A new study published in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease confirms that extracts of one of the oldest plants in existence today, the ‘living fossil’ known as Gingko biloba, protects against stroke-related neurologic deficits in human subjects.
Researchers at the University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran, lead a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized controlled trial, in order to assess the efficacy of Gingko biloba on functional outcome in patients with acute stroke. In order to measure functional outcome Continue reading →
There is a painless light therapy called photoluminescence. This treatment has been around for ages. With everyone going towards natural alternatives photoluminescence therapy is making its come back.
“Photoluminescence” sounds high-tech, but it’s actually simple. “Photo” means light, and “luminescence” is emission of light. The treatment involves irradiating ultraviolet light onto a patient’s blood — a procedure which increases oxygenation and promotes healing.
The treatment device is safe, non-toxic, easy to administer, and drug-free.
Note: Administering photoluminescence is so simple that some experts say you can do it yourself at home with the right equipment and clear instructions (both easily obtained online). Continue reading →
For the first time, an experimental vaccine has prevented infection with the AIDS virus, a watershed event in the deadly epidemic and a surprising result. Recent failures led many scientists to think such a vaccine might never be possible.
The World Health Organization and the U.N. agency UNAIDS said the results “instilled new hope” in the field of HIV vaccine research, although researchers say it likely is many years before a vaccine might be available.
The vaccine — a combination of two previously unsuccessful vaccines — cut the risk of becoming infected with HIV by more than 31 percent in the world’s largest AIDS vaccine trial of more than 16,000 volunteers in Thailand, researchers announced Thursday in Bangkok.
Even though the benefit is modest, “it’s the first evidence that we could have a safe and effective preventive vaccine,” Col. Jerome Kim told The Associated Press. He helped lead the study for the U.S. Army, which sponsored it with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The institute’s director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned that this is “not the end of the road,” but he said he was surprised and very pleased by the outcome.
“It gives me cautious optimism about the possibility of improving this result” and developing a more effective AIDS vaccine, Fauci said. “This is something that we can do.”
The Thailand Ministry of Public Health conducted the study. The U.S. Army has long worked with that government and others to develop and test vaccines and medicines to protect troops and the general public.
The study used strains of HIV common in Thailand. Whether such a vaccine would work against other strains in the U.S., Africa or elsewhere in the world is unknown, scientists stressed.
Even a marginally helpful vaccine could have a big impact. Every day, 7,500 people worldwide are newly infected with HIV; 2 million died of AIDS in 2007, UNAIDS estimates.
“Today marks a historic milestone,” said Mitchell Warren, executive director of the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, an international group that has worked toward developing a vaccine. Warren was not involved in the study.
“It will take time and resources to fully analyze and understand the data, but there is little doubt that this finding will energize and redirect the AIDS vaccine field,” he said in a statement.
The study tested the two-vaccine combination in a “prime-boost” approach, in which the first one primes the immune system to attack HIV and the second one strengthens the response.
They are ALVAC, from Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine division of French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis; and AIDSVAX, originally developed by VaxGen Inc. and now held by Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases, a nonprofit founded by some former VaxGen employees.
ALVAC uses canarypox, a bird virus altered so it can’t cause human disease, to ferry synthetic versions of three HIV genes into the body. AIDSVAX contains a genetically engineered version of a protein on HIV’s surface. The vaccines are not made from whole virus — dead or alive — and cannot cause HIV.
Neither vaccine in the study prevented HIV infection when tested individually in earlier trials, and dozens of scientists had called the new one futile when it began in 2003.
“I really didn’t have high hopes at all that we would see a positive result,” Fauci confessed.
The results proved the skeptics wrong.
“The combination is stronger than each of the individual members,” said the Army’s Kim, a physician who manages the Army’s HIV vaccine program.
The study tested the combo in HIV-negative Thai men and women aged 18 to 30 at average risk of becoming infected. Half received four “priming” doses of ALVAC and two “boost” doses of AIDSVAX over six months. The others received dummy shots. No one knew who got what until the study ended.
Participants volunteered for the study and were told about the potential risks associated with receiving the experimental vaccine before agreeing to participate.
