Minerals and trace minerals are nutritional elements that our bodies use for a host of functions including building bone tissue, converting food into energy, brain and heart health. Zinc is one of the more important nutrients, and is considered essential because the body does not produce it. Because of this, zinc must be consumed through diet, and when diet fall short, many turn to supplements to help keep the body balanced.
What is Zinc and Why do We Need it?
Zinc is an essential trace element that is required for healthy enzyme function and metabolism, among other things. Even though it is found in every cell of the body, it is not stored by your body, which means you must get a steady supply through diet to ensure healthy levels. But how much is healthy?
It is recommended that men consume 11 mg of zinc per day, women consume 8 mg, pregnant women consume 11 mg and breastfeeding women consume 12 mg each day. Even children need up to 8 mg per day, with teenagers requiring up to 11 mg each day.
The continuous supply of zinc is important for daily living and necessary body functions that keep us alive. Zinc is required for enzyme activities, which are the chemical reactions that support digestion, metabolism and even muscle repair. Some of the main functions that are supported by zinc include the following:
- Support enzyme activity
- Metabolism of nutrients
- Skin health
- Immune health
- Protein and DNA synthesis
- Wound healing
- Growth and/or tissue repair
- Healthy sense of taste and smell
- Support vision
- Protect cells from stress
Zinc works best when used with other trace minerals to help maintain a healthy balance. Some of these minerals are magnesium and copper, both of which support muscle and nerve health. When used together, these three important minerals can also support health of the immune system, nervous system and even promote healthy aging.
Trace minerals are nutrients that are crucial for good health, but we only need a very small amount each day, usually between .2 and 15 milligrams. And while many foods contain them, some people may find it difficult to get all the minerals through diet, since some minerals may be destroyed by food processing or cooking. Some of the trace minerals include:
- Chromium for healthy blood sugar levels
- Iron for oxygen-rich blood
- Manganese for enzyme health
- Selenium as a powerful antioxidant to protect the cells
The above is not an exhaustive list, but provides insight into the importance of trace minerals in the daily diet. Ensuring you get a well-rounded balance of these nutrients can ensure your health is also balanced.
Zinc and Your Immune System
A healthy immune system relies on a variety of nutrients to stay strong. Because the immune system has many parts that work together, nutritional balance is important so that our immune response is ready when needed. But nutritional balance may not come as easily as it seems.
A balanced diet includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats. And while you may think you are getting nutrition through your diet you might be in for a surprise.
The food supply today is rife with highly processed foods and produce that may be grown in less than desirable soil. Unfortunately, processing foods can destroy important vitamins and minerals, lowering the nutritional count to below dietary recommendations. At the same time, vegetables and fruits rely on nutrients from soil that is often depleted, due to overuse of fertilizers, increasing salinity, soil runoff and other environmental factors.
Luckily, you have the power to take control of your health and be proactive when it comes to supporting a strong immune system. Exercise is a known immune system modulator that can support natural antibodies. Regular exercise helps the lungs flush pathogens while keeping stress hormones like cortisol in check.
Diet is another way to support good health, and focusing on whole foods with plenty of vegetables, fruits and lean proteins can help you stay strong and healthy. Avoid foods high in sugar and trans fats, fried foods and other harmful foods, as they all interfere with immune health. And if you know that your diet could use support, add a zinc and trace mineral supplement to your daily health regimen.
Zinc deficiencies are not common, but some people are more susceptible including mature adults, pregnant women and those who are nursing. Digestive issues like ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome can also cause problems with zinc levels as the body may not be able to absorb all the minerals from the foods that are eaten. When added to a deficient diet, the case for supplementation strengthens.
Some vegetarians and vegans also seem to have lower levels of zinc. (1) This may be because fruits and vegetables are not a primary source of zinc, while foods like seafood and cheese that are higher in zinc might be avoided. Other conditions that may increase risk for a zinc deficiency include:
- Alcohol addiction
- Chrohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Low zinc levels can lead to some health concerns such as a loss of appetite and thus, unwanted weight loss. Other signs of a zinc deficiency include:
- Hair loss
- Skin sores that heal slowly
- Brain fog
- Lowered immune response
Zinc and mineral supplementation can help maintain a healthy nutritional balance, which may improve overall health.
Zinc Rich Foods
Some foods are a naturally rich source of zinc and can help boost your zinc levels. Some of these foods include oysters, beef and crab. Other sources that are rich in zinc include whole grains, legumes and cereals, but these also present a problem when it comes to bioavailability of certain minerals.
Whole grains, legumes, beans, seeds, nuts and fortified breakfast cereals also contain phytates, or phytic acid, which are compounds that can bind minerals like zinc, iron and manganese. This means that when you eat these foods, your body will have a difficult time absorbing them, potentially leaving you nutritionally deficient. And while cooking the foods can reduce the phytic acid, it can also destroy some minerals.
Luckily, phytic acid can be lessened, which can remove the barriers to nutrient absorption. Most of these foods can be soaked in a solution of water and vinegar or water and salt to lessen the phytates. Soaking nuts and beans also make them more digestible, leaving less problems like gas and bloating.
