Did you know that zinc is a vital mineral for our overall health and well-being and that many of us may not be getting enough in our diet.
Unfortunately, zinc deficiency is more common than you might think. In both New Zealand and Australia, studies suggest that around 20% of the population may be deficient in this essential mineral. Signs that you’re low in zinc might be constant sicknesses, white spots on fingernails, acne or skin conditions, hair loss, poor appetite, poor growth in children, impaired cognitive function and brittle nails.
The benefits of zinc are vast and diverse. Zinc is a cofactor for numerous enzymes, meaning it is necessary for their proper functioning. It participates in over 300 enzymatic reactions, including those involved in DNA synthesis, protein metabolism, and energy production.
It plays a role in gene expression and regulation. It is involved in the binding of transcription factors to DNA, which helps control the activation or repression of specific genes.
It supports the development and activity of various immune cells, including T cells, B cells, and natural killer cells. Zinc deficiency can impair immune responses, making individuals more susceptible to infections.
Zinc is a component of antioxidant enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), which helps protect cells from oxidative damage by neutralizing harmful free radicals. This is what can cause inflammation and gene mutation, therefore aiding and protecting our cells against it is vital.
It helps maintain the structure of skin cells, aids in wound healing, and supports the production of collagen. Zinc is necessary for protein synthesis and plays a role in the repair of damaged proteins. It is involved in processes such as folding, stabilization, and degradation of proteins.
It’s involved in the regulation of neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. It plays a role in the synthesis, release, and reuptake of these neurotransmitters, influencing brain function, mood, and cognition.
Zinc is involved in the synthesis, storage, and release of hormones. It is particularly important for the production and regulation of reproductive hormones, including testosterone and estrogen.
Zinc is crucial for normal cell growth, division, and differentiation. It is essential for the development and function of various tissues and organs, including the immune system, skin, and reproductive organs.
A balanced diet is key to meeting your zinc needs. Include zinc-rich foods such as seafood, lean meats, legumes, nuts, and whole grains in your meals. If you suspect a deficiency, consult with the Key Nutrition team here who can guide you getting optimal zinc levels.