According to the new science of nutrition, there is good news for more than 100 million people with high blood pressure (nothing in the US). Research shows that a zinc deficiency may be the missing link behind the disease called hypertension. The new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Renal Physiology discovered that zinc deficiency can cause the kidneys to absorb more sodium than they would otherwise, potentially increasing blood pressure by rejecting the body's delicate mineral balance.
Scientists know the connection between zinc deficiency and hypertension for over two decades through studies like the one published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology who showed the link, but it was not clear about the role of a zinc deficiency in hypertension. The new study shows that mineral deficiency leads to excessive absorption of sodium.
What is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the measure of how much blood is applied to the walls of the arteries as it travels through the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body and vice versa. When high blood pressure becomes high, which is called high blood pressure, it can damage the arteries and make them less effective for blood circulation in the body. This can be a risk factor for heart problems such as stroke, heart attack and other heart disease related problems.
Zinc is a nutritional plant in the body
Zinc is a mineral required by the body to make more than 300 different enzymes, specialized proteins needed for many of the body's biochemical processes. We now understand that it is necessary in particular to regulate the absorption of sodium by the kidneys. Without enough zinc, your body is vulnerable to immune system attacks, reproductive problems, poor skin health and visual impairment. In addition to the kidneys, the brain, heart, liver, muscles and even our blood depend on zinc for health. Even a minor deficiency can have considerable health effects and may be the missing link in the regulation of high blood pressure.
The problem of excess sodium
Although sodium is an essential mineral, we need it to survive, but too much can be extremely dangerous. Unlike the advice I see on many health blogs on the Internet, excessive amounts can be harmful. Sodium is one of the so-called electrolyte minerals. It is a class of substances that regulate the proper functioning of cells and organs, in particular the ability of cells to conduct electricity and regulate water.
Sodium is involved in complex contractions of the heart muscle, which help regulate overall heart function. In combination with another electrolyte, potassium, sodium significantly affects heart health – for better or for worse, depending on the amount ingested by the diet or taking medication. To simplify science, sodium increases blood pressure and potassium decreases it. Taken in the right proportions, sodium and potassium can regulate blood pressure and significantly affect heart health. However, an underlying zinc deficiency can result in high sodium content, which can in turn lower the essential potassium content, since both minerals act in a balanced way: when one is high, the other tends to become weak. A diet high in sodium and potassium, similar to that of most North Americans, is associated with an increased risk of death from heart disease by 50%.
Problems with drugs used to treat hypertension
Instead of treating zinc deficiency, many people turn to hypertensives, beta-blockers or ACE inhibitors to treat their high blood pressure, but these medications abound with many unpleasant side effects. Statins are linked to weakness, dementia and muscle pain. Beta blockers can block the compounds in your body that regulate the heart to slow your heart and are linked to dizziness, weight gain, cold extremities, depression and breathing problems. ACE inhibitors have been associated with dizziness, fatigue, headaches, loss of taste and even death. Never interrupt any medication without consulting your doctor beforehand.
How much zinc do you need?
Nutrition experts estimate that adult women and men need about 8 to 11 milligrams of zinc, respectively, every day; However, an average person does not exist. Our needs can therefore fluctuate according to our health and at different stages of life. Men tend to need 11 mg a day because zinc is essential for men's reproductive health. Infections, stress, trauma and the use of steroid medications can deplete zinc in your body, as can conditions such as Crohn's disease.
Food sources of zinc
Although oysters are the best-known source of zinc, there are many others, including legumes such as black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, white beans, pinto beans, roman beans, etc. . beetroot and beetroot vegetables, Brazil nuts (other nuts as well, but Brazilians contain more) carrots; dark green leafy vegetables; nuts and nut butters; onions; peas; pumpkin and sunflower seeds; cabbages and whole grains.
If you choose to supplement with this mineral, zinc gluconate, zinc citrate and zinc orotate tend to be the most absorbable forms. Different nutrition experts have their specific preferences. Do not exceed the doses listed on the package of the product you have selected because the mineral can reach toxic levels in the body. In addition, it competes with copper, which is also important for health. Keep zinc supplements out of the reach of children. Do not take zinc supplements less than 2 hours after a high-fiber meal, such as bran, because the fibers can bind to zinc and escort it out of your body.
For more information on the natural regulation of high blood pressure, check out my blog, "12 foods to eat in case of high blood pressure".
Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM shares its food for culture, cooking, conservation and other food self-sufficiency experiences at FoodHouseProject.com. She is the publisher of the free electronic newsletter World's healthiest news, founder of Wellness Scentsational, and an international author of best-selling books and published 20 times whose works include: Cultivated cook: delicious fermented foods with probiotics to fight inflammation, improve bowel health, lose weight and prolong your life. Follow his work.