I came across this really interesting study while reading the Journal of Renal Nutrition. It talks about how the humble mineral zinc is showing amazing protective benefits for those undergoing chemotherapy (chemotherapy drug= cisplatin). Now it must be said that these studies are being performed currently on rats, but most promising studies all start out on rats and follow on to humans. They found that zinc picolinate (a type of zinc) treatment significantly reduced urea-N, creatinine, and oxidative stress and inflammatory markers.
Zinc is an “essential trace element” because tiny quantities of zinc are required for human health. However, it is only second to iron (as a mineral) in the total amount present in the body. Zinc is one of the most under-rated minerals in the body (calcium and vitamin C get all the limelight it seems lately) as it is involved in over 200 biochemical processes in the body, and is a powerful antioxidant. Only outdone by magnesium which is involved in over 300. Zinc is found in all bodily tissues and therefore lends itself to healing many conditions, such as: colds and flus, cuts and wounds, Alzheimer’s, dementia, diabetes, acne, AIDS, dandruff, psoriasis, stretch marks, hearing loss, coeliac disease, ulcerative colitis, hair loss, depression, fertility, and on and on it goes… oh, and of course kidney disease.
The chemotherapy drug used in the study was Cisplatin, a seriously toxic drug in anyone’s language which has a history of causing nephrotoxicity (=kidney toxicity).
The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of zinc picolinate on cisplatin-induced kidney damage. The study used 28 rats, divided into four groups consisting of 7 rats each: Group 1. control, group 2. zinc picolinate, group 3. cisplatin, and group 4. cisplatin plus zinc picolinate.
The fantastic news for you is that results were a clear illustration of the benefits of zinc. Zinc was shown to significantly reduce urea-N, creatinine, malondialdehyde, 8-isoprostane, and tumor necrosis factor-α -α levels (the last three are inflammatory and oxidative stress markers). In each case the zinc group outperformed the non zinc group. Group 2 outperformed group 1, and group 4 outperformed group 3.
The study came to the conclusion (from the positive evidence) that zinc picolinate clearly decreases the oxidative stress and inflammation in cisplatin-induced kidney damage, and lowers other kidney disease factors such as creatinine and urea. It also important to note that they used a high dose of zinc, administered via injection for 10 days (6mg per kg body weight).
Zinc has no known side-effects within the normal dosage range (10-100mg a day) and is an inexpensive treatment, especially compared to the costs of kidney dialysis or kidney replacement. This method is a fantastic way to heal the kidneys and improve your nutritional status. All the while reducing the need and burden of higher funded treatments such as dialysis.
So get out there, start enjoying some zinc rich foods: Shellfish, fish, oysters, popcorn, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, walnuts, almonds, muesli, dhal, wheat germ, tomato sauce and paste (I think some of those foods would make a good spaghetti marinara, don’t you think?). And don’t forget to supplement, eating those foods alone will not provide you enough zinc for the desired benefits.