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Zinc - do you have enough in the tank?

Zinc - do you have enough in the tank?

Zinc is an essential trace element found in most cells in the body and while a trace element, it is normally present in the body in larger amounts than most trace minerals.
In fact Zinc is arguably the most important trace mineral and some suggest it is a good idea for everyone to take high levels if zinc supplementation continuously.

Severe deficiencies of zinc are common place throughout the world, but you don't have to live in a third world country to have difficulty in getting enough in the diet today.  The most likely cause of a deficiency is due to inadequate dietary intake although losses through gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhoea could also be a contributing factor.
The reason zinc deficiency is so common is not simply due to the "poor quality" of the foods in a general diet but also can be exacerbated by excessive intakes of food containing iron, calcium, vitamin D, or particular fibres and phytates that reduce the body's ability to absorb zinc.

Zinc absorption is also an issue for many as a result of inadequate production of stomach acid and we often have people in our clinic who are taking a zinc supplement and still show signs of zinc deficiency. We tend to favour the use of hey are not using the correct form and they are often not taking enough to break through the blockade and build the body's reserves.  High levels of easily absorbed mineral are need to overcome what is known as the "zinc blockade" when a deficiency exists. for

Why is zinc so important?
Zinc is involved with the activity of more than 300 enzymes and co-enzymes in many functions throughout the body, to date researchers have found more than 200 zinc-dependent enzymes in all the major biochemical pathways in the human body, that’s more than all the other mineral-dependent enzymes combined.

A couple of basic areas where zinc is fundamental is the immune system and in the area of wound healing.  Without adequate zinc our sense of smell and taste are less acute, this little nutrient is used in DNA synthesis and is involved with the structure and function of proteins and cell growth.  For these reasons low levels of zinc during pregnancy can have far reaching effects, and is one of the key nutrients for supporting growth right through our lives, importantly during pregnancy, childhood and adolescence.  

Some studies have shown that a deficiency during pregnancy can result in weakened or dysfunctional immune systems for the subsequent 2 generations even when the deficiency is corrected by dietary intake using a zinc plentiful diet.

Zinc is also an anti-oxidant mineral and a crucial element for the production of enzymes used to help detoxify things such as heavy metals.

Importantly, men require greater amounts than woman(approximately 30% more) and it seems as we age there is a greater likelihood that we will not be absorbing enough, so men in particular beware!
The poor fertility of many couples of the current generation can in part be linked to a lack of zinc.

Low zinc can be associated with:
  • Low sex drive
  • Delayed sexual maturity
  • Low sperm count and poor sperm viability
  • Then onto the pregnancy if this does occur the deficiency could result in:
  • Slow growth or development
  • Increased likelihood of abnormal labour
  • More severe stretch marks

If the mother is deficient while breast feeding then this will result in the baby missing out and for this reason any breastfeeding mum should ideally be supplementing with a quality product that includes good levels of zinc.

And at the other end of the scale, men have the highest concentration of zinc in the tissue of the prostate gland. Zinc appears to have a protective relationship with the prostate and as mentioned above it is important that zinc(along with selenium) be kept at adequate level to protect the prostate as man age.

Other than dietary intake a deficiency may be associated with a number of health conditions including:
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic liver or renal diseases
  • Alcoholism
  • Severe burns
  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases

In general the signs and symptoms of a mild zinc deficiency can be quite varied but may include any or all of the following:
  • White spots or ridging on the fingernails
  • Infertility
  • Impaired sense of taste or smell
  • Poor wound healing
  • Recurring infectious conditions - colds & flu's
  • Weak immune system
  • Impaired night vision
  • Learning difficulties - many children classified as ADHD have severe zinc depletion
  • Skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis and acne
  • PMS, irritability
  • Depression
  • Poor concentration

A more severe deficiency with have more obvious symptoms:
  • Chronic serious infections
  • Baldness or severe hair loss
  • Impaired appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Delayed sexual development and impotency
  • Eye and Skin lesions
  • General growth impairment

We have several preferred zinc products that we use in our clinical work, if you would like any of these products for rapid restoration of your zinc level or to maintain healthy levels please let us know.
We use zinc in a liquid, also available is a zinc in a powder that also has a  hit of Vitamin c with it, a great combination, and where these are not practical an excellent high potency zinc tablet.

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