Zinc is an important trace element involved in antioxidant reactions. It can boost your immune system and has been reported to be effective in fending off bad colds. Vegetarians should be conscious of ensuring an adequate intake of zinc.

Natural Food Sources
Beef, black beans, blackstrap molasses, chicken heart, egg yolk, fish, lamb, maple syrup, milk, nuts, oysters, pork, sesame seeds, soybeans, sunflower seeds, turkey, wheat germ, whole grain products, yeast.

Main Functions
Zinc is a component of insulin and over 100 enzymes, proteins, nucleic acids and hormones. It helps in the healing of wounds, tissue repair, growth, energy conversion and sexual development. It regulates blood sugar, blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol levels.

Deficiency Symptoms
Although uncommon, zinc deficiency symptoms include anemia, stunted growth, birth defects, sterility, mental problems, skin problems, hair loss and a decreased ability to taste food. If your diet is too rich in copper or iron, it could lead to a zinc deficiency.

Toxicity Symptoms
Consuming greater than 25 mg of zinc daily can lead to a copper deficiency. More than 150 mg of zinc can make one susceptible to infection. Daily doses exceeding 2000 mg per day may cause drowsiness, nausea and vomiting.

Recommended Dietary Allowance
Men: 15 mg
Women: 12 mg

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