Do your genes make you more sensitive to zinc deficiency?
Zinc is important for wound healing, sense of smell and taste, DNA and RNA synthesis, and protein metabolism, among many other functions. Symptoms of long-term zinc deficiency include:
- Loss of smell and/or taste
- Low sex drive and male infertility
- Hair loss
- Trouble seeing in the dark
- Frequent infections and slow wound healin
Beyond the above symptoms, zinc deficiency is also associated with type 2 diabetes and obesity, which is linked to genetic makeup. One example is the SLC30A8 gene that encodes a zinc transporter. One variant of this gene results in a less active zinc transporter and increased risk for type 2 diabetes and obesity. Research has shown that increasing zinc intake can reduce this risk through a mechanism that improves insulin secretion. About 71% of Caucasians, 54% of Asians and 73% of Africans carry the SLC20A8 risk variant. You can learn more about zinc-rich foods, genes and health.
The best sources of zinc are protein-rich foods, particularly seafood and organ meats, from which zinc can be most easily absorbed. Other sources include nuts, seeds and milk products. To find out if you are getting enough zinc in your diet, you can use the HealthWatch 360 app or HealthWatch 360 web tool. You can track your food choices and health symptoms to see if increasing zinc or other nutrients in your diet helps you improve.
To eating right for your health,
* HealthWatch 360 app (for both iPhone and iPad) is free to download from the App Store.