There's a story that you can tell the age of the cook by how salty the food they have cooked tastes.
The idea is that since many elderly people don't have enough zinc in their diet and it is the zinc that powers our taste buds that our elderly zinc deficient chefs will taste the food and not really taste the salt very well… …so more salt is added.
I'm a Jazz cook, I make things up as I go along but sometimes it's good to measure the ingredients and not rely on the taste as its being cooked!
And it's not just the elderly that are running low on zinc, anyone who has digestive problems is going to be low too.
Zinc does not just run our taste buds it also runs wound healing. And most of us living in this polluted world have some degree of woundedness to our "inner skin" – the lining of the gut.
On this lining our whole health depends and yet low quality diet with fast foods, soft drinks and so much more non nutritious foods, alcohol and smoking all contribute to what I refer to as "wounded gut".
And right now I am almost blushing at the memory of so many times when I have advised people to increase their vitamin C to help mend wounds without mentioning zinc!
Memo to self – and to you – "Think Zinc To Remain In The Pink".
Zinc is a much neglected mineral unlike Calcium which gets avalanches of praise and appreciation. But zinc seems only to be known to roofers and welders and few others.
And this is despite zinc playing a vital role in the formation of DNA and RNA so we need zinc to express our genetic potential and for growth tissue repair and stress resistance.
This is why Nutritionists recommend zinc so much.
Nutritionists and Zinc
I remember well my initial education on Zinc. We had invited Professor Bryce-Smith to teach us as he had developed the Zinc Taste Test which made it easy and fast to see if someone was zinc deficient.
Other tests such as simply measuring the amount in the blood were unreliable and could be high even if someone was very deficient and measuring the amount of zinc in hair also proved problematic.
So the Zinc Taste Test proved to be popular with Nutritionists because we could screen our clients so easily for such an important mineral.
It was available initially as "The Zinc Taste Test" but nowadays is on sale as "Zinc Status", "Zinc Tally" or "Zinc Assay" by Amazon or other specialist nutritional supplements supplier.
The taste test is simple and fast and consists of holding a teaspoonful of the solution in the bottle in your mouth for a few moments. Then you swallow it and wait a little.
1. You either taste nothing and you think you have swallowed water
2. Or after a few seconds a subtle taste is noticed – it might be described as metallic, furry or sweet and you know you have not swallowed water
3. A taste is noticed at once which might get stronger
4. A strong and nasty taste is perceived
So what does this mean?
In the case of 1. And 2. You are low in zinc and need supplementation; in the cases of 3 and 4 your zinc level is fine. For case 3 in may be worth testing monthly to make sure you have not drifted down to 1 or 2.
Suppose then you find that you or a loved one is low on zinc what zinc can you take to boost the low level? Turns out there's a lot of choice – too much really!
10 Types of Zinc To Keep You In The Pink?
So you show up at your local health store to get some zinc and on the shelf you find…maybe not 10 types of zinc but you'll find a few.
Such as these…
• Zinc Acetate
• Zinc Chelate
• Zinc Monomethionine
• Zinc Citrate
• Zinc Gluconate
• Zinc Glycinate
• Zinc Orotate
• Zinc Oxide
• Zinc Picolinate
• Zinc Sulphate
So Which Zinc Should We Choose?
Here's the good news from Professor Bryce-Smith… "There is good evidence to suggest that zinc is well absorbed from the gut whatever zinc salt is used", and to give you a bit of a nudge I like Zinc Citrate, although the picolinate, gluconate and glycinate are all OK.
And of course if your zinc status needs a boost it makes sense to eat some zinc rich foods To begin with it makes sense to be aware of foods that boost your zinc status and to ensure you eat some of those often if not daily.
Zinc Foods Foods like these
Finally, What Can Zinc Do For Me?
Well it might relieve or cure Anorexia Nervosa, AN. When your food intake is very low, zinc status will drop drastically and food will seem very unattractive. Moreover, zinc deficiency, "adversely affects neurotransmitters in various parts of the brain, including gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) and the amygdala, which are abnormal in AN" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17272939
In this study which was a randomised controlled trial the use of 14 mg daily was very successful in achieving weight gain. Then there's ADHD… A study consisting of pulling all the results together from 17 studies on ADHD conducted between 2000 and 2015 found that serum blood levels of zinc were lower in the kids that had ADHD.
The implication is that supplemental zinc would help them but we don't have proof of that. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26412183
And Pregnancy… The growing baby in the womb has high demands for zinc and unless the Mother has a healthy zinc status, as shown by either the taste test mentioned earlier of a specific serum test via a laboratory her zinc levels may decline.
Breastfeeding also dips into the Mother's zinc status so she'll likely need Zinc rich foods or a zinc supplement.
Male Fertility Too…
Zinc is also vital for the fertility of males and for the number and level of healthy functioning of sperm From tuning up the brain to making you more fertile and balancing our hormones, zinc has something to contribute to everybody and deserves to be known more and supplemented more routinely.