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Zinc: why it’s vital and why most people are zinc depleted

By Mercedes Kay Gold, CNP, CPT

As we head into 2022, COVID continues to dominate the media. One thing all wellness professionals from conventional medical doctors to nutritionists agree on is healthier people deal with the symptoms associated with COVID much easier. There is no disputing living a healthy lifestyle is challenging. Focusing on eating a whole food plant-based diet, exercise, sleep, water, fresh air and coping with stress are essential. Stress is non-stop for many, and tough times take their toll. Boosting the immune system is one way to offset inconsistency in maintaining good habits and riding out life’s ups and downs. One marvellous mineral to add to your supplement protocol is zinc. It’s linked to building and supporting a strong immune system.

Everybody faces different obstacles in nurturing their health, and adding zinc to your supplement protocol may be your missing piece. Here are a few causes of low zinc. Eating tons of veggies used to provide a plethora of vitamins and minerals, but due to over farming, soils are now low. Zinc absorption can be impaired if you eat a diet consistently high in calcium or you have a stomach low in acid. Eating a diet high in fibre is fabulous, but those sticking to a stringent whole food plant-based tend to have issues with absorption as well. The birth control pill suppresses zinc, and since alcohol is a diuretic, it naturally flushes out this magical mineral.

Inadequate levels of zinc in the body overtime result in unwanted effects. Mother Nature gives you clues. Do you always seem to be catching a cold?  Do your cuts or sores heal slowly? Take a quick glance at your nails. Do you have white spots on your nails? Do your nails break easily or seem to grow at a snail’s pace? Does your hair take forever to get longer? Men, do you suffer from prostate problems or have a low sperm count? Do you have cataracts? Do you eat a lot of canned foods?

Children who are not reaching growth milestones, strict vegetarians or vegans and athletes are at a higher risk of low levels of zinc. Supplementing with zinc is an option, but food is your friend. Animal sources such as steak, lamb chops, liver, oysters and eggs tend to be better absorbed, but plants are powerful, too. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, ginger root and mushrooms are a must. Soybeans are super, and that means edamame and tofu, too.

It’s always smart to start with food sources, and if changes are slow, seek advice from your naturopath, medical doctor or health professional to make sure you are taking the correct amount. Too much zinc can create an imbalance with copper. Happy immune building with zinc rich foods helps keep the cold and flu season away!

Mercedes Kay Gold is a Certified Holistic Practitioner and Certified Mobile Personal Trainer living and working in Toronto. Her writing has been featured in various publications and has appeared on Daytime with Jacqueline Betterton. She spends her spare time blogging about all things healthy and enjoying time with her sons. She can be reached at mercedeskaygoldfitness@gmail.com or visit www.mercedeskaygold.com

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