Grape Seed and Green Tea Extracts Help Zinc Work Safely

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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On one hand, zinc is a vital mineral in human metabolism; it is involved in the healthy function of several hundred enzymes.  On the other hand, zinc is often found in the brain tangled plaque of Alzheimer’s disease.  A study shows that zinc requires dietary flavonoids or catechins as “zinc buffers,” which are integrated into zinc function and homeostasis.

Many of the metal minerals, such as zinc, copper, iron, and manganese are absolutely vital to your health and directly participate in your anti-inflammatory and free radical defense systems that are so vital to your health.

We also know, especially from studies with iron, that our bodies have mechanisms to keep these minerals in containment so that they don’t chemically react in the wrong way. The basic idea is that you don’t have too much of a mineral between cells in an ionized state that could set off a free radical chain reaction instead of its normal role in assisting to quench free radical chain reactions.

The study shows that the proanthocyanadins of grape seed extract or the epigallocatechin-3-gallate of green tea act to bind free zinc between cells, thus holding the zinc in a type of storage. Furthermore, this appears to be a routine function that in turn influences multiple aspects of zinc metabolism within your body.

This means that if you take more than 25 mg of supplemental zinc per day you should probably take some extra antioxidants in the flavonoid family, such as a grape seed or green tea extract. It is probable that many flavonoids like quercetin may also help, but they were not tested in this study. Earlier science shows that basic antioxidants such as vitamin E and C can also help.

This study shows that our bodies use a highly integrated system of nutrition wherein various nutrients help each other to function better. This is one reason to supplement with a variety of antioxidants and related cofactors, as opposed to focusing on only one nutrient, such as a high dose of vitamin C. There is power in synergy of nutrition.

Referenced Studies:

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