Some of the Wonders of Zinc

The element Zinc has been getting a lot of press lately and rightfully so as it plays many essential roles in the human body.

My first experience with Zinc was in the 1990s when after a week of being sick with the flu, I woke up feeling OK, but I had completely lost my sense of taste and smell.  To describe the sensation, everything tasted or smelled BROWN.  I know that is weird, but it was how I reacted.  A good friend and surfing buddy suggested I might have a brain tumor, which I quickly discounted.  That being said, I had no clue as to the cause.  One day I was talking to my mom about it asking her if she had ever experienced such a thing.  Her answer was no, but within a few weeks, I got an article from her that she had cut out of a Parade magazine that came with the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times.

In a nutshell, the article said that many times the loss of taste and smell might be due to a deficiency in cellular Zinc.  Having put up with this issue for about 2 months, I was ready to try anything.  I immediately went out and bought a Zinc supplement.  Two days after I began taking this Zinc, all of my senses of taste and smell had returned.  To say the least, I was quite impressed and elated.  Not being as inquisitive as I am now and with no instant access to all of the information we have at our fingertips today, I had no clue as to why zinc fixed the problem.  Today, I know a lot more.

It turns out that Zinc, as with all the mineral elements, is an activator (catalyst) for many of our cellular enzymes. These enzymes are constructed by our cells out of amino acids and vitamins to perform the specific cellular functions each cell has evolved to accomplish.

One of Zinc’s most important functions is to maintain a healthy and properly functioning immune system. Zinc is depleted when the body is fighting an illness, or when eating a zinc-deficient diet. The process of recovery continues to require more Zinc, which is then pirated from other organs.  Two of them are our olfactory and taste organs.  When they run out of Zinc, our sense of taste and smell becomes weakened or halted completely.

This is exactly what happened to me. I believe it may be the cause of people losing the desire to eat.  If nothing tastes or smells good, why eat it?  This is also demonstrated by the Zinc taste test.  If you drink a Zinc liquid supplement and you do not taste it, you are most likely deficient in Zinc.  Why?  Because the body’s ability to taste has become compromised.  The more you can taste the Zinc, the better your taste buds are working because of adequate levels of Zinc in the tissues. 

A new finding by Dr. Dale Bredesen, MD, and discussed in his new book "The End Of Alzheimer's", is the relationship between neurological health and one's Zinc to Copper ratio.  In the blood, this ratio ZN/CU averages 1/1 or 1 part Zinc to 1 part Copper.  In the hair, the optimum ratio of these 2 elements is 8/1. 

Cellular levels are more appropriate to look at for one's overall health and functioning, while blood levels out of balance are reflective of acute issues, which should be addressed with mineral supplementation immediately.  Blood tests of people experiencing occasional memory loss are reflecting imbalances in this ratio with Copper being the elevated element.  According to Dr. Bredesen, Zinc supplementation has been shown to be effective in supporting memory and nerve function.

In addition to being essential for proper immune functioning, taste and smell, and memory, Zinc plays numerous roles in other physiological functions of the human body including:

  • Maintaining healthy skin

  • Reproductive organ maturation and health

  • Cholesterol balance

  • Good breath

  • Copper management and balance

  • DNA and RNA production

  • Proper synthesis of protein and collagen formation

  • Body odor control

  • Hearing

  • Digestion and metabolsim

  • Heart health

  • Healthy aging

  • Eye health

    This list is only a small portion of the many functions of Zinc in the body.  Needless to say, it is a critical element required daily for optimal bodily functioning.  Including it in your daily supplement regime can greatly improve your overall health and wellness.

    In good health,
    Rick Wagner, C.N.,M.S.

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Zinc is essential for the maintenance of immune system strength and glandular health. It can be rapidly depleted when the body is fighting an illness.

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