Women Need Zinc. Here's Why:

When was the last time you thought about your zinc intake? Most likely the answer is never. Zinc is an often forgotten yet critically essential mineral for almost all of my clients. It’s an intracellular mineral, meaning that it is found and utlisised inside the cell and has many important functions. The other thing to note straight up, is that zinc is found in its highest concentrations in seafoods such as mussels, oysters and other shellfish. If you’re anything like me, these foods may not form a regular feature of the diet! As busy modern women, the demands for zinc are enormous, yet many of us do not reach the daily recommended intake.

Why do women need Zinc? Zinc is a vital ingredient for:

  • Skin cell production

  • Neurotransmitters for Mood Balance

  • Ovulation (we must ovulate in order to produce progesterone)

  • Reducing inflammation (inflammation is involved in period pain and endometriosis)

  • Normalising androgen levels (like testosterone)

  • Supporting the immune system to prevent and resolve infections (both viral and bacterial)

  • Making stomach acid so that food can be digested properly

  • Collagen production to maintain healthy skin and hair, repair connective tissue and prevent scarring.

Here are some common symptoms I see in clinic that can be related to sub-optimal zinc levels:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Period Pain

  • PMS

  • Irregular periods

  • Insomnia

  • Acne

  • Eczema

  • Bloating

  • Scarring

  • Recurrent infections

  • Low immunity

  • Fatigue

  • Flat Mood

  • Cold Sores

  • Hair Loss

Can you relate to any of these? Those most at risk of zinc deficiency include:

  • Vegans and vegetarians due to zinc being found in highest concentrations in seafood and meat

  • Women on the oral contraceptive pill or other hormonal birth control

  • If you have an underfunctioning thyroid (as this can affect zinc absorption)

  • If you drink alcohol or coffee in excess

How to know if you’re deficient in zinc:

  • Sometimes doctors will check your zinc levels in the blood. Although this can sometimes be helpful, because zinc is used inside cells, seeing whats circulating in the blood doesnt tell us the intracellular zinc level or how well the cell is using it

  • Naturopaths have other methods of assessing your zinc status and can advise on whether zinc may be implicated in your health or symptoms.

What to do about it?

I prefer not to recommend self-prescription through blog format for obvious reasons! It’s important to seek tailored advice on this one, to get the right form of zinc and the right dose for you and your health. Aside from taking zinc as a supplement, you can make an effort to include more of these foods in your diet:

  • Oysters

  • Beef

  • Pork

  • Crab

  • Chicken

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Cashews

See a pattern for yourself in this article? Make an appointment to address your health in a holistic and individualised way. Online and in-person appointments are available throughout the week. Click below to book.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is in no way intended to diagnose or treat. It is recommended that you seek advice from a qualified health professional if you have any concerns regarding your health.

Alexandra McPhee