Zinc is one of the most important minerals in our diet and has antioxidant properties. Two hundred enzyme reactions in the body require zinc, some being the production of protein and tissue. This is why it is such an important mineral for growth and healing.

It is important for healing wounds and skin disorders such as acne and herpes, formation of the bones, the health of the immune system, slowing down the aging process, the sexual development of adolescents and the sexual function of men.

Men can lose up to 1 mg of zinc each time they ejaculate. Zinc may help prevent the enlargement of the prostate gland as it is believed to regulate the metabolism of testosterone.

It is also now thought a zinc deficiency may contribute to anorexia nervosa.

There is a deficiency of zinc in Australian soils and so there is a need to both eat foods which are high in zinc and to supplement the diet with zinc up to 15 mg a day. Signs of a deficiency include: white spots under the nails; skin disorders such as acne; slow healing of wounds; retarded growth and slow sexual development in children, loss of appetite, confused sense of taste, smell and sight; low resistance to infections indicating poor immune response and low sex drive which could lead to prostate problems in later life for men.

Diabetics excrete zinc excessively. Alcohol inhibits the absorption of zinc from the gut and alcoholics always have a zinc deficiency. Vegetarians are also prone to zinc deficiency as a result of a high roughage diet and poor absorption of the mineral from the gut.

Zinc is found in eggs, liver, oysters, beef, chicken, fish, wheat, rice, legumes, corn, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds.


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