Though the research on whole foods – including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and fish – may and their relevance to cardiovascular health currently overshadow studies on minerals, new research on minerals is happening. Here are some examples:
Magnesium: Is it an anti-inflammatory mineral?
Research published in the journal Nutrition Research (vol. 26, pp 193-196) indicates that it is. Using a blood chemistry marker associated with heart disease and inflammation known as C-reactive protein (CRP) researchers showed that magnesium has anti-inflammatory actions in the body. Elevated C-reactive protein CRP is a consistent indicator of chronic inflammation because it is one of the bodies “signalling molecules.” The higher and longer the inflammation exists, the higher the CRP values. “Previous research has indicated that dietary magnesium may be a key component in the association between diet and inflammation” proffers lead study author and Medical University of South Carolina professor Dana King. “The key finding in this study is that magnesium intake from supplements has an impact on the likelihood of having elevated C-reactive protein.” People with dietary magnesium intake below the required daily allowance (RDA) were found to have a 40% higher risk of elevated CRP.
Because zinc has long been known as an important building block of natural antioxidant enzymes made in the body, such as glutathione, peroxidase, and super oxide dismutase, it is thought of as a “protector mineral.” Two recent studies further support zinc’s critical importance. The September 2005 issue of the Journal of Nutrition (vol. 135, pp 2114-2118) reported that zinc deficiency was associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease through inflammation. New research published online in the March 2006 issue of the journal Free Radical Biology in Medicine (doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2006.03.017) further supports the oxidation/inflammation risk of deficiency.
Depleted soils and industrialized farming have combined to reduce the mineral content of many foods previously rich in essential minerals. Minerals are a key link in the Chain of Life and assuring deficiencies don’t exist is a smart health move for all.