Are you getting enough zinc?
Zinc is present in every body cell and is a cofactor for over 300 enzymes. It also supports the proper action of hormones including thymic hormones, insulin, growth hormone and the sex hormones. Zinc is primarily stored in the muscles and is highly concentrated in the red and the white blood cells, as well as the bone, skin, kidney, liver, pancreas, retina and prostate.
Oysters have the highest concentration of zinc, but other foods which contain relatively high concentrations include other shellfish, fish, red meats and egg. Plant sources include nuts and seeds, especially pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, whole grains and legumes. Plant sources tend to be less bioavailable than animal sources due to them containing phytic acid, a fibre compound, which can bind zinc and reduce absorption.
Signs and Symptoms Associated with Zinc Deficiency
Some of the signs and symptoms of zinc deficiency include:
• Frequent and/or severe infections
• Sleep disorders
• Poor wound healing
• Psychiatric disorders
• Reduced appetite
• Abnormal menstruation
• Hair loss
• Loss of sense of smell or taste
• Skin disorders
• Impaired glucose tolerance
• Reduced growth
• Night blindness
Causes of Zinc Deficiency
Zinc deficiency can be caused by inadequate zinc intake from the diet, or high fibre diets which already mentioned contains phytic acid, but also zinc deficiency can arise from poor digestion and absorption due to low stomach acid, acid suppressant medication or malabsorption issues. Infections can deplete zinc status and increases the need for zinc. Diabetes mellitus can also increase the need for zinc.
Beneficial Effects of Zinc
Zinc is essential for good health because of its role in so many enzymatic processes and body functions. Zinc is required for proper functioning of the immune system, protein synthesis and cell growth (important for wound healing). It is also necessary for normal skin function, vision, taste and smell and needed for a healthy male sex hormone and for proper prostate function.
All in all, it is so important to ensure your intake of zinc is optimal to support your overall health and wellbeing.
There are certain tests that can be carried out in clinic to assess zinc deficiency or for a more comprehensive test a urine or blood test to identify nutrient need.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of your health with me please contact me for a free initial phone consultation to see how I can support your nutritional needs.