Dr. David Minkoff’s Health Blog

Two Rules of Healing You Should be Aware Of & Importance of Zinc

Rule #1 – Most physicians don’t know anything about nutrition or nutritional biochemistry and have no interest in learning about it because they think it doesn’t really make any difference in getting the body better.

Rule #2 – If a physician doesn’t know about something, he is likely to be down on it. This means that he won’t think of nutrition as a therapy. His training is in pharmaceuticals and those are his tools.

Usually this results in no search for the cause and cure of your symptoms but merely a reflex grab of the prescription pad with the latest drug that he embosses on the paper. This nearly always results in more depletion of the nutrients that caused the problem in the first place and an evolution of new problems from that and more new problems from the side effects of the drug. This is the cause of the epidemic of chronic illness that fills our practice every day.

There are physicians that are continually learning so they can be your partner in helping you be your best. That is what you want. Here is a lesson for you and possibly for him too……

The Importance of Zinc

Did you know that Zinc is the second most common trace mineral in the body? And, that if it is not present in sufficient quantity then at least 300 enzymes critical to body function will not perform as they should?

Zinc deficiency is very common. It is removed from food through processing, removed from the soil from industrial stack pollutants like cadmium and removed from the body by plasticizers and phthalates. It also becomes deficient when you use medications like beta blockers (like Metoprolol or Inderal) and diuretics for blood pressure (like Hydrochlorothiazide), plus steroids (like prednisone, dexamethasone) and cholesterol lowering statins (like Lipitor) and many more.

10 Common Enzymes that are Zinc Dependent to Show How Crucial Zinc Is

  1. Carbonic anhydrase needs zinc so that digestive acid (HCl) can be made in the stomach. Not enough zinc, not enough acid. Not enough acid = overgrowth of H. Pylori (the bacteria that causes ulcers); without acid parasites and candida and nasty bacteria get past your stomach and take up residence in your small intestine or colon; this causes leaky gut that leads to autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia, and chemical sensitivity; inadequate digestion of proteins leads to breakdown of all tissues; inadequate digestion and absorption of minerals (like magnesium which can predispose you to heart arrhythmias and sudden death); symptoms of GERD with reflux esophagitis, and much more. The usual solution is for the doctor to put you on Nexium (the third most prescribed drug in the U.S.) instead of zinc. That will lead you to be sicker quicker with an increase in stomach cancer and other horribles.
  2. The enzyme, Alcohol Dehydrogenase is another zinc dependent enzyme. Without zinc, taking alcohol can damage the brain as well as mitochondria where the energy for every cell is made. This can lead to hepatitis, and brain fog.
  3. Lactic acid dehydrogenase is also zinc dependent. Do you have muscles that easily tire and ache for days after exertion? It could be from this enzyme not working because zinc is not there. This enzyme breaks down lactic acid so it can leave the tissues. If it remains your muscles will be acidic and painful with trigger points.
  4. Without zinc, the enzyme Retinaldehyde dehydrogenase cannot convert beta carotene to Vitamin A in its active form. Low Vitamin A is associated with all cancers, macular degeneration, and schizophrenia.
  5. Zinc is required to convert vitamin B6 to its active form. This leads to Alzheimer’s disease, homocysteine build up with coronary artery disease, cancer and many more undesirables.
  6. The king of enzymes for detoxification is Superoxide Dismutase (SOD). It is also zinc dependent. The daily onslaught of chemicals that cause the damaging free radicals that underlie all disease and accelerate aging is combated by this enzyme. No matter if its heavy metals pesticides, chemicals, or plastics, they will drill holes in your cell membranes if you don’t have enough zinc around to make SOD work.
  7. What if there is chemical damage to your DNA or RNA? Well the body has a mechanism to fix it in the enzymes called DNA polymerase and RNA polymerase. Both are zinc dependent! If these enzymes aren’t working your genes may make wrong things, like cancer, and your proteins may be assembled wrong and give you bad bones or an immune deficiency.
  8. Did you know that in order to make the essential fats that make up every cell membrane in the body, those enzymes too need zinc? The enzymes are called Delta-6- Desaturase and Delta-5-Desaturase.
  9. Zinc is also crucial for making insulin. That could explain why you have Diabetes.
  10. And lastly, Zinc is required to make thyroid hormone. Maybe that is why you are sluggish and cold all the time.

Is Your Doctor Overlooking Nutritional Deficiencies?

If the doctor does not know this, he will not look for zinc deficiency in every patient.He will instead prescribe a drug to handle your depression, fibromyalgia, cancer, heart disease, Diabetes, etc. without ever looking for the real cause: low zinc. Those drugs will never make up for the zinc deficiency and in fact will accelerate it in many cases.

In my estimation, that is bad medicine. In our practice, we look for nutritional deficiencies (not only zinc!) and then we handle them when we find them. This allows the body to work properly and heal. That is the best medicine and I recommend it to you.

Of course, most insurance policies will not cover lab tests that reveal the levels of essential nutrients, like zinc. Why would a doctor want that anyway? So you’ll have to decide to do this yourself. All I can say is who wouldn’t after reading this?


About Dr. Minkoff

Dr. David Minkoff graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1974 and was elected to the “Phi Beta Kappa” of medical schools, the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Medical Fraternity for very high academic achievement. He then completed both a Pediatric Residency and a Fellowship in Infectious Disease at the University of California at San Diego. He worked at the University of California and Children’s Hospitals in San Diego as an attending physician in infectious disease while conducting original research on Ribaviron, a broad spectrum anti-viral agent to fight disease. He also co-directed a neo-natal intensive care unit and worked in emergency medicine. In 1992, Dr. Minkoff’s attended a lecture by Dr. Jeffrey Bland, widely considered the father of functional medicine, during which he had a eureka moment, and began pursuing the alternative health field with a vengeance, studying under the most accomplished thought leaders on natural & integrative healing. In 1997 Dr. Minkoff and his wife set up a small clinic to help friends with their medical problems. What began as an experiment blossomed into LifeWorks Wellness Center, one of the most successful clinics for complementary medicine in the United States.