Not likely!! It is estimated by Oregon State University that more than 2 billion people worldwide are deficient in zinc. Researchers found an association between zinc deficiency and increased breakage of peripheral blood cell DNA strands.  

Zinc is a powerful trace mineral that is found in body fluids in small amounts but is essential for body growth and function including immunity and tissue repair. When ingested, zinc is absorbed through the small intestine. Most zinc is found in our bones and muscles.  

What Causes Zinc Deficiency? 

  • Not eating enough foods rich in zinc  
  • Unhappy gut syndrome (UGS….my own acronym!) Symptoms of inflammation in your gut include diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, weight gain and hunger.  More serious conditions may develop including IBS and colitis. If your gut is inflamed, nutrients are not absorbed. 

How Can Zinc Keep Me Healthy? 

  • Repair DNA strands. 
  • Keeps your immune system functioning at peak performance. 
  • Powerful antioxidant that helps lower inflammation. 
  • Having adequate amounts of zinc in our body can shorten the duration of common colds as well as reduce the likelihood of getting a cold by 28%.  
  • According to the journal Nutrients, long-term zinc supplements improve liver function and lower risk of liver cancer and disease. 
  • Promotes eye health according to the Journal of Biological Chemistry.  
  • Promotes insulin production. 
  • Improves reproductive health including organ development and sperm motility.  
  • The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals a positive effect for zinc against mortality from cancer of the prostate gland.  
  • May protect again esophageal cancer according to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.  

How Do I Get Enough Zinc? 

  • Eat foods rich in zinc. The greatest source of zinc per serving is oysters followed by red meat and poultry.  Other natural sources of zinc include: beans, nuts, shellfish (including crabs and lobsters), grains and dairy products.   
  • Add a zinc supplement. Most contain about 50 mcg. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is much lower, remember the RDA recommendations are guidelines of the minimum amount to ‘prevent’ disease. Typically, much more of any supplement is needed to ‘promote’ health.   
  • Take zinc supplements with citrus to increase absorption such as orange juice or get a supplement that contains Vitamin C.  
  • If you are not taking your zinc regularly, start at the first sign of a cold.  
  • If adding any supplement, ALWAYS get one that is guaranteed good quality. Read the labels for ‘USDA certified’ or testing by third party to guarantee quality.  Expect to pay a little more for quality.   

Your health care provider can do a lab test to see if you are deficient in zinc.  

Dr. Julie Wood is a Nurse Practitioner and has been serving the Middle Tennessee area for more than 30 years, specializing in adults with obesity, prediabetes and diabetes. Office is located at 401 First Avenue, Mt. Pleasant, TN and statewide with telehealth. Dr. Wood can be reached at 931-325-5560,,   

Articles are meant to be informative and should never replace the advice of your health care provider.