Zinc has a number of health-beneficial functions:
•Accelerates the activity of approximately 100 different body enzymes
•Promotes immune function
•Supports healthy cell growth and development
•Ensures proper sense of taste and smell
Body can not store zinc – but it is easily obtained from diet
– Top Zinc Foods - meat and poultry. Oysters contain more zinc than any other food. Other good sources for zinc include beans, nuts, crab, lobster, whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products. This author does not advocate eating shell fish, which do a great job of cleaning up the planet and can be toxic.
Vegetarians - legumes and whole grains contain phytates that bind zinc and inhibit its absorption in the body. They may require 50% more zinc than non-vegetarians.
Pregnant/Nursing women - high fetal requirements and breast feeding can deplete their body's zinc.
Older men need a zinc sufficiency to protect against formation of abnormal prostate cells and impotence:
– The human prostate has the highest accumulation of zinc of any soft tissue in the body
– Cancerous prostates seem to have less zinc than normal prostates
– Severe zinc deficiency can lead to impotence - by affecting TESTOSTERONE
Allergies – which are hard on the immune system;
“Teeth-grinders”- Zinc (also niacin) deficiency can cause involuntary grinding of teeth, especially when sleeping or stressed; To relieve pressure on the jaw, move your lower jaw all the way left and then all the way right. You may hear your jaw joint crack.
White spots on fingernails – a symptom of zinc deficiency
Wilson's Disease – a problem of copper build-up in the liver
Digestive disorders / gastrointestinal surgery- E.g.ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, partial removal of intestines, weight-loss surgery decrease amount of zinc absorbed, increasing loss in urine.
Older infants who are breastfed - breast milk does not have enough zinc for infants over 6 months of age. Non-formula-fed older infants should be given foods that have zinc such as pureed meats
Alcoholics - alcoholic beverages decrease the amount of zinc that the body absorbs and increase the amount lost in the urine. Also, many alcoholics have a poor diet
Sickle cell disease – creates a need for more zinc.
Supplemental forms - include zinc gluconate, zinc sulfate, and zinc acetate .
Normal daily recommended intakes (not RDA) for zinc are as follows:
Upper limit is 40 mg/day - excessive zinc intake can lead to nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headaches.