Zinc plays a vital role in immunity, protein metabolism, heme synthesis, growth & development, reproduction, digestion and antioxidant function.
Approximately 100 enzymes that support biochemical reactions in the body rely on zinc.
Zinc is needed for:
- wound healing
- a healthy immune system
- a healthy sense of taste and smell
- and for sexual maturation and development in children
The fatty acid LA/DGLA (linolenic acid/dihomogammalinolenic acid) and ALA/EPA (alpha linolenic acid/eicosapentaenoic acid) ratio are markers that indicate functional zinc deficiency.
Zinc also provides protection against the toxic metal cadmium.
Low levels may occur with malabsorption, alcoholism, chronic diarrhea, diabetes, excess Cu or Fe, diuretics, ACE inhibitors, H2 blockers or digoxin.
Deficiency can result in hair loss and skin rashes, also impairments in growth & healing, immunity, sexual function, taste & smell and digestion.
The main reasons for zinc levels to increase are iron deficiency and lead poisoning. In addition, zinc may be elevated in inflammatory conditions, infections, and in people with anemia of chronic disease, but zinc tests are not generally used to monitor or diagnose these conditions.
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