The pandemic has brought our collective and individual frailties into stark view. This new awareness has led many to more deeply consider ways to protect their health. Understandably, nutrients have been thrust into the spotlight. A focus on the mineral, zinc, included. Well-known in natural health circles for its immune protective benefits, zinc offers this and so much more.
With this in mind…
What do you need to know about this humble mineral?
What conditions might zinc help?
What foods contain an ample supply?
And when do supplements make sense?
Let’s take a look…
What is zinc and what does it do?
Zinc is an essential mineral; it is required for health. It has diverse and wide-ranging functions in the human body…
From speeding up bodily processes (enzymatic catalysis) to helping nerves “talk,” aiding healthy gene expression to boosting immune cell function, fighting off bacteria and viruses to being involved with the production of proteins, without zinc you would perish.
It’s no surprise that, given zinc’s many effects, it is found in many tissues. Bone, hair, liver, muscle, skin, teeth, testes, and white blood cells included.
What foods contain zinc?
Zinc is a structural component in a number of proteins. As such, it is found in animal-based foods. Beef liver, poultry, lean red meat, and turkey are hearty sources. Oysters offer an exquisite seafood option. Cheddar cheese, egg yolk, and skim milk powder offer vegetarian sources.
The zinc in vegan options is less bioavailable; that is, less available for use by the body. However, simple processes like fermentation, soaking, and sprouting reduce this issue. Beans, cocoa, legumes, nuts and seeds, tempeh, tofu, and whole grains are good options.
Tip: The human body decreases excretion to maintain a healthy zinc balance in those with a lower intake. Vegetarians, for example.
How much zinc do you need?
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for zinc in an adult is 8 mg per day for non-pregnant, non-breastfeeding women and 11 mg per day for men.
And if you don’t meet the RDA or are otherwise deficient in zinc?
Because of zinc’s broad involvement throughout the body, symptoms of deficiency are varied.
Symptoms of zinc deficiency
Impaired wound healing
Lowered sperm count
Reduced ability to smell and taste
But where deficiency can spell trouble, upping your intake offers potential benefits for a range of functions and conditions.
3 common problems associated with deficiency and the benefits of a healthy zinc intake
There are a long list of potential issues associated with zinc deficiency. Here are our top three…
Maintaining an even blood sugar level is crucial to health. If blood sugar remains too high, we become unwell. Over time, this can lead to chronic illness and, eventually, death. So, we have an in-built system to maintain this level within a narrow range.
Consumed carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, a simple sugar. They then enter the bloodstream. A hormone called insulin is produced and released from the β-cell’s of the pancreas. Its job is to guide glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. This finely tuned process ensures just the right amount of energy is kept in circulation.
For people with diabetes, insulin becomes dysfunctional. This hormone fails to move sufficient glucose from the blood, leading to raised blood sugar levels. This is problematic, dangerous.
Yet, zinc may offer respite. Involved in both the function of β-cells and insulin, this mineral supports healthy glucose levels. As Oregon State University’s article, Zinc, said, “Supplementation with zinc (20-240 mg/day) for 4 to 16 weeks improved fasting blood glucose in patients who presented with zinc deficiency.”
In a pandemic world, it is super important to take science-backed steps to protect your immunity. Here, zinc has a role to play.
As the article, Zinc and immune function: the biological basis of altered resistance to infection, noted, sufficient “zinc is crucial for normal development and function of cells mediating nonspecific immunity… and also affects development of acquired immunity.”
In short, zinc helps in the creation of killer cells; cells that act like PacMan and engulf unknown foreign invaders. Zinc is also involved in the process of antibody production, a targeted response - like sniper fire - to a previously encountered bacteria or virus.
This mineral, then, helps your body to destroy bugs, whether from a new infection or an infective agent your body has encountered before.
With up to four in every ten Americans reporting symptoms of insomnia, poor sleep is a massive, widespread issue. In the short-term, shortened slumber creates brain fog, increased risk of accidents and, of course, fatigue. In the long-term, it is linked to cancer, cardiovascular, cerebrovascular disease, depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Yet foods like oysters hold a sedative secret.
A 2016 study found that consuming zinc-rich foods or supplements helped people fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
Why should you consider supplementing with zinc?
Ensuring a healthy zinc intake is key to short-term and long-term wellbeing. Supplementing helps you to avoid deficiency.
ThermoSleep contains an ample once-daily dose of 15 mg of zinc. This is an easy, fast way to meet your needs.
To sprinkle fuel on the fire, this formulation is designed to supercharge your slumber. Magnesium, Ashwagandha, lemon balm, Chamomile, melatonin, and 5-HTP are each well-loved for their relaxing, slumber-inducing effects.
As Macy A. said, “I use it EVERY night! I was always having trouble getting a good night of sleep and just falling asleep and staying asleep, decided to try this and now I can’t stop! It helps me so much!”
The zinc takeaway
Zinc is an essential nutrient. If deficient, your health will take a hammering. Diabetes, lowered immunity, and poor sleep are the tip of the zinc-deficient iceberg. The good news is that correcting the issue is (usually) easy: increase your intake.
Enjoy foods rich in zinc and supplement sensibly.
Your body will thank you!