• Skin – skin oil gland function
  • Critical for healthy male sex hormone and prostate function
  • Critical for immune system function
  • Protein synthesis and cell growth leading to wound healing
  • Hormone synthesis (adrenal hormones) and hormone activity and receptor site function (adrenal, growth hormone, thymic hormones, insulin)
  • Heart and cardiovascular support – protects against damage to blood vessel walls
  • Maintenance of vision, taste and smell
Source and function notes
  • Zinc is high in whole grains, legumes and nuts but is not absorbable from these sources due to its binding with phytic acid
  • Safety band – as Zinc and Copper compete for absorption
  • Depleted in refined products
  • Levels in body depleted by lack of exercise
Vegetable sources green peas; parsley; potatoes; garlic; cauliflower; spinach; cabbage; lettuce; cucumber
Fruit sources Grape juice
Nut and seed sources Pecans, Brazil nuts, Peanuts, Almonds, Walnuts, hazelnuts, Olive oil
Absorption factors
  • Absorption inhibited by excess copper in the diet, non-organic iron in food, calcium in dietary supplements
  • Alcohol, infection, surgery also inhibit absorption
  • Smokers are often Zinc deficient
  • Stress enhances excretion
Spice and herb sources ginger root; black pepper, mustard, paprika, chilli powder, thyme, Cinnamon
Deficiency factors
  • Skin changes and disorders; hair loss; diarrhea
  • Recurrent infections and slow wound healing
  • Reduced appetite and loss of sense of taste or smell
  • Night blindness
Toxicity and dangers Excess depresses immune system and causes dizziness, vomiting, lethargy, and anaemia (due to excess zinc causing copper deficiency)

Adapted from:

Murray, M. (2005). Encyclopedia of Healing Food. New York, N.Y.: Atria Books

Bland, J., Costarella, L., Levin, B., Liska, D., Lukaczer, D., Schlitz, B., Schmidt, M., Lerman, R., Quinn, S., Jones, D. (2004). Clinical Nutrition: A Functional Approach, Second Edition. Gig Harbor, WA: The Institute for Functional Medicine.

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