Zinc is a mineral often not mentioned in the nutritional priorities, although it is essential to your health. It allows all the proteins in the body to effectively perform their functions, as well as it is valuable for the functioning of your immune cells and your hormones. It also contributes to the good expression of your genes through a mechanism called methylation , in synergy with vitamins B6, B9 (or folate) and B12.
What are the main signs of a Zinc deficiency?
A significant Zinc deficiency can result in alteration of all situations requiring increased protein synthesis, including:
- An alteration of the quality of the skin (dryness, rough skin, etc.), hair (dry, brittle, hair loss) and / or nails (striated, brittle, stained),
- Susceptibility to infections,
- Difficulty healing,
- A loss of taste or smell,
- A disruption of insulin metabolism: weight gain, insulin resistance, etc.
- Fertility disorders.
Many situations can also greatly increase the need for Zinc: regular sports, pregnancy or any situation at the origin of increased protein synthesis (scarring, burning, convalescence) or stimulation of the immune system.
Optimize your food intake in Zinc
Oysters are particularly rich in Zinc (21 mg / 100 g), about twice as much as other rich foods. If you like them and you tolerate them, you can eat them 1 to 2 times a week without any problem.
Animal proteins such as beef and cheese are important sources (9 mg / 100 g), as are chicken and veal (3.5 mg / 100 g). Then come the eggs (1.1 mg / 100 g). If you consume at least one source of protein during the day, this intake may be quite sufficient.
The vegetable sources are less rich: it is for example cashews (5.4 mg / 100 g) justifying the advice to eat it daily if you consume little animal protein, pure cocoa (8.6 mg / 100 g), legumes and in particular lentils (3.6 mg / 100 g raw weight, approximately 1.2 mg / 100 g cooked weight) and wheat germ (2.5 mg / 100 g) . Other plant sources can supplement the inputs: squash seeds, sesame, flax or hemp for example.
You are vegan or you consume little animal protein, monitor your status in Zinc
There is indeed a double effect linked to this food model, justifying caution with respect to Zinc status:
- When you consume large quantities of plants, especially whole grain products and legumes, you increase the intake of substances that reduce the assimilation of zinc (iron, calcium and magnesium also): phytic acids (or phytates) and oxalic (or oxalates).
- Animal and marine proteins remain the main food sources .
If you keep the consumption of eggs and fish, no worries. If this is not the case, and even if the blood test is a poor reflection of the tissue stores, regular checks may be necessary.
Certain food processes also allow you to inactivate all or part of the effects of phytic acid and thus optimize the assimilation of Zinc: thanks to fermentation (allowing on average to reduce by about one-third the phytates present ), germination (activating the phytases from the seed) or soaking (releasing the phytase, but less effectively than fermentation or germination): tempeh, miso, sprouted seeds or bread leaven are therefore interesting foods.
Conversely, consuming a large amount of Calcium at the same time as foods rich in Zinc can reduce its assimilation. So beware of excess dairy products.
Excess coffee, alcohol, tea and some medications can also increase deficits, including the following: Reniten, Aprovel, Lasix, Torem, Tenormin, Belok Zok, Ciproxin, Brufen, Ponstan, Glucophage, Diamicron, Seresta , Lexotanil, Seropram, Deroxat, Madopar, Sifrol, etc.
Which supplementation to consider?
The recommended intake of Zinc is 10 to 15 mg per day, in the form of Zinc bisglycinate, for at least 1 month. Avoid adding Iron or Calcium supplementation during the same period to limit the interaction between these minerals.
Depending on the indications, it may seem appropriate to associate other micronutrients there, including vitamins B6, B8 and B9, selenium, sulfur amino acids (cysteine, methionine) and the silica in the form of extracts nettle or bamboo in case of alteration of the integuments