Wednesday, March 14, 2018

ABC's of Nutrition: Zinc

Oysters contain the highest food source of zinc, but other shellfish, fish, and red meats are also relatively high. Good plant sources of zinc include whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Plant sources are less bio-available.

Three best forms of zinc are picolinate, citrate, and TRAACS™ glycinate chelate.

Although a zinc deficiency is not common among most Americans, it can be problematic with the elderly. Symptoms of a zinc deficiency are skin changes, delayed wound healing or recurrent infections due to a compromised immune system, hair loss, decrease sense of taste or smell, reduced appetite, malabsorption syndromes, and mental disturbance.

A good way to determine zinc status would be a laboratory test that measures the zinc inside white blood cells – the leukocyte zinc level.

The benefits of zinc are great because it is essential for many enzyme and body functions. Zinc is essential for a healthy immune system. It is required for cell growth and protein synthesis.

Zinc helps to maintain a good sense of taste, smell, and vision. If a loss of any of these senses becomes apparent, especially in the elderly, zinc supplementation may restore the lost sense.

In order to maintain normal skin function, proper zinc levels are required. Zinc serum levels are often low in the teen years and could lead to acne.

Zinc is vital for healthy male sex hormone and prostate function. A zinc deficiency may be the cause of an enlarged prostate.

Zinc is in every cell of the body and is a component in over 200 enzymes. Zinc is involved in more enzymatic reactions than any other mineral, and is stored primarily in muscle and highly concentrated in red and white blood cells. Copper is a co-factor in the absorption of zinc.

by John Connor, CNC

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