The Wonders of Zinc

The Wonders of Zinc

The Wonders of Zinc

Have you ever had a cold that causes you to lose your sense of taste and smell? It is a little known fact that the cause of this phenomenon is a deficiency in the key mineral nutrient Zinc.

Zinc is necessary for a number of different processes in the body, one of which involves the development of healthy, normal immune responses. This means that during times of stress or increased need (such as when you have a cold), your Zinc deposits deplete, causing a short term deficiency. And it is this deficiency that causes you to lose your sense of taste and smell.

Poor hair, skin & bone health

Along with supporting the health of the immune system, Zinc helps to brings structure and support to the skin and bones, meaning a deficiency of this nutrient can result in an increased risk of alopecia (loss of hair), dermatitis or eczema, and impaired wound healing (meaning wounds take a long time to heal) due to the role Zinc plays in the production of collagen in the body. This action also means it is extremely important, along with Calcium and Magnesium, in supporting the building of strong, healthy bones.

Reproductive and nervous system health

Zinc is also important for a number of key reproductive processes in the body, as a lack of this nutrient can be the cause of a delayed onset of menstruation or other menstrual difficulties in women or a reduced sperm count in men.

The nervous system relies on Zinc to help in the production of a variety of nerve impulses and for the production and metabolism of a number of differing neurotransmitters (brain chemicals).


Since Zinc deficiency is mostly caused by a diet low in the foods high in this nutrient, those individuals often at risk include vegetarians (as you need to consume a greater volume of plant source foods to get the same amount as a relatively small quantity of meat or shellfish), and vegans, as well as the elderly and pregnant women. For these individuals, it is important to monitor signs of deficiency, and consider a supplement where appropriate.

It is also important to remember that digestive disorders can affect one’s ability to absorb Zinc, as can some immune based disorders. For these individuals it is even more important to monitor signs and consider an easy to digest form of Zinc supplement, such as an amino acid chelate or gluconate.

Food & Supplemental Sources of Zinc

-          Meat

-          Liver

-          Eggs

-          Seafood, especially oysters and shellfish (amongst the highest natural source in the human diet)

-          Nuts

-          Legumes

-          Whole grains

-          Seeds, especially pumpkin seeds (also known as ‘pepitas’)

-          Miso

-          Tofu

-          Brewer’s yeast

-          Mushrooms

-          Green beans

-          Best supplemental sources are Zinc amino acid chelate & Zinc gluconate

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