Issues

Inadequate amounts of zinc can lead to central nervous system and other malformations, small-for-age babies and miscarriage. Adding a moderate dose of zinc to your prenatal supplement regimen may also benefit your baby’s immunity. [Lastra Md, et al. Arch of Medl Res 1997;28(1): 67­2]

The U.S. RDA is 15mg.


Cervical Dysplasia

The rapidly dividing cells of the cervix require zinc for replication. With depleted zinc levels in cervical tissue, there are corresponding abnormalities in the cells.


May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
May have adverse consequences
Reasonably likely to cause problems
Avoid absolutely



An essential trace mineral. The functions of zinc are enzymatic. There are over 70 metalloenzymes known to require zinc for their functions. The main biochemicals in which zinc has been found to be necessary include: enzymes and enzymatic function, protein synthesis and carbohydrate metabolism. Zinc is a constituent of insulin and male reproductive fluid. Zinc is necessary for the proper metabolism of alcohol, to get rid of the lactic acid that builds up in working muscles and to transfer it to the lungs. Zinc is involved in the health of the immune system, assists vitamin A utilization and is involved in the formation of bone and teeth.


Plays a vital role in regulating many body functions. They act as catalysts in nerve response, muscle contraction and the metabolism of nutrients in foods. They regulate electrolyte balance and hormonal production, and they strengthen skeletal structures.


An essential mineral. Prevents anemia: as a constituent of hemoglobin, transports oxygen throughout the body. Virtually all of the oxygen used by cells in the life process are brought to the cells by the hemoglobin of red blood cells. Iron is a small but most vital, component of the hemoglobin in 20,000 billion red blood cells, of which 115 million are formed every minute. Heme iron (from meat) is absorbed 10 times more readily than the ferrous or ferric form.


A waxy, fat-like substance manufactured in the liver and found in all tissues, it facilitates the transport and absorption of fatty acids. In foods, only animal products contain cholesterol. An excess of cholesterol in the bloodstream can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.


Compounds composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen present in the body and in foods that form complex combinations of amino acids. Protein is essential for life and is used for growth and repair. Foods that supply the body with protein include animal products, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Proteins from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Proteins are changed to amino acids in the body.

Vitamin A

A fat-soluble vitamin essential to one's health. Plays an important part in the growth and repair of body tissue, protects epithelial tissue, helps maintain the skin and is necessary for night vision. It is also necessary for normal growth and formation of bones and teeth. For Vitamin A only, 1mg translates to 833 IU.

Immune System

A complex that protects the body from disease organisms and other foreign bodies. The system includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response. The immune system also protects the body from invasion by making local barriers and inflammation.


A hormone secreted by the pancreas in response to elevated blood glucose levels. Insulin stimulates the liver, muscles, and fat cells to remove glucose from the blood for use or storage.


The chemical processes of living cells in which energy is produced in order to replace and repair tissues and maintain a healthy body. Responsible for the production of energy, biosynthesis of important substances, and degradation of various compounds.


An essential mineral that is a component of several important enzymes in the body and is essential to good health. Copper is found in all body tissues. Copper deficiency leads to a variety of abnormalities, including anemia, skeletal defects, degeneration of the nervous system, reproductive failure, pronounced cardiovascular lesions, elevated blood cholesterol, impaired immunity and defects in the pigmentation and structure of hair. Copper is involved in iron incorporation into hemoglobin. It is also involved with vitamin C in the formation of collagen and the proper functioning in central nervous system. More than a dozen enzymes have been found to contain copper. The best studied are superoxide dismutase (SOD), cytochrome C oxidase, catalase, dopamine hydroxylase, uricase, tryptophan dioxygenase, lecithinase and other monoamine and diamine oxidases.


A sugar that is the simplest form of carbohydrate. It is commonly referred to as blood sugar. The body breaks down carbohydrates in foods into glucose, which serves as the primary fuel for the muscles and the brain.


The body's most abundant mineral. Its primary function is to help build and maintain bones and teeth. Calcium is also important to heart health, nerves, muscles and skin. Calcium helps control blood acid-alkaline balance, plays a role in cell division, muscle growth and iron utilization, activates certain enzymes, and helps transport nutrients through cell membranes. Calcium also forms a cellular cement called ground substance that helps hold cells and tissues together.


(mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.


Excessive discharge of contents of bowel.


Symptoms resulting from an inclination to vomit.


A hollow, muscular, J-shaped pouch located in the upper part of the abdomen to the left of the midline. The upper end (fundus) is large and dome-shaped; the area just below the fundus is called the body of the stomach. The fundus and the body are often referred to as the cardiac portion of the stomach. The lower (pyloric) portion curves downward and to the right and includes the antrum and the pylorus. The function of the stomach is to begin digestion by physically breaking down food received from the esophagus. The tissues of the stomach wall are composed of three types of muscle fibers: circular, longitudinal and oblique. These fibers create structural elasticity and contractibility, both of which are needed for digestion. The stomach mucosa contains cells which secrete hydrochloric acid and this in turn activates the other gastric enzymes pepsin and rennin. To protect itself from being destroyed by its own enzymes, the stomach’s mucous lining must constantly regenerate itself.

High-Density Lipoprotein

(HDL): Also known as "good" cholesterol, HDLs are large, dense, protein-fat particles that circulate in the blood picking up already used and unused cholesterol and taking them back to the liver as part of a recycling process. Higher levels of HDLs are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease because the cholesterol is cleared more readily from the blood.


A condition resulting from an unusually low number of red blood cells or too little hemoglobin in the red blood cells. The most common type is iron-deficiency anemia in which the red blood cells are reduced in size and number, and hemoglobin levels are low. Clinical symptoms include shortness of breath, lethargy and heart palpitations.

Trace Element

Essential mineral that is essential to nutrition. Nutritionists prefer to call minerals either minerals or trace minerals depending on the amount needed by the body, while analytical chemists prefer to call minerals, trace elements.


Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the mouth.


Swelling of the outer skin of unknown cause. In the early stage it may be itchy, red, have small blisters, and be swollen, and weeping. Later it becomes crusted, scaly, and thickened.


An inherited skin disorder in which there are red patches with thick, dry silvery scales. It is caused by the body making too-many skin cells. Sores may be anywhere on the body but are more common on the arms, scalp, ears, and the pubic area. A swelling of small joints may go along with the skin disease.


A chronic skin disorder due to inflammation of hair follicles and sebaceous glands (secretion glands in the skin).


Loss of hair.


A single-cell organism that may cause infection in the mouth, vagina, gastrointestinal tract, and any or all bodily parts. Common yeast infections include candidiasis and thrush.


Pertaining to the stomach, small and large intestines, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.


Inflammation of a joint, usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and stiffness, and resulting from infection, trauma, degenerative changes, metabolic disturbances, or other causes. It occurs in various forms, such as bacterial arthritis, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis, the most common form, is characterized by a gradual loss of cartilage and often an overgrowth of bone at the joints.


An agent increasing urine flow, causing the kidneys to excrete more than the usual amount of sodium, potassium and water.

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