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Thursday, April 4, 2013


Zinc is a trace element, however a very important one. Are you getting enough zinc? Do you know what role zinc plays in your body? Do you know who is most likely to be zinc deficient?


Let's take a look:

Benefits of ZINC:

  • Boosts immune system
  • Found in every tissue of the body
  • Concentrated in your bones, pancreas, kidneys, liver and retina
  • Involved in cell division
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Anti cancer benefits
  • Involved in Proper endocrine system function
  • Helps maintain hormone levels
  • Affects protein synthesis and proper function of red and white blood cells


Become More Sensitive to Insulin and Prevent Diabetes
Zinc is needed for the healthy function of most hormones, including insulin. Adequate zinc plays at least three roles in insulin health. First, zinc binds to insulin so that insulin is adequately stored in the pancreas and released when glucose enters the blood stream.

Second, zinc improves cell health, making up a component of the enzymes necessary for insulin to bind to cells so that glucose can enter and be used as fuel. The process of insulin binding to the cell is what is referred to with the term “insulin sensitivity” and means that the cell is receptive to insulin. Once insulin binds to the cell, it “opens the door” so that the glucose can enter. If the cell is resistant to insulin, glucose will stay in the blood stream, cause high blood sugar, and ultimately lead to fat gain. When zinc concentration falls, there is a reduction in insulin secretion and peripheral insulin sensitivity, which if persistent, will lead to diabetes

Third, zinc has anti-inflammatory effects as mentioned in #5 via its role in abolishing inflammatory markers such as C-reactive proteins. Zinc also helps get rid of substances that cause inflammation in cells, helping to preserve cell health and insulin sensitivity. 

A recent study of Spanish school children found a direct relationship between low zinc levels, greater body fat content, and insulin resistance. The children who were classified as zinc deficient had poorer insulin sensitivity and greater glucose intolerance (a related measurement of persistent blood sugar levels) than those whose level was adequate. 

Deficiency of ZINC:

  • Can make men and women infertile
  • Causes LOW libido
  • Increase effects of stress
  • Negatively affects physical performance, energy levels
  • Altered sense of taste leading to cravings of more saltier and sweeter foods
  • Diarrhea
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Poor Immunity
  • Bad memory
  • Inability to focus
  • Slow wound healing
  • Nerve dysfunction
  • Ringing in the ears

FOOD sources of ZINC:

Meat, some seafood, OYSTERS are perhaps greatest single food source, and dairy
Whole grains and legumes also contain zinc HOWEVER it is bound to phytates which prevents absorption into the body


How To Test Zinc Level
Before you start popping zinc at random, take note that there is an upper limit to dietary zinc. Zinc toxicity has produced poor immune health and infertility, just as low zinc compromises the immune system. Scientists suggest you perform a zinc test to measure your level and then supplement accordingly. Once you start taking zinc, your levels will rise and you should do another test six to eight weeks later for best results. 

The simplest way to test for zinc is a taste test that works because we know that taste and smell are dependent on there being adequate zinc in the body. To do this test, get zinc sulfate and put about 1-2 teaspoons in a cup and sip it, holding it in the mouth. If it tastes just like water, you are very zinc deficient. If you taste something slightly metallic, you are moderately zinc deficient. If it tastes disgusting—strongly metallic and unpleasant—your levels are probably adequate. This test is subject to individual taste perception and it is not 100 percent valid, but it is a good place to start.

Other test options are a serum zinc test, but there are factors that can cause inaccuracies such as fluctuations from meals, stress, diurnal variations, and complications from other nutrient deficiencies. A plasma zinc test is another option and it will pick up severe zinc deficiencies, but it won’t indicate a more moderate deficiency. It should not be relied on because even a moderate deficiency will negatively influence health. 


see this link for details:


Types of Zinc Supplements
There are several types of zinc supplements, some better than others, that can be purchased most anywhere. Some types of zinc supplements include:
  • zinc sulfate (which can cause stomach irritation)
  • amino acid chelates of zinc (which may be a little expensive)
  • zinc gluconate (which is a good type)
  • topical zinc (used for some mild skin conditions and cold sores)
  • zinc oxide (used in some sun block preparations and some creams)
Some types of zinc that are best absorbed include:
  • zinc citrate
  • zinc acetate
  • zinc picolinate
Do not take oral zinc with foods that deter absorption like bran, protein, coffee, phytates, phosphorus or calcium. As with all vitamin and mineral supplements, store in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight and away from children.
Side Effects of Zinc Supplements
What type zinc supplement you should use depends greatly on what you are using it for; your doctor will be able to help you with this, as there are some serious side effects caused by too much zinc. Some of these side effects include:
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea
  • fever
  • cough
  • diarrhea
  • drowsiness
  • vomiting
  • restlessness
If you have taken more than 100 mg per day, the result may be anemia, heart problems, immune insufficiency, copper deficiency and a decrease in HDL or good cholesterol. Another side effect may include stomach irritation, but not if taken with food.
People who have certain diseases or illnesses need to seek the advice of their health careprovider if you feel you have a zinc deficiency or with any other health issues. Not everyone knows about the importance of zinc or that zinc is not stored in our bodies. Zinc is best absorbed with a good nutritional diet. Be sure to stay within the recommended daily limits for your age and gender.

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