Zinc and Zinc Deficiency
Zinc is an essential mineral involved in numerous aspects of cellular metabolism. It is found naturally in many foods such as seafood like crabs and oysters, beef, chicken, almonds, cheese, yoghurt, and peas.
Phytates found in many grains, cereals, and legumes bind to zinc inside the gut and prevent its absorption. Meat provides much higher levels of this essential mineral than vegetables, which means vegetarians and vegans should pay attention to their zinc consumption.
What is Zinc Deficiency?
Zinc deficiency leads to a loss of appetite and impaired immune function. The more severe it gets, zinc deficiency can cause hair loss, diarrhoea, impotence, and eye and skin lesions.
Who Experiences Zinc Deficiency?
Vegetarians are at greatest risk of zinc deficiency, but alcoholics and people with digestive issues and poor stomach acid are also highly at risk. Some side effects of medications can produce zinc deficiency and low levels of almost all essential nutrients. Women who take birth control pills or undergo hormone replacement therapy have a greater risk of zinc deficiency.
Over indulgence in sex and even excessive masturbation – more than 5 times a week – can cause serious zinc deficiency, as the sexual fluids in both men and women are high in this essential mineral. Just the very act of ejaculation uses up a lot of zinc as so much energy is required in the process. Zinc is also heavily involved in the natural production of dopamine, and you get a surge of dopamine release during sex and ejaculation.
What is the Opposite of Zinc Deficiency?
Optimum zinc levels have the following benefits:
Improved athletic performance
Having optimum zinc levels in the body helps boost the production of the three most important anabolic hormones: testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). You need these to develop good muscle tone and strong bones.
Supports reproductive health
Low zinc in men impairs testosterone production, puts them at risk for developing prostate cancer, and causes infertility. Zinc deficiency has also been linked to low libido. If women are zinc deficient, the egg won’t mature properly and ovulation will be affected, causing infertility. Adequate zinc allows women to use estrogen and progesterone more efficiently, supporting reproductive health and ensuring that estrogen does what it’s supposed to do in the body.
Prevents cancer and boosts the immune system
Evidence links zinc deficiency to cancers of the breast, colon, ovaries, lungs, skin, and leukemia. Zinc deficiency affects the immune system because low zinc causes disrupted T-cell function. T-cells elevate the body’s immune system when viruses, bacteria, or challenges to health arise. Older people are at greater risk of zinc deficiency and there’s strong evidence that a need for more zinc may increase with age to counter inflammation, support the immune system, and ensure healthy cell function.
Improved cardiovascular health
Zinc deficiency leads to high cholesterol buildup and inflammation.
Increased insulin sensitivity and prevention of diabetes
Zinc is needed for the healthy function of most hormones, including insulin. Zinc actually plays a major role in the healthy functioning of insulin. Inadequate zinc levels can often lead to diabetes.
Increased brain health, treating ADHD & depression
Zinc plays an essential role in neurotransmitter function and helps maintain brain structure and health. Zinc is also involved in the formation of healthy cell membranes, especially in your brain. Studies show that children with ADHD tend to have lower zinc than healthy children and supplementation with zinc can help with ADHD symptoms. Dopamine, which zinc is involved with, is an important hormone that boosts energy, mood, and reward-driven learning. Low dopamine levels are linked to depression, and in some cases of depression zinc can be a wonder supplement.
How To Ensure You Get Enough Zinc
You can top up your zinc levels through high quality supplementation, but be aware that there is an upper limit to zinc levels too. Zinc toxicity can lead to immune problems and even infertility, the same as having too little zinc.