All were given condoms, counseling and treatment for any sexually transmitted infections, and were tested every six months for HIV. Any who became infected were given free treatment with antiviral medicines. All participants continued to receive an HIV test every six months for three years after vaccinations ended.
(GENEVA) – Inspired by New World owl monkeys’ ability to make a fusion protein that potently blocks HIV-1 infection, scientists at the University of Geneva in Switzerland have engineered a human HIV-1 inhibitor.
Lead researcher Jeremy Luban points out that owl monkeys make AoT5Cyp, and that the human genome encodes the equivalent of the two components of this fusion protein, namely TRIM5 and cyclophilin A.
However, adds the researcher, humans do not make the T5Cyp fusion protein.
In their new study, Luban and colleagues have engineered a human HIV-1 inhibitor modeled after AoT5Cyp, by fusing human cyclophilin A to human TRIM5 (hT5Cyp).
The researchers said that the human fusion protein blocked HIV-1 infection of human macrophage and T cell lines, without disrupting normal cell function.
During the study, the researchers engineered some mice to lack B, T, and NK immune cells, so that the animals would not reject grafts of human material.
The team then engrafted with human CD4+ T cells engineered to contain hT5Cyp. HIV-1 replication was potently inhibited in these animals.
Based on their findings, the researchers came to the conclusion that hT5Cyp is a robust inhibitor of HIV-1 replication, and a promising anti-HIV-1 gene therapy candidate.
The study has been published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Marijuana Rivals Mainstream Drugs For Alleviating HIV/AIDS Symptoms
SAN FRANCISCO – Those in the United States living with HIV/AIDS are more likely to use marijuana than those in Kenya, South Africa or Puerto Rica to alleviate their symptoms, according to a new study published in Clinical Nursing Research, published by SAGE. Those who did use marijuana rate it as effective as prescribed or over the counter (OTC) medicines for the majority of common symptoms, once again raising the issue that therapeutic marijuana use merits further study and consideration among policy makers.
A significant percentage of those with HIV/AIDS use marijuana as a symptom management approach for anxiety, depression, fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, and peripheral neuropathy. Members of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) International HIV/AIDS Nursing Research Network examined symptom management and quality of life experiences among those with HIV/AIDS in the US, Africa, and Puerto Rico, to gain a fuller picture of marijuana’s effectiveness and use in this population.
With data from a longitudinal, multi-country, multi-site, randomized control clinical trial, the researchers used four different evaluation tools to survey demographics, self-care management strategies for six common symptoms experienced by those living with HIV/AIDS, quality of life instrument and reasons for non-adherence to medications.
Either marijuana use for symptom management is vastly higher in the US, or participants elsewhere chose not to disclose that they use it: nine tenths of study participants who said they used marijuana live in the US. No African participants said they used it, and the remaining ten percent were from Puerto Rico.
The researchers found no differences between marijuana users and nonusers in age, race, and education level, income adequacy, having an AIDS diagnosis, taking ARV medications, or years on ARV medications. But the two groups did differ in that marijuana users had been HIV positive longer, and were more likely to have other medical conditions. Transgender participants were also more likely to use marijuana.
Participants using marijuana as a management strategy were spread fairly consistent across all six symptoms, ranging from a low of 20% for fatigue to a high of 27% for nausea. Prescribed medications were used by 45% of those with fatigue, ranging down to almost 18% of those with neuropathy.
The findings contained nuances when comparing marijuana to other medications. Those who used marijuana rated their anxiety significantly lower than those who did not, and women who used marijuana had more intense nausea symptoms. For those who use both marijuana and medications for symptom management, antidepressants were considered more effective than marijuana for anxiety and depression, but marijuana was rated more highly than anti-anxiety medications. Immodium was better for diarrhoea than marijuana, as were prescribed medications for fatigue. However, marijuana was perceived to be more effective than either prescribed or OTC medications for nausea and neuropathy. However, the differenced in perceived efficacy in all these results were slight.
