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Zinc has a number of health-beneficial functions

What does zinc do for us?

•  Accelerates the activity of approximately 100 different body enzymes

•  Promotes immune function

•  Supports healthy cell growth and development

•  Ensures proper sense of taste and smell

•  Prostate health

Zinc-containing foods

Body can not store zinc.    However, it is easily obtained from diet

Top are meat and poultry.    Oysters contain more zinc than any other food. Other good sources for zinc include beans, nuts, crab, lobster, whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products. This author does not advocate eating shell fish, which do a great job of cleaning up the planet and can be toxic.



Serving size

Zinc (mg)

Roasted pumpkin seeds

¼ cup


Toasted sesame seeds

¼ cup


Brazil nuts

½ cup



(only eat organic beans)

½ cup


Wheatgerm cereal

(toasted, ready to eat)

½ cup


Yogurt (low fat, plain)

8 oz


Baked beans

½ cup


Sirloin, broiled

3 oz


Zinc content of more common foods

Conditions /persons with special zinc needs

Vegetarians.   Legumes and whole grains contain phytates that bind zinc and inhibit its absorption in the body. They may require 50% more zinc than non-vegetarians.

Pregnant/Nursing women.   High fetal requirements and breast feeding can deplete their body’s zinc.

Older men need a zinc sufficiency to protect against formation of abnormal prostate cells and impotence:

•  The human prostate has the highest accumulation of zinc of any soft tissue in the body

•  Cancerous prostates seem to have less zinc than normal prostates

•  Severe zinc deficiency can lead to impotence by affecting Testosterone

Allergies.   Hard on the immune system;

“Teeth-grinders”.    Zinc (also niacin) deficiency can cause involuntary grinding of teeth, especially when sleeping or stressed; To relieve pressure on the jaw, move your lower jaw all the way left and then all the way right. You may hear your jaw joint crack.

White spots on fingernails.    A symptom of zinc deficiency

Wilson’s Disease.   A problem of copper build-up in the liver

Digestive disorders / gastrointestinal surgery.    E.g.ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, partial removal of intestines, weight-loss surgery decrease amount of zinc absorbed, increasing loss in urine.

Older infants who are breastfed.   Breast milk does not have enough zinc for infants over 6 months of age. Non-formula-fed older infants should be given foods that have zinc such as pureed meats

Alcoholics.   Alcoholic beverages decrease the amount of zinc that the body absorbs and increase the amount lost in the urine. Also, many alcoholics have a poor diet

Sickle cell disease.   Creates a need for more zinc.

Supplementing Zinc

Supplemental forms.    Include zinc gluconate, zinc sulfate, and zinc acetate .

Normal daily recommended intakes (not RDA) for zinc are as follows:


Zinc (mg)

Infants and children birth to
3 years of age


Children 4 to 6 years of age


Children 7 to 10 years of age


Adolescent /Adult males


Adolescent /Adult females


Pregnant females


Breast-feeding females


Upper limit is 40 mg/day.   Excessive zinc intake can lead to nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headaches. Taking large quantities of zinc (50 mg/day or more) over a period of weeks can affect copper bioavailability.

Nine Life Choices for Vibrant Health

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