Zinc: Its Importance for Human Health

Dr. Liau
Dr. Liau

Functional Medicine

Zinc is considered as an essential nutrient, meaning that our body can’t produce or store this particular nutrient. For this reason, you have to get a constant supply of zinc through your diet.

Zinc is naturally found in a wide variety of both plant and animal foods. Foods that don’t naturally contain this mineral, such as breakfast cereals or snack bars can sometimes be fortified with synthetic forms of zinc.

Alternatively, you can also take zinc supplements or multi-nutrient supplements that provide zinc.

Role of Zinc in Your Body

Did you know that Zinc is the second most abundant trace mineral in your body? And zinc is present in every cell. Hence, zinc is an important mineral that your body uses.

Some of the important roles of zinc are such as:

  1. Development and function of immune cells
  2. Zinc is fundamental to skin health, DNA synthesis and protein production
  3. Body growth and development relies on zinc due to its role in cell growth and division
  4. Zinc may significantly reduce your risk of age-related diseases, such as pneumonia and infection
  5. Zinc plays a role in decreasing oxidative stress and decreases inflammation

To elaborate further on this, Zinc is essentially important for pregnant ladies as well as during puberty period. Why is it so?

During stages such as infancy, adolescence and pregnancy, the need for zinc in the body is higher for rapid development. This is because zinc is required for the development of the nervous system and brain function. Besides, this important mineral activates more than hundreds of different enzymatic reactions that are essential to life and your biological activities!

As pregnancy is a time when your baby is growing from a single cell into a little person, trillions of cells are being develop hence the healthy intake of zinc is important as a part of a healthy and balanced pregnancy diet.

Similar to puberty, zinc is essential due to its role in growth and maturation. Zinc helps children gain an appropriate amount of height and weight during the puberty years and helps with the reproductive organs to develop normally as well. More importantly, zinc is extremely important because it helps children and adolescence to improve learning!

Effects of Zinc Deficiency

When zinc levels are low, it may contribute to various symptoms such as schizophrenia, hypertension, autism, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, headaches, childhood hyperactivity, depression, insomnia, senility and premenstrual syndrome.

Apart from that, zinc deficiency will also affect cognitive development and the patient may face alterations in attention, activity, neuropsychological behaviour and motor development.

So, is zinc important for your body? Yes!

Pyrrole Disease & Zinc

Pyrrole Disease is a clinical condition that causes dramatic shifts in mood. It sometimes occurs alongside other mental health conditions, including: bipolar disorder, anxiety and schizophrenia.

Pyrrole Disease was formerly known as Hydroxyhemopyrrolin-2-one (HPL) and is a molecule naturally excreted via urine. When a person excretes higher pyrrole compared to others, this shows a toxic level of the enzyme within the body.

When a person has too much pyrrole molecules in the body, it is common to notice shifts in mood and is most noticeable in children, teenagers and young adults.

High number of pyrroles will lead to nutritional deficiencies, particularly in zinc and Vitamin B-6. This is because the pyrrole molecules will attach themselves to the nutrients and being excreted out before the body have a chance to absorb those nutrients.

Hence, patients diagnosed with Pyrrole Disease will face nutrient deficiency (in this case particularly zinc) and leading to common symptoms such as irritability, severe anxiety, short-term memory problems, depression etc.

How to obtain Zinc from Food Sources?

Zinc is present in many nutritious foods and adding them into your family’s diet could be a way to boost their zinc intake. The richest food sources of zinc include oysters and meat such as beef, veal, pork and lamb.

If you are on a vegetarian diet, speak to your doctor about the benefit of zinc supplementation to obtain appropriate amounts of zinc intake.

However to avoid overconsumption, it is advised to check with your doctor before consuming high-dosage zinc supplements. Because high-dose zinc supplements can lead to dangerous side effects, it’s important to stick to recommendations and only take supplements when necessary.

For more information, you can contact us via [email protected] or [email protected]

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