Zinc and its health benefits

zincZinc is a mineral our body uses in over 300 places in the body to help it work well. It is concentrated in the heart and helps keep the heart muscle healthy along with preventing atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.

Zinc protects the chromosomes – if you are deficient in zinc you can get chromosome damage – so this is important for preventing cell changes in places where the body gets viral cell changes like cervical cancer or any cell changes for cancer.

If you have any gut problems or coeliac or gluten damage to the gut you may well be chronically zinc deficient and need to take regular zinc for a long time to top the body up while keeping off gluten grains (wheat, oat, barley and rye) to restore healthy gut function and be able to absorb the zinc.

Zinc picolinate and zinc citrate are two easily absorbed forms. Zinc sulfate can taste quite strong, but is especially good for those families who have problems with detox and need more sulphur in their liver to have healthy liver metabolism and detoxification systems to removal toxic metals, sprays and plastics from the body.

Zinc is rich in pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and oysters. Oysters are the richest source. Nuts like walnut, Brazil and almonds, pecans and so on all contain zinc.

In order to produce normal stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) to digest our food properly we need zinc. If you are zinc deficient you may get stomach digestion and reflux problems.

Our gut can get leaky and more food allergies if we are zinc deficient. If you notice you are much more allergic or intolerant of foods you used to be able to eat then maybe you need more zinc.

Some European or Celtic (Scottish, Irish) ancestry families even have a genetic tendency to need a lot of more zinc, B6 and evening primrose oil to feel really well. They have a tendency to low iron or abnormal iron metabolism and thrive once the zinc is restored to better levels. See “pyroluria” for some interesting reading around this area. Autistic spectrum, behaviour changes and mood changes may all occur with zinc deficiencies in children and adults with this condition. Your average adult can need anywhere from 15-50mg zinc per day.

Zinc is best taken with a meal. If you have been chronically zinc deficient then a daily dose for some months may be needed to restore a balance while your gut and stomach digestion areas heal and start to absorb again. Any toxic metals in the body use up the zinc like mercury, lead, cadmium and so on.

The highest concentration of zinc is found in the inner ear – the parts called the cochlea or vestibule – so if you notice your hearing has changed or is not working so well it may be you need zinc to heal these membranes and the zinc deficit may be worse due to genetic factors like pyroluria and/or exposure to toxic metals in the environment using up your zinc.

Zinc can help prevent middle ear infections and may help alleviate some cases of hearing loss due to lack of zinc in the inner ear. Zinc has been trialled for tinnitus. It can help restore inner ear health for some conditions.

Zinc protects the kidneys from diabetes induced damage. Immune conditions of the kidney may benefit from restoring zinc to help heal the area. Zinc helps the white cells work well in your immune system and can decrease your allergic tendency with sinus inflammation and seasonal allergies.

Optic neuritis (inflammation of the eye nerve), age related macular degeneration (membrane at the back of the eye) and even cataracts and night blindness can be helped and prevented by good doses of zinc. I noticed an eye ache in the optic nerve and viral related pains in the body really are healed and prevented by a good daily dose of zinc.

Zinc is concentrated in the hair follicles and can help prevent those “alopecia” bald patches and hair loss. I see breast feeding mums or stressed people losing lots of hair often do very well with a good boost to their zinc levels.

I’ll do more articles on zinc as it works in so many places in the body, but just from that you can see how it really helps our health in the ears, eyes, immune, stomach and heart.

If you are one of my patients you can order Zinc Sustain directly from Bioceuticals by calling 0800 451 285 and quoting 1802 Dr Helen Smith. Zinc Sustain is a good zinc complex and one per day for adults with a meal really helps. If you are very zinc deficient you may need one tablet morning and one night for a while.

Zinc liquid such as Zinc Assay can be ordered directly from Biotrace by calling 09 570 5923 in Auckland and letting them know you are a patient of Dr Helen Smith. You can take 1/2 capful for a small child or 1 capful for children over 8 yrs old or 2-3 capfuls for adults or 3-4 capfuls per day if you are zinc deficient and need a real boost.

If your body tells you you’ve topped up enough zinc or you really start tasting the zinc then you can give it a rest for a while and top up again from time to time as needed.