Zinc is an essential mineral that is found in almost every cell of the body. It stimulates the activity of approximately 100 enzymes, which are substances that promote biochemical reactions in your body. Zinc is used for structure and function of cell membranes, supports a healthy immune system, used for stomach secretion for proper digestion, , supports proper endocrine function, is needed for wound healing, helps maintain bones, hair and teeth), and is needed for DNA synthesis. Zinc also supports normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence.
When can zinc deficiency occur?
Zinc deficiency most often occurs when zinc intake is inadequate or poorly absorbed, when there are increased losses of zinc from the body, or when the body’s requirement for zinc increases such as in cases of long term stress. Signs of zinc deficiency include decreased immune function, growth retardation, hair loss, diarrhea, delayed sexual maturation, low libido and impotence, low adrenal and thyroid function, eye and skin lesions, and loss of appetite. There is also evidence that weight loss, delayed healing of wounds, taste abnormalities, and mental lethargy can occur.
Zinc Taste Test
Zinc Taste Test measures the amount of zinc stored in the body. Patients take a solution by mouth and swirl it around for 20-30 seconds. The degree of taste of the solution determines the zinc concentrations in the body. The test is non-invasive and relatively quick to perform.