A zinc supplement can also fill in some nutritional gaps. Because zinc is found in every cell of your body, it is the second most abundant trace element behind iron, which shows how important this versatile nutrient is. Supplementing with zinc can help ensure you take advantage of the benefits like immune and blood sugar support, healthy skin and cardiovascular support.
Magnesium and Copper
Magnesium is a mineral that helps convert food into energy and supports the health of the nervous system, muscles and numerous chemical actions of the body. Some people use magnesium supplements to get better sleep, while others use it to help them relax after a stressful day. Getting enough magnesium into your daily diet is essential for good health, especially for those with digestive issues and mature individuals.
Copper is an essential nutrient that the body uses for numerous functions like immune support, and it plays a role in the generation of ATP, your body’s main source of energy. (2) Copper deficiencies may lead to issues such as weakness and digestive issues. And while the body only requires a small amount of copper to maintain health, it is important to get enough into your diet, since your body cannot produce it.
Ensuring you get a healthy supply of all nutrients is essential, as benefits are recognized when they are used together. For example, research shows the combination of zinc, copper, magnesium and calcium supports bone health, especially in mature adults. In fact, at least one study has shown that postmenopausal women who supplemented with this combination of minerals experienced less bone loss than those who took a placebo.
It is possible to get both magnesium and copper through dietary sources. Foods that contain copper are similar to those that contain zinc, including oysters, nuts and seeds. Other foods that are a source of copper include:
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Leafy greens
- Dark chocolate
Foods that contain magnesium include:
- Pumpkin seeds
Some of these foods share the phytic acid issue, but soaking them will allow you to take advantage of the nutrients while avoiding digestive issues.
Many people are familiar with vitamins and minerals that are part of a healthy diet, but micro or trace minerals are less commonly discussed. Minerals, or macro-minerals, include calcium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium, to name a few. Minerals should be consumed in amounts of at least 100 milligrams, depending upon the mineral, to maintain good health. But trace minerals are just as important, even though they are lesser known that the rest.
Trace minerals are the microminerals that are required by the body. They are labeled as trace minerals because only small amounts are needed for good health, but they work “behind the scenes” to ensure your body functions at an optimum level.
Trace minerals play many roles including the synthesis of DNA, metabolism, ensure enzymes are active and helps keep hormones balanced. They provide support for your immune system, digestion, growth and repair of the body. Here are some ways the body uses these micronutrients:
- Protect cells from oxidative stress
- Support immune function
- Support brain function
- Support nervous system
- Healthy digestion
- Strong enzymes
- Metabolize macronutrients
- Help body rejuvenate itself
- Support tissue repair
Because of the many roles and functions of trace minerals, it is important to maintain a healthy balance by consuming mineral rich foods that contribute to health. If you have digestive issues, take medications or are vegan, you might benefit with a trace mineral supplement.
Consuming foods that are rich in minerals can support your body’s levels of trace minerals, especially if you consume the recommended 7 – 9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Eating a variety and including foods that are lightly cooked while soaking those with phytic acid can keep your digestion strong, so you absorb enough to keep you healthy. Organic produce is another way to ensure you get the most nutrition from the foods you eat. And ensuring your diet includes a variety of healthy foods also ensures you get a variety of nutrients, too.
Trace ionic mineral supplements are becoming more popular among health enthusiasts as synthesized fertilizers and overuse of farmland depletes the soil. The result is that minerals essential to our wellbeing do not get replenished in the food supply, but supplements can help fill any nutritional gaps.
Fortunately for our health, Balanced Health has created Zinc Complex with zinc, magnesium, copper and trace minerals. This is the perfect combination to support the immune system as well as ensure healthy and balanced levels of minerals for every part of the body including muscles, bones and skin.
The right combination of minerals in the right balance means the nutrients are digestible and bioavailable for the body. They are easy to assimilate, which means your body can use them as required. And because they are highly digestible, they are the perfect supplement for those who have digestive issues and for those who simply need to fill in their diet.
Feel the Difference
While zinc deficiency may be rare, zinc inadequacy may not be. Some indications of low zinc include acne, hair loss, poor vision and slow healing from wounds. Many people supplement with zinc to overcome acne and provide immune support, especially during cold and flu season.
Balanced Health’s Zinc Complex is easy to digest and highly absorbable. Regular supplementation can support balanced nutrition, a healthy immune system and healthy aging. And you can feel safe knowing it is free of wheat, yeast and dairy, and manufactured in the United State. Zinc Complex makes it easy to be proactive, so you can live healthy.
1 Freeland-Graves JH, Bodzy PW, Eppright MA. Zinc status of vegetarians. J Am Diet Assoc. 1980 Dec;77(6):655-61. PMID: 7440860.
2 Medeiros DM, Jennings D. Role of copper in mitochondrial biogenesis via interaction with ATP synthase and cytochrome c oxidase. J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2002 Oct;34(5):389-95. doi: 10.1023/a:1021206220851. PMID: 12539966.