Zinc Deficiency and Liver Disease
iver is the largest organ in the body and plays a role in food digestion and removal of harmful substances, toxins and poisons from the body. The liver can be afflicted by many diseases, including jaundice, cirrhosis and hepatitis. Liver diseases have an adverse effect on the functioning of the liver. Avoiding alcohol, illicit drugs and using prescription medication sensibly along with exercise and healthy diet are the key to preventing liver diseases. There also are certain nutrients, such as zinc, that play an important role in maintaining a healthy liver.
Zinc is an important trace mineral that plays a vital role in growth and development. In addition, it also helps in proper function of the reproductive, immune and nervous systems. According to healthcare experts, people should be looking to consume about 2 to12 mg of zinc every day, based their age and health. Meats, dairy products, beans and nuts are wonderful dietary sources of zinc.
Connection between Zinc and Liver Diseases
Zinc deficiency has been associated with liver cirrhosis. Evidence shows that taking zinc supplementation can improve neurological symptoms and malnutrition associated with liver diseases. A study published way back in 2007 in the Digestive Diseases and Sciences journal states that taking supplement of zinc can protect the body against chronic and acute liver diseases. Even alcoholic liver diseases can occur due to zinc deficiency, and supplementation of zinc may help in managing alcoholic liver diseases, as it inhibits the formation of free oxygen radicals and enhances the activity of anti-oxidant pathways.
Speak to your doctor about taking zinc
supplementation. Supplements should always be taken in moderation. Some people may experience mild side effects, such as gastric disturbances, vomiting and nausea. Prolonged use of zinc supplement can result in deficiency of copper. Hence, you should speak to your doctor about the duration of the supplement. Also, taking zinc supplementation can interfere with the absorption of certain antibiotics, such as quinolones and tetracycline, and anti-convulsant medication.
It is best to consult your doctor before using zinc supplements to treat liver disease. This will allow you to be certain that the supplement is right for you.
Risks of Smoking and Benefits of Quitting
Smoking is the bane of modern society. Though smokers know that smoking is injurious to health, they cannot quit because it is an addiction. Hence, there is a need to keep highlighting the risks of smoking and the benefits of quitting this harmful addiction.
Risks of Smoking
Smoking not only damages your lungs, it also damages your heart and blood vessels. According to available statistics, smokers are two to four times more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke compared to non-smokers.
Cigarette smoke has many harmful chemicals and toxins that wreak havoc with your body. These chemicals can:
- Damage the lining of your arteries
- Reduce the amount of oxygen that your blood can carry
- Raise your blood pressure, so that your heart has to work harder
- Make your blood more likely to clot.
Smokers are at very high risk for many diseases such as:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, emphysema and chronic bronchitis)
- Lung cancer
- Cancer of the mouth, lip, throat and voice box
- Cancer of the pancreas
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Liver cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Coronary heart disease (e.g., heart attacks)
- Circulatory problems
- High blood pressure
- High LDL cholesterol
- Peptic ulcers
- Tooth decay (cavities)
- Gum disease
- Sleep problems
Benefits of Quitting Smoking
Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your health and quality of life. Non-smokers have a much lower risk of getting dozens of smoking-related diseases like lung cancer, heart disease, and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis).
Some of the other reasons to quit smoking include:
- You’ll set a good example for your children
- Your smoking will no longer affect the health of people around you
- You’ll have more money to save or to spend on other things, as cigarette smoking is an expensive habit
- You’ll have more energy to do the things you love
- You’ll pay lower life insurance premiums
- Cigarettes will no longer control your life
Manage Sugar Cravings with Ashwagandha
For people with diabetes, there is good news on the horizon. They can control their sugar cravings by taking Ashwagandha. Scientifically known as Withania somnifera, Ashwagandha also is referred to as winter cherry and Indian ginseng. Besides having many other medicinal properties, Ashwagandha also is known to be a boon for diabetics.
The plant gets its name from the odor that comes out from the root. It said that the odor is that of a horse and hence, the name Ashwagandha, which is a Sanskrit word meaning smell of a horse. While the plant has its origins in India, it can grow in dry regions. It is a rugged plant that can survive in low and high temperatures, ranging from 10 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius. It also can grow from sea level to an altitude of 1,500 meters above sea level.
In Indian medicine, namely Ayurveda, Ashwagandha has been used for hundreds of years. Today, modern medicine is conducting research on the therapeutic properties of the plant and the results have been astonishing. Ashwagandha has the ability to reduce fasting blood sugar levels and thereby it helps to improve metabolism of glucose. If blood sugar rises too quickly, the pancreas goes into overdrive and produces large amounts of insulin to help manage the rapidly rising levels of blood sugar. If this becomes a chronic problem, it results in insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
People who want to manage their sugar cravings can do so by consuming Ashwagandha root. Roast about 28 gm of the root in clarified butter (ghee) and add about a tablespoon of date sugar. Store the roasted root in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator. Take a spoon of the roasted root 20 minutes before breakfast. Take again in the afternoon if you suffer from sweet cravings. Take the last dose at bedtime. Mix the root with warm milk and consume just before going to bed.
Getting the right dose of vitamins on a daily basis is necessary for preventing deficiencies and diseases. Many diseases can occur due to vitamin deficiencies and these include scurvy (due to vitamin C deficiency), night blindness (due to vitamin A deficiency) and beriberi (due to thiamine deficiency).
In India, vitamin deficiency is a serious problem. Children, women and the elderly are at a risk of suffering from deficiencies and developing serious health problems. These can be prevented if these special populations take daily vitamin supplements or consume a diet that fulfills their vitamin requirements.
Vitamins, such as folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12, can reduce homocysteine levels in the blood, thereby helping to prevent heart attacks. Pregnant women should take supplements of folic acid to reduce the risk of birth defects, such as neural tube defect. Diet that is low in simple sugars is great for people with diabetes, as such a diet can help control blood sugar levels.
The DASH diet is good for people with high blood pressure. While this diet alone may not be sufficient to reduce blood pressure, it can be coupled with medication to control BP and help to bring down elevated pressure.
People with high triglyceride and cholesterol levels should be looking to reduce their intake of saturated fats and oily food. In addition, they should also exercise daily for a minimum of 30 minutes. Exercise can be in the form of brisk walking, gardening, swimming or housecleaning. If therapeutic lifestyle changes do not bring down cholesterol and triglyceride levels, it may be necessary to take medications that can lower blood lipid levels.
Vitamins are important part of daily life. If you are not consuming a vitamin-rich diet, you should speak to your doctor about taking supplements. Vitamins will not only keep you from suffering from deficiencies, they also will help to prevent diseases and keep certain health issues at bay.