The food supplement business is booming. Nowhere is this more evident than on the Internet where thousands of companies compete to offer the latest cure all’s and at the best discounted prices. Americans will spend $30 billion this year alone on anti-oxidants. Europe is catching up fast with growth in the bio actives market reaching 35% last year. All very good news for the manufacturers and large multinationals who have jumped on the band wagon, but what about the unfortunate consumer who wants to augment their nutrition with a supplement? They shouldn’t have to waste half their life searching through thousands of identical brands, gaining a PhD in nutritional studies along the way, before purchasing that all important anti-oxidant, which promises to be the elixir they have been searching for all along.
The answer, in a nutshell, is not in fact in a nutshell, it may in fact, be in an oyster shell. There are few supplements on the market that contain the variety and quality of micro nutrients, in the one place, as oyster extract.
Oyster extract is the dried meat of the oyster excluding the shell. It is powdered and placed in a capsule and packaged ready for oral consumption. Assuming it is manufactured with due regard for the time of harvest, it contains vitamin B12, iodine & copper and is the highest natural source of the trace element zinc. Only oyster extract harvested at times of the year when zinc potency is high can boast this claim, and very few of the companies making oyster extract recognise this.
Oyster extract has been used for centuries in eastern medicine for liver cleansing and healthy male sexual functioning. In recent decades however, our knowledge of micro nutrients has grown. Research in the last 50 years into the role of zinc in human biochemistry has drastically increased the uses to which oyster extract can be used in human nutrition to contribute to a host of normal processes within and maintenance of the human body.
We now know that zinc controls a host of enzyme reactions in the body. These enzymes govern the way we look, feel and think. Oyster Extract contains zinc, copper, iodine and B12 which supports normal function of the immune system, contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue thus increasing energy levels if you have been feeling run down, contributes to maintenance of the skin for smoother complexion, maintenance of normal testosterone levels in the blood, normal fertility and reproduction for sexual health and plays a role in both DNA synthesis and protein synthesis. All these benefits come from ensuring zinc, copper, iodine, selenium and B12 necessary for contributing to peak performance in all these biochemical systems are balanced.
One of the unique aspects of oyster extract powder is that along with the zinc you have zinc co-factors like copper and selenium as well as vitamin B12 and iodine which play a part in maintaining proper physiological functioning.
This is a very important fact as taking zinc on its own can lead to imbalances in other trace elements in the body as they can have a negative feedback effect on each other. For example, taking zinc on its own can lead to copper deficiency. Oyster extract has both elements in a balanced form, just as nature intended.
The various brands!
Not all oyster extract powders are the same. Most use oysters harvested when the oyster’s meat yield is high and this is when the zinc concentration is lowest. These tend to be the cheaper ones from New Zealand, China and Japan. Water quality from the growing areas is also something not easily traced in countries who do not have trade agreements with the US and Europe. Other oyster extracts are in pill form so half the weight is binding agents and excipients with no nutritional value. Some brands actually include the shell, which means there is very little extract in the product and even less potency.
The best brands!
There are however some very potent ones on the market who harvest the oysters at the right time and process the oysters with this same potency in mind. While more expensive, they far outweigh the synthetic alternatives on the market and are ultimately money well spent when one considers the benefits of taking a superior product.
There are many synthetic zinc supplements on the market. The efficacy of many of these synthetic zinc supplements is questionable. These hard pills and lozenges have to disintegrate and bind to transport proteins before leaving the stomach or the zinc is useless. The zinc receptor cells are located in the duodenum and once zinc passes here very little uptake can occur. This is why eating foods, such as oysters, rich in zinc is the best policy. These foods have the zinc already bound to active transport molecules such as amino acids and certain acids. This makes zinc from natural sources much more bio available. This is the case with oyster extract powder.
The high risk groups!
In Western society moderate to severe zinc deficiency is restricted to certain groups. These include the elderly who have a reduced ability to absorb zinc, vegetarians who are not diligent on zinc intake, alcoholics who excrete a lot of zinc via the kidneys, athletes and body builders who may lose more zinc through sweat and have an increased demand to their exercise regimes.
High potency oyster extract is a very good supplement to assist the body in normal function and maintenance of internal processes required to reduce symptoms of zinc deficiency in conjunction with a varied diet. Early symptoms of zinc deficiency include skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis and psoriasis, brittle nails and weak or thinning hair.
People with compromised immunity can introduce zinc into their diet to contribute to normal function of the immune system..
Zinc contributes to the maintenance of normal bones, hair, nails, skin and vision.
Oyster extract also contains useful amounts of taurine which can have a cardio protective effect.
If you feel you are zinc deficient or have any of the symptoms of zinc deficiency consult your health adviser and / or decide on a zinc replenishment plan that is suitable for your lifestyle.
Not a substitute for a varied diet.
Think before you zinc!