Zinc is an important mineral that plays a vital role in protein synthesis and helps regulate cell production.* It’s mostly found in the strongest muscles of the body, and it’s especially concentrated in the white and red blood cells, retina, skin, liver, kidneys, bones and pancreas. The semen and prostate gland in men also contain significant amounts of zinc.
In the human body, there are more than 300 different enzymes that require zinc to function normally.
Yet zinc deficiency is common in the U.S. and Canada. It occurs when people don’t eat enough foods that contain zinc or have problems absorbing – and using – zinc from foods due to digestive issues or poor gut health, like leaky gut syndrome.
Those most at risk for zinc deficiency include:
- Anyone following a plant-based diet that doesn’t include meat or dairy products.
- People who have severe stomach-acid issues and chronic digestive problems like leaky gut syndrome.
- Women taking the birth control pill or who are on hormone replacement drugs.
Zinc helps support the immune and digestive systems, blood sugar levels, a healthy metabolism and the skin (people with eczema often use zinc). Also, it is helpful in terms of pregnancy, stress control, hair care, common colds and eye care.