“Zinc deficiency is quite common in the developing world. Even in the United States, about 12 percent of the population is probably at risk for zinc deficiency, and perhaps as many as 40 percent of the elderly” Science Daily, Sept 17, 2009
I, however, find that the majority of my clients with anxiety, pyroluria, depression and/or sugar and carb cravings are low in zinc. I have all my clients do the zinc status test when we start working together and then we retest their levels each week until they have good zinc levels. I use zinc sulfate, a liquid zinc that tastes a certain way depending on zinc levels.
Zinc Status test (also called zinc taste test or zinc tally or zinc challenge)
No specific taste or sensation – “It tastes like water” INDICATES GREATEST NEED FOR EXTRA ZINC
No immediate taste noticed, but after a few seconds, a slight taste is noticed – ‘stale’, ‘dry mineral’, ‘furry’ or ‘sweet’ INDICATES SOME NEED FOR ZINC
A definite mildly unpleasant taste is noticed almost immediately , and tends to intensify with time.. INDICATES LESS NEED FOR ZINC
A very strong and very unpleasant taste is noticed immediately – bad enough to need to spit it out.. INDICATES NO NEED FOR ADDITIONAL ZINC, EXCEPT THAT FOUND IN A MULTIVITAMIN
Here is a video of Kelly taken at the recent 2012 Weston A Price conference. She did the zinc status test at my Antianxiety Food Solution booth and this is how the zinc sulfate should taste! Really really terrible! She was the one and only person over a 3 day period who had this reaction. Most of the other attendees scored either 1 or 2 i.e low zinc; a few people scored 3.
If your zinc status is good, this is what the zinc sulfate should taste like!
Zinc is an important and much-needed mineral:
- Zinc is needed for neurotransmitter functioning ie to make “calming” GABA and “happy” serotonin
- Zinc helps eliminate pyroluria (a social anxiety condition – see the pyroluria questionnaire here
- Zinc is critical for wound healing, protein synthesis, muscle contractions, skin conditions
- Zinc is critical for taste buds and appetite
- Zinc is crucial for blood sugar control, weight control and diabetes
- Zinc is crucial for thyroid health and sex hormones (and fertility)
- Zinc is important for immunity and protection against yeast infections
- Zinc helps with mental alertness and brain function, as well as sleep
- Zinc is needed for many enzymatic processes in the body
- Zinc is not stored in the body and can be depleted by sugar consumption, exercise and sweating and stress
Food sources of zinc
- The highest concentration of zinc is oysters
- Zinc is also found in other shellfish such as shrimps and crab
- Zinc is also found in red meat, fish, poultry and cheese
- It’s also found in smaller amounts in whole grains, beans, miso, tofu, nuts and seeds, mushrooms and broccoli (many of the plant sources also contain phytic acid which binds to zinc and prevents it being absorbed; many also contain copper so overdoing something like nuts or nut flours can be an issue for many of my clients with low zinc and anxiety)
I have found that zinc supplement containing 30mg is a good place to start if your level is low i.e. level 1 or 2 or even 3. I also find that Opti-zinc is very well absorbed by most of my clients (I like the Solaray brand). For someone with pyroluria I prefer a zinc supplement without copper and this brand is free of copper.
Here is my blog with the supplements I recommend to clients and details on how to set up an account with the fulfilment company I use. Simply search for zinc and you’ll find various professional grade zinc products and the zinc tally or zinc challenge products.
If you’d like more information on zinc, pyroluria and anxiety, a great resource is my book The Antianxiety Food Solution: How the Foods You Eat Can Help You Calm Your Anxious Mind, Improve Your Mood and End Cravings, available in major books stores and from Amazon. You can read more about it here.