As found in previous studies, those who used marijuana were less likely to comply with their regime of ARV medications. But perhaps counter-intuitively of the many reasons given for skipping pills, ‘forgetfulness’ was no different in this group than among those who did not use marijuana. Marijuana use is known to contribute to patients’ lack of compliance with ARV drugs, however those who use marijuana to target a particular symptom are actually more likely to stick closely to their ARV regimen too. The researchers point out that of those who used marijuana for their symptoms, it is not known whether they also used the drug for recreation. Patterns of how marijuana use interferes with patients’ adherence to medication regimens, along with other drugs, warrant further study.
The 775 participants were recruited from Kenya, South Africa, two sites in Puerto Rico, and ten sites in the United States. They had on average been diagnosed for a decade – the majority (70%) were taking anti-retroviral (ARV) medications and more than half had other medical conditions alongside HIV/AIDS. It is hard to pinpoint the marijuana use targeted to alleviate symptoms of those other illnesses as distinct from those relating solely to HIV/AIDS.
Data suggest that marijuana is a trigger among those susceptible to psychosis, and is also associated with the risk of suicidal thoughts. However it is not linked to an increased risk of lung cancer (over and above risks associated with smoking it along with tobacco).
The question of the use of marijuana for symptom management when legal drugs are available remains a practice and policy issue.
“Given that marijuana may have other pleasant side effects and may be less costly than prescribed or OTC drugs, is there a reason to make it available?” asks study leader IngeCorless.“These are the political ramifications of our findings. Our data indicate that the use of marijuana merits further inquiry.”
ROCHESTER – Paying attention to Mother Nature not only feels good, it also makes you a better person, says a new study.
The study has been published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
“Stopping to experience our natural surroundings can have social as well as personal benefits,” says RichardRyan, coauthor and professor of psychology, psychiatry and education at the University of Rochester.
While the salubrious effects of nature are well documented, from increasing happiness and physical health to lowering stress, this study shows that the benefits extend to a person’s values and actions.
Exposure to natural as opposed to man-made environments leads people to value community and close relationships and to be more generous with money, find Ryan and his team of researchers at the University of Rochester.
The paper includes four experiments in which 370 participants were exposed to either natural or man-made settings. Participants were encouraged to attend to their environments by noticing colors and textures and imagining sounds and smells.
In three of the studies, participants were shown a selection of four images on a 19 inch computer screen for two minutes each. Half of the subject viewed buildings, roads, and other cityscapes; the other half observed landscapes, lakes, and deserts. The urban and nature images were matched for color, complexity, layout, and lighting.
In a fourth study, participants were simply assigned at random to work in a lab with or without plants.
Participants then answered a questionnaire assessing the importance of four life aspirations: wealth and fame (”to be financially successful” and “to be admired by many people”) and connectedness and community (”to have deep enduring relationships” and “to work toward the betterment of society”).
Across all four studies, people exposed to natural elements rated close relationships and community higher than they had previously. The questionnaire also measured how immersed viewers were in their environments and found that the more deeply engaged subjects were with natural settings, the more they valued community and closeness. By contrast, the more intensely participants focused on artificial elements, the higher they rated wealth and fame.
To test generosity, two of the studies gave participants a 5-dollar prize with the instructions that the money could be kept or given to a second anonymous participant, who would then be given an additional 5-dollar. The second participant could choose to return the prize money or keep it. Thus, subjects had nothing to gain if they chose to trust the other participant, and risked losing their money.
The result revealed people who were in contact with nature were more willing to open their wallets and share. As with aspirations, the higher the immersion in nature, the more likely subjects were to be generous with their winnings.
Lead author NettaWeinstein says that the findings highlight the importance of creating green spaces in cities and have implication for planners and architects.
LONDON – The largest study ever conducted of a microbicide designed to prevent HIV infection has resulted in yet another case of high hopes being dashed about a promising product. Earlier in the year, a smaller study of the same vaginal gel gave a hint that it might offer modest protection, but the new results put the question to rest. “It doesn’t work,” says clinical epidemiologist SheenaMcCormack, who ran the four-country study for the Clinical Trials Unit of the U.K.’s Medical Research Council.
