A new study from the USF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) found that just four milligrams of extra zinc a day in the diet can have a profound, positive impact on cellular health and help fight infections and diseases.
In a six-week study, the team found that not reaching the recommended daily dietary amount of zinc can compromise DNA repair.
A modest increase in dietary zinc about four milligrams can help reduce everyday wear and tear on our DNA. While most DNA damage is harmless, some can have serious ramifications and a decrease in the body’s ability to fix this wear and tear may be an important component of ageing.
Zinc is critical in ensuring a healthy immune system. Zinc also helps limit inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, which is associated with chronic cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Deficiency may cause problems with growth, diarrhea, hair loss and immune function.
Zinc supplements have already been found to reduce the severity and duration of common cold symptoms.
Lead author Dr Janet King said: ‘We were pleasantly surprised to see that just a small increase in dietary zinc can have such a significant impact on how metabolism is carried out throughout the body’.
‘These results present a new strategy for measuring the impact of zinc on health and reinforce the evidence that food-based interventions can improve micro-nutrient deficiencies worldwide.’
The findings can be found published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.