Zinc deficiency is quite common with modern diets, and zinc is arguably the most important trace mineral. To date, researchers have found more than 200 enzyme reactions that are zinc dependant, in all the major biochemical pathways in the human body. That’s more than any other mineral dependant enzymes in the body.
Zinc is vital for the growth and repair of all tissues; the activity of many hormones; and for a healthy immune system. Symptoms and signs of zinc deficiency include slow growth; poor wound healing, rashes and skin problems, digestive problems and decreased immune and sexual function.
If it’s so important, you might think it would be a good idea for everyone to take high doses of zinc all the time, everyone is different and what maybe good for one person may not be the best for someone else. This is not the case, as it’s been found that a high intake of zinc for prolonged periods of time can cause a copper deficiency or cause lower Iron levels which can lead to more problems. Zinc should therefore be taken only when zinc deficiency is indicated by signs and symptoms, or ideally testing.
If you have the symptoms of low zinc, or have tested low it is also important to avoid poor quality zinc supplements like Zinc oxide, I recommend either Zinc Picolinate or Zinc Citrate
Blood or urine testing can identify a deficiency in zinc and other minerals, this can be done through your doctor or at Planet Naturopath we can do detailed mineral testing.
To add more zinc to your diet all you need to do is increase your intake of the food that has the highest zinc content; oysters but if swallowing oysters daily is not to your liking we have a variety of supplements to help improve your zinc levels if they are found to be low. If you have low levels of Zinc or due to malabsorption of zinc due to digestive problems it is necessary to supplement with zinc for a period to time to maintain optimal health, the exact dose will vary from person to person.
If you have low levels of a number of vitamins and minerals it would be a good idea to do gut function test to try and identify the cause.
If you need help with getting your zinc levels tested or other functional pathology tests the best option is to schedule a consultation with Planet Naturopath, all consultations are done via video or phone so it does not matter where in the world you are 🙂
Michael is head consultant at Planet Naturopath - Functional Medicine and Nutrition Solutions. As Seen
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