McCormack says the data mark the end of the road not just for this vaginal gel but the whole class of microbicides that use nonspecific compounds to prevent HIV-infection. The placebo-controlled trial in nearly 9500 women tested a gel called PRO 2000, a so-called polyanion that prevented the AIDS virus from entering human cells in test-tube and monkey studies. The 4-year, $44 million study at six sites in sub-Saharan Africa found no difference between the equally sized treatment and placebo arms of the study: There were 130 HIV infections in the women who used PRO 2000 and 123 in those who used a dummy gel.
Researchers in the beleaguered HIV-prevention field often see glimmers of hope even in dispiriting results from clinical trials–witness the recently completed AIDS vaccine study in Thailand. But that is not the case with these findings. “When I first looked at the data with the statistician I said, ‘You’re not going to need any more analysis, are you?’ ” said McCormack, who is based in London. “It’s really clear-cut.”
In February, a similar study of PRO 2000 that only involved about one-third as many women found 30% fewer HIV infections in the treated group , but with a p-value of 0.10–a positive trend that did not reach statistical significance. That $90 million study, financed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), startled many in the field who, based on other failures of nonspecific microbicides, had predicted the product would do nothing. But McCormack notes that the new results actually are consistent with the data from the earlier trial, which had a wide confidence interval and included the possibility that the product did not work.
McCormack says there’s one upside of the failure: It informs future clinical trials. Because the findings clearly show that the positive test-tube and monkey studies of PRO 2000 were misleading, researchers now know to use more stringent requirements to deem a product worthy of human trials.
The raw potato juice therapy is considered one of the most successful biological treatments for rheumatic and arthritic conditions. It has been used in folk medicine for centuries. The traditional method of preparing potato juice is to cut a medium-sized potato into thin slices, without peeling the skin, and place the slices overnight in a large glass filled with cold water. The water should be drunk in the morning on an empty stomach. Fresh juice can also be extracted from potatoes. A medium-sized potato should be diluted with a cup of water and drunk first thing in the morning.
Arthritis treatment using Other Raw Juices
One cup of green juice, extracted from any green leafy vegetable, mixed in equal proportions with carrot, celery, and red beet juices is good for arthritis. The alkaline action of raw juices dissolves the accumulation of deposits around the joints and in other tissues. A cup of fresh pineapple juice is also valuable, as the enzyme bromelain in fresh pineapple juice reduces swelling and inflammation in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis treatment using Sesame Seeds
A teaspoon of black sesame seeds, soaked in a quarter cup of water and kept overnight, has been found to be effective in preventing frequent joint pains. The water in which the seeds are soaked should also be taken along with the seeds first thing in the morning.
Arthritis treatment using Copper
Drinking water kept overnight in a copper container accumulates traces of copper, which is said to strengthen the muscular system. A copper ring or bracelet is worn for the same reason.
Arthritis treatment using Calcium
Studies have shown that calcium can help arthritis. Several patients have discovered that joint pains have either been relieved or have disappeared entirely after taking calcium. This mineral should be taken in the form of calcium lactate. Two teaspoons of calcium lactate, each teaspoon providing 400 mg of absorbable calcium, may be taken three times daily in water, before meals for at least four months.
Arthritis treatment using Garlic
Garlic is another effective remedy for arthritis. It contains an anti-inflammatory property which accounts for its effectiveness in the treatment of this disease. Garlic may be taken raw or cooked according to individual preference.
Arthritis treatment using Bananas
Bananas, being a rich source of vitamin B6, have proved useful in the treatment of arthritis. A diet of only bananas for three or four days is advised in treating this condition. The patient may eat eight or nine bananas daily during this period and nothing else.
Arthritis treatment using Lime
Lime has also been found beneficial as a home remedy for arthritis. The citric acid found in lime is a solvent of uric acid which is the primary cause of some types of arthritis. The juice of one lime, diluted with water, may be taken once a day, preferably first thing in the morning.
Arthritis treatment using Alfalfa
A tea made from the herb alfalfa, especially from its seeds, has shown beneficial results in the treatment of arthritis. One teaspoon of alfalfa seeds may be added to one cup of water. Three to four cups of this tea should be taken daily by arthritics for at least two weeks.
