Do you feel like you are constantly coming down with a cold or the flu? Do you suffer with frequent diarrhea? Do you force yourself to eat because you’re often not hungry? Is your hair falling out? Are you running low on steam and find it difficult to concentrate? No interest in bedroom activities? A lack of zinc could be the culprit behind these symptoms.
Zinc contains more than 300 enzymes essential for human growth and development. It is present in every cell, tissue, bone, organ and fluid in our bodies. Everything from inflamed prostate, infertility and hypoglycemia, impaired immune system to stunted growth, childhood pneumonia, and painful joints has been linked to abnormally low zinc levels.
How many people are zinc deficient?
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 31 percent of people worldwide are not getting enough zinc, making it the fifth-leading disease risk factor. According to national health expert Dr. Josh Axe, zinc deficiency causes 176,000 deaths from diarrhea, 406,000 pneumonia deaths, and 207,000 malaria deaths in developing nations. In America, up to 40% of the elderly are affected by marginal zinc deficiency. The Environmental Working Group estimates zinc deficiency affects about 0.2% of young children, 24% of teenagers, and 12% of adults.
How much daily zinc do we need?
The Recommended Daily Values for zinc are:
|0-6 mo.||2 mg||2 mg|
|7-12 mo.||3 mg||3 mg|
|1-3 yrs||3 mg||3 mg|
|4-8 yrs||5 mg||5 mg|
|9-13 yrs||8 mg||8 mg|
|14-18 yrs||9 mg||11 mg||12 mg||13 mg|
|19 + yrs||8 mg||11 mg||11 mg||12 mg|
Who may be at risk for zinc deficiency?
In addition to the elderly, many people with zinc deficiencies are:
- Those suffering with gastrointestinal problems that interfere with absorption of zinc
- People with liver or kidney disease
- Pregnant women who have not taken prenatal vitamins
- Poor Diet – white spots on nails
- People struggling with alcoholism
- Children with alopecia areata
- Those taking large amounts of iron, copper or calcium can interfere with zinc absorption
- Those under heavy stress
Is your medication causing zinc deficiency?
The use of certain medications may interfere with zinc absorption. Discuss this concern with your health care provider if you are taking:
- Quinolone antibiotics (like Cipro)
- Tetracycline antibiotics (like Achromycin or Sumycin)
- Penicillamine for rheumatoid arthritis, or
- Thiazide diuretics (like Hygroton, Esidrix or HydroDIURIL).
Testing for zinc deficiency
Many naturopaths offer a simple test for determining zinc deficiency. For the Zinc Assay test, you simply taste a teaspoon of liquid, which will taste bitter if you are NOT deficient in zinc or will taste like water if you need more zinc in your diet. Alternatively, you can also ask your health care provider to test you for possible zinc deficiency.
Top sources of zinc
If you eat oysters every day, you are not likely to be zinc deficient, as three ounces of them have 493% of the daily recommended value! However, the bio-availability of zinc drops off considerably, but the top sources are said to be:
- Beef chuck roast (47% DV in 3 ounces)
- Alaskan king crab (43% DV in 3 ounces)
- Fortified breakfast cereal (25% DV in 0.75 cup)
- Lobster (23% DV in 3 ounces)
- Pork chop loin (19% DV in 3 ounces)
- Baked beans (19% DV in 3 ounces)
- Dark chicken meat (16% DV in 3 ounces)
- Fruit yogurt (11% DV in 8 ounces)
- Cashews (11% DV in one ounce)
Other good zinc sources are pumpkin seeds, eggs, chick peas and almonds.
Need further assistance?
Consider a Chat with Trish session so that we can address your nutritional concerns.
Disclaimer: Any recommendations/suggestions in this post have not been evaluated by the FDA. Any nutritional advice/nutritional product suggestions are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information in this email is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare practitioner. You should always consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before starting any exercise, diet or supplementation program, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, under 18 years of age, have existing health concerns or are taking prescription medications.