Zinc from Foods – Is It Enough?

Is The Zinc In Food Enough For Our Health?

I Discovered My Diet Was Deficient In Zinc

So, a year ago, I decided to track my meals over a few days and average out my vitamin/mineral intake. All of my numbers appeared to be fine, except for one – it was my zinc intake, and it was darn low. If I remember correctly, it was like 40-something % of what the recommended daily allowance. This was alarming to me, because I have generally had the same diet for the year or two prior. Did I have an actual zinc deficiency?

Zinc mineral supplement vs zinc in food.Metallic zinc.

Well, when you look at what zinc is required for in our bodies (such as testosterone production and wound healing), it’s kind of scary to possibly have zinc deficiency. I’ve got pretty damaged joints, so it would not need a good thing if my ability to heal or my hormones are not up to par. Lacking this mineral was potentially causing me damage in the long run. There was no way I was going to let this possible train-wreck happen.

I’m a big proponent of getting your nutrients from food, so I sought out the foods with the highest amounts of zinc. My findings were a bit disappointing, however.

Foods With Zinc Are Limited

There aren’t many foods with good amounts of zinc. I find that most foods containing zinc are either fortified with cheap supplemental zinc, or happen to also contain phytic acid. The nuts and grains that contain this mineral don’t count, because phytic acid (which is in these foods) binds to it, creating zinc phytate, renders it useless to the body. Fortunately, I still found a few food sources of zinc.

I found that red meat and oysters are both great food sources of zinc. Oysters, in particular, are super-rich in zinc, containing about 78 milligrams in 100 grams of cooked oyster. That’s over 500% of the RDA for this mineral in what is a couple of cooked oysters. For beef, it’s a bit less dramatic. In 100 grams of ground beef, there’s about 4 milligrams of zinc. Sure, that’s a decent chunk of the RDA, which can fulfill your dietary needs if you eat beef regularly. That’s where the problem lies, however.

Oysters - foods with zinc.Yummy, yummy zinc.

Oysters are very expensive, and beef isn’t the cheapest of all meats. Also, my family isn’t a big fan of seafood or red meat, so I’m left at the curb when it comes to this. If it were my choice, there would be tons of oysters and steak in my house. So, for me, I’m not able to get much of my zinc from food. There was still not way that I was going to let myself be zinc deficient, though.

The Best Zinc Supplements

As much as I hate to admit it, if you can’t get it from food, there’s a supplement for that. Researching for a product to buy, I found that there are different kinds of supplemental zinc. I ended up finding a study on Google regarding the bioavailability if various forms of zinc. Amongst four types of zinc, the one with the highest absorption was zinc glycinate. Excellent, now I have found out which type to get.

When looking at stores online for some zinc glycinate, I found that most brands used large doses. I mainly see 50 milligrams as the dose. To me, that is a bit much for a a supplement to use regularly, especially when there are side effects for zinc toxicity. No need to over-do it here. So, I went with a product with 30 milligram dose.

This product is Now Foods Zinc Glycinate Soft-Gels. It’s cheap, contains 120 servings, and is of zinc glycinate. It’s not too bad for not being able to get zinc from food.

Zinc supplement vs food with zinc.Now Foods Zinc Glycinate Soft-Gels

I started out taking one per day. Whenever I’d take it without food, I would get extremely nauseous, even though the dose is lower than other zinc supplements. Anecdotally, zinc supplements seem to cause nausea and vomiting when taken on an empty stomach or a light meal (here’s one example of people discussing it on the Bodybuilding.com forums). Now, any time I take it, it’s after a main meal.

After a few months, along with other changes in my diet and lifestyle, my joints are finally starting to improve. I’m actually able to exercise now and my strength has gone way up. Coincidence? I’m not sure, but I have a feeling that fixing my zinc serum levels had to have helped my body, at least somewhat.

Now, I can only take zinc once or twice a week, as I am probably replete now and my serum levels are much higher.

I’m fairly pleased with Now Foods Zinc Glycinate Soft-Gels and will stick with this product for a while. It sure has not done me any wrong, and after taking it, my body just happens to show some signs of improvement (not that I’m complaining).

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One Comment

  1. Photo Credits
    Metallic zinc. Author: Andreas Fruh. commons.wikimedia.com
    Oysters. Author: David.Monniaux. commons.wikimedia.com

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