By Lisa Breitenwischer
Zinc is essential for our health and for proper body function. Everyone, requires regular zinc to remain alive! It’s present in every cell, organ, bone, tissue and fluid in the body. It helps your immune system and metabolism function. Living in America with our fortified foods and multivitamin supplements, a zinc deficiency may be the farthest thing from our mind. However, just because we’re eating foods with added nutrition doesn’t mean our body is absorbing it, and there are many zinc deficiency risk factors right here in the U.S.A.
With the current pandemic and flu season upon us, it is more important than ever to know what these risk factors are so you can make better choices for yourself. People with the following health conditions are most susceptible to zinc deficiency:
• Nutrient absorption syndromes
• Rheumatoid arthritis
People who are also at risk, but not as prevalent:
• Pregnant and lactating women
• Malnourished individuals
• Individuals with severe or persistent diarrhea, IBD, Sickle cell anemia, chronic renal disease
• Older adults (65 and older)
• Strict Vegetarians
The seven most common zinc deficiency symptoms are:
1. Poor Neurological Function
2. Weak Immunity
4. Allergies: food and environment
5. Thinning Hair
6. Leaky Gut
7. Acne or rashes
The best way to avoid zinc deficiency is to regularly consume foods high in zinc. Foods like turkey, chicken and lean red meat, seafood including oysters or king crab, and eggs. Other sources of zinc are found in grains, legumes especially chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cashews and almonds, fruits and vegetables, even dark chocolate!
For people who aren’t eating enough absorbable high zinc foods, or have a digestive issue that doesn’t allow for proper absorption of the mineral, taking a zinc supplement may be beneficial.
Supplementing with a pill can make you fell better, however, if you take too much, it can make you feel miserable as well. The recommended daily amount of zinc is 8 mg for women and 11mg for men. For people who have digestive issues, take your zinc supplement with a meal, otherwise it may make you feel nauseous.