Arthritis treatment using Green Gram Soup
Another home remedy found useful in relieving pains in the joints is the use of green gram soup. This soup should be prepared by mixing a tablespoon of green gram in a cup of water, with two crushed garlic cloves. It should be taken twice a day.
Arthritis treatment using Castor Oil
Treatment with castor oil has been found beneficial in arthritis. The procedure, as prescribed by a Spanish doctor, is to boil two tablespoons of castor oil over a stove burner. The oil should then be poured into a glass of fresh orange juice and taken before breakfast daily till the disease is cured. It was advised to patients to take it for three weeks, wait for another three weeks and then repeat it again for another three weeks. It is, however, essential that the patient must take an alkaline diet while adopting this mode of treatment otherwise the value of the treatment will be lost.
Arthritis treatment using Coconut or Mustard Oil
Warm coconut oil or mustard oil, mixed with two or three pieces of camphor should be massaged on stiff and aching joints. It will increase blood supply, and reduce inflammation and stiffness with the gentle warmth produced while massaging. Camphorated oil is an ancient rubefacient used for the purpose.
Take fruits and vegetables in the form of salads
The diet of an arthritis patient should be planned so as to produce alkalinity in the blood. It should include fruits and vegetables in the form of salads, and, at least, two cooked vegetables. In severe cases, it would be advisable to put the patient on raw vegetable juice therapy three times a day, for about a week. Repeated juice fasts are recommended at intervals of every two months.
Other Arthritis treatments
Keep body warm, don’t bandage joints
The body should be kept warm at all times . Joints should not be bandaged tightly as this limits movement and interferes with the free circulation of blood.
Take rest, should have plenty of indirect ventilation
There should be plenty of indirect ventilation in the bedroom. Rest is advised when there is acute inflammation in the joints.
Sea bathing has been found valuable in arthritis. The natural iodine in sea water is said to relieve arthritis pain. As is well known, Iodine regulates the acid-alkaline balance in the blood and tissues, helps to repair and regenerate worn out tissues and nourishes the skeletal structure. It enters into the thyroid gland’s secretion. The hormone uses the iodine to cleanse the internal toxins. If sea bathing is not possible, the patient should relax for thirty minutes every night in a tub of warm water, in which a cup of common salt has been mixed. The minerals in the salt,especially Iodine, will be absorbed through the pores of the skin. This will help correct an internal imbalance.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral, so you get it through the foods you eat. Next to iron, zinc is the most common trace mineral in the body and is found in every cell. It has been used since ancient times to help heal wounds and plays an important role in the immune system, reproduction, growth, taste, vision, and smell, blood clotting, and proper insulin and thyroid function.
Zinc also has some antioxidant properties. Therefore it helps protect cells in the body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals may contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of health problems, including heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants such as zinc can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.
Your body doesn’t need a large amount of zinc; the recommended daily allowance for adults is 8 – 11 mg. A mild zinc deficiency isn’t uncommon but taking a multivitamin plus eating a healthy diet should give you all the zinc you need. It’s rare for people in industrialized countries to be seriously deficient in zinc. Low zinc levels are sometimes seen in the elderly, alcoholics, people with anorexia, and people on very restricted diets. People who have malabsorption syndromes, such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, may also be deficient in zinc.
Symptoms of zinc deficiency include loss of appetite, poor growth, weight loss, lack of taste or smell, poor wound healing, skin problems (such as acne, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis), hair loss, lack of menstrual period, night blindness, white spots on the fingernails, and depression.
Zinc lessens the amount of copper your body absorbs, and high doses of zinc can cause a copper deficiency. For that reason, it is usually recommended that you take 2 mg of copper along with a zinc supplement.
