Might you have it? from whfoods.com (bit.ly/aNMeiF
Zinc is a micromineral needed in the diet on a daily basis, but only in very small amounts (50 milligrams or less). The other microminerals that all humans must get from food are arsenic, boron, cobalt, copper, chromium, fluorine, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, vanadium, and zinc.
The first research studies to demonstrate the zinc's important in the diet focused on the issue of growth. When foods did not supply sufficient amounts of zinc, young men in Iran and Egypt were found to have impaired overall growth as well as impaired sexual maturation. These initial studies on zinc reflected some of the key functions served by this mineral, including regulation of genetic activity and balance of carbohydrate metabolism and blood sugar.
How it Functions: What is the function of zinc?
Regulating genetic activities
Zinc is an important regulator of many genetic activities. The cells of our body each have a special compartment called the nucleus, and inside the nucleus are approximately 100,000 genes. These genes provide instructions for the cell, and the cell has to decide which instructions to read. Zinc is essential for reading genetic instructions, and when diets do not contain foods rich in zinc, instructions get misread, or not read at all. (In biochemistry terms, the gene-reading process that requires zinc is called gene transcription.)
Supporting blood sugar balance and metabolic rate
Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, is often required to move sugar from our bloodstream into our cells. The response of our cells to insulin is called insulin response. When the foods in our diet do not provide us with enough zinc, insulin response decreases, and our blood sugar becomes more difficult to stabilize. Metabolic rate - the rate at which we create and use up energy - also depends on zinc for its regulation. When zinc is deficient in the diet, metabolic rate drops (along with hormonal output by our thyroid gland).
Supporting smell and taste sensitivity
Gustin is a small protein that is directly involved in our sense of taste. Zinc mus be linked to gustin in order for our sense of taste to function properly. Because of this relationship between zinc and taste, and because taste and smell are so closely linked in human physiology, impaired sense of taste and smell are common symptoms of zinc deficiency.
Supporting immune function
Many types of immune cells appear to depend upon zinc for optimal function. Particularly in children, researchers have studied the effects of zinc deficiency (and zinc supplementation) on immune response and number of white blood cells, including specific studies on T lymphocytes, macrophages, and B cells (all types of white blood cells). In these studies, zinc deficiency has been shown to compromise white blood cells numbers and immune response, while zinc supplementation has been shown to restore conditions to normal.
What are deficiency symptoms for zinc?
Because of the link between zinc and the taste-related protein called gustin, impaired sense of taste and/or smell are common symptoms of zinc deficiency. Depression, lack of appetite, growth failure in children, and frequent colds and infections can also be symptomatic of insufficient dietary zinc.
What are toxicity symptoms for zinc?
Zinc toxicity has been reported in the research literature, and in 2000 the National Academy of Sciences set a tolerable upper limit (UI) of 40 milligrams for daily intake of zinc. (This limit applies to all individuals age 19 and over.) A metallic, bitter taste in the mouth can be indicative of zinc toxicity, as can stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea mixed with blood.
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