We’re constantly told what to eat and what no to eat, but it’s not often we’re told what minerals and nutrients are crucial to our overall wellbeing. One of those is zinc and being low in it could be wreaking havoc on your health.
According to new research carried out by the Chair of Animal Nutrition at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), even minimal zinc deficiency impairs digestion, and you may not have the typical symptoms such as skin problems or fatigue.
The study showed that even slight zinc deficiency in an animal’s diet impedes their pancreatic digestive activity and results in significant digestive impairment, reports Science Daily.
Daniel Brugger of the Chair of Animal Nutrition at TUM said this study was unlike other studies that had concentrated on serious zinc deficiency.
“It is important to note that, in nature, clinical zinc deficiency does not really occur, neither in animals nor in humans,” explains lead author Brugger.
Oftentimes your body won’t even tell you if it needs more zinc despite there being minute changes in the liver and in the blood.
In the study, piglets which had just been weaned were fed a diet containing different amounts of zinc to develop early-stage zinc deficiency. This was the only way for the scientists to trace and analyse what effects dwindling zinc deposits would have on the animals’ metabolisms.
“We proved that there is a direct correlation between the amount of digestive enzymes inside the pancreas and zinc levels in the organism as a whole,” Brugger said.
“Even short intervals of zinc deficiency in the diet should therefore be avoided. Given the similarities between a pig’s organism and the human organism, we may draw the following conclusion when applying our results to the human body: an egg or two more once in a while can do no harm.”
Brugger advises vegans, vegetarians and older people to monitor their zinc intake. Zinc can be found in high doses in foods such as chicken, pork, cashews, pumpkin seeds, spinach, mushrooms and oysters.