Are you getting enough zinc? If you aren’t sure, it’s not your fault. Most simple blood tests can’t identify a zinc deficiency because the essential mineral is deposited in tiny amounts to all the cells in the body.
Better medical tests for low levels of zinc in the body include testing a sample of your blood plasma, some urine or a hair strand.
Why should you care? Without enough zinc, your body can’t manufacture new replacement cells for the old ones that die off. When that happens, some of the warning signs are:
- Sudden and unexplained weight loss
- Wounds that don’t heal
- Open sores on the skin
- Appetite loss
- Lack of alertness
- Diminished senses of smell and taste
Zinc is one of many micronutrients, dietary components known more commonly as vitamins and minerals. The body only needs small amounts of these substances but without them, human development, an effective disease-fighting immune system, and our wellness are put in jeopardy.
Because the body can’t produce micronutrients, we must get them from our daily diets – what we eat.
This important mineral is key to many aspects of cellular metabolism. The catalytic activity of some-100 enzymes depends on zinc.
Zinc follows iron as the two most highly concentrated trace minerals in the human body. The immune system needs zinc to function properly, detecting and eliminating foreign invader microorganisms. The essential mineral is also involved in proper cell division and growth, wound healing, breaking down carbohydrates, smell and taste, and enhancing insulin action.
Zinc is vital to normal human growth and development, from prenatal to birth and on to babyhood and childhood. The Office of Dietary Supplements under the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has published its Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for zinc. Needs are different between males and females, rising with age.
Globally, 17.3 percent of the population is at risk for zinc deficiency due to inadequate diets and as many as 30 percent of people are at risk in some parts of the world.
Zinc deficiency can also lead to copper deficiency. To avoid this, take a high-quality, preservative-free liquid zinc sulfate supplement. This type of zinc strips away only harmful toxic copper, leaving behind the beneficial copper that promotes good health.
Some research suggested that taking zine supplements for at least five months was linked to a lowered chance of falling ill with the common cold. Taking zinc supplements within 24 hours after the first detection of cold symptoms may reduce how long the symptoms last and reduce their severity.
The body’s ability to absorb and use iodine also depends on zinc. Anyone with a history of thyroid disorder or disease may benefit from increasing their intake, slowly, above the recommended daily values.
- Chronic urinary tract infections
- Chronic sinus infections
- Catch colds and flus easily
Less obvious symptoms that your immune system has been compromised include:
- Cold sores
- Canker sores
- Eye stys
- Itchy eyes and/or ears
- Postnasal drip
- Sore throat
- Chronic cough
- Ingrown toenail swelling
- Toenail and fingernail fungus
- Cuts or scratches that become infected