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July 17, 2019

The importance of zinc in your healing journey

Zinc deficiency = healing slowly

Photo: Henry Be

I believe one of the best things we can do if we’re struggling with any kind of health imbalance is to start with getting our nutrient levels tested. Vitamins and minerals are the fundamental building and healing blocks of our health. Without them, well, we wouldn’t be here. Our bodies are more intelligent than we’ll ever comprehend but sometimes this intelligence needs a helping hand. When we’re low on key minerals such a zinc, many functions start to suffer such our healing capability.

There are many factors that contribute to vitamin and mineral depletion: stress (emotional, physical, environmental), nutrient deficient soils and food, medication,  illness, poor digestion, etc. Most people aren’t aware that most, if not all, prescription medications deplete many vitamins and minerals. For example, birth control  (ring, patch, pill) depletes B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, zinc and selenium.  Unfortunately, they’re not told by their doctor that they will lose important nutrients while taking this medication. And if you’re taking these pills for several years, as I once did with birth control, you can become critically low in many vitamins and minerals.  The best thing to do in this case is to get tested and then supplement (whether with foods or supplements) to ensure that your body has what it needs.

Ok, back to zinc. Zinc is a metal and an important trace element. It acts as antioxidant and one of the reasons zinc is so important is because it supports healing. It helps strengthen our immune system and helps fight viruses, bacteria, and cancer cells. If you’re dealing with any health issues, maintaining a strong immune system will be key in your recovery.

It’s important to note that vitamins and minerals work synergistically. They’re not a one person show, they work best as a team. In this case zinc and copper support one another. They’re both absorbed in the small intestine and if there’s too much zinc in the body, copper tends to lose out and a copper deficiency may develop.  The absorption of zinc is improved when taken with vitamin C, and if you’re low in zinc you’ll have difficulty absorbing and utilizing vitamin A. If you need to supplement, it’s best to use multi-mineral so you don’t create additional deficiencies.

 

The Functions Supported by Zinc

  • Necessary for tissue  and cell formation
  • Antioxidant
  • Cancer fighting
  • Important for taste
  • Crucial for healing
  • Supports healthy liver funtions
  • Insulin activity
  • Hydrochloric acid manufacture in the stomach
  • Metabolism of 25 different digestive enzymes
  • Skin elasticity and repair
  • Zinc deficiency has been linked to premature hair loss.
  • Prostate gland function
  • Growth of reproductive organs
  • Synthesis of active Vitamin A
  • Enhances immune system by manufacturing T cells
  • Fights colds

 

Benefits of Zinc for Breast Health

  • Support a strong immune system which helps fight and heal growths
  • Helps heal breast imbalances
  • Supports a healthy digestive system which allows the body to properly break down and absorb nutrients which are key for healthy breast tissue.
  • Supports healthy hormone production

 

Possible Signs of Zinc Deficiency

  • The most visible sign of zinc deficiency is white spots on the nails.

It’s important to note that the following signs could be attributed to a number of deficiencies, not only zinc.

  • Acne
  • Skin disorders
  • Frequent infections
  • Colds
  • Brittle nails
  • Poor dream recall
  • Cut/wounds heal slowly
  • Loss of sense of smell and taste
  • Loss of appetite
  • Red stretch marks
  • Sweet cravings or unusual food cravings particularly during pregnancy
  • Hair loss or thinning hair
  • Brittle hair
  • Tooth decay

 

Causes of deficiency

  • Prescription medication
  • Poor digestion
  • Stress (emotional, physical and environmental)
  • Illness
  • Nutrient deficient soils and food

 

Dietary Sources 

  • Lamb
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Grass fed beef
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Cacao powder
  • Cashews
  • Kefir
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Almonds

 

Dose

This is a very broad generalization to give you an idea of how much zinc an individual might need. The more serious health issues will require higher levels of zinc. It’s important to work with a qualified health practitioner when figuring out the right supplement dosage, for any nutrient. We all have different needs and the general guidelines doesn’t take into account an individual’s personal requirements.  And when in doubt, start with a smaller dose. That being said, when I notice white spots on my nails, I’ll generally supplement with around 15mg of zinc.

 

  • Adults: 15-75 mg daily
  • Children: 10 mg daily

 

Keep an eye on your nails. They’re a great marker for your zinc levels.

 

 

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The importance of zinc in your healing journey

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