Next to iron, zinc is the most common mineral in the body and is found in every cell. It has an important role in the workings of the muscular system, reproductive systems in both men and women, and proper insulin and thyroid function. Zinc is a catalyst for the vitality of the skin and wound healing. However, zinc is probably best known for supporting the healthy functioning of the immune system.
Several studies have shown that zinc lozenges or syrup reduced the length of a cold by one day, especially when taken within 24 hours of the first signs and symptoms. Studies also show that taking zinc regularly might reduce the number of colds each year, the number of missed school days, and the amount of antibiotics required in otherwise healthy children. New studies are also looking at how the body uses zinc and whether or not taking zinc can improve the treatment of celiac disease, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease.
There are several forms of zinc, but not all are easily absorbed or appropriate for every person. The two best forms are zinc gluconate, and zinc citrate. According to the National Academy of Health Sciences, the need for a zinc supplement varies based on age, gender, pregnancy status, and other health factors. Zinc can interfere with the actions of some medications and can even affect the utilization of other minerals, such as copper. It’s best to first consult with your wellness practitioner before taking zinc. Men always require more zinc than women, mostly because zinc participates in production of testosterone and sperm.
Some of the symptoms of zinc deficiency could be frequent colds, decrease testosterone level or low mobility of sperm. One of the most peculiar symptoms is lack of smell and taste. In my office I offer a “taste test for zinc deficiency”. It involves taking a sip of concentrated zinc water and holding it in the mouth for 10-15 seconds. If it tastes like water to you, then you are deficient. If you identify somewhat tart taste, you probably barely making it. The reaction of person with sufficient amount of zinc in the body would be detecting a clear metal taste. Trust me, only few of people passed this test, majority of are deficient in zinc for many reasons. One of them, is that zinc, like no other element, participate in toxic metal detoxification. As you know, we all have exposure and demands on zinc are high.
In my practice I always try to use “food as medicine”. Here are the foods that are high in zinc and if you eat them regularly, you need for supplementation could be reduced. The top 5 are: oysters, beef and lamb meat, wheat germ, spinach and pumpkin seeds.
Eat away and be healthy! Don’t hesitate to our practice if you need advice or looking for guidance to address chronic medical conditions or optimize your health.