Daily Dose: Zinc

 

Zinc is an important trace metal in your diet. Zinc’s role in health was only discovered at the beginning of the last century, but since then interest has grown in the various ways that it might impact health.

Why does my body need zinc?

Zinc is one of several metals the body uses to build proteins and to help enzymes perform necessary reactions. Zinc is useful because of its chemical flexibility. It has the ability to bind in many different types of conformations, which is essential for building proteins that come in many different shapes and sizes. It can also help drive reactions by smoothing and speeding up chemical transformation. Because it often performs in a reusable situation, we don’t need large amounts of zinc in our diet.

Body's 'chemical calendar' discovered

The way the body can track the passing of the seasons in a "chemical calendar" has been discovered by scientists.

The team, found a cluster of thousands of cells that could exist in either a "summer" or "winter" state.

They use the lengthening day to switch more of them into summer mode and the opposite when the nights draw in.

The annual clock controls when animals breed and hibernate and in humans may be altering the immune system.

Daily Dose: Vitamin C

 

Vitamin C plays a key role in several body systems.+ Fortunately, those days are long gone, but getting vitamin C in your diet is still important and very easy as long as you get plenty of variety.

Why does my body need vitamin C?

Vitamin C is used by a number of enzymes in the body to carry out needed reactions. In particular, vitamin C plays a key role in making collagen, which is then used for structural support throughout the body. It’s also used in proteins needed for making and storing energy in the body and for making certain hormones. Vitamin C has also been found in high amounts in certain immune cells, but it’s unclear exactly what role vitamin C is playing in these cells.

US pharmaceutical company defends 5,000% price increase

The head of a US pharmaceutical company has defended his company's decision to raise the price of a 62-year-old medication used by Aids patients by over 5,000%.

Turing Pharmaceuticals acquired the rights to Daraprim in August.

CEO Martin Shkreli has said that the company will use the money it makes from sales to research new treatments.

The drug is used treat toxoplasmosis, a parasitic affliction that affects people with compromised immune systems,according to BBC.

Hope for faster treatment of urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections can be treated more quickly using a new DNA sequencing device, according to research.

Scientists from the University of East Anglia (UEA) say the device - the size of a USB stick - can detect bacteria directly from urine samples four times more quickly than traditional methods.

The technology could lead to faster treatment and better use of antibiotics, they say, according to BBC.