Zinc – 10 Functions, 25 Signs of Deficiency & Increasing Your Stores

zinc deficiencyLike essential fatty acids and magnesium, zinc is one of the top deficiencies in today’s children. Zinc is probably involved in more body functions than any other mineral. This post outlines 10 functions of zinc, 25 signs of deficiency and what to do if you think you or your child are deficient.

Zinc is crucial for:

  • Thinking (Have you heard the expression “No zinc, no think”?)
  • The proper functioning of more than 100 enzymes
  • Normal growth and development
  • Body tissue health
  • The prevention of cavities
  • Proper sexual development and function
  • The immune system
  • The detoxification of chemicals and metabolic irritants
  • Carbohydrate metabolism
  • The body’s healing process i.e. wound healing

What factors deplete or reduce the absorption of zinc?

  • Our depleted soil
  • Food processing
  • Our diet i.e. strict vegetarians
  • Birth control pill
  • Fasting
  • Stress
  • Illness including alcoholism
  • Parasites
  • Malabsorption
  • Excessive sports
  • Excessive cow’s milk and egg consumption
  • Growth spurts
  • Aging (age related vision loss is often due to low zinc)

You may be amazed at all the symptoms, conditions or disease that can be caused or worsened by a zinc deficiency. Low zinc causes or contributes to:

  • Acne
  • ADD
  • Allergies to environmental chemicals
  • Anorexia
  • Canker sores
  • Chrohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Delayed or irregular menstruation
  • Diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent infections
  • Hair loss or thinning
  • Learning disabilities
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Male infertility i.e. impotence, sterility and low sperm count and motility Morning sickness in pregnancy
  • Nails – brittle or white spots
  • Poor appetite in children
  • Prostate enlargement
  • Psoriasis
  • Slowed growth in children
  • Slow sexual development in puberty
  • Stretch marks
  • Ulcers

What are some high zinc foods?

  • Vegetables i.e. spinach and other green leafy vegetables, asparagus, mushrooms, sea vegetables
  • Seeds i.e. pumpkin, sunflower, sesame
  • Nuts i.e. cashews
  • Turkey and pasture-raised chicken
  • Beef, lamb
  • Legumes i.e. lentils, green peas and chickpeas
  • Quinoa and oats
  • Shrimp, scallops, oysters

How much zinc do we need and what are the best sources?
The recommended daily intake of zinc is as follows:

  • Under 1 year 3-5 mg
  • 1-10 years 10 mg
  • 11 years and over 15 mg
  • Pregnant women 20-25 mg
  • Lactating women 25-30mg

I recommend Quench Essentials ionic liquid zinc or Metagenics liquid zinc. As with any supplement, I recommend taking the supplement for a minimum of three months to see results. With children, we usually see results much sooner. That’s why it’s a perfect time now to start a child on a zinc supplement if you want them to concentrate more once school starts!
Source: Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Elson Haas MD

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Until next time,

Meredith

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