According to experts, as many as two billion people in the world have diets that lead the way to zinc deficiency. Studies have raised concerns over the health setbacks this deficiency holds.
In the developing world, zinc deficiency shows to be quite common. In the United States, about 12 percent of the population is at risk, and perhaps as many as 40 percent of the elderly are susceptible.
The sad fact is that many or most individuals have never been tested for a zinc deficiency. Existing tests, though, are so poor that it will probably not make much difference even if you undergo testing. Another facet of the problem is that people do not consume enough zinc-rich foods. The mineral, too, is not well-absorbed.
There are quite a number of ways to determine if you are deficient in this essential mineral. If you have spotted any of the signs, supplementation may be a sound option. The key to doing it, however, is understanding who needs it and when, and this typically included individual assessment to be sure you are being treated and not just the set of symptoms you are showing.
Taking zinc indiscriminately, along with taking other nutrients in isolation, can be problematic. This conventional approach to nutrients and supplementation will simply not work for you and may even downright cause harm. If you are not a pyroluria sufferer, for instance, excess zinc from misguided supplementation may cause you to become copper-deficient and have other symptoms like nausea.
Thus you want to hold off on zinc supplementation, unless if you are working closely with a natural health practitioner that sees you as deficient and in need of a supplement. Pregnant women (plant zinc sources may not be well-absorbed) may particularly benefit from supplementing in addition to losing pregnancy weight after childbirth, especially those who still have stretch marks.
So, where to go to optimize your zinc levels? Your diet, of course! Some of the best zinc food sources around include liver, grass-fed beef, spinach, Crimini mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, sea vegetables, and green peas. Animal sources are seen superior to plant sources, so you may want to increase your organic grass-fed beef or liver intake if you are truly serious about improving your zinc intake.
The recommended daily allowance for zinc is eight milligrams per day for women, and 11 milligrams a day for men. Anything that exceeds 50 milligrams a day is considered excessive. As your guide, here is how much zinc you are getting from specific foods:
- 4 oz. liver provides 72 percent of the daily recommended value
- 4 oz. beef tenderloin offers 42 percent
- 4 oz. lamb will supply you about 31 percent
- 5 oz. Crimini mushrooms provides about 10 percent
- 1 cup spinach will give you around 10 percent
If you have a zinc deficiency or another good reason to supplement with zinc, it is important that you avoid inferior zinc chloride and instead take a complex of three outstanding zinc compounds: zinc gluconate, zinc amino acid chelate, and zinc citrate.
Make sure that the zinc supplement is formulated by a reputable, high-quality manufacturer – second best or an inferior formula is simply not an option, and there should be solid examples of high-quality assurance safeguards and independent objective lab testing for you to be convinced of a brand’s goodness.
Additionally, do not just settle for what is on the bottle label. Probe deeper into the information on whether the manufacturer stands behind the efficacy and stability of the formula or not. Stick to a dosage of less than 40 milligrams a day, too – this is the recommended adult upper limit, and the potential for adverse side effects exists at higher dosages. Do not forget to consult your healthcare provider if you are eyeing a higher dosage.
Kelly Heathergan is a health and wellness blogger who is always on the lookout for news and developments in diet, exercise, and natural supplements. She is currently featuring zinc – and how to avoid zinc deficiency symptoms – on her site.