What are the health benefits of Zinc?

Zinc is an essential trace element found in foods or available as a supplement.

Image of oysters on the half shell

The RDA for zinc is 8 mg a day for women and 11 mg a day for men. There are different recommended amounts for children.

The soil in which food is grown may be deficient in zinc, thus affecting the quantity found in any specific food.

SYMPTOMS OF ZINC DEFICIENCY

  • Acne
  • Alopecia (thin, sparse hair)
  • Anorexia nervosa (loss of appetite)
  • Attention disorders
  • Birthing
  • Blood ammonia levels elevated
  • Burning mouth
  • Delayed growth
  • Delayed puberty
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Eczema
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Immune suppression (leading to a multitude of other conditions)
  • Irritability
  • Leaky gut
  • Learning dysfunction
  • Lethargy
  • Neurological dysfunction
  • Night blindness
  • Olfactory organs, impaired
  • Oral ulceration
  • Prostate enlargement
  • Psychological disorders
  • Reduced testosterone
  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Sperm count, low
  • Stomatitis
  • Taste, impaired
  • Tongue coating, white
  • Weight loss
  • Wound healing, impaired
  • Xerosis (dry, scaling skin)

SYMPTOMS OF EXCESS ZINC

  • Copper absorption malfunction
  • Gastrointestinal irritation
  • Immune deficiency

PREVALENCE OF ZINC DEFICIENCY

The NCBI estimates that the global prevalence of inadequate zinc intake is more than 25%.

FOODS CONTAINING ZINC (* denotes one of the top five)

  • Almonds
  • Beans, baked
  • Beef, lean short ribs, grass-fed*
  • Cashews, dry roasted*
  • Cocoa powder*
  • Cheese
  • Chia seeds
  • Chicken
  • Chickpeas*
  • Crab, Alaska king
  • Fish (flounder or sole)
  • Flax seeds
  • Kidney beans
  • Lamb*
  • Lobster
  • Milk
  • Mushrooms
  • Oatmeal, instant
  • Oysters*
  • Peas
  • Portk chop
  • Pumpkin and squash seeds*
  • Sesame seeds
  • Spinach
  • Wheat Germ, toasted
  • Yogurt

FOODS OR OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID

  • Whole grains, over-consumption (grains may be high in zinc, but they contain other substances which reduce bioavailability and over-consumption is a risk factor)
  • Processed foods
  • Alcohol

IMPORTANT FUNCTIONS OF ZINC

  • DNA replication
  • RNA transcription
  • Cell activities

DISEASES ASSOCIATED WITH ZINC DEFICIENCY

  • Wilson’s disease
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease

CAUTIONS

  • Zinc deficiency may occur after bariatric surgery.
  • Zinc deficiency may occur after exposure to mercury.
  • If you have diabetes, consult your doctor about supplementation because large doses can lower blood sugar levels.
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