Are You Using Zinc To Boost Your Immunity? What You Need To Know

In last week’s Health article, we gave focus to the dietary mineral zinc and how it could prove to be a warrior in the fight against COVID 19. https://wide-body.com/2020/10/07/zinc-a-promising-warrior-in-the-fight-against-covid-19/ This week , I want us to explore a little bit more in detail about why we may or may not want to consume zinc supplements, and how to determine whether you are or are not consuming the correct amount of zinc in your diet.

Why Use Zinc?

Why would anyone want to consume zinc supplements? It turns out that zinc is a nutrient found throughout the body and plays a vital part in our immune system, metabolic function, healing wounds, and our senses of taste and smell. Additional research is also leading us to believe that zinc helps the body control its blood sugar, fight acne, slow macular degeneration, and improve heart health by lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Considering how zinc is involved in some very important boy functions, it seems like a simple decision to begin taking zinc supplements, right? But there are other considerations before you buy that first bottle of zinc.  

What is Zinc Deficiency?

From the National Institutes of Health, “Zinc deficiency is characterized by growth retardation, loss of appetite, and impaired immune function. In more severe cases, zinc deficiency causes hair loss, diarrhea, delayed sexual maturation, impotence, hypogonadism in males, and eye and skin lesions. Weight loss, delayed healing of wounds, taste abnormalities, and mental lethargy can also occur.”

Recommended Daily Allowance of Zinc

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

What Are Good Food Sources of Zinc?

It turns out that zinc deficiency is rare in the Western world because of the western diet. Note the amount of zinc found in foods, particularly meats, that are commonly consumed on daily basis. 

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

It is likely you are consuming enough zinc in your regular diet. But what if you are a vegetarian or vegan, and thus not consuming foods such as meat? Then supplements should be considered.

Isn’t All Zinc the Same?

In the tables above, they were showing you volumes of “elemental” zinc. Here’s the rub, the human body is unable consume elemental zinc, thus in order to get zinc into our bodies, we must consume zinc found in other forms, such as meats, and then our body pulls the nutrient out of the meat.

Zinc supplements much the same way as food in that they contain zinc in a form that we can consume, and then our bodies will pull out the elemental zinc in way that we can use it. Nonetheless, there is still confusion in marketplace because there appears to be several types of zincs used in zinc supplements.

Here is a break down of the types of zincs in supplements

Zinc gluconate: As one of the most common over-the-counter forms of zinc, zinc gluconate is often used in cold remedies, such as lozenges and nasal sprays

Zinc acetate: Like zinc gluconate, zinc acetate is often added to cold lozenges to reduce symptoms and speed up the rate of recovery

Zinc sulfate: In addition to helping prevent zinc deficiency, zinc sulfate has been shown to reduce the severity of acne. Zinc sulfate has been shown to upset stomachs, so consider using it as a topical ointment only.

Zinc picolinate: Some research suggests that your body may absorb this form better than other types of zinc, including zinc gluconate and zinc citrate

Zinc orotate: This form is bound to orotic acid and one of the most common types of zinc supplements on the market

Zinc citrate: One study showed that this type of zinc supplement is as well-absorbed as zinc gluconate but has a less bitter, more appealing taste

Zinc gluconate is the most common on the market, but zinc picolinate is the easiest to absorb. Shop around for what makes the best sense for your wallet. But whatever you do, DO NOT use nasal sprays with zinc. These sprays have been linked to a loss of smell. Fortunately, most of these products have been pulled from shelves in the US.

How zinc is in here?

How much Zinc is in Your Supplement?

Now that we know there are different types of zinc, and important thing to find out is how much elemental zinc is in your supplement. Some supplement companies do a better job than others in noting the amount of elemental zinc in the supplement. Here is the percentage of elemental zinc found in various zincs:

Zinc Gluconate: 14%

Zinc Acetate: 20%

Zinc Sulfate: 23%

Zinc Picolinate: 21%

Zinc Orotate: 17%

Zinc Citrate: 34%

Too Much of a Good Thing, IS BAD!

The upper limit of zinc intake should not surpass 40mg per day for adults, and long term dosages this high can cause adverse effects such as copper and iron deficiency in the body, as well as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headaches. There is really no reason to consume more zinc than your body needs.

