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A small increase in zinc intake could improve DNA repair in cells.

A small increase in zinc intake could improve DNA repair in cells.

The DNA of a human cell will be changed thousands of times each day, due to outside influences such as radiation, heat or other environmental substances. In almost all cases, the body quickly repairs these changes, preventing them from developing into mutations that could lead to serious, life-threatening cancers.

Researchers have come to learn that the nutritional content of our diets plays an important role in the body's ability to make these crucial repairs. In fact, it may not take much.

One recent study conducted at the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Research Institute found evidence that a small increase in zinc intake each day can have a significant impact on cellular health and regeneration. The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, examined 18 men for six weeks. During that time, the participants ate a low-zinc diet for two weeks and then had their intake increased by 4 milligrams per day for the remaining four weeks. Researchers monitored their zinc levels and also measured proteins that are involved in DNA repair.

After the six-week period ended, researchers found that even the small dietary increase boosted zinc absorption and led to higher concentrations of proteins used for cellular regeneration.

Zinc is a vital nutrient that can be found in many common food staples, but those who do not eat balanced diets may suffer from a deficiency. Specifically, those who eat a significant amount of refined flour and white rice might be missing out on this nutrient.

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