Some studies suggest that taking oral zinc supplements may help improve acne. However, most studies used a high dose of zinc that could have toxic effects, and not all studies found any benefit. There is some evidence that a topical form of zinc, used in conjunction with the topical antibiotic erythromycin, might be helpful.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Zinc is often recommended to slow the progress of age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease that occurs when the macula, the part of the retina that is responsible for central vision, starts to deteriorate. A major clinical trial, the Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS1), found that people who had macular degeneration could slow its progression by taking zinc (80 mg), vitamin C (500 mg), vitamin E (400 mg), beta-carotene (15 mg), and copper (2 mg). But not all studies have found zinc to be helpful. One 2007 study found that people with macular degeneration had deposits with high levels of zinc, leading some researchers to wonder if zinc actually contributes to macular degeneration. A new study, AREDS2, is examining exactly what role zinc plays in macular degeneration.
Many people believe that taking zinc lozenges or using zinc nasal spray when they first show signs of a cold can reduce the duration and severity of symptoms, but the evidence is decidedly mixed. More and better studies are needed that examine which kinds of zinc may be effective and against which kinds of cold viruses.
Zinc is necessary for a healthy immune system, and people who are deficient in zinc tend to be more susceptible to a variety of infections. For that reason, zinc supplements are sometimes suggested to improve your overall immunity and ward off infections, but that may only work if you are deficient in zinc to start with.
Sickle Cell Disease
People who have sickle cell disease are often deficient in zinc. Studies suggest that taking zinc supplements may help reduce symptoms of the disease. Children who took zinc showed improvements in height and weight, and had fewer sickle-cell crises.
Some studies suggest that zinc may help speed the healing of gastric ulcers.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Some evidence suggests that taking zinc may cause a slight improvement in symptoms, reducing hyperactivity, impulsivity, and impaired socialization in children. However, there was no change in attention deficit symptoms, and zinc may only benefit children who are deficient to start with. Zinc may be most helpful to children with a high body mass index, low levels of free fatty acids in their blood, and low levels of zinc.
Topical preparations of zinc have shown benefit in relieving symptoms and preventing recurrences of oral herpes lesions (canker sores).
Zinc deficiency is common in people with HIV (even before symptoms appear) or AIDS. In people with AIDS, low levels of zinc may be a result of poor absorption, medications, and loss of this important nutrient through vomiting or diarrhea. Zinc deficiency leads to increased susceptibility to infection in people with AIDS (called an opportunistic infection). Some studies show that HIV positive people who take zinc have fewer infections, gain more weight, and have a better immune system response. But not all studies agree, and one even suggests that taking zinc may be associated with higher death rates. If you have HIV or AIDS, talk to your doctor before taking zinc or any supplement.
Some early research suggests that zinc may be beneficial in treating Wilson’s disease, a condition which causes copper to build up in the body. Because zinc lessens the body’s absorption of copper, it may help reduce levels of copper in people with Wilson’s disease.
Your body absorbs 20 – 40% of the zinc present in food. Zinc from animal foods like red meat, fish, and poultry is more readily absorbed by the body than zinc from plant foods. Zinc is best absorbed when taken with a meal that contains protein.
The best sources of zinc are oysters (richest source), red meats, poultry, cheese (ricotta, Swiss, gouda), shrimp, crab, and other shellfish. Other good, though less easily absorbed, sources of zinc include legumes (especially lima beans, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, soybeans, peanuts), whole grains, miso, tofu, brewer’s yeast, cooked greens, mushrooms, green beans, tahini, and pumpkin, and sunflower seeds.
Zinc is available in several forms. Zinc sulfate is the least expensive form, but it is the least easily absorbed and may cause stomach upset.
More easily absorbed forms of zinc are zinc picolinate, zinc citrate, zinc acetate, zinc glycerate, and zinc monomethionine. If zinc sulfate causes stomach irritation, you can try another form, such as zinc citrate.
The amount of elemental zinc is listed on the product label (usually 30 – 50 mg). To determine the amount to take in supplement form, remember that you get about 10 – 15 mg from food.
Zinc lozenges, used for treating colds, are available in most drug stores. There are also nasal sprays developed to reduce nasal and sinus congestion. Nasal gels seem to work better than the spray.
How to Take It:
You should take zinc with water or juice. However, if zinc causes stomach upset, it can be taken with meals. Don’t take zinc at the same time as iron or calcium supplements.
A strong relationship exists between zinc and copper. Too much of one can cause a deficiency in the other. Long-term use of zinc (including zinc in a multivitamin) should be accompanied by copper.