People at Risk of Zinc Deficiency

People with gastrointestinal diseases: These folks generally have a difficult time absorbing nutrition because of their disease

Vegetarians & vegans: The nature of the diets, being that they eschew meats and thus one of the largest sources of dietary zinc, means that these folks have a greater than normal risk of zinc deficiency. 

People with Sickle Cell Anemia: Because the blood cells are misshapen, people with sickle cell anemia have a difficult transporting zinc through the body.

Alcoholic: Alcohol consumption retards the absorption of zinc

In my opinion, considering that we are in the midst of a world wide pandemic, and additional intake of zinc appears warranted. I do consume meat, so any supplement I take will be low in dosage.

Let me know your thoughts on this topic. Will you start taking zinc now? Are you already taking zinc, and will you now raise or lower the amount you consume? Will you start taking zinc, but wait for a time when you believe it is most needed, like during cold and flu season? Or will you not take zinc, feeling that you consume enough in your food each day?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sources:

NIH: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/zinc-supplements

Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-zinc/art-20366112

6 Alcoholic Drinks For When You’re Dieting

Hallelujah!!! And thank Cooking Light for this helpful information about alcoholic drinks!

Are you watching your waistline, yet still want to have a drink or two? Do you have tailgate plans for the weekend, and they include some alcohol? Do you have drinks at the soon to come holiday parties, which will soon be here?
No need to despair as Cooking Light put together this helpful list, and I just learned something new about gin!
https://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/smart-choices/best-alcohol-options-on-a-diet

What out for the sugar in those cocktail mixers!

The Lowest Calorie Alcohols to Drink on a Diet
-Gin (1 ½ ounces): 38 calories
-Champagne (4 ounces): 80 calories
-Vodka (1 ½ ounces): 97 calories
-Tequila (1 ½ ounces): 97 calories
-White Claw (12 ounces): 100 calories
-Cabernet (5 ounces): 122 calories

Mixers to Drink on a Diet:

-Diet soda
-Diet tonic water
-Club soda
-Zero-calorie flavored sparkling water

Data via via the USDA Nutrient Database: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/344524/nutrients

Zinc: A Promising Warrior In The Fight Against COVID 19

Here is some promising news in the fight against COVID 19. Spanish researchers are reporting that hospitalized COVID 19 patients with low levels of zinc in their blood stream, seem to do worse than those with healthier levels of the minerals.

“Lower zinc levels at admission correlate with higher inflammation in the course of infection and poorer outcome,” said a team led by Dr. Roberto Guerri-Fernandez of the Hospital Del Mar in Barcelona.

“It has long been thought that zinc bolsters the immune system,” said pulmonologist Dr. Len Horovitz, of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “A possible explanation in this study is that zinc may have an anti-inflammatory effect that is protective.”

No, you do not eat this zinc!

What the researchers found is that those who died of COVID 19 (about 8% of patients) zinc in the blood stream at an average of 43 mcg/dL, where as the group that recovered had an average of 63 mcg/dL.

This is huge news, especially for those folks already consuming zinc as an immunity booster.

More studies need to be completed as this was a small study and it was unable to tie case and effect. Nonetheless, this news is promising and hopeful.

The research was presented September 22nd as part of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease (ESCMID) Conference on Coronavirus Disease. The research is being peer reviewed and is expected to be published soon.

Source: https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200923/could-zinc-help-fight-covid-19

How to Start a Swimming Routine

Sometimes you find articles written by other people, and they perfectly sum up everything you would have written.

This week’s Fitness focus is on how to start a swimming routine (do you see a pattern? Last week’s Fitness post was on how to start a running routine) and I how this article from the US Masters Swimming Association, and it outlines very well what you should do if you want to start a swimming routine. Check it out here: https://www.usms.org/content/startingaroutine

He is off to a good start!

Video: Mental Health Breaks

Sometimes, you need to take a break from your daily grind. And your body will tell you when it is time to take that break. And taking a break is no sign of weakness, but is instead a sign that the mind needs to be refreshed so that it can come back stronger. So, when my work was becoming a grind, I stepped away, and now I feel great!

