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Zinc is an essential nutrient, meaning the body can not produce it or store the mineral. For this reason it must be consumed on a regular basis. Zinc is a vital mineral that is used by the body in numerous ways, zinc is necessary for the activating over 300 enzymes that aid in metabolism, digestion and nerve function.

Zinc is also required in many other processes in the body including, immune function, gene expression, DNA synthesis, wound healing, protein synthesis, growth and development, insulin production and allows acuity of taste and smell. 

Signs of possible zinc deficiency can include, a loss of taste and smell, white spots on your finger nails or nails that are thin and brittle, acne, growth impairment, hair loss, prostate trouble, infertility and recurrent colds and flu.

Zinc can be found in food like, liver, meats, oysters, beans and legumes, beets, mushrooms, whole grains, egg yolks and fishes. It can also be found in herbs such as, alfalfa, cayenne, chickweed, parsley, hops, and milk thistle. 

When supplementing zinc, look for a supplement that is based on whole food. The bioavailability of zinc in the body is much higher in whole food form versus in the form of gluconate or citrate. While zinc is an essential nutrient, be careful to not take more than 100 milligrams per day. When the daily dose exceeds 100 mg it can compete with absorption sites of other essential nutrients and can depress the immune system. 

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