Ghritas as an entry medium for Herbal Zinc during the Viral Season
By Prithu Nath
The Zinc Absorption Problem
Zinc is a positively Charged Mineral but our cells carry a negative charge thus both repel each other. Indians Being Predominantly vegetarian have an inadequate dietary intake of zinc. Other inhibitors of zinc absorption is a vegetarian diet high in Phytate, which is present in staple foods like cereals, corn and rice, has a strong negative effect on zinc absorption from composite meals.
The groups of foods providing the most bio-available Zinc are not eaten by vegetarians, being mostly present in red meat & poultry, with oysters containing more zinc per serving than any other food. Other food sources include beans, nuts, certain types of seafood (such as crab and lobster), whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products.
Zinc is lost through the skin and kidneys (combined loss of 0.5-0.8mg/day), more zinc being lost when the body sweats more, as in hot climates and during strenuous exercise. Approximately half of all zinc eliminated from the body is lost through the shedding of epithelial cells in the gastro intestinal tract (0.5- 3mg/day).
Protein enhances the absorption of zinc however a phytate rich diet (such as found in cereals, grains, corn and rice) can inhibit the absorption of zinc.
There is a very fine balance between zinc and copper during intestinal absorption. Zinc reduces the amount of copper your body absorbs because copper competes with zinc to bind with metallothionein, the binding protein that brings zinc into the intestinal cells. The ratio of zinc: copper is arguably more important than the concentration of either copper or zinc, and a common problem is excessive copper in water from copper pipes or copper cookware.
Zinc also competes with iron during intestinal absorption, with studies showing a link with whole body zinc status and iron homeostasis, illustrating the importance of a balance of these minerals.
Zinc Contributes to:
Zinc is known to be a potent Antiviral and is therefore a very important factor during Viral Seasons.
Zinc is important for haemoglobin synthesis, a protein responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood.
The normal function of the immune system
Zinc plays a central role in the immune system and immune system support affecting cellular and humoral immunity. It plays a role in cell mediated and antibody mediated responses. Zinc deficiency appears to induce apoptosis, resulting in a loss of B-cell and T-cell precursors within the bone marrow. The zinc dependent enzyme, Thymulin, stimulates the development of T cells within the thymus and the production of cytokines by mononuclear cells is also reduced by zinc deficiency. Adequate zinc status is necessary for natural killer cell function and zinc ions also exhibit direct anti-microbial activity, as highlighted in the scientific paper, Roles of Zinc Signaling in the Immune System.
DNA synthesis and cell division
Zinc is essential for cell proliferation and differentiation, especially for the regulation of DNA synthesis and mitosis. Zinc is a structural component of a number of proteins, including enzymes of cellular signalling pathways and transcription factors.
Zinc is essential for Insulin-like growth factor (IGF) which induces cell proliferation, and reduced zinc availability appears to affect membrane signalling and secondary messengers that coordinate cell proliferation.
Protection of DNA, proteins and lipids from oxidative damage
Zinc takes part in antioxidant activities in the body. By binding to thiol groups in proteins, it renders them less susceptible to oxidation. Zinc also supports in the scavenging of reactive oxygen species by inducing the expression of metallothionein and increasing catalase activity and functions as an antioxidant through the catalytic action of copper/zinc-superoxide dismutase.
Contribution to normal protein synthesis
Zinc contributes to normal protein synthesis including keratin and collagen synthesis. One of the important zinc dependent proteins is Gustin, which is involved in taste and smell. Poor or absent gustin levels results in impaired taste and smell, as shown in this zinc research on protein synthesis.
Other important zinc containing enzymes are carboxopeptidase, which helps break down protein. Zinc deficiency also impairs the synthesis of the protein Opsin, the precursor of Rhodopsin, which, if decreased, results in abnormal dark adaptation of the eye. Zinc is also required for the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, responsible for converting retinol to retinal, essential for eye function.
Zinc Enriched Ghritas Ghritham or Herbal Cow Ghee
In Ayurveda Cow Ghee is know to have a unique property – Samskarasya Anuvartanat. It blends the Herb Properties into itself without losing it’s own inherent Properties.
At Arogyadham, we have Blended cow Ghee with Herbal Zinc using Herbs specifically High in Zinc for this Zinc to penetrate Deeply into our Cells.
“In Ghritas the ghee effectively acts as a carrier media to facilitate the transport of active healing principles extracted from herbs through the cell membrane, which is permeable only by lipid molecules”.
Since Ancient times, Ghee has been known to penetrate deeply into our Cells and Tissues. It is a well known fact that in Ayurveda and Indian Households Ghee is known to have medicinal properties. Our Cell membranes are permeable only by Lipid molecules because our cell membranes are made mostly of lipid molecules and Ghee is mostly Lipid and lighter than most oils too.
Ghee also helps increase the levels of fat soluble vitamins, especially Vitamin E, in our blood. Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that helps preventing the oxidation of LDL in the sub-endothelial space within arteries and so helps prevent atherosclerosis and any consequent heart problems.
Ghee is considered to be sweet in taste, cool in nature, and to have a highly nourishing effect on all the bodily tissues. It is particularly nourishing to the brain (Dass, 2013). Furthermore, if you can tolerate it, full-fat dairy has numerous health benefits. “Grass-fed butter is rich in vitamin A, vitamin D, conjugated linolenic acid (CLA), omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin K2 (an important nutrient for bone health that is found only in dairy products and a few other foods)” (Palanisamy, 2015, p. 48). In addition, some promising studies show that consumption of full-fat dairy products may also be associated with a lower risk of diabetes (Palanisamy, 2015).
It not only aids digestion but is a tonic for all the body tissues, especially the brain and nerve tissues”. Ghee is also lighter and more penetrating than other oils, so Ghritas allow the herbal properties infused within them to be more easily absorbed by our body tissues. Ghritas are extensively used in Ayurvedic practice, especially for degenerative and deep-seated conditions.
Because our brain cells are mostly composed of saturated lipid fats, ghee one of the few oils that can easily cross the blood-brain barrier. This is why herbs that benefit the brain and nervous system, and are said to promote intellect and memory, such as Ashwagandha, Shatavari and Brahmi, are often taken in Ghrita form.