What can you if you need a mental health break? The actions you can take are very simple:

1. Recognize something isn’t right. That sounds easier than it really is. We train ourselves to push through barriers, to maintain mental and physical stamina, and to fight! And that is good because you should do all those things and fight. But what if that fight is no longer good enough? Then you need to recognize you need a break. And be honest with yourself, because if you take a break just because you feel lazy, the little voice in your head will start talking to you, and you will begin to feel guilty, and that is a whole other can of worms.

2. Do something physical. You may not feel like doing something physical, but action at this point is exactly what you need. Get some movement in your body, get the blood pumping, and clear your mind. We’ve discussed in other posts how physical activity is good for mental health.

3. Take some time to get away and break your current routine. Go to lunch, visit the mall, call a friend, but whatever it is, make sure it is something that is outside of your regular daily routine 4. Then get back to work. Your break doesn’t need to be multiple days or even all day. The break is just that, a break from your regular routine. You’ll find once you are back at work, your mind will fresh and you will likely have new energy and ideas.

If you have additional thoughts, please share them here. We look forward to hearing from you

How To Start a Running Routine: Part 2

You are ready to start your running routine, what are some other things to consider?  In this article, I’ll discuss some simple steps on how to start the routine, things to watch for in running form, and some equipment you should consider.

Start!

Let’s assume that you’ve already followed my advice from the previous article ( https://wide-body.com/2020/09/21/how-to-start-a-running-routine-today/) and you  visited your doctor and he/she gave you the thumbs up to get started on your running routine. Next…

Shoes!

Running is a relatively inexpensive activity, but you MUST invest in a good pair of shoes. This is a place you really shouldn’t skimp, and I’ll talk more about this below.

Keep it safe and simple

Use your common sense when running. Would you send your kids out to run in the middle of the road? No, and you shouldn’t either, so say on a sidewalk if possible. At dawn or dusk, just because you can see cars, that doesn’t mean they can see you. A surprising number of automobile accidents happen at those times of days because the sunlight changes create long shadows and blind spots. If you must run at light, make yourself visible with light colored and reflective clothing. If the is high, carry water with you. Your goal when you start should be 30 minutes worth of exercise, so find the best path that allows you to do this safely.

Warm up, first!

Spend 5-10 minutes stretching and warming up your muscles before you head out the door. Stretching will help you prevent injuries and eliminate some soreness. In this article, I highlight 9 benefits to stretching, https://wide-body.com/2020/07/27/9-benefits-to-stretching/. If you are looking for ideas, here is a video routine: https://wide-body.com/2020/07/27/video-stretching-routine/ as well as some books on the subject: https://wide-body.com/2020/07/27/4-reasons-to-buy-these-books-about-stretching/

You’ve got this

Proper Running Form

Your posture is upright, head up, shoulders relaxed, and you arms swing easily back and forth at the shoulder. Do not lean forward or backwards, which is usually a sign of being tired, Good posture always you to take full breathes of air, and thus delays fatigue. If you are tired, you may notice that you lean forward and hunch your shoulders. This will add to your fatigue as that postures prevents you from taking a full breath. And as you breath, breath fully through you nose and mouth, “belly breath” as this will help prevent a side stitch which is common runners in the beginning.  Some good information about breathing while running can be found here: https://www.verywellfit.com/how-should-i-breathe-when-running-2911279

Equipment

Like I mentioned above, shoes are one place you do not want to skimp. If you have a running specialty retailer near you, visit them and have them do a fitting for you. A specialty store will evaluate your foot strike as well as ask you a series of questions about you and your running goals. Most of these retailers do a fantastic job of ensuring you get the shoe you need because they want you back in the store after you have run 200 miles or so in your shoes. And BTW, 200 miles is the typical limit for running shoes. Think about the pounding they go through and you can understand why the materials needed to comfort and control your feet begin to break down after 200 miles. Here are some tips on buying shoes. https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-buy-the-right-running-shoes-2911857 and if you don’t a retailer in your area, there are several good recommendation sites. Runners World, https://www.runnersworld.com/, has regular features on shoes on the market, as well as other gear. Zappos.com not only sells shoes, but they also have user reviews of the products they sell.

