Updated: Mar 5
Zinc is a vital mineral and is involved in over 200 enzyme reactions within our bodies, in fact, zinc functions in more enzymatic reactions than any other mineral.
Zinc is incredibly important for a healthy immune system, and when we are low in zinc we are more susceptible to infection.
This is one of the first deficiencies I look for with my clients, and it's surprising how many people I see with zinc deficiency, especially in children.
The key to good nutrition, health and abundant energy is ensuring you have enough micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), every major metabolic pathway in our body depends on this balance and a healthy gut to be able to absorb these essential nutrients.
A zinc deficiency can present with a range of different symptoms
A poor sense of taste and / or smell
Often get skin rashes, Acne or slow healing infections / wounds
Have white spots on your finger nails
Do you or someone you know have smelly feet or strong body odour?
Get acid reflux, indigestion or heartburn?
Do you have poor appetite, poor digestion or bowel problems?
Suffer from suppressed immunity, frequent colds or infections
The most common sign in children is "picky eaters", poor grow, poor memory and learning issues. Zinc deficiency also can play a part in autism and ADHD.
As our diet trends change and we reduce our meat intake, our levels of zinc deficiencies increase dramatically, especially in young women, children and during puberty.
In addition to supplementation, increasing your dietary intake of zinc is important for maintaining your zinc levels.
Once you become zinc deficient it's very difficult to improve your body's zinc levels solely from food, as the absorption of zinc relies somewhat on having enough zinc. Foods high in zinc include;
Oysters, and other seafood including shellfish
Red meat, especially organ meats
Chicken, pork and eggs
Plants sources include;
Nuts and seeds
* Plant sources of zinc are less bioavailable (useable by the body) as they are bound to phytates that inhibits the zinc from been absorbed - this can be improved by, fermentation, soaking or sprouting.
*100gm of oysters contain 148.7 mg of zinc, compared to 100gm of legumes only contains 4.2mg of zinc
* Murray, M. (2005) The Encyclopaedia of Healing Foods, Atria books.