Zinc (like magnesium and Vitamin C) is involved in many of the body’s cell synthesis and energy production tasks. It is a nutrient that is used in large amounts on a day to day basis. Zinc is water soluble so is washed away by rain in the soil and cooking will diminishes it’s presence within foods.
Zinc is also lost in processed foods and with its link to insulin it is also diminished within the body when consuming a highly processed food diet. The body also stores a small amount of zinc (mostly in skeletal muscle and bone, but also in the skin, adrenals, brain, heart, Nails, teeth and hair.
It is lost through faeces, urine and sweat. The best place to test a deficiency is by measuring the red blood cell containment of zinc (hair analysis and blood tests may not give an accurate picture). The easiest way to know if you are zinc deficient is to do a zinc drink test. See your local Naturopath/Nutritional Therapist to check.
I look at all of my clients individual needs before prescribing any supplement or food changes. It is recommended that you consult a professional Naturopath or Nutritional therapist before making any changes yourself.
What does it Do?
Zinc activates 200 different enzyme, many of these are in the digestive system. Has a responsibility in DNA synthesis and protection of its integrity- this means it is vital in developing new perfectly healthy cells with good DNA. In this way it may also great for skin health and may aid in wound healing. It is also reported to have some anti-inflammatory action especially in joints and arteries.
Essential for maintaining immunity and immune function. It is useful used with acute dirrohrea, cancer, infection, colds and flu
Key in digestive health both in the enzyme activity within the gut to absorb food but also in the release of stomach acid and plays a role in your sense of taste and smell.
transporting carbon dioxide from the lungs, is a key support for most regulatory functions within the body for example lactic acid production in tired muscles is reduced with Zinc
vital for health of sexual organs (especially men’s prostate and semen), , supports blood sugar balance by supporting the body to produce and use insulin,
Where do we find it?
It is said that the zinc found in animal products is better absorbed as it is bound to proteins. Also the phylates on the outside of grains will also inhibit Zinc absorption (another reason to soak and sprout those grains). Seafood (especially shellfish- oysters and herring), Beef, Liver, Lamb and pork, eggs, whole grains (zinc is on the casing of the grain so whole-grains eaten in their natural form is the best form) especially rye and oats. Pecans and walnuts have the highest levels as do pumpkin seeds (good to make pumpkin seed milk- mix in with Almonds and pecans for a nutrient dense milk.) Also ginger root is a good source (one of the reasons for its benefit when feeling run-down (see here)
Factors that deplete it (increasing demand)
Diet high in processed foods, ageing (not as efficient storing it), growth periods (infancy and puberty), Birth control pills (PMS can also indicate low zinc levels), Alcohol (zinc is necessary for breaking down alcohol), stress, pregnancy, breastfeeding, copper intake, exercise, wounds, burns (including sun burn) and high blood sugar.
Zinc Policanate, methionine, cyesine or gluconate (bound to an amino acid) may be the most efficiently absorbed forms of zinc. Contact your Contact your practitioner (Nutritionist or Naturopath) for dosage advice.