Do You Have A Zinc Deficiency?
Do You Have A Zinc Deficiency?
Did you know approximately 2 billion people on the planet are suffering from a zinc deficiency? The likelihood you are deficient in zinc is high - in fact, it's one of the most common deficiencies I see in my patients at the Loveday Natural Health Centre.
The soil in New Zealand is low in many important nutrients, such as zinc, magnesium, selenium, boron and iodine, so it's very difficult to obtain adequate levels from our food. Combined with poor dietary choices, stress, alcohol and other lifestyle factors, our body's ability to absorb essential vitamins and minerals is significantly decreased.
Zinc is an essential mineral critical to normal growth and development, and is needed for the production of about 100 different enzymes.
When your body doesn't get enough of it, you're not only likely to suffer from mental health problems, but you may also experience a weaker immune system as well. At this time of year, when ills, chills and viruses are prevalent, it's even more important to ensure both adults and children are receiving adequate amounts of zinc.
Supplementing daily with a good quality product is an effective way of strengthening our immunity and helping to protect against troublesome bugs.
How do you know if you have a zinc deficiency?
Zinc deficiency can cause:
Depression - The link between low zinc levels and depression or mental lethargy is not new. Over 20 years ago, zinc levels in the body were found to be much lower in people with depression. If you suffer from depression, low zinc could be a cause.
A lack of appetite - a slow or sluggish metabolism, lack of appetite, or even anorexia, accompanied by a poor sense of taste or smell, is another sign you're not getting enough zinc in your diet.
Poor brain development - Zinc deficiency in children can cause all types of brain disorders such as mild to severe retardation, dyslexia and other problems with mental development. This is because the area of the brain that controls emotions needs high levels of zinc.
Hair loss - thinning hair or hair loss is one of the chief signs of a zinc deficiency. Zinc deficiency leads to changes in the protein structure of hair follicles leading to weakening of their structural integrity. Personally I have found many of my patients have experienced not only less frequent hair loss through zinc supplementation, but also stronger, shinier and healthier hair.
Poor wound healing - Zinc found in the skin has antioxidant properties that provide UV protection. Due to its importance in the production of collagen, it is essential for wound healing and dry or allergic skin conditions.
Brittle/soft nails - brittle, splitting nails with white spots is another easy way to tell whether you're low in zinc.
People who are deficient in zinc can tend to have constant illness; always prone to "picking things up" or generally experiencing a state of ill health. In my opinion, it's one of the most underrated, yet incredibly powerful minerals. And when supplemented right, as part of an individually considered health plan, Zinc can significantly impact our state of personal health.
Zinc supplementation is easy - it can be taken in a drink, pills or powder form. We don't need a lot, as it can become quite toxic in high doses. We recommend small amounts taken on a daily basis, preferably on an empty stomach and away from other minerals (i.e. at bedtime), as zinc competes with magnesium and iron for the receptor sites.