Do not give zinc supplements to a child without talking to your doctor.
Daily intake of dietary zinc (according to the U.S. recommended dietary allowances) are listed below:
* Infants birth to 6 months: 2 mg (AI)
* Infants 7 – 12 months: 3 mg (RDA)
* Children 1 – 3 years: 3 mg (RDA)
* Children 4 – 8 years: 5 mg (RDA)
* Children 9 – 13 years: 8 mg (RDA)
* Males 14 – 18 years: 11 mg (RDA)
* Females 14 – 18 years: 9 mg (RDA)
* Males 19 years and older: 11 mg (RDA)
* Females 19 years and older: 8 mg (RDA)
* Pregnant females 14 – 18 years: 12 mg (RDA)
* Pregnant females 19 years and older: 11 mg (RDA)
* Breastfeeding females 19 years and older: 12 mg (RDA)
Therapeutic ranges (elemental zinc):
* Men: 30 – 60 mg daily
* Women: 30 – 45 mg daily
You should not take high doses of zinc for more than a few days unless your doctor tells you to. Talk to your doctor before taking more than 40 mg of zinc per day.
Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, you should take dietary supplements only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider.
Research has shown that less than 40 mg a day is a safe amount to take over time, but researchers are not sure what happens if more is taken over a long period.
Common side effects of zinc include stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, and a metallic taste in the mouth. High doses of zinc can cause dizziness, headache, drowsiness, increased sweating, loss of muscle coordination, alcohol intolerance, hallucinations, and anemia.
Very high doses of zinc may actually weaken immune function. High doses of zinc may also lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol and raise LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
If you are being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use zinc without first talking to your health care provider.
Amiloride (Midamor) — Amiloride is a potassium-sparing diuretic (water pill) that may increase the levels of zinc in your blood. Do not take zinc supplements if you take amiloride.
Blood pressure medications, ACE Inhibitors — A class of medications called ACE inhibitors, used to treat high blood pressure, may decrease the levels of zinc in your blood. ACE inhibitors include:
* Captopril (Capoten)
* Benazepril (Lotensin)
* Enalapril (Vasotec)
* Lisinopril (Zestril)
* Fosinopril (Monopril)
* Ramipril (Altace)
* Perindopril (Aceon)
* Quinapril (Accupril)
* Moexipril (Univasc)
* Trandolapril (Mavik)
Antibiotics — Zinc may decrease your body’s absorption of two kinds of antibiotics, quinolones and tetracyclines. These include:
* Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
* Levofloxacin (Levaquin)
* Ofloxacin (Floxin)
* Moxifloxacin (Avelox)
* Norfloxacin (Noroxin)
* Gatifloxacin (Tequin)
* Minocycline (Minocin)
* Demeclocycline (Declomycin)
However, doxycycline (Vibramycin) does not seem to interact with zinc.
Cisplatin (Platinol-AQ) — This drug, used for chemotherapy to treat some types of cancers, may cause more zinc to be excreted in your urine. If you are undergoing chemotherapy, do not take zinc or any other supplement without talking to your oncologist.
Deferoxamine (Desferal) — This medication, used to remove excess iron from the blood, also increases the amount of zinc that is lost in urine.
Immunosuppressant medications — Since zinc may make the immune system stronger, it should not be taken with corticosteroids (such a prednisone), cyclosporine, or other medications intended to suppress the immune system.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — Zinc interacts with NSAIDs and could reduce the absorption and effectiveness of these medications. Examples of NSAIDs, which help to reduce pain and inflammation, include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naprosyn (Aleve), piroxicam (Feldene), and indomethacin (Indocin).
Penicillamine — This medication, used to treat Wilson’s disease (where excess copper builds up in the brain, liver, kidney, and eyes) and rheumatoid arthritis, decreases the levels of zinc in your blood.
Thiazide diuretics (water pills) — This class of medications lowers the amount of zinc in your blood by increasing the amount of zinc that is passed in your urine. If you take thiazide diuretics, your doctor will monitor levels of zinc and other important minerals in your blood: