Zinc, Zinc, it’s Good for Your Love Life
Zinc, an often forgotten but very important mineral, is needed by our bodies to grow and develop properly. A zinc deficiency can cause slow growth in infants and children, as well as hair loss, diarrhea, eye and skin sores and loss of appetite. Weight loss, problems with wound healing, decreased ability to taste food and lower alertness can also occur.
In the “love” department zinc is important as well. Not enough in your diet can result in delayed sexual development in adolescents and impotence in men.
Luckily, most of us get enough in this country because it’s found in a variety of foods, such as:
- Oysters, which are the best source of zinc.
- Red meat, poultry, seafood such as crab and lobster = and fortified breakfast cereals.
- Beans, nuts, whole grains, Kretschmer Wheat Germ and dairy products.
So don’t go loading up on zinc supplements—too much zinc is not good. Megadosing on zinc can cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhea and headaches. Overloading on zinc for a long period of time can cause low copper levels, lower immunity and low levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol).
Groups who should be concerned they are not getting enough are:
- People who have had gastrointestinal surgery or who have digestive disorders.
- Vegetarians, because they do not eat meat. Also, the beans and grains they typically eat have compounds that keep zinc from being fully absorbed by the body.
- Older infants who are breastfed (and given nothing else) because breast milk does not have enough zinc for babies over 6 months of age.