Zinc is a mineral which is essential to the body in many ways. It’s involved in over 200 enzyme systems in the body and is crucial normal growth, cell division, tissue repair, hormonal health, wound healing and helps keep the immune system strong, making it a key nutrient to boost in your diet during the winter months.
Zinc deficiency is something I’m coming across more and more often in clinic. We need to consume it daily because our bodies do not store this essential mineral.
The Low-down on Zinc Deficiency
Immune related disorders are one of the most common health problems in today’s world. While it may be common, it’s not normal to be constantly suffering from colds and infections; it’s a sign that your immune system needs a little bit of extra loving. Inadequate dietary intake, increased physiological needs, a diet high in sugar or alcohol and profuse sweating are common causes of zinc deficiency.
How To Determine If You’re Deficient
You can ask your doctor for a blood test or self-prescribe one at your local Labtest office (there is a cost involved). You can also have an appointment with a Naturopath or Holistic Nutritionist who can do a simple taste test to determine if you have a zinc deficiency.
Some symptoms include:
- Frequent colds and infections
- White spots on nails
- Slow wound healing
- Loss of sense of smell and taste
- Loss of appetite
It’s also important to know there are some factors that may make you more likely to experience zinc deficiency. Aging is one of the biggest ones, as our absorption of nutrients goes down as we age. Super Me Smoothies contains Black Pepper Extract which boosts absorption of all vitamins and minerals. For example a 20x increase in curcumin absorption!
Birth control pills increase copper levels and zinc competes with copper for absorption so zinc deficiency can be common in women who take birth control.
Stress also increases zinc use, so slowing down and taking time to manage stress effectively is important. (I know, I know, you hear it all the time – but it really is worth saying again!).
Zinc deficiency is also more common in vegetarians, as high grain and legume consumption in this diet can inhibit the absorption of zinc.
Food Sources Rich In Zinc
- Oysters are the rich source of zinc, but if you are not a fan; grass fed beef, lamb, pork, chicken, seafood all contain zic
- Non animal sources include pumpkin seeds and oats (both in Super Me), cashews, chickpeas, mushrooms, spinach and others with trace amounts.
Zinc and The Immune System
Zinc is one of the pillars of immune health and has proved successful as a preventative and therapeutic mineral in many studies. Zinc contributes to the normal function of the immune system.
Some studies have found that supplementing with zinc within 24 hours from the start of viral infection or cold symptom can cut the risk of still having the cold seven days later by about half. Most studies indicate that supplementing around 15-25mg daily for adults can be useful immune support during the winter months (Super Me contains 2.5mg per 85gm serving).
Important note: There are different forms of zinc, so if you’re considering supplementing with this mineral consult with a healthcare provider first to find the best form of zinc for you.