Zinc: Do You Need More?

By Wellness Resources

September 16, 2017

Zinc: Do You Need More?
Check your fingernails. If you see white spots, you might need more zinc right now.

Zinc is a trace mineral that is vitally important to your health. It is used in over 300 different enzymatic reactions throughout the body. That means, if you are even marginally deficient in zinc, your whole body will suffer. Zinc plays important roles in growth and development, healthy immune response, neurological function, reproduction, digestive and thyroid health, and more.

Soil that once used to provide plenty of zinc is becoming depleted of zinc and other minerals due to conventional farming. Plus alcohol, stress, and some medications easily deplete zinc. Zinc is needed for some important body functions.

Immunity – Zinc is very important for a healthy immune system. It plays a key role in activating important white blood cells, called T cells, a healthy immune response.

Digestion – Zinc is one of the essential nutrients required to maintain healthy digestion and nutrient absorption. It plays vital roles in maintaining a healthy gut lining, creating stomach acid, and making digestive enzymes by the pancreas. Zinc is also essential for proper appetite control by reducing inflammation in the gut. In older adults, a population particularly at risk for zinc deficiency, extra zinc can help to improve a weak appetite.

Thyroid – Zinc is also a necessary cofactor for optimal thyroid function. It plays a role in making thyroid releasing hormone (TRH) in your brain, which signals your pituitary to make thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Zinc also helps thyroid hormone bind to the DNA receptors inside cells, called “zinc fingers”.

Do You Need More Zinc?
Zinc is found in a variety of foods like shellfish, pumpkin seeds, nuts, legumes, eggs, and red meat. Marginal zinc deficiency is still fairly common today. Strict vegetarians and vegans, pregnant women, older adults (65+), people with digestive conditions, and those who drink alcohol or sweat frequently may benefit from zinc supplementation. Women need 25mg of zinc per day. Men need 50mg of zinc per day. If supplementing with zinc, it is best to take a formula with copper included, as copper must be in balance with zinc. Quality of supplements matters!

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