Welcome to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health.
One of the main things you can do to keep your immune system functioning is a trace mineral that I’ve been recommending for many years, especially during the Covid crisis: ZINC. I’m always promoting Vitamin D, C, and Zinc. This Note is specifically about the importance of Zinc.
Major Minerals versus Trace Minerals
Major minerals include magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, etc. Trace minerals include zinc and iron. Lesser known trace minerals are those like manganese, etc. What sets each apart are the amount you need in your body.
You get all of these minerals through food, which means it is essential that you eat them, but most of us need to supplement as well.
The Importance Of Zinc
Zinc is one of the most important nutrients of all. You find Zinc in red meat, poultry, and seafood (especially oysters). It’s also in beans and nuts.
Zinc is present in all of your body tissues. It is necessary for cell division (i.e growth).
Zinc is also important for:
- Hormone production
- Growth of bones
- Managing inflammation
- Promoting sexual health
Deficiencies in Zinc can cause major health problems such as bone mineral deficiency, infertility, and increased risk of diabetes.
Zinc deficiencies can also affect hormones. Zinc is involved in the production of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone (the major sexual hormones).
Note: I put every man who is on testosterone on Zinc because it prevents testosterone (which we are replacing) from turning into estrogen. It also promotes testosterone formation if you’re not on testosterone replacement.
The most common cause of Zinc deficiency is inadequate dietary intake. If you look at the RDA, females need 8mg per day and males need 11mg per day. Most people need more than that, but you can take too much of it. It’s estimated that around 2 billion people globally are zinc deficient. People who are at high risk of being deficient are those over 60 and vegetarians.
There is not a Zinc level in a routine lab. You can do a Zinc “taste test” where you put a couple teaspoons of a Zinc solution in your mouth and if you don’t taste anything in 10 seconds you probably have a Zinc deficiency. But the most accurate way to check is via blood level, which is a specialized test.
There are signs of Zinc deficiencies that you can look for. The most common include:
- Dry skin
- Mouth ulcers
- Stomatitis (inflamed lips and mouth)
- Night blindness
- Impaired immunity
One of the biggest indications of Zinc deficiency is seen in underweight kids and those with stunted growth. Note: Zinc is also responsible for brain development.
It’s estimated that in the United States, 6% of girls and 10% of boys are deficient in Zinc. That’s quite a lot! Athletes are also prone to Zinc deficiency because they sweat a lot.
Supplementing with Zinc
There are many great uses for Zinc. It acts against viruses and heals wounds. It’s actually great topically for diaper rashes and bed sores.
Think about supplementing with Zinc if:
- You’re losing hair
- Have an autoimmune disease (think about your Zinc status)
- Have decreased taste and smell (Covid can hit taste and smell)
- You’re experiencing hearing loss
- Have acne
- Have vision loss
- Have wounds that won’t heal
- You have chronic diarrhea
- Have insomnia (Zinc helps your body produce more melatonin)
- Have rashes or Eczema
Zinc helps with cell growth. It helps your immune system, memory and attention span, reproductive growth, and increases sperm count.
Forms of Zinc
There are several different forms of Zinc.
Generally, you shouldn’t take more than 50mg of Zinc per day. If you take more than 50mg for more than a couple of weeks you definitely need to supplement with 2mg of Copper.
Here are some of the forms of Zinc:
- Zinc Citrate. This is the form I take.
- Zinc Acetate. This comes in lozenge form. If you have a cold, or certainly if you have Covid, this is a great form to take. It has a low dose of Zinc in it.
- Zinc Gluconate. It’s not absorbed as well as Zinc Citrate.
- Zinc Orotate. Well absorbed.
- Zinc Picolinate. Good for diabetics.
- Zinc Sulfide. Especially if you have acne.
- Zinc Oxide. The best form for rashes. Don’t take it orally.
There are lots of different forms of Zinc. They all work. I prefer the LifeExtension.
Side Effects of Zinc
If you take too much Zinc on an empty stomach you can get nausea. Remember to always take Zinc with food!
You can get diarrhea if you take too much.
It can give you a metallic taste in your mouth.
It can lower cholesterol (both LDL and HDL).
Taking too much can make you feel like you have the flu.
One of the major things we look for with Zinc supplementation is the depletion of Copper. As you may know, Copper plays an important role in the creation of red and white blood cells.
Taking Zinc can interfere with some antibiotics, specifically Quinolones, i.e., Cipro and Levaquin. It can also interfere with Kelfex and Tetracyclines. So when taking these antibiotics you will want to take your Zinc either 2 hours before taking the antibiotic or 4-6 hours afterwards.
Final Thoughts on Zinc
Hydroxychloroquine and Quercetin are Zinc ionophores that are used in early treatment of Covid to transport the Zinc into the cells so it can kill the virus. Zinc is that important.
Think about adding Zinc to your regimen of vitamins.