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  • The Wellness Team

Why Zinc?

Updated: Feb 28

January 15, 2018

Laura Hering, RDN, LD, Ashley Mulkern, Dietetic Intern



What exactly is Zinc?

Zinc (Zn2+) is an essential mineral found in food that is best known for its immune-boosting, wound-healing, and antioxidant defense qualities, as well as its role in taste and smell function[2].


Zinc is found most in red meats, seafood, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables. It can also be added to foods as well as sold in dietary supplements like INFINIT Wellness™.  


Why do you need Zinc?


Not only is Zinc vital for immune function and wound healing, but it is also required for proper sense of taste and smell[1].


When fighting a disease you might notice a change in the taste and smell of your food and drinks.  Frustratingly, some people find that even their favorite foods don’t taste like they normally do. Research shows this common symptom may link back to a zinc-linked protein called gustin. Gustin is found in the nose and mouth, and is involved in relaying sensory messages to the brain. Gustin directly relies on zinc levels to function, so ensuring you have adequate levels of zinc in the diet is related to improved taste and smell function [3,4]. 

Making sure you take in adequate levels of this nutrient on a daily basis is especially important because the body has no form of zinc storage[1]. This means, the zinc you consume each day is the zinc your body uses, and it cannot save it for later!


Since daily intake of zinc is required to maintain vital bodily functions (immune, sensory, wound healing, etc.), if you are unable to consume enough zinc through food a supplement containing zinc such as INFINIT HEALTH RESTORE™ is often recommended.


How is Zinc related to chronic illness?


It has been proven that patients diagnosed with a chronic disease have an increased risk of developing a zinc deficiency. This is commonly seen in people with compromised immune systems, due to zinc's major role in the immune system. When you’re sick with a chronic illness, your body is in what is called a “catabolic state,” meaning it requires more energy and nutrients to function, including zinc. Due to the rapid rate at which the body is using zinc during a catabolic state, those individuals are at heightened risk to become depleted or deficient, and may need supplementation[3] in order to meet the increased needs.


How do I know if I need more Zinc in my diet?


There are many physical signs of a zinc deficiency. Skin lesions, impaired wound healing, and loss of taste are all common indicators [1]. However, it’s important to note these signs may be symptoms of your diagnosed diseases, or a result of treatment.


Another more specific way of testing zinc levels is through physician-ordered labs. If you are suffering from a chronic illness and having your blood labs drawn frequently you may notice low serum zinc concentration levels or elevated C-reactive protein levels. These levels are affected during acute infections and inflammation, which is likely due to the redistribution of zinc from the plasma (or blood) to the liver or in the presence of infection, and should be considered in the interpretation of lab results.

** Note that stress, inflammation, and other medical issues may also reduce serum zinc levels. Speak to your health care provider if you suspect a deficiency to discuss the best course of action for your unique circumstances.


Zinc Gluconate


RESTORE by Infinit Wellness contains only the best ingredients, including zinc gluconate as our form of supplemental zinc.


Zinc gluconate is the best absorbed form of Zinc, with an approximately 97% absorption rate. This form of zinc is so easily absorbed because your body is able to recognize and digest it naturally due to its molecular structure (zinc + sugar). The higher absorption rate means the body allows this form of zinc to be easily and efficiently transported into the bloodstream, which allows the body to receive and use the zinc as quickly as possible during times of need[1].



References

1. Gropper, S. A., Smith, J. L., & Carr, T. P. (2013). Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

2. Office of Dietary Supplements - Zinc. (2016, February). Retrieved November 22, 2017, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

3. Roohani, N., Hurrell, R., Kelishadi, R., & Schulin, R. (2013, February). Zinc and its importance for human health: An integrative review. Retrieved November 22, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3724376/

4. Shatzman, A. R., & Henkin, R. I. (n.d.). Gustin concentration changes relative to salivary zinc and taste in humans. Retrieved November 22, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC319674/

5. The Role of Gustin (Carbonic Anhydrase VI) in Sensory Perception . (2003, July). Retrieved November 22, 2017, from http://www.tasteandsmell.com/jul03.htm.

Infinit Wellness does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

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