Zinc deficiency is all too common today. Zinc is critical for it’s usage in hundreds of enzyme systems production. Zinc deficiency is something I personally have dealt with and something I address with my clients through diet and supplementation based on knowing their individual needs through hair tissue mineral analysis.
Zinc is the balancing stabilizing mineral.
There are many possible signs the body will show you to clue you in to the fact you may be deficient in zinc. Today, I’ll cover some of those and tell you how you can start to self-assess and work on building back up your zinc status through food and adequate digestion.
Signs & Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency – Plus Uses and Indications for Zinc
- poor growth in children
- delayed sexual maturation
- reduced libido
- low sperm counts/infertility
- loss of hair
- night blindness
- impaired sense of taste and smell
- compulsive behavior
- decreased appetite (even to the point of anorexia)
- Hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid)
- Immune support/allergies
- prostate hypertrophy
- chronic yeast infections
- fungal infections
- vascular degeneration
- premature graying of hair
- white spots on fingernails (often a sign of too much copper which is antagonistic to zinc)
- Healing wounds
- sugar craving
- periodontal disease
- Diabetes (insulin storage requires adequate zinc, zinc deficiency is common in all types of diabetes)
- menstrual irregularities
- macular degeneration
- peptic ulcers/gastric ulcers
There are reasons one could show deficiency symptoms not correlated to lack of intake. It’s possible for deficiency to be present with under active adrenal glands, thyroid or an overly active parathyroid gland. As well as if you are toxic in copper or have other toxic metal accumulation. Stress, illness and certain medications can also contribute to deficiency. Medications may contribute by either suppressing the ability to absorb the zinc in the first place (namely acid blockers), or by increasing its excretion or simply interfering with other synergistic nutrients like magnesium and B6.
Commonly known drugs that affect zinc are anti-depressants, anti-inflammatory medications such as cortisone and prednisone, as well as diuretics. Long term hormone replacement therapy reduces serum zinc. Also, there are other minerals and vitamins that are antagonistic to zinc. This is why it is critical to maintain balance in supplementation (via hair tissue mineral analysis), and eat a real, whole foods, properly-prepared, nutrient dense diet. However, there does come a time when supplementing is not only necessary but will help to resolve certain issues. It’s best to test via hair analysis to know your current mineral status to supplement with accuracy.
Men should know that they deplete zinc with each ejaculation. It is important for men to get daily zinc via diet or supplementation. This is one key piece to prostate issues and infertility issues. If you are looking to conceive, consider getting your zinc status tested. If you have issues with your prostate, get your zinc levels checked and consider supplementing for a time.
Zinc helps produce insulin, release it and prolong it’s effect. If you are diabetic, insulin resistant or a pre-diabetic, knowing your zinc levels will be imperative.
It’s also important to note that there are foods that contain high amounts of phytic acid which binds with the zinc molecules making it very difficult to absorb the minerals in that food. Grains would be one such food. If you consume grains, you should learn how to soak or sprout them prior to consuming them. Coffee, sugar, hard water, too much fiber, legumes deplete zinc.
Zinc Taste Test
This is a simple test you can do yourself at home to help get a feel for whether you are deficient in zinc. This is a first step that can be taken to help assess your zinc status and know you need to start to work on rebuilding your zinc levels. In light of this info. it’s best to work with a practitioner and get further testing via a hair tissue mineral analysis to know how much to supplement with as well as balance with other minerals.
To start this test you should not have had anything to eat or drink (except water within 30 minutes). Swish with 1 TBS. liquid zinc around in your mouth for up to 30 seconds and note the second you taste something other than water. Write down whether it tastes like one of the following descriptions;
- Strong unpleasant taste =EXCELLENT
- definite taste that gets stronger but is noted immediately= FAIR
- no immediate taste but slightly minerally, dry or furry = POOR
- no specific taste after 30 seconds= DEFICIENT
- sweet taste after 30 seconds = EXTREMELY DEFICIENT
Supplementing with Zinc
Since zinc helps to build hydrochloric acid, it would be a good thing to get a gauge on whether you are deficient or not. Why? Because zinc is dependent on good hydrochloric acid production for uptake. Since hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid) is rampant today, this test would be a good idea for anyone. Over 90% of us are actually LOW in stomach acid for various reasons. (Read more about how to supplement with hydrochloric acid here).
I suggest only supplementing with zinc longer term via hair tissue mineral analysis while working to rebuild your stomach acid. This will help to make sure you take supplemental minerals in the right balance for your body’s current needs. Remember, just supplementing with one mineral alone via guessing can push other minerals out of balance. Minerals are a delicate balancing act – please don’t take them haphazardly. Also, large doses of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) can possibly contribute to zinc deficiency.
Are you ready to take action to improve your overall health? Get a hair tissue mineral analysis done. This test will let you know your exact mineral status, as well as gain information about toxic minerals and heavy metal levels. Intracellular sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium and their ratios are important in determining your overall health. You can also determine if you are effectively digesting protein, find out your water and acid-base balance, energy production, thyroid and adrenal function and a whole host of other health problems besides. Learn what is going on with your individual biochemistry so you can begin to correct and reverse health issues today!
[Sources: ‘Signs & Symptoms- Analysis from a Functional Perspective’, Dicken Weatherby; ‘Trace Elements and Other Essential Minerals’, Dr. David L. Watts; ‘Clinical Reference Guide for Biotics Research’.]
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