Every major metabolic pathway in our body depends on micronutrients—vitamins and minerals. The foundation of enjoying good health—strong immunity, hormone balance, good sleep, a healthy gut, mental wellbeing—is ensuring you have enough of these micronutrients.
Zinc is an essential mineral and is involved in over 300 enzyme reactions within our bodies. But there's a catch 22—a zinc deficiency often means poorer absorption of zinc from high-zinc foods—which means we need good levels of zinc in the body to absorb zinc.
In this blog, we'll look at why we need zinc, why some of us might not be getting enough and what can happen if we have a deficiency or insufficiency.
Zinc for, well… Everything!
Zinc is a vital nutrient for healthy immune function, energy and metabolic regulation as it is needed to make insulin. It is also an essential piece of the recipe for healthy male fertility.
We don’t know how widespread zinc deficiency are by way of a comprehensive study, but in the BePure Clinic it is incredibly common, so common that we developed our own BePure Zinc Taste Test.
This appears to be partly because people are eating less zinc-rich food such as red meat and seafood and partly because food-processing methods often remove a lot of the zinc, for example, highly processed grains.
Because of problems with the quality of our soils and a loss of nutrients through food storage and preservation, getting these vital nutrients is harder than ever before. We also use nutrients more quickly because the stress of modern living places a huge demand on our body.
Do I have enough zinc?
There are a number of ways our body will communicate low levels of zinc. Common 'messages' of zinc deficiency include;
- Suppressed immunity, frequent colds or infections
- White spots on your finger nails
- Infertility, especially male factor infertility. You won’t necessarily know if you suffer from infertility as a male without testing, however, if you and your partner have failed to conceive within a year, testing for zinc deficiency could be helpful
- Acid reflux, indigestion or heartburn
- Depression and anxiety
- Hair loss
- Loss of appetite
- Slowed growth in children
- Loss of smell or taste
Testing for zinc deficiency is most effective through a functional taste test. Utilising blood testing for zinc status is unreliable because your body will hold zinc in the blood even if you are chronically deficient.
Here at BePure we use a functional taste test. Detecting the naturally bitter or unpleasant taste of zinc is dependant on having enough zinc in your body to detect it. For many people, they can take a liquid sample of zinc and it tastes just like water.
There is a scale of zinc deficiency when using the taste test. Some people will taste nothing at all—these people are likely very deficient. Others will taste a slightly unpleasant or “furry” taste after 5 seconds. Others will taste a mildly unpleasant taste relatively quickly but it isn’t strong or overpowering. Lastly, those with good zinc status will taste the astringent and bitter taste straight away.
For people who are deficient or insufficient in zinc, we recommend supplementing with 2 capsules of BePure Zinc Restore daily. For most people, 3-4 months of supplementation should boost their zinc status to a level where it can be maintained with the zinc in BePure One and their diet.
It’s possible for copper IUDs to contribute to zinc deficiency by disrupting the delicate balance of copper and zinc levels in your body as they 'compete' for absorption. The constant presence of copper in your body increases your zinc requirements to maintain optimal levels. If you have a copper IUD, we highly recommend supplementing with a high-quality zinc supplement while you have it in.
Foods with high levels of zinc
In addition to supplementation, increasing your dietary intake of zinc is important for maintaining your zinc levels. Once you become zinc deficient, it's very difficult to improve your body's zinc levels solely from food. The absorption of zinc relies on having (again) good zinc levels within the body.
As an example, you may use all your zinc recovering from an operation as it's heavily used in wound healing. If this happens you can no longer get zinc from food and so slowly your health decreases. It's not until you begin to supplement a high strength, high bioavailable form of zinc, like BePure Zinc Restore that you can get your zinc levels back up and then be able to maximise your zinc from food sources again.
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Food should be our primary source of nutrition. Immunity superhero, zinc, makes an appearance in lots of everyday foods. Oysters are actually the most dense food source of zinc, but we don't believe zinc shouldn't be a 'treat', here are 8 other places you can get your daily dose of zinc. With this stormy weather, does anyone else have a hankering for a warming dahl? 😋
Foods high in zinc include:
- Oysters, and other seafood (crab, lobster, mussels)
- Red meat, especially beef and lamb
- Pumpkin seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Spinach and kale
- BePure Chilli Con Carne!