Could you have a zinc deficiency? The following signs of zinc deficiency are clues that you’re just not getting enough:
- Stretch marks
- Decreased immune response
- Increased susceptibility to viral infections
- Loss of appetite
- Hair loss
- Skin problems (acne, eczema, etc.)
- White spots on the nails
- Slow wound healing
- Anorexia Nervosa
When zinc deficiency occurs due to inadequate zinc-rich foods in the diet, poor absorption of zinc due to low stomach acid and other malabsorption conditions, increased bodily need for zinc, Pyrroles disorder, or the increased excretion of zinc from stress or other conditions, you'll want to know and make changes to quickly correct it.
Role Of Zinc
Zinc plays an incredibly vital role in the body as it's a mineral that is essential to over 100 enzymes in the human body. Sounds pretty important, right? It is essential for proper immune system function, the production of hemoglobin, reproduction, as well as growth and development.
Zinc has also been called a hormonal balancer because it's required to manufacture hormones as well as maintain hormonal balance. Zinc has been said to be therapeutic for PMS as well as conditions such as excess estrogen.
How To Get More In Your Diet
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for zinc is 11 mg for males and 8mg for females, a value your healthy eating habits may not be getting close enough to.
Boost your intake with the following zinc-rich foods:
Oysters (3 ounces, raw): 14.1 mg (or in supplement form — like this)
Beef (3 ounces): 5.6 mg
Crab (3 ounces): 3.6 mg
Pork (3 ounces): 2.7 mg
Turkey (4 ounces): 2.3 mg
Chicken (3 ounces): .9 mg
Black beans (3 ounces): .9 mg
Whole milk yogurt (4 ounces): .7 mg
Cashews (1 ounce): 1.6 mg
Milk (1 cup): 1 mg
Cheese (1 ounce): .9 mg
Almonds (1 ounce): .9 mg
It's important to note that plant-based diets are high in phytic acid, a potent zinc absorption inhibitor. Animal proteins on the other hand increase the absorption rate.
As with any supplement, it's best to know your zinc status before supplementation, to avoid doing any harm.
Chronic zinc supplementation if not warranted can also result in copper, chromium, iron, or manganese deficiency, reinforcing the importance of testing, especially when supplementing zinc for a longer period of time.
Testing For Zinc Deficiency
In my nutrition practice I use a combination of Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis and plasma zinc lab testing as my gold standard for detecting zinc deficiency. I also find comprehensive mineral testing to assess overall mineral balance a vital approach for optimizing your own nutrition and body chemistry.
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