Zinc is a very important mineral for strengthening the immune system and assisting in many hormone activities, such as thyroid hormones, growth hormones, and glucose metabolism. So if you are deficient in zinc, you may gain weight. It is also important for the functioning of many enzymes, as well as for protein and DNA synthesis, wound healing, bone structure, skin health, and healthy prostate tissue.
Zinc deficiency may lead to decreased levels of secretion of thyroid hormones, which affects the normal metabolism of the body and the resting metabolic rate. Other trace elements, such as copper and selenium, are required for the synthesis of thyroid hormones too. Thyroid hormones are essential for the absorption of zinc, thus hypothyroidism can also cause zinc deficiency.
When your body runs out of zinc, you may develop hypothyroidism. Some of the symptoms of this include feeling tired, gaining weight, getting sick more frequently, hair loss, heart palpitations, insomnia, chronic diarrhea, constipation, and low sex drive because low levels of zinc can actually stop the body from producing testosterone. Zinc plays an important role in immune function too.
The thyroid gland is the most important endocrine gland in the human body. Thyroid hormones such as thyroxin and triiodothyronine are essential for metabolic functions and also required for normal functioning of body tissues, affecting the metabolic rate and consumption of oxygen.
The most important constituent of thyroid hormones is iodine. Zinc is involved in the creation of thyroid hormones. You need it to activate your hormone T4, which is a precursor to the active, useful form called T3. And you need this T3 to enter the cell, where it wakes you up.
Some drugs and medications can cause zinc deficiency too, including anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, antacids, ulcer and heartburn medications, diuretics, and estrogen drugs used for birth control and menopause.
So how can you naturally raise your zinc levels?
Oysters are one of the highest natural sources of zinc, but it is also found in red meat, egg yolks, beef liver, sardines, tuna, and chick. Black peeper, mustard, chili powder, thyme and cinnamon are also all high in zinc too.
High levels of zinc are actually present in whole grains, legumes, and nuts as well, but it is not as absorbable from these sources because of its binding with phytic acid. Phytic acid binds other essential minerals too, such as calcium, iron, and magnesium. So if you consuming grains, nuts, and legumes, you can used techniques such as soaking, grinding, and fermentation to help to reduce phytic acid levels and thus can increase mineral availability.
If you want to use zinc supplementation then the RDA recommendation is 11mg per day. Most multivitamin supplements already have zinc included. Do make sure to ask your physician or health care provider first though, to learn more before making any changes. But before trying supplementation, you could just try adding some zinc rich foods to your diet and see how your body reacts?
1 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3746228/
2 – https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/zinc
3 – https://www.stephanguyenet.com/two-things-ive-changed-my-mind-about-part-ii-phyticacid/
4 – http://medcraveonline.com/JDMDC/JDMDC-05-00134.pdf
Ayda Ersoy: Nutritionist (Dip.C.N., Dip.S.N.), Master Trainer, (CPT ACE, NCSF, CanfitPro), Registered Yoga Teacher Founder, Health Angel Nutrition, Fitness and Wellness Founder, SMS (Stability, Mobility Strength) Intuitive Training System. She can be reached at healthangelwarrior.com/ and firstname.lastname@example.org.