So, you’re trying to take care of your health. You’re eating a Gundry-approved diet and doing as much as you can to take the supplements you need for a gut-healthy diet.
But, even with the healthiest diet, there might still be a few problems you’re not aware of. After all, it takes time to get your body in sync with your new habits. Sometimes it just takes your body time to learn to absorb the nutrients you’re feeding it – and zinc is no exception.
So what does zinc do, exactly?
Well, you need Zinc to help facilitate cellular metabolism.1 It’s also really important when it comes to your immune function.2 Zinc even plays a major role in protein synthesis, DNA synthesis, and even in cell division – basically, your body NEEDS it to exist.3
As it turns out though, there are plenty of cases of zinc deficiency. Continue reading to learn a little more about why many diets lack zinc and some good sources of zinc.
Why Do American Diets Lack Zinc?
Now, it’s no secret that your body requires zinc to keep you happy, healthy, and alive. Zinc is an essential mineral. In fact, it’s classified as an essential ‘trace’ mineral because your body needs a little bit of it every single day.
You see, zinc is – or should be – everywhere in your body. You can find zinc in all of your cells and organs, bones and tissues, and throughout your body’s fluids.
Of course, more serious zinc deficiencies are not the norm, but millions of people happen to be suffering from slight zinc deficiencies – and even those less severe zinc deficiencies can take a toll on your overall health.
According to The National Institute of Health – adult males should be getting around 11 mg of zinc everyday. And adult females should be taking in at least 8 mg of zinc a day.4
But sadly, millions of people actually are zinc deficient and have no idea. But if you know how to look for the signs of even slight zinc deficiency, you might be able to stop the problem before it gets to be too much to handle.
For starters, you want to ask yourself if you might be more likely to have trouble with zinc absorption. If you fall under one of the following categories, you might want to check in with your doctor about your zinc levels –
- Do you drink to excess? You might be at higher risk of zinc deficiency.
- Do you suffer from any kind of malabsorption syndrome?
- Do you have rheumatoid arthritis? If so, you may need to supplement your zinc as RA patients absorb less zinc and may require supplementation.
How can you tell if you have a zinc deficiency? Here are some possible symptoms:
Leaky Gut Syndrome
If you’ve visited this blog before, you’ve likely read about Leaky Gut Syndrome. Leaky gut is what happens when your intestine becomes permeable for any number of reasons. When that happens, you might experience skin disorders, thyroid issues, or even develop allergic reactions to certain substances and foods. Furthermore, you’ll have a more difficult time absorbing nutrients and your immune system can start to feel out of whack.
But the right amount of zinc could actually help ease certain symptoms associated with leaky gut.5
Compromised Immune System
When it comes to your immune system, zinc really helps to keep things running as they’re supposed to.
That’s because the right amount of zinc is really important in terms of white blood cell differentiation and fending off certain diseases. Zinc also helps you kill off dangerous bacteria and viruses. Zinc also helps your cell membranes protect themselves.
And believe it or not, zinc can also affect the balance of your moods, not just your general immune function. In fact, it’s possible to be even more susceptible to e coli and other bacterial infections if you’re dealing with a severe zinc deficiency.6
Increase in Allergic Responses
Chronic stress can actually be partially to blame for adrenal fatigue. This can of course affect zinc absorption and lead to deficiency and even spike your histamine levels.7
Turns out, zinc plays a huge part in helping your body put away histamine. So, if you’re low on zinc, you’re probably facilitating the release of extra histamine in certain areas. The problem is, extra histamine can lead to allergic responses like sneezing, runny nose, or even skin irritation. And the higher your histamine levels, the more likely you are to become sensitive to allergens in foods and in your environment.
Impaired Cognitive Function
Now, zinc is absolutely essential when it comes to cognitive function. Unfortunately, if you’re missing the right amounts of zinc, you might notice a struggle with keeping attention or certain motor issues. These can start when you’re a child and continue to exist as you grow and become an adult.8
So, how do you get more zinc?
Well, first of all, supplements and foods high in zinc work best when absorbed with other essential nutrients – like those found in all natural foods. So…
What foods are a good source of zinc?
Well, to give your zinc levels a boost as fast as you can, you might want to add a zinc supplement to your diet. But, you can also find zinc in the following delicious foods.
Foods High in Zinc
- Grass-fed Beef – A 4 oz serving provides your body with around 5 mg of zinc. That’s over 30% of your recommended daily value.
- Grass-fed Lamb – A 4 oz helping of lamba gives you about 5.2 mg of zinc. That’s about 32% of your suggested daily value.
- Mushrooms – A single cup of cooked mushrooms gives you almost 2 mg of zinc which is almost 15% of your recommended daily zinc intake.
- Pasture-Raised Chicken – A 4 oz serving of pastured chicken can provide up to 1.6 mg of zinc. That gets you about 12% of your daily value of zinc. So chow down.
- Dark Chocolate – A 100 gram serving of unsweetened dark chocolate can give you up to 9 mg of zinc. So, break off a square of dark chocolate to raise your zinc level. (I’m actually giving you another reason to eat chocolate – you’re welcome).
- Spinach – Finally, my favorite source of zinc – spinach. A cup of cooked spinach gives you almost 10% of your daily value of zinc – approximately 1.4 mg.
But, is there such a thing as too much zinc?
Now, there actually is a thing as too much zinc. Some doctors and nutritionists feel that raising your zinc levels for long stretches of time can cause some health issues like –
- Gut discomfort
That’s just to name a few issues. Zinc overdoses are pretty rare. But, to be on the safe side, make sure to talk to your doctor about how much zinc you should be consuming and for how long.
You can do your part to feel better by talking to your healthcare provider about your zinc levels. If, in fact, you are deficient, start adding the foods above to your diet. You’ll be glad you did and you’ll likely start to notice positive changes as you go about your days.
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