Regarding other equipment, you should consider wearing clothing that wicks sweat away from the body. This will wicking action will keep you cool while also prevent you from chafing and generally being uncomfortable. There are several manufactures for athletic wear, and you can get a little crazy and blow your budget. I suggest that you can find good clothes at reasonable prices. This article has good advice on where to find clothing and other technology at reasonable prices. https://www.verywellfit.com/where-to-buy-cheap-running-clothes-and-gear-2911848

Soreness

If you haven’t exercised in a, muscle soreness is inevitable. The muscle soreness is the result of muscle breakdown, repair, and the resulting lactic acid by product. Personally, I see muscle soreness as a sign of progress. This is sign that the body is making itself stronger because you need to be stronger. This is a natural process, so embrace muscle soreness as a good thing.

And while we can recognize muscle soreness as being good, we need to distinguish between muscle soreness and joint soreness. Joint soreness can be the sign of nothing more serious than the lack of use or it can highlight serious joint damage. Before we freak out our knees hurt, the best thing to do is to identify pain, the intensity, when it comes on, the location, and the intensity.

Here is some of my personal experience with various joint pains:

Inside Right Knee: After an extended lay off, I started running again. The next day, I had a sharp pain on the inside of my knee. The pain would go away when I rested but would return when I would immediately move. I considered whether I had a sharp foot strike during my run, and I hadn’t. The culprit of my injury: My quadriceps (a group of thigh muscles) were unbalanced in strength. The inner muscle was weaker than the outer muscle, pulling muscle and the tendon near the joint. The solution that fixed the problem was lunges and squats.

Lower Back Pain: After running for a week, I developed lower back pain. I have had lower back pain in the past, so I thought this was related to me some how lifting something incorrectly. Instead, the problem was my quads were stronger than my hamstrings, and this imbalance was pulling my hips out of alignment.

Hip pain: Similar to the issue above, yet this time the misalignment gave me pain in the hip.

In each case, the fix was easy. I spoke with my doctor, explained in detail the pain and that I had been exercising. The doctor recommended me to a chiropractor who gave me a routine of stretches and exercises that ultimately strengthened my weaker muscles and allowed me to feel good again.

Bottomline, if you are experiencing persistent joint pain, see your doctor as they can likely help you immediately.

Fun RUN!!!

Have fun!

And finally, have fun. Do not let running become a chore. The world will look differently as you run. Buildings and homes, plants and tree, people and animals, things that you would normally drive by, you can now see up close during your run, and it is a beautiful world.

COVID 19 has made it difficult to sign up for fun runs or join running clubs, If you can do this, do so. Fun runs give you a goal, as well as some fun swag to wear. A running club give you a buddy with who to share experiences. And people who have exercise partners are for more likely to stay motivated to exercise.

#fitness, #exercise, #wide-body, #running, #fun, #shoes, #beginners, #soreness

VIDEO – Motivation Driver: Who are You Serving?

If you have been relying on inspiration and will power in order to stay motivated, you’ve set yourself up for failure because inspiration fades and will power eventually gives out.

So, how do you stay motivated to move forward in your personal life, your professional life, and your spiritual life? You stay motivated by having a purpose, and that purpose motivates you when the purpose is bigger than you. To create a purpose that is bigger than you means that you will need to be of service to others. So, the question to ask yourself is who are you serving.

#Motivation #Purpose #Service #WillPower #Inspiration #widebody

How To Start a Running Routine Today

If you have been considering starting a running routine, there is no better time to start than now. The changing of seasons from Summer to Fall bring about cooler weather that makes this the ideal time to start running. I love running in the fall and winter because I don’t become overheated and I feel as though I have more energy in the cooler temps. The other reason is because running gives me the discipline and reason to go outside during a period when I may normally stay indoors.

 The Benefits of Starting a Routine NOW

Allow me to offer a little nudge as to why you should start your routine now.

