Do you get sick often? Do your wounds heal slowly? Is your memory foggy? Is your attention wavering? Do you have chronically loose stools? Do you suffer from inflammatory skin conditions? Is your sense of taste & smell weak? Is your hair thinning, or even falling out? Has your libido gone down? Has your appetite? If you answered YES! to some of these, you might want to test your zinc levels.
Zinc is an important mineral the body needs for many, many functions. To name a few, Zinc
- Directs body responses involving the maintenance of enzymes and cells. It contributes to the make up of over 300 types of enzymes and is needed for cell division & cellular metabolism.
- Prevents oxidation(which creates free radicals and ages tissues), contributing to cellular longevity
- supports serotonin and melatonin synthesis.
- Prevents copper excess as they compete for absorption
- Supports prostate and reproductive organ health
- Required for DNA synthesis
- Essential for proper immune function, wound healing, blood stability, formation of insulin, muscle contractability, normal brain function (contributing to mood stability and optimal memory)
- Protein synthesis, contributing to healthy skin and hair
- Hormone balance
- Gut Health
Things that can exhaust your zinc stores are stress, over-training, and pregnancy. Things that can interfere with zinc absorption is poor gut health & excess copper levels.
Zinc deficiency is extremely common. Our soil is more depleted than ever before, rendering our food as a lesser source than it once was. Birth control also depletes our zinc levels. Foods that are still a good source are (highest to lowest):
- Oysters (by a long shot)
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Dark Chocolate
Do you intuitively crave any of the above foods? Listen to your body, it is always trying to communicate with you. It is also important to note that many foods, like grains, contain phytates which bind to zinc, making these foods a lesser source of zinc and sometimes interfering with zinc levels in the body. This is one of the reasons that long term consumption of a high-grain or vegetarian diet is considered a risk factor for zinc deficiency.