The ABCs of Zinc

Let’s talk about that one at the end of the alphabet…ZINC.

When everyone started googling and chatting how to stay healthy right now, one nutrient kept coming up and getting purchased. 


We’ve all heard addressing zinc status is essential for staying healthy – especially during