From the depths of the ocean comes a product that few have considered for maintaining normal skin.
However, sitting there in its shell on the bottom of the ocean, the oyster possesses some remarkable properties that can play a role in maintaining normal skin. For acne sufferers or anyone with skin disorders this is good news. Fresh oysters are of course delicious but are hard to get and are not to everyones liking. Oyster extract offers a way to get all the benefits without the oral sensation
The reason for this is because the oyster has very high levels of key trace elements and bioactive enzymes, which can be very useful in maintaining normal skin. One of these is zinc. Not just any zinc, like the synthetic zinc supplements one finds in the health food store or pharmacy, but natural, organic, bio available zinc. And not just zinc alone, but zinc with co-factors like copper, manganese and selenium. All bound in protein structures which make them highly bio available.
Do not underestimate the bio availability issue. Zinc uptake is greatest in the jejunum (part of the small intestine) which is the part of the intestine closely after the stomach. However, for uptake to occur the zinc must first bind to active transport molecules. For synthetic zinc this is a problem, but for zinc from an oyster it is not, as that zinc is already bound to these transport molecules and ready for uptake. This raises certain issues about the efficacy of synthetic zinc supplements.
So why is this zinc so important I hear you say eagerly?
Zinc plays a key role in almost 300 enzyme reactions in the body. Many of these happen in the skin. For example, zinc enzymes contribute to the production of collagen and elastin in the skin, both of which keep it supple and young looking. For acne sufferers the major issues are the flare-ups and the scarring.
Acne is caused when pores get clogged and sebum production runs riot. The ensuing infection is what causes the redness and soreness. The scarring can be permanent in severe cases. Zinc , in conjunction with a healthy & varied diet, contributes to the regulation of these in several ways.
- The production of vitamin B6
- Zinc contributes to the normal function of the immune system
- If a flare up has occurred, zinc can reduce scarring as it has a role in the process of cell division and growth.
How do you know if you are zinc deficient?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that up to 80% of Western society may suffer from mild zinc deficiency. It is caused mainly by poor nutrition and certain groups can be more prone than others can. Athletes may lose more zinc through sweat than normal. Sexually active males, alcoholics and the elderly are also groups that may have a higher incidence of zinc deficiency than normal. However poor nutrition and processed foods depleted of micronutrients are the biggest culprits. A healthy & varied diet is the main way to ensure your body is getting what it needs however, supplementation may help. This is a big problem nowadays as corporate agriculture and corporate food processors are more concerned about profits and less concerned about nutrient availability in the products they create.
The solution is to seek out fresh ingredients and try to have a healthy diet. Think Slow Food Not Fast Food. Taking a good zinc supplement is also wise if you suspect you are zinc deficient. Oyster extract is by far one of the best forms of zinc supplement available on the market today. However, beware of cheap products that come from countries with dubious records on environmental quality. Oysters must be grown in clean waters and the process must be conscious of preserving the key elements in high concentrations to be effective.
Some oyster extracts can have 20-30 times less zinc per serving than others as they process the oysters, not for nutrient concentrations, but for bulk yields and profits. The bulkier extracts can be high in glycogen but low in the micronutrients that can contribute to healthy skin. Much research has been carried out on zinc and the results are very encouraging. If you wish to try an oyster extract find one that is high in zinc and be prepared to pay that little extra for the extra benefits you’ll receive. Lastly, try to remember that oyster extract is not just the best form of zinc supplement you can take, it also contains trace minerals and vitamins such as iodine, copper, selenium and Vitamin B12.
Quite a big offering from the little oyster.
Not a substitute for a varied diet.
Think before you zinc!