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Posted on 12-05-2012
According to some estimates, there are literally hundreds of zinc containing enzymes that have been discovered in the plant and animal kingdoms. Zinc is a trace element that has a remarkable ubiquity in terms of its presence and importance in our body’s various metabolic functions.
Signs of zinc deficiency
Zinc deficiency is characterized by growth retardation, loss of appetite, and impaired immune function.
In more severe cases, zinc deficiency causes hair loss, diarrhea,
delayed sexual maturation, impotence, hypogonadism in males, and eye and skin
lesions, weight loss, delayed healing of wounds, taste abnormalities, and mental
lethargy can also occur.
According to an article in the Journal of Nutrition, organ systems known to be affected clinically by severe zinc deficiency states include the epidermal, gastrointestinal, central nervous, immune, skeletal and reproductive systems (Hambidge and Walravens 1982 ). In view of what is now known about the biology of zinc, it is likely that zinc-dependent metabolic functions are impaired in all tissues.”
When zinc deficiency occurs, it is usually due to inadequate zinc intake or
absorption, increased losses of zinc from the body, or increased requirements
Individuals who suffer from gastrointestinal disorders, those who drink high amounts of alcohol, vegetarians and pregnant and/or lactating females are those that may be at higher risk of zinc deficiency.
Common food sources
A wide variety of foods contain zinc.
Did you know that oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food (considering zinc’s role in reproductive health, you can see why oysters are, in some circles, considered an aphrodisiac).
Red meat and poultry however, provide the majority of zinc in the American diet. Other good food sources include beans, nuts, certain types of seafood (such as crab and lobster), whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products.
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