Zinc: Mighty Micro Nutrient

Could zinc be the calcium of the twenty-first century? The Egyptians and Romans recognized its benefits but it has only been in recent years that biology and medicine has recognized its health significance and implications.

A constituent of more than 25 enzymes, zinc is involved in digestion and metabolism. It also is important in the development of reproduction organs, normal functioning of the prostate gland, formation of keratin for strong and healthy hair and nails, proper functioning of the retina, sense of taste and smell and in speeding the healing of wounds and bone fractures.

One of its most vital roles however, is in supporting the immune system and in protecting the body against free radicals.

Global estimates have 1/3 of the world’s population living in areas with a risk of zinc deficiency, and they aren’t only from developing countries. The amount of zinc found in food is dependent on the soil content of the micromineral. Intensive farming, loss of topsoil and improper soil management has created agricultural zones in North America with reduced or deficient levels of zinc. Also, chemical fertilizers impair its absorption into plants and the milling process removes large amounts of the mineral.

Absorption Inhibitors

  • Phytates found in beans, grains and seeds can actually impair the absorption of zinc, however, soaking all three can activate natural phytases which deactivates the phytates!

  • Oxalates can also interfere with absorption as can fiber*, calcium, iron and high levels of copper.

  • Protein deficiency can also cause a zinc deficiency as protein is needed to carry and store zinc.

  • Zinc destabilizes in high heat and with food processing.

  • Low hydrochloric acid production in the stomach can decrease zinc absorption.

*Too much fiber can attract and bind zinc preventing it from being absorbed into the body. This fact, makes it very important to talk to your naturopathic doctor about the best time to take zinc.

Absorption Enhancers

  • Phytases found in soaked beans, grains and seeds,

  • the presence of certain amino acids found in protein,

  • low zinc stores enhance or encourage the absorption of zinc.

  • If one is having challenges producing enough hydrochloric acid, taking a digestive enzyme containing hydrochloric acid would be helpful.

  • Consult a naturopathic physician if you are unsure how to proceed.

At Risk

  • Those who eat a diet high in phytates are at great risk of zinc deficiency

  • preterm infants,

  • pregnant and lactating women,

  • infants who are not breast feeding,

  • those with leaky gut or other malabsorption problems*

  • and persons producing insufficient amounts of stomach acid.

*Though zinc supplementation is great for building immunity, because it is absorbed in the small intestine, if the gut isn’t working properly, the mineral will not be absorbed and excreted via the feces.    

Food Sources

Animal sources:

  • Goat

  • Beef

  • Certified Organic Organ meat

  • Seafood (especially oysters and sardines)

  • Milk

  • Poultry

  • Eggs

Plant sources:

  • Mushrooms

  • Soybeans

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Wheat germ

  • Brewer’s yeast

  • Pecans

  • Seeds

  • Whole grains


Chronic, low grade zinc deficiency is not always obvious or easy to diagnose without specialized testing.

At VitaCare Natural Health Clinic doctors use a hair mineral analysis to determine whether there is a zinc deficiency or too much copper, iron or heavy metals that may be impeding absorption of zinc.

VitaCare’s doctors also take into consideration gut health. If chronic food allergies, prescription or non prescription drugs, inflammation or autoimmune conditions have damaged the lining of the gut, minerals including zinc cannot be properly absorbed.

In cases of nutrient deficiency, chronic illness, autoimmunity, cancer, inflammatory processes and malabsorption our doctors prescribe a Myer’s Cocktail. An intravenous injection of specially formulated nutrients, Myer’s delivers much needed nutrients directly to the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive tract.

Oral supplementation may not be clinically effective if absorption is poor, but an intravenous injection going directly into the bloodstream, delivers high amounts of nutrients to the cellular level efficiently and quickly.

A Myer’s also contains magnesium, selenium, B complex, B12 and vitamin C to give the body not just a boost of immune building zinc, but also an entire nutrient package to stimulate and support the body in healing and recovery.

The result is a body with the resources, nutrients and energy to regain a higher level of health and optimal vital living.

Ask our doctors today about how a Myer’s Cocktail can support your treatment program and provide an added solution to your health concerns.