Welcome back fam! This week we are going to talk about the essential mineral Zinc. It has been in the spotlight with everything going on and we thought you’d like to know more about it! Many people think of it as beneficial to the immune system. But Zinc does so much more for us! Without further ado…
Essential Mineral Zinc
Zinc is an essential mineral that is found in food, added to food, or in dietary supplements. It is involved in at least 100 different enzymatic processes. This means that it is required for many cellular processes like cell division, cell communication, and function. It is required for proper hormone balancing, fertility, immune health, proper nerve function, as well as assisting in the health of the digestive system.
When the body does not have enough zinc (which can be common) many unwanted symptoms occur. Fatigue, cravings for salty or sweet food, diarrhea/digestive issues, hormone imbalances, nerve dysfunction, cognitive issues, frequent bouts of sickness, and infertility to name a few. The symptoms are so varied because of the importance of this trace mineral in so many cellular processes. That being said, you need a small amount of zinc EVERY DAY for healthy cell function because the body cannot make zinc.
Foods with Zinc
The most bio-available way to receive Zinc from your diet is from an animal or fish sources such as lamb, beef, chicken, turkey, or salmon (go for organic/grass fed meat or wild fish whenever possible). Therefore, many vegan/vegetarians can be at risk of low levels of zinc. Seeds and nuts can also be another way or meatless alternative to receive zinc in your diet. This includes pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds. Other foods that contain zinc are spinach, lentils, avocados, and chickpeas.
What is interesting about zinc is that you will only receive a small amount of the zinc contained in the foods. When the food contains other nutrients such as calcium, iron, or phytate/phytic acid, then this will prohibit or minimize the absorb-ability of zinc. Diversify your meals with healthy fats and proteins to help absorb zinc. Try to incorporate zinc containing foods on a daily basis to your meals. If possible, eat them more than just once per day.
The health of your digestive system will also affect the amount of zinc you retain from foods. If you feel this is not attainable to get the zinc from your diet, you have poor digestive health, hormone imbalance, or poor immune system, you can always try a zinc supplement.
Supplementing with Zinc
There are a few different forms of zinc supplements. Zinc Picolinate has been shown to be slightly more absorb-able than zinc citrate or zinc gluconate. L-OptiZinc is Zinc complexed with the amino acid Methionine. This means that it will absorb effectively and quickly into the body and you’ll have a better chance of receiving a larger amount of Zinc. It is also paired with copper. Zinc and copper work together. If you get too much Zinc in the system it will pull all the copper out (another trace mineral needed for iron absorption, nerve function, immune health and more).
A digestive enzyme that contains phytase can help increase mineral absorbency by assisting with breaking down the phytate and phytic acid. This is a very helpful enzyme for vegans and vegetarians that tend to consume more of this nutrient.
We just scratched the surface on how important Zinc is for the body. We are more familiar with Zinc being for immune health because it is needed in order to create our fighter cells that work to destroy bacteria and viruses. But it can also help boost your mood! In fact this is one of it’s primary roles in the body because of it’s role in hormonal health.
More Fun Facts on Zinc
Did you know at the time when sperm penetrates the center of the egg there is a Zinc burst? Another reason why zinc is so critical and important for fertility as well as LIFE. Zinc is highly concentrated in sperm and necessary for fertilizing the egg. Check this awesome video out of the electrical light flash that occurs when life is created. Pretty cool stuff!