Whole Zinc: Why the Mineral is So Vital for You

Zinc supports the immune system, the healing of injuries and ensures beautiful hair. However, it is not always clear how much zinc the body actually needs. We explain everything you need to know about this off-road mineral.



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Polyvalent mineral zinc

Zinc is vital for the human body because it is protein. Regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.

This means that without zinc, important enzymes and hormones are not activated and essential biochemical processes for a healthy body are not properly started.

If you often feel listless and suffer from infections, this could be an indication of low zinc levels, for example. Therefore, it is important that you regularly cover the daily requirement for zinc.

This is how zinc works in the body

The important trace element appears in all kinds of body fluids and tissues, such as muscle, bone or blood.

In the body, it acts as a kind of “encoder” to read and execute data stored in the DNA. So zinc supports the formation of nucleic acids and proteins.

Zinc also plays a role in the metabolism of thyroid and sex hormones and thus promotes growth and development processes.

The daily need

The German Nutrition Society (DGE) attaches the daily zinc requirement for women and pregnant women in the first trimester seven milligrams Celebration. Zinc requirements for pregnant women increase from the second trimester. It is similarly high in breastfeeding mothers.

This is included for men. eleven milligrams per day.

There are exceptions to these values ​​if you follow a strict vegan diet, drink a lot of strong alcohol, or suffer from chronic intestinal disease.

Reading tip: High alcohol consumption: this is how you can check if you drink too much alcohol

In all of these cases, a doctor should clarify your zinc requirements to avoid zinc deficiency.

How to recognize a zinc deficiency

Do you fear a zinc deficiency in yourself or in a family member? Typical signs include dry, pale skin, hair loss, or brittle nails.

In addition to these physical symptoms of zinc deficiency, there are also psychological effects of zinc deficiency.

Persistent tiredness and apathy are often indications of a zinc deficiency. Depression and difficulty concentrating are also common.

Loss of appetite and weight loss can also be signs of insufficient zinc intake.

The best thing to do if you have these symptoms is to see a doctor and get a blood test. At the moment, you can also check yourself for zinc deficiency at home with a self-test.

If you suffer from depression, studies have shown that zinc can help with this illness. If you notice that you get infections more often than average, you should definitely see a doctor and don’t try to indulge in supplements.

These foods are rich in zinc.

If you consume enough zinc, you prevent zinc deficiency and stay fit and healthy. A balanced diet is the beginning and end of everything.

In fact, animal sources are better than plant sources for zinc absorption. The latter have traces of oxalic acid or phytic acid, which hinder the absorption of zinc. This is the case, for example, of spinach, Swiss chard or rhubarb.

Phytate and zinc are found in abundance in grains, nuts, and seeds. Therefore, it is important for zinc absorption to germinate, roast, or soak produce before consumption. This lowers the phytate content and the body absorbs zinc more easily.

Zinc rich foods
© piotr_malczyk / Photography

  • animal foods: Oysters and other shellfish, beef, liver and emmental.
  • Vegetarian food: Buckwheat, oat flakes, millet, wheat clover, wholemeal flour, peas, soybeans, lentils, mushrooms.
  • Nuts and seeds: Poppy seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, and walnuts.

You can also get zinc from green tea. There are also a number of other sources of zinc. You can find an overview here.

What happens with a zinc overdose?

While it is difficult to overdose on zinc through daily food intake, it is more likely to occur with dietary supplements. Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may follow.

Reading Tip: Dietary Supplements: Good or Dangerous? When you really need to take vitamin pills.

Athletes should consume this amount of zinc

Since the body is subjected to greater stress during regular sports activities, it loses more zinc through sweat and urine.

The more sport you do, the more zinc you have to give your body to stay in shape. One liter of sweat loses about 20 percent of the daily zinc requirement.

This is particularly important for sports. Thanks to zinc, muscles regenerate, new muscle cells grow better, and muscle building generally progresses faster, a study has found.

You only need to take additional zinc if you train your body more than 20 hours a week. If you go to the gym two or three times and also run a few laps, a balanced diet is completely sufficient for your zinc needs.

Faster Testosterone Formation with Zinc

As already described, zinc also influences the hormonal balance and thus also the formation of testosterone.

The latter is an important biochemical messenger, and men have much more of it than women. Low testosterone leads to loss of muscle mass and increased body fat.

For an ideal balance of testosterone, you need vitamin D, vitamin A, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, and magnesium, in addition to zinc.

Zinc plays a crucial role here. It is crucial for the production of the hormone testosterone. According to a study, if you regularly take zinc orally, the level of testosterone increases.

Does zinc cure colds?

Studies have found that zinc can not only prevent but also treat colds. This is why zinc supplements are more common on pharmacy and supermarket shelves during the colder months.

Participants in these studies had fewer colds when they took these zinc supplements. When they are sick, colds last less and are not too bad.

It has been found that the best time to take zinc in this case is at the first sign of a cold, but no later than 24 hours later.

The reason for the great effect on colds is its ability to prevent the virus from settling in the nasal mucosa. At the same time, zinc inhibits the attack of the cold virus in the body and the cold lasts less.

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