Zinc is an important mineral that influences gene expression and is needed for growth, immune function, wound healing, blood clotting, thyroid function, prostate health and fertility. 

Zinc helps other nutrients to work in the body and is an especially important co-factor for the transfer of Vitamin A and for the absorption of folate.

Zinc is needed for the production of stomach acid, which is necessary to kill bacteria and break up proteins in the stomach. A deficiency of stomach acid can cause digestive discomfort and reflux and can affect the absorption of nutrients from the diet.

Zinc is found in high concentrations in the eye and plays a key role in maintaining vision.

Zinc can be beneficial in fighting viral infections. It can reduce the symptoms associated with the common cold and can be helpful for people who struggle with recurrent fever blisters. 

The body doesn’t need a lot of zinc so sufficient amounts can be obtained predominantly from a healthy diet, but during times of stress or illness it can be used as an additional supplement for short periods of time.

The average adult only needs about 40mg of zinc per day. 

Due to the body’s delicate balance it is not ideal to constantly supplement with one specific mineral because it may cause an imbalance elsewhere.

The ratio between copper, iron and zinc is very important. Excess zinc can deplete copper and cause iron imbalances too.

It’s important to remember that most multi vitamins will contain some zinc as part of the formula. Multi vitamins are designed to work synergistically so all the minerals and vitamins in the formula are usually in the right ratios for the average person.


Low levels of zinc can result in the following:

  • Slowed growth
  • Low insulin levels
  • Hair loss
  • Rough or dry skin
  • Slow wound healing
  • Poor sense of taste or smell
  • Diarrhea and nausea
  • Male infertility
  • Depression
  • Acne

Meats, seafood, dairy products, nuts, legumes and whole grains are good sources of zinc.

Vegans may have more specific zinc requirements due to the high amounts of phytic acid contained in plant-based foods. These can interfere with the body’s ability ti absorb minerals such as zinc.

Sprouting, fermenting and soaking grains, legumes and nuts reduces the amount of phytic acid and allows for easier digestion and a reduced risk for nutrient depletion.

Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 3 September to learn more.

Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am