Did you know how much zinc is in your blood? It’s a lot. Most people don’t get enough of this nutrient because they’re not eating the right foods. Research has found that one in five people have low levels of zinc.
Some people are more likely to be deficient in zinc if they are dieting, pregnant, breastfeeding, on a vegan diet, or if they have; a celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, type 2 diabetes, alcoholic liver disease, and chronic pancreatitis.
In this article, you will find out why your blood needs zinc and I’ll also talk about some helpful tips on how to boost your zinc intake.
What is Zinc and What Does it Do in The Body?
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Zinc is a vital micronutrient that is found abundantly in the human body. It helps the body to make new cells and enzymes.
Even though we only need a little bit of zinc, it also acts as a catalyst for over 300 enzymatic reactions in our bodies, participating in different physiological processes that keep our bodies working well and make us feel good.
Zinc is required for certain functions and biochemical processes in the body, including:
- Activating and catalyzing enzymes
- Helps in the production and activation of immune cells to fight off infections
- Supporting cell division, making DNA, and protein synthesis, which are important for the growth and repair of tissues, bones, and muscles
Although zinc is found in a variety of foods, it’s absorption is often poor.
This is because zinc is not easily soluble in water and is therefore not readily available to the body.
In addition, zinc availability may be further limited by factors such as phytate and calcium.
For this reason, include foods that are rich in bioavailable forms of zinc into your diet.
Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) For Zinc
The RDI of zinc varies based on age and gender. For adults and old age, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) ranges from 8 to 11 mg, depending on gender.
If you’re incorporating foods that are rich in zinc into your diet, make sure you’re meeting your daily zinc needs to support your health.
The amount of zinc you need each day depends on your age. Here are the recommended daily intake of zinc for different age groups:
- Birth to 6 months: 2mg
- Infants 7–12 months: 3mg
- Children 1–3 years: 3mg
- Children 4–8 years: 5mg
- Children 9–13 years: 8mg
- Teens 14+years: 9mg–11mg
- Adults: 8mg–11mg
- Pregnant teens: 12mg
- Pregnant women: 11mg
- Breastfeeding teens: 13mg
- Breastfeeding women: 12mg
Now that you know how much zinc you’ll need to support your daily activities, it’s time to figure out why it’s important to have this nutrient in your diet.
Why Your Blood Needs Zinc (Know The Reasons)
Zinc has several incredible benefits, and here are some of the reasons why your blood needs this nutrient:
Red Blood Cell Production
Zinc is an essential mineral for making red blood cells that carry oxygen in the body. It helps produce hemoglobin, the protein that binds and transports oxygen.
Insufficient zinc can affect red blood cell production, resulting in reduced oxygen-carrying ability and potential health problems.
Keeps Hemoglobin Levels Balanced
Zinc helps keep the right amount of hemoglobin in your blood, which makes sure that oxygen reaches all the different parts of our body.
To stay healthy and avoid anemia, you should eat enough zinc and make sure your blood flows properly throughout your body.
Zinc deficiency is linked with different types of anemia, such as iron-deficiency and sideroblastic anemia. When your zinc levels are low, the body’s ability to use iron for making red blood cells is affected.
As a result, hemoglobin levels decrease and oxygen transport is impaired, causing symptoms like fatigue, weakness, and anemia-related symptoms.
Blood Clotting and Cardiovascular Health
Zinc is good for blood clotting, which prevents excessive bleeding and helps heal wounds.
It activates platelets and clotting factors, by making sure that there’s proper coagulation after injury.
In addition, zinc supports heart health by strengthening your blood vessels and making them flexible, helping regulate blood pressure and circulation.
Zinc regulates the production of hormones and are released into your body. It creates and change different hormones like insulin, thyroid, and testosterone.
Having the right amount of zinc is key to keeping your hormones balanced, which leads to more energy, a stable mood, and feeling healthy.
Boosting Immune System
The body’s immune system needs zinc to do it’s job. Zinc is important for the function of your immune system.
White blood cells, which fights infection, contain large amounts of zinc. When you don’t have enough zinc, your white blood cells can’t work and you’re more likely to get infections.
List of Zinc-Rich Foods That Are Good for Your Blood
Zinc is found in a wide variety of foods. You can get recommended amounts of zinc by eating these foods:
- Red meat
Oysters are best known for being an aphrodisiac, but they’re also one of the best sources of zinc.
Just six oysters provide more than 500% of the reference daily intake (RDI) for this essential mineral.
What About Zinc Dietary Supplements?
There are several zinc supplements available that can help improve healthy zinc levels in your blood.
Here are a few examples of commonly used zinc supplements:
- Zinc Gluconate: Is a popular form of zinc supplement that is easily absorbed by the body.
- Zinc Picolinate: Another well-absorbed form of zinc that is used in supplements.
- Zinc Citrate: It is a form of zinc that is combined with citric acid, which may improve its absorption.
- Zinc Acetate: It is often used in lozenges or throat sprays to support immune health and throat comfort.
- Zinc Orotate: A form of zinc that is combined with orotic acid.
- Zinc Chelates: Various zinc chelates, like zinc bisglycinate are available, these forms of zinc are bound to amino acids.
What Causes Zinc Deficiency in Your Blood?
Several factors can contribute to zinc deficiency, including:
- Inadequate dietary intake
- Kidney disease
- Chronic diarrhea
- Medications; such as hydrochlorothiazide, omeprazole and famotidine.
Vegetarians and vegans may also be at higher risk of zinc deficiency since plant-based sources of zinc are not as readily absorbed by the body.
Side Effects of Taking Too Much Zinc
Zinc can be harmful if you consume too much. Signs of too much zinc include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and headaches.
When people take too much zinc for a long time, they sometimes have problems such as low copper levels, lower immunity, and low levels of HDL cholesterol.
Zinc is a mineral nutrient that can be obtained from beverages, dairy, and supplements.
Zinc helps facilitates enzymatic reactions, cell growth, repair, healing, protein binding and interaction, and boosting the body’s immune system to fight infections.
Daily intake of zinc from diets and supplements should be in moderate quantities and must not exceed the upper limits.
People who are having serious health conditions should seek advice from health professionals and follow guidelines on how to take zinc supplement.