Zinc is another mineral (apart from Magnesium) that is vital for our body’s ability to function well and of which is not produced or stored in the body. Zinc is the second most abundant trace mineral after Iron and is present in every one of our amazing cells so yes, we need a constant supply through diet and or supplementation.

If you struggle with digestion, allergies or a poor immune system such as reoccurring colds or take longer than others to get over a cold, Zinc may well be the mineral that can help. Increasing your dose usually results in a quick and noticeable change.

The following is a list of foods high in Zinc:

  • oysters,
  • pecans,
  • almonds,
  • walnuts,
  • hazelnuts,
  • whole grains,
  • sardines,
  • turkey,
  • chicken,
  • lima beans and
  • buckwheat.

Others include crab, mussels, lobster, clams, flounder and salmon. Beef, lamb, turkey and chicken as also great sources. Lentils, chickpeas, black beans, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, kale, peas, asparagus and beet greens are also great. Some food cereals are fortified with minerals to help make sure we consume the recommended amount of Zinc.

benefits of zinc pic

Due to fertilisers used during farming, Zinc may be dramatically reduced in these foods and its absorbability can be hindered by some pollutants. It can also be impaired by consuming a high fibre diet and shouldn’t be taken at the same time as calcium (ie. dairy).

It’s important to note Zinc is lost from the body when we take steroids, alcohol, diuretics, antacids, oral contraceptives, laxatives and anti-convulsant medication.

Some of the processes that the body needs Zinc

Our Immune function is necessary for cell function and cell signalling and a deficiency can lead to a weakened immune response. Zinc reduces oxidative stress in our body and reduces the risk of infections.

Wound Healing – Zinc is frequently used in hospitals to treat burns, ulcers and other skin injuries as it plays a vital role in the synthesis of collagen and the inflammatory response which is necessary for proper healing. The skin holds about 5% of the body’s Zinc content so if you have damaged skin through injury or surgery, increase your daily amount to aid in healing. If you suffer from acne, it’s been reported Zinc is of great help.

Growth & Development – Zinc plays a vital role in the development of a healthy foetus and newborn and therefore it is recommended to take a supplement for those intending to conceive and for breastfeeding women.

Zinc is essential for the production and function of DNA and RNA meaning that growth and repair of all cells in the body are dependent on the body’s ability to access Zinc.

Am I deficient?

Severe Zinc deficiency is not common however, breast feeding mothers who don’t take a supplement or people with an alcohol addiction and for anyone taking certain immuno-suppressing medication should consider to be tested. Anyone who has impaired growth, delayed sexual maturity, skin rashes, chronic diarrhea or impaired wound healing should consider supplementation.

People at risk of deficiency include, vegetarians and vegans, malnourished people including those with anorexia and bulimia, pregnant and breast-feeding mothers, sickle cell anemia, chronic kidney disease and alcoholics.

How can you tell if you need to supplement?

You may request a blood test from your doctor or seek the advice of a naturopath or health food shop and ask for the Zinc Tally Test to be done. This is also available at Water Temple Floatation & Holistic Health by Dr Mychelle. The test involves a little liquid being placed in your mouth. If you are deficient in Zinc, it will taste of nothing or there will be a slight and vaguely metallic taste.

Too much of a good thing

Yes, you can have too much, so it is important to be aware of the common symptoms of toxicity which can cause a deficiency in other nutrients, e.g. copper and iron as it will interfere with the absorbability. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, headaches, decrease in HDL cholesterol levels.

For more information about Zinc, contact Water Temple Flotation and Holistic Health on (03) 8525 0162.