• Iris Grattan

Zinc Everyday Keeps the Period Cramps Away.

Learn six other amazing benefits of zinc for period health and overall well-being.



EDITED TRANSCRIPTION:


Hello, ladies. Today we're going to talk about zinc. And here's why. Zinc helps with everything including period pain and acne.


As an antioxidant, it neutralizes free radicals and balances your blood sugar.


Studies indicate that it can reverse and prevent anemia, PMS, and stress, depression, anxiety.


It heals your gut, repairing the intestinal permeability too.


And that's the shortlist! Otherwise, we'd be here for how many hours? Too many to count.


Let's get started.


PERIOD PAIN


Period pain, cramps, are primarily caused by inflammatory molecules called prostaglandins which are similar to hormones. They're released by your inflammation system to control processes like labor induction, repairing an injury, or preventing infection from spreading.


But they also cause period pain when there’s too many and they temporarily reduce blood flow and oxygen to the uterine wall. Your uterus is a muscle that contracts and expands regularly. When its oxygen supply diminishes the spasms and cramping increase with severity and frequency. That's the pain you feel.


Zinc increases the microcirculation through the tiny blood vessels in the uterine wall bringing blood and oxygen. This reduces your cramping and pain.


It reigns in inflammatory cytokines too. They are another messenger of your inflammation system which can be either pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory. In the case of period pain, you have inflammatory cytokines turning on inflammation, but nothing is turning it off.


Except for zinc.


Zinc inhibits the production of inflammatory cytokines in your body. This reduces the number of prostaglandins. And zinc stops the metabolism of prostaglandins which also contribute to your period cramps.


It really shuts down the entire operation of an overabundant supply of workaholic prostaglandins, their parents and their babies as the entire family just wreaks havoc all up in your uterus.


In endometriosis and adenomyosis, where an aberrant inflammatory process contributes or may even cause both conditions, zinc lessens the severe pain. Over time, it helps alleviate nausea and vomiting often experienced - two crazy symptoms related to an outta control inflammation system.


ACNE


Zinc works wonders for acne.


  • Keeps your pores unclogged by reducing keratin overproduction in the hair follicles

  • Kills the main bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes (P.acnes)

  • Lowers testosterone reducing excess production of sebum in the hair follicle leading to an inflammatory process and acne

  • Stem post-pill acne outbreaks if taken 1-2 months prior to pill withdrawal

So zinc’s like a knight in shining armor for PCOS-related acne, post-pill acne, and inflammatory acne.


Scientific studies indicate that it worked best for inflammatory pustules but not comedones, papules, infiltrates, or cysts.


Keratin

a protein produced by your skin to protect it from damage.


ANTIOXIDANT


Energy production in your cells creates waste products called free radicals, oxidants, or reactive oxygen species aka ROS.


Alcohol, environmental pollutants, and smoking create oxidation and free radicals in your body as well.


With an adequate antioxidant system from food and supplements, those oxidants are neutralized and removed from the body.


Yet a deficiency in antioxidants causes significant cell damage. DNA damage, protein dysfunction, cell death, and tissue and organ dysfunction all result from a poorly supplied or underperforming antioxidant network. This all leads to disease.


Oxidants play a key role in infertility, endometriosis, and PCOS. Free radicals prevent ovulation and subsequent progesterone production.


Zinc neutralizes oxidants by protecting and nourishing your ovaries. It fuels ovulation, supporting progesterone production and hormonal balance. Progesterone maintains your pregnancy and counterbalances estrogen, protecting against PMS, estrogen excess, heavy bleeding, and period cramps too.


Maintain a responsive antioxidant system with zinc. Include vitamin A, C, E, selenium, and copper. And eat foods with bright colors like greens, oranges, and blues - your main dietary source of antioxidants.


BLOOD SUGAR BALANCE & INSULIN RESISTANCE


Wave-like fluctuations in blood sugar - aka glucose - and insulin levels create body-wide inflammation. They also desensitize your cells to insulin - the pancreatic hormone that knocks on the door (receptor) of each cell in your liver and muscles inviting it to take glucose in.


Desensitized cell receptors require more insulin before it permits glucose entrance. The pancreas increases the production of insulin working itself harder in the process. Higher levels of insulin decrease the number of proteins, called sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which transport estrogen. Low SHBG means estrogen can travel freely acting on organs and creating the common symptoms of estrogen excess/dominance - heavy bleeding, fibroids, painful cramps. And exacerbating endometriosis and adenomyosis.


Free estrogen raises inflammation in the body as well. Inflammation causes your period of pain. It also disrupts progesterone’s cell receptor communication and subsequent counterbalancing effect to estrogen.


Zinc makes up a portion of insulin ensuring its proper function and preventing its degradation. It also inhibits insulin resistance at the cell receptors of your liver and muscles. This means zinc indirectly supports detoxification. And supports your skeletal muscles and brain activity.


ANEMIA & HEAVY BLEEDING


Heavy bleeding, called menorrhagia technically, contributes to iron-deficiency anemia. Regular and excessive blood loss reduces the volume of blood in your body leading to iron deficiency. Endometriosis, fibroids, adenomyosis, and perimenopause are conditions and life stages in which heavy bleeding often occurs.


Iron deficiency compounds menorrhagia - you bleed heavier with the loss of iron in addition to the primary reason for your heavy bleeding.


Zinc reverses and prevents iron-deficiency anemia. Its deficiency may even be a contributing factor to the development of the anemic condition in the first place.


