Gluten Intolerant? How are Your Zinc Levels?

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This article has been updated–Please check out newer research and info in article here: “Celiac Disease and Nutrient Deficiencies: How are Your Zinc Levels?”
People with celiac disease or gluten intolerance have been found to have malabsorption. This is especially true for zinc, which is absorbed throughout the small intestine. Protein (including gluten) increases zinc absorption and zinc is found in wheat and rye (see below for what else zinc is in). Most Americans are already deficient in zinc. While many of us consume less than 10 mg per day, we actually need between 12 and 15mg.
Read on for how you can tell if you are  zinc deficient and why it matters…
Zinc Deficiency Symptoms

When I was going through clinical herbalism school, the rhyme we learned to remember the benefits of zinc was, “If you can’t think and you stink, you might need zinc!” But even more than that, you may be deficient in zinc if you have one of more of these symptoms: low energy, nervousness, depression, impaired taste and smell, skin rashes and disorders (including acne, eczema, and psoriasis), problems adjusting to bright light/sun, white spots in fingernails, thinning hair/ baldness (may also be hypothyroidism), slow wound healing, frequent infection, male infertility, and anemia. Severe deficiency results in immune disorders including shrinkage of the thymus gland, deficient thymic hormone, low white blood cell count, and worsening of diarrhea, if present.Why Zinc is Important

Zinc is essential for the activity of approximately 100 enzymes and is especially critical for functioning of the brain, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and bone and muscle development. Zinc supports a healthy immune system, is needed for wound healing, and is involved in energy metabolism, hemoglobin production, carbon dioxide transport, prostaglandin function, synthesis of collagen, protein synthesis, and vitamin A metabolism. Zinc is important for male fertility and supports normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence. If you think you might have problems absorbing zinc or are deficient in zinc, there is a simple and cheap zinc taste test that you can ask your nutritionist to provide to you (Phew! No blood test for this one!).Good Sources of Zinc:

The highest source of zinc is in fresh oysters 148.7mg per 3.5oz and the next highest zinc abundant food is pumpkin seeds at 7.5mg per 3.5 oz. Zinc is smaller quantities is in most beans and nuts. If you are very low in zinc, don’t eat zinc containing foods, or have problems absorbing zinc, you may need to supplement with it to get your stores up. The zinc supplement I use for my clients is Zinc-Zyme, made by Terrain Zyme. It is exceptionally potent, containing Zinc Arginate which supports immune function and helps to protect against free radical damage and containing Zinc Glycinate for the greatest absorption capability (whereas, Zinc Picolinate is difficult to absorb). It contains a blend of digestive enzymes and bitters to improve absorption. And it contains copper to balance zinc (too much zinc depletes copper and too much copper depletes zinc).I don’t eat oysters, so I make sure to eat plenty of pumpkin seeds and beans to keep my zinc levels up. One of my favorite ways to get a lot of zinc is to make Pumpkin Seed Pesto. It is great as a spread, dip, and sauce. Besides being high in zinc, it is an excellent source of magnesium, vitamin E, and essential fatty acids. Raw pumpkin seeds (I toast them in this recipe) also support a healthy prostate.

I like it when you like it!

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