In my nutrition program, we had two whole weekends focused on supplements and folk remedies for helping clients achieve optimal health. While all the new knowledge I gained will be incredibly helpful with my clients, one of the most important pieces of information I gained was how zinc deficient I am. Our whole class participated in a very simple zinc deficiency test which involved holding a solution of zinc in water in our mouths for 30 seconds. Depending on when we began to actually experience the solution as tasting bitter was considered an indication of our zinc status. Some people’s faces almost immediately registered an unpleasant taste. I, on the other hand, went the full 30 seconds with barely detecting any flavor. This lack of bitter flavor detection is considered a sign of my zinc deficiency and lead me to begin researching zinc.
Zinc is an incredibly important nutrient that is involved in the formation of over 300 enzymes in the body. It is part of immune response, protein synthesis and cell division. It aids in the production of testosterone, helps with blood sugar balance and metabolism. It is crucial for growth and development, wound healing, energy level maintenance and mood regulation. Popping zinc within 24 hours of the start of symptoms helps shorten the duration of a cold. Supplementing with zinc has also been shown to reduce acne by as much as 50%. I had always heard that zinc can be helpful when fighting a cold, but I had no idea it was involved in so many important processes in the body.
Zinc is an essential nutrient, meaning it must be received from food. Our body does not produce zinc. The recommended dosage of zinc is only 10-20 mgs a day based on your age and health conditions. (Our ability to absorb zinc decreases as we age and those with gut issues may have a difficult time absorbing zinc.) Excellent food sources of zinc include oysters, beef, pumpkin seeds, lobster, pork, dark meat chicken, cashews, chickpeas and grains properly prepared with soaking and sprouting to reduce phytic acid. With all these yummy sources of zinc, you have many opportunities to meet your daily zinc needs. EAT UP!
Photo from flickr.