Zinc, A Little Something to Make You Think

The incessant dance of atoms and molecules around us unfolds an undeniably beautiful ballet of nature. Among these, a wondrous metal with the atomic number 30 makes a remarkable appearance – zinc. Many of us, in the thrall of our sophisticated digital age, remain oblivious to this humble metallic actor’s cosmic journey and its vital role in the grand opera of human existence.

Zinc, our protagonist, began its journey not on our azure host(Earth), but in the boundless vastness of the cosmos, forged in the stellar crucibles of supernovae. Cosmic winds, the grand maestros of the universe, orchestrated its journey towards our solar nebula, paving the way for the conception of our beautiful planet. Upon Earth’s formation, zinc nestled deep within her bosom, hidden beneath a crust of more glamorous elements. It took the inventive curiosity of mankind in the post-stone age, roughly 5000 years ago, to excavate and mold zinc into a useful ally. We learned to alloy zinc with copper, birthing brass, and thus, stepping into the age of metallurgy, unraveling a new chapter of civilization.

Zinc doesn’t merely belong in the annals of our human history; it is an intimate participant in the pulsating rhythm of life itself. This bluish-white metal, while not as ostentatious as gold or celebrated as iron, is fundamental to our health and well-being.

Deep within our bodies, hidden from the prying eyes of our consciousness, zinc plays an unassuming but powerful role. It slips into enzymes, becoming an integral part of over 300 different types, each performing a crucial task in the symphony of our biological processes. From the division of our cells, the orchestration of our immune response, to the expression of our DNA – zinc is there, in every note, in every beat, assisting, catalyzing, and enabling.

Imagine, for a moment, life without zinc. The music of our bodily functions would descend into a dissonant cacophony. Our cells would cease to divide, our wounds would refuse to heal, and our taste and smell would abandon us, leaving us in a world bereft of sensory pleasures. The vital process of growth and development in children would falter, casting a shadow over the vibrancy of youth. Zinc deficiency can transform life into an echo of its full expression, a symphony with its vital instruments missing.

Many of us, swept away by the glitz and glamour of modern life, forget the fundamentals. We forget how the subtle dance of elements like zinc orchestrates the drama of our existence. We neglect the importance of maintaining a balanced diet, rich in zinc, leading to an unfortunate deficiency of this vital nutrient.

While we engage in intellectual pursuits and explore the realm of the abstract, we must not lose touch with the primal. We must remain grounded in our physical existence, understanding the subtle interplay of the elements that maintain our well-being. And zinc, in all its humble glory, demands our attention.

Just as zinc has found its place in the cosmic order, becoming part of stars, planets, and living organisms, it has also found a home within us. This connection, this intimate dance between the human and the elemental, is a realization of our place in the cosmos. It is a beautiful reminder that we are not merely observers of the universe, but participants, intimately connected with the cosmic dance.

So, let us celebrate zinc, this unassuming yet vital element, not just for its role in human health but also for its cosmic journey and its place in the grand opera of existence. It serves as a gentle reminder of our interconnectedness with the universe, a profound illustration of the saying, “We are stardust.” By recognizing and acknowledging the importance of elements like zinc, we are not merely caring for our health but also acknowledging our intimate connection with the cosmos.

Ensure the presence of this humble element in your diet, not only as a step towards healthy living but also as a nod to your cosmic heritage. The zinc in us and the zinc in the stars are one and the same. We are all dancing to the same symphony of existence, an ode to the universe and life itself.

Michael J. Loomis & ChatGPT

Magic Meat?

One of my favorite teachers, researchers, scientists, and authors, Valter Longo, author of the book, The Longevity Diet has observed that a vegan diet is the best way to get to a healthy 65 years of age. However, he has also observed that there are diminishing returns on that vegan diet and overall mortality beyond the age of 65. His answer is to incorporate a small piece of fish once a week for greater longevity and overall mortality.

Personally, I am not satisfied with this answer. I want to know why.

On the surface, this seems counterintuitive to me because there is nothing magic about eating meat. Nothing special is found in eating meat that cannot be obtained from plant-based sources. True, we cannot get animal-based collagen from plant sources, but animal-based collagen is not a necessary nutrient. Our body makes its own collagen when provided with sufficient amino acids and other nutrients, like copper, zinc, and vitamin C. All things found in plant-based foods.

So what is it that happens at age 65 that would make meat confer greater overall mortality to an aging population? I am thinking that it has more to do with the production of stem cells and an elevated white blood cell count associated with eating cooked foods referred to as digestive leukocytosis. This occurs when any foods, plant or animal-based enter the body that has been cooked. Eating cooked or overheated foods result in an increase in leukocyte production similar to what we see when the body has suffered an injury or some form of infection. Eating raw foods does not have this effect.

Some people, especially raw vegans, and fruitarians might feel that this justifies a completely uncooked diet, however, that is a conclusion that is not really justified in that the solution is to simply eat a diet of both cooked and raw. Dr. Paul Kouchakoff demonstrated all this in two papers he published back in the 1930s. However, most people only read his first paper on the topic published in 1930 that points out that digestive leukocytosis happens when foods are overcooked. It is his second paper published in 1937 that is only available in French that further explains that eating cooked foods isn’t a problem if one also eats even a small amount, some 10%, of the same foods uncooked. But alas, most people only read the first paper that had been published in English while ignoring the second one that was published later, available only in French.

This leads me to suspect that the answer can be found in a process called hormesis, whereby our body’s immune system is upregulated. That a diet that incorporates certain kinds of cooked foods into our diet to trigger an increased amount of neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, monocytes, and lymphocytes that then go out into the body resulting in a greater level of regeneration. A cleansing effect if you will. Maybe this is why soups have been loved by many as not only comfort food, but one that makes them feel better when they are suffering the effects of the common cold.

I figure I have another 15 years until I see age 65. I imagine that will be long enough to resolve these questions.