Zinc and The Brain: The Missing Brain Nutrient
If you have been in our office, chances are we have checked zinc levels in you. The Zinc Tally Test is how we can check by swishing around some aqueous zinc solution and checking whether it tastes like tap water or a 9-volt battery. When we think about zinc we have to think about cell growth and maintenance. It is crucial for immune function, wound healing, men’s health, breast health, carbohydrate handling… well, a lot of things!
Dr. Robert Melillo, a chiropractic neurologist and author of Disconnected Kids has written a good article summing up brain healthy nutrients. The focus on one of his recent blog articles was zinc and its link to a healthy brain. What makes it more interesting is his link to autism, citing studies from MIT and Duke.
“According to DAN (Defeat Autism Now!), zinc is deficient in 90 percent of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A review of environmental factors related to ASD found that a zinc deficiency has multiple adverse effects on the developing brain. In one study, researchers at Duke University Medical Center and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology used a chemical that binds with zinc to eliminate it from the brains of test mice. They found that in absence of the mineral, communication between neurons was significantly diminished. In another study, test animals with zinc deficiency displayed abnormal autism-related behaviors, such as impaired vocalization and hyperactivity.”
When I look deeper into the research I find a lot of links to zinc helping intestinal permeability, aka leaky gut. There are several articles (here, here, here and here)that were easily found on showing zinc actually heals the GI lining and its tight junctions. This brings us back to a few days ago when we were talking about the link between the blood-brain barrier, intestinal permeability, and zinc autism; Perhaps zinc prenatal/neonatal zinc levels are important in early neurological development. I personally think this should be examined in all people, especially people thinking of starting a family!