Zinc is found in high levels in oysters and, to a much lesser extent, other foods like animal meat, nuts and beans.
For the study, scientists at the National University of Singapore tested two sets of white New Zealand rabbits. Both groups were fed a high-cholesterol diet over eight weeks, but one was also fed zinc supplements.
Researchers found an increased intake of zinc did not affect the amount of cholesterol in blood, but had great impact in reducing the amount of buildup old cholesterol had caused on arterial walls. In other words, zinc was helping clean out the arteries of the rabbits.
"Most Americans are deficient in zinc," said Mike Adams, natural health advocate and author of the book "Natural Appetite Suppressants for Safe, Effective Weight Loss." "It is a direct cause of suppressed immune function, slowed healing times and even low birth weight babies."
The recommended daily intake of zinc from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is 11 mg for men and 8 mg for women, rising to 12 mg while pregnant.
The USDA recommends that vegetarians double the above numbers, because by avoiding meat, vegetarians are likely to absorb less zinc because of their diet.
The importance of keeping one's arteries free of cholesterol "debris" is directly related to health: if an artery becomes completely blocked, it leads to either a severe heart attack or stroke.
If these findings with how zinc works in rabbits can be translated to findings in the human blood vessel system, it allows for important inroads into understanding ways to preserve heart health.
The latest research from the National University of Singapore is published in the February 15 edition of the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine. The journal is published by the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine.
Adams recommends Eidonic Minerals from the web site Eidon.com, "especially their bone support formula in the 2 oz. concentrate form."