Why is Zinc Deficiency often Misdiagnosed

How to Identify and Fight Zinc Deficiency | Menopause Woman

Why is zinc deficiency often misdiagnosed?

How to identify and fight it

Zinc is an essential trace element and mineral that’s found in all living beings. It’s known as ‘essential’ for a reason: it has a major effect on your overall health. In fact, it performs more biological roles within the body than all other elements combined.

However, your body has no means of producing or storing the mineral, so it’s tough to regulate your intake – the World Health Organisation estimates that 31% of people globally are zinc deficient. Ensuring that your levels are optimised will help you maintain your natural sparkle.

Why are we just starting to notice how common zinc deficiency is?

Though known as a crucial element for plants and animals since the early 1900’s, it took another 60 years before scientists began to investigate zinc’s effect on humans, and clinicians focused more on the effects of iron deficiency. The mineral was finally identified as essential only in 2009.

Zinc is mainly obtained via diet and the foods you eat. But even if you eat three balanced meals a day, it’s not quite that simple – modern food doesn’t contain as much zinc as in our cavemen ancestors time, for three key reasons:

  1. The soil we grow our food in is widely depleted of crucial minerals including zinc, selenium and chromium due to conventional agricultural methods
  2. Industrialised food processing rinses out up to 50% of zinc through mechanical and chemical processes
  3. Cooking habits – we don’t often risk eating raw meat or veg today, but cooking to being ‘well-done’, fries essential minerals to a crisp, preventing them from being absorbed by your body

Up to 2 billion people globally have a marginal zinc deficiency – but this is not severe enough for them to realise their condition, or for it to be easily diagnosed because symptoms are common to many other conditions.

How would I notice if I were zinc deficient?

Zinc is an essential mineral that helps with enzymatic reactions, binding to electron-rich cell proteins to interact with amino acid side chains. But what does this actually mean for your general health and wellbeing? You might notice some of the following if you become deficient:

  • a loss of appetite
  • occasional moodiness
  • numbed smell and taste
  • immune system compromised: for example, getting a lot of colds and/or flu
  • diarrhoea or ‘leaky gut’
  • increased allergies sensitivity

If you notice these symptoms, you should consider supplementing with zinc to enhance your levels.

Here are some aspects of your health zinc can help with and maintain:

Cell growth Immune system Metabolic rate
Eye health Taste and smell Histamine storage
Gene expression Blood sugar levels Protein synthesis
Respiratory system Cell functionality and division Digestion

Zinc is needed for bone formation and enhances the biochemical actions of Vitamin D. As an added bonus, zinc is also considered an antioxidant, helping to protect you from free radical molecules that cause tissue damage and speed up the ageing process.  It is important to note that the absorption of zinc decreases naturally with age, so you need to be more proactive with your intake as you get older.

How can I supplement my zinc intake?

The best way to naturally increase your zinc intake is by adapting your diet to include some of the following foods, but make sure they are organically grown and contain all the required minerals and necessary nutrients to support your health:

Liver Oysters
Crimini mushrooms Pumpkin seeds
Spinach Beef
Sea vegetables Green peas
Raw milk and cheese Beans

Remember organic is best, and of course, always try to eat real food, not processed. Also, try boiling, poaching and steaming (and avoid microwaving, frying and charbroiling) to ensure that the zinc is still apparent and absorbable when you eat.

Note: cigarette smoke can cause zinc deficiency. Just something to think about.

Restoring your zinc levels to their natural optimum can enhance your overall physical and mental health, and help prevent a myriad of health conditions. And, it’s so easy to achieve: with simple diet improvements and nutritional supplements, you could find a whole new lease of life!

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