Zinc is an extremely important mineral in our diet. It is a component of one of the most abundant antioxidant compounds in the body (copper-zinc oxide dismutase) and is a co-factor in over 400 reactions in the body, including many steps involved in metabolism. It is essential for the production of sperm and for the development of mature eggs and uterine health in female fertility. Zinc is critical for the production of thyroid hormones and thus regulation of our hormones in general and prevention of miscarriage.
The vicious cycle of zinc deficiency
Zinc is one of the most common deficiencies we see in our clinic with over 40% showing reduced zinc intake or reduced zinc absorption on a blood test. One of the reasons it is so prevalent, is indeed the same reason that It is difficult to restore. Zinc is required for the production of stomach acid and where there is low zinc, there may be low stomach acid, leading to poor breakdown of foods that contain zinc such as meats, some pulses and nuts and seeds. These further exacerbates the problem of low zinc and a vicious cycle ensues.
Issues with absorbing zinc
It is also worth noting that we find that many of our patients are already supplementing with zinc in the form of a multi-nutrient but still have low blood zinc levels. Certain forms of zinc such as zinc oxide are not readily absorbed but even those who take zinc as zinc citrate can still have stubbornly low levels. In our extensive experience, sublingual zinc is much more effective at raising blood levels of zinc than any other method.
Addressing underlying reasons for malabsorption is an important issue also. We can advise you to increase zinc in your diet, but if you are not digesting or absorbing well, this will not have a significant impact in the long-term. Optimising stomach acid production is critical. Patients on proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium, pantoprazole or esomprazole, are very often low in zinc and their digestion needs to be optimised, particularly if these medications are used for a long time.
Simple steps to support digestion in the stomach
|Drink tepid water with lemon first thing in the morning|
|Prepare for eating, take time and don’t rush or eat on-the-run|
|Eat bitter greens such as rocket before your meal or use black pepper to stimulate digestion|
|Use stress management techniques|
|Do not eat large quantities in one sitting|
|Do not take a lot of water with your meals, sip through the day instead|
|Consider a digestive enzyme under the supervision of your nutritionist*|
*caution in pregnancy, ulcers, gastritis or inflammation and with some medications
What our patients say…
Patient, Female, Age 42, fertility issues
“…From Day 1 I was invested into my new eating plan – if this was going to help me achieve pregnancy I was going to give it gusto. I was advised to get my nutritional bloods checked which I did. My results highlighted the fact that I was deficient in a number of essential nutrients and I was advised to get supplements to regain the correct levels.
I have been on my supplements for approximately 3 months now and already I feel so much better, I have so much more energy, my overall mood has improved and as a whole I am in a much better place physically and mentally.”
If you have queries about nutritional or digestive tests, or how zinc affects your fertility, thyroid or metabolism, please contact us on 01-4020777 or drop us an email at email@example.com and one of our nutritionists will call you back.