PMS


Premenstrual tension or premenstrual syndrome occurs between the last 10-17 days before your bleed.


The shift in hormones, changes in aldosterone, how fast your estrogen and progesterone drop before your bleed, plus many other mechanisms determine if you experience PMS. And how severe.

Aldosterone

the hormone secreted by your adrenal glands that controls the levels of salt is in your body


PMS-related bloating, swelling, high blood pressure stem from excess aldosterone production during the luteal phase.


Luteal phase

the last 10-17 days before your bleed


A time when progesterone rises and estrogen falls. And eventually, they both drop off to allow for a menstrual bleed.


Zinc, along with other minerals can prevent PMS. And in as little as one day before the bleed, a scientific study demonstrated a significant reduction in PMS symptoms. Many participants expressed surprise because their menstrual bleed arrived without the preceding warning signs of PMS.


Between one to four days prior to their bleed, participants increased their zinc supplementation taking 30 mg three times a day.





STRESS, DEPRESSION, ANXIETY


The HPA axis regulates your stress response. A speeding heart rate, breaking into a sweat, butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms, and other physical signs of stress are coordinated by your hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands.


Your hippocampus coordinates your hypothalamus and pituitary which initiate the stress response in the adrenal glands. They release cortisol and the games begin.


Hippocampus

a part of your brain located within your temporal lobe


If you pull the flap of your ear forward and touch the skull behind it, that’s the other side of your temporal lobe. Your hippocampus lies in the center of that lobe of your brain.


It manages long-term memory and emotion.

Zinc creates a healthy hippocampus. This modifies your susceptibility to depression and anxiety which can occur in hippocampus dysfunction from loss of zinc.


Your adrenal glands also produce less cortisol with adequate levels of zinc. In fact, zinc can suppress cortisol levels preventing a stress response altogether.


INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY


Your gut, or GI tract, extends from your mouth to your anus. The cells that line the track grip each other tight, leaving no holes in between.


Local inflammation from food sensitivities, intolerances, allergies, injuries, or other dysfunction can weaken the connections between your cells. As your food travels through the digestion process, some may slip through those holes entering your bloodstream. This incites an inflammatory response as food is a foreign object to your inflammation system when it’s floating through your blood.


This contributes to increased inflammation throughout the body and is an underlying cause of autoimmune diseases. Progressive studies in recent years all but categorize endometriosis as an autoimmune disease. So, reversing intestinal permeability with zinc and through a structured gut-healing process remains a top priority for endometriosis sufferers.


Plus, zinc reduces systemic inflammation through intestinal permeability. Local gut inflammation can spread throughout the track contributing to body-wide inflammation and complicated symptoms.


CAUSES OF ZINC DEFICIENCY


Copper IUD - a non-hormonal contraceptive that prevents pregnancy by its presence in the uterus and the release of copper ions.


In the first year after implantation, it leads to low iron and zinc deficiency. Participants also suffered from menorrhagia - a possible result of the zinc deficiency according to researchers.


Hormonal birth control

They speed up the daily loss of zinc. Deficiency in zinc contributes to its continual loss but using birth control quickened the process.


Veganism, vegetarianism

Females in either diet categories demonstrated lower zinc levels. Both diets include high levels of phytic acids from grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds - foods that block the absorption of minerals, including zinc.


Soaking grains, oftentimes overnight, in yogurt, buttermilk, or water with lemon or apple cider vinegar breaks up phytic acid.


And soaking legumes in the water with lemon or apple cider vinegar does the same.


Ovulation

Your body uses zinc to ensure healthy follicles and eggs. Elevated levels of progesterone may cause zinc deficiency as well.


Late luteal phase

Zinc levels drop during the mid-luteal phase onward. This may be to the drop in estrogen as zinc levels in your blood rise and fall according to the levels of estrogen.


Other notable mentions:

Alcohol

Anorexia nervosa

Socioeconomic status


HOW & WHEN TO TAKE:


Dietary sources

Red meat like liver, beef, and lamb contain adequate levels of zinc. So do oysters.


Supplementation

Zinc picolinate offers the most bioavailable form of zinc. Zinc citrate can be a favorable alternative.


Zinc gluconate often comes in lozenges form. But it also supplies a high level of cadmium, a zinc look-a-like and close friend in nature.


Studies demonstrate reduced PMS, period pain, and other period relief from 30 mg a day after a meal.


The study where PMS symptoms completely resolved within 1-4 days, noted one capsule of 30 mg three times a day with a meal produced their surprising results.


Taking zinc daily, with a possible dose loading right before your bleed, and then returning to the normal daily dose can result in a tangible and quick resolution to your period complaints.


Please note that zinc levels above 80mg a day for a sustained period can be dangerous leading to toxicity.


Signs & Symptoms of Toxicity

  • vomiting

  • stomach pain

  • nausea

  • diarrhea

  • flu-like symptoms

  • changes in taste

  • copper deficiency

  • anemia

  • frequent infections

  • low HDL levels on your lab results


Use natural therapies to reverse and heal from period challenges because it's doable. If you want results for your better period from a simple, scientific and natural approach, you can do two things:

1. Sign up for the infographic to organize and accelerate your DIY healing journey.

2. Schedule a consultation for the 6-month Period Optimizing Program. With personalized and targeted support you'll learn why you're still struggling after all the supplements, foods, and reading you've done. And you'll speed up your recovery.


Either choice will get you closer to your painless period, renewed energy, and overall health goals than going it alone.


To a better period. Stat!

Dr. Iris Grattan


References:

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