I wish I discovered my zinc deficiency earlier, as it made that much of a difference to my life. After a lot of healing many years ago, my health improved, however after I discovered zinc, everything got a whole lot better. My concentration increased, I became even calmer, had more stamina, my occasional pimples on my back disappeared, my immune system became stronger, my libido increased and much more.

Epidemiological data suggests that one in five people have a zinc deficiency. Zinc has many health benefits:

  • required for over 300 enzyme reactions and over 1000 transcription factors
  • powerful nutrient
  • essential for growth and immune function
  • helps rebuild your gastrointestinal lining, heals leaky gut
  • balances hormones
  • increases stomach acidity to aid food digestion
  • fights infections.

There is a very simple method to discover if you’re zinc deficient, and this is through a zinc taste test. You can purchase this at some health food stores, have it tested during a health consultation or you can get your serum zinc levels tested with your doctor.

If the taste test tastes horrendous, then you have sufficient levels of zinc. If the taste is somewhat delayed, then you have mild zinc deficiency. If there is very little to no taste, along with a chalky texture in your mouth, then you are very deficient in zinc. Since discovering my zinc deficiency via a taste test, I have also discovered that genetically I require much more than the average person which is why I have liquid zinc daily.

Symptoms of zinc deficiency:

  • Low stomach acid (think heart burn, frequent burping, indigestion etc)
  • Low libido
  • Low immune system
  • Diarrhea
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Leaky gut, as it has been shown to increase the tight junctions in the intestinal tract of those with Crohn’s disease
  • Thinning hair
  • Skin issues such as acne or rashes
  • Frequent thrush
  • Reoccurring candida albicans overgrowth.

Those at risk of a zinc deficiency:

  • High grain consumption due to the phytate content as this blocks zinc absorption
  • Vegans
  • Vegetarians
  • Gut dysbiosis (overgrowth and/or undergrowth of microbes in the gut)
  • Infections, as the body requires more zinc to fight it off
  • Don’t eat enough zinc rich foods, even if you’re a meat eater.

Correcting your zinc deficiency does not need to be difficult, as you can eat food sources that are rich in zinc, in addition to taking a supplement.

Food sources rich in zinc that you should regularly add to your diet:

  • Pumpkin seeds, activated to ensure optimal digestion and absorption of the nutrients
  • Animal proteins, particularly beef, lamb, chicken and oysters
  • Liver is one of the most potent sources of zinc, so try making your own organic liver pate! Serve it with seed crackers or vegetable sticks.
  • Chickpeas and cashews are reasonably high in zinc. To make them more nutrient dense and easier to digest, I strongly urge clients to ferment the chickpeas and cashews in a potent coconut water kefir
  • Homemade kefir and yogurt.

For a high quality zinc supplement. I prefer and recommend a liquid zinc, such as zinc gluconate, because if you consume too much, you will excrete it in your urine. There are also other supplement forms such as zinc sulfate. When your zinc levels are sufficient and you take a ‘zinc taste test’ it will taste different.

If liquid zinc is not available, zinc picolinate is usually found in tablet form and is one of the most absorbed forms of zinc after liquid zinc. Once again, to ensure you require zinc, it is highly recommended to get a blood test of your serum zinc levels as well.

I strongly suggest investigating whether you have a zinc deficiency, particularly if anything above resonates with you. See a holistic practitioner that can arrange a zinc taste test for you, as this is the easiest way to determine if you need to start focusing on zinc rich foods or a high quality supplement.

Have you had any experiences like this? Do you think you could be zinc deficient? What happened when you rectified your deficiency?

Happy changing habits.

Sheridan Williamson
Changing Habits Nutritionist 

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