Physical Health: This is the obvious reason for starting and staying with any exercise routine. If you want to address issues with how to manage your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, or a host of health maladies related to a modern sedentary lifestyle, you need to create some movement.
Mental Health: This area of health is finally getting its due for a major reason why you should exercise. Research consistently shows that exercise does an amazing job in relieving stress and anxiety, providing you with better focus, calm, and clarity. Just last week I posted a video about how a walk for as little as two minutes can help relieve stress and return a clarity to your mind.
Mental Wellbeing: Not to be confused with Mental Health, Mental Wellbeing is focused on your outlook on life. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, making us feel better and more optimistic. This better wellbeing allows us to better handle the stressors that come up during any given day.

If you have further doubts about whether you are ready to start a routine now because of your age, current health, or because you have never had an exercise routine, I’ll alleviate those concerns now.

Getting Started

You can start running at any age and there are countless articles of people discovering or re-discovering running well into their senior years. So don’t let age be the thing that stops you. If you worry about how running will impact your knees or other joints, you shouldn’t. Researchers have found that running actually strengthens your joints as well as the bones. As with any exercise routine, consult with your doctor first and shar with him/her what you want to do. Your doctor may be able to provide you some very specific exercise information that exactly fits your health needs. And if you are unable to run, that is ok! Start by walking and then build up into a running routine. Just start moving and start today!!

Next Steps

  1. See your doctor: This is especially important if you have not regularly exercised. Tel the doctor that you want to start a running routine and ensure that you physically ready. The doctor can also recommend routines that fit your specific health needs.
  2. If you have a retailer dedicated to runners, visit them for a fitting. Properly fit shoes will prevent injuries, and in general make your periods of exercise more comfortable. Being cheap on shoes is not the best plan as not all feet fit the same, and thus you want shoes that specifically fit the differences of your feet. Here is an example; Me, being the Wide-Body, carry around more muscle weight than the average guy who runs track. Thus I need shoes that are designed for “Clydesdales” (Men who weigh more than 205lbs). Certain shoes styles and certain manufactures will not work for me, but by working with a good retailer, I can find the shoes that meet the needs of my feet.  If you don’t have access to a quality retailer, then check out this article for what to consider when buying shoes. https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-buy-the-right-running-shoes-2911857
  3. Don’t over do it in the beginning: You will likely feel a little stiff or sore after your first few times out. That is normal and should be welcomed. This tell you that muscles are being used in a good way. Nonetheless, the goal is not to have you run a marathon tomorrow. The goal for now is to start exercising and to create a consistent pattern of exercise. Over doing exercise when you start will leave you hurt, disappointed, frustrated, and likely injured. Set a goal to improve with each week in manageable increments.
  4. Employ the interval method: One way to prevent “over doing it” is to use the interval method of running for one minute, then walking for one minute, then running again for a one, etc. You eventually build up to longer periods of running until you are strong enough that all you do is run. There are several run/walk routines you can find on the internet, here is one that I think is pretty good: https://www.realsimple.com/health/fitness-exercise/workouts/how-to-start-running
  5. Enjoy!: Have fun with your exercise. Look around as you run and you may be surprised at the things you see that you never notice while driving. Listen to podcasts and expand your knowledge. Use this time to meditate by clearing your mind. But whatever you do, enjoy the time you are putting into yourself and enjoy the results of that dedication and discipline.

In upcoming articles, I’ll do a few features on proper form and equipment to consider before your next run.

Steak Salad with Salsa Verde Vinaigrette

YUM!!
This meal “just works” on so many levels; 1. I doesn’t take a lot of time to make this meal, 2. It is healthy, 3. The colors pop! The flavors pop! The textures are amazing, 4. My local grocer has sirloin steak on sale!

This recipe will definitely be turned into a video for The Wide-Body

Ingredients
• Cooking spray
• 1 (8-oz.) sirloin steak
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• divided 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/4 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons
• finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon capers finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• 5 cups arugula (about 5 oz.)
• 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
• 1 ounce shaved fresh Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)

The recipe is straight forward, but nonetheless, check out the rest of the detail on the Cooking Light page: https://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/steak-salad-salsa-verde-vinaigrette

Nutritional Information
• Calories 281
• Fat 23g Satfat 6g Unsatfat 15g
• Protein 15g
• Carbohydrate 4g
• Fiber 1g
• Sodium 458mg
• Calcium 13% DV
• Potassium 10% DV
• Sugars 1g Added sugars 0g