URINARY tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common bacterial infections in the world. About 150 million people suffered with this condition each year, and abut 60 percent of women will have a UTI in their lifetime.
For many women, UTIs become chronic, but taking antibiotics could relieve the condition. However, antibiotic resistance is on the rise because of abuse in antibiotic use or for not completing the required treatment period.
This means many bacterial infections that were once easily treated with common antibiotics would become resistant to treatments.
Researchers from the University of Queensland just discovered something interesting about how the immune systems fight the E. coli bacteria that causes most UTIs.
Researchers have known for quite a while that zinc kills bacteria. They found that zinc could be an effective alternative to antibiotics when treating UTIs.
Researchers also noticed that E. coli bacteria find clever ways to evade zinc.
They said zinc not only fights E. coli, it also fights Mycobacterium tuberculosis (the bacteria that causes tuberculosis), Salmonella (the bacteria that causes food poisoning) and Streptococcus (the bacteria that causes strep throat). That means, making sure your body has enough zinc is critical to fighting off more than just UTIs.
But this doesn’t mean that you rely on zinc solely to clear up UTIs. But there is enough research to suggest getting your recommended daily allowance of zinc to keep your immune system strong against all infections. That’s 8 mg for women and 11 mg for men.
You can also take a little extra zinc (up to 40 mg per day) when you’re fighting off an infection, whether it’s bacterial or viral.
If you prefer to get your zinc from foods rather than supplements, there are plenty of delicious dishes that give you a healthy dose of zinc, including: oysters, grass-fed beef, pastured pork, chicken, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, cashews, chickpeas, cheese, oatmeal, grass-fed milk, almonds, kidney beans, peas, mushrooms, kale, salmon, flounder, sole, edamame, lentils, black beans, pine nuts, brown rice, quinoa and dark chocolate.
But how would you know if you are zinc deficient or not?
Major zinc deficiency is usually genetic. But marginal zinc deficiencies affect more than two billion people worldwide. Some symptoms of marginal zinc deficiency include: frequent infections, weight loss, emotional imbalance, dermatitis, hair loss, impaired taste, night blindness, poor appetite and slow wound healing.
If you have one or more of these symptoms or if you fall into one of the groups most at-risk for zinc deficiency, you may want to increase your zinc levels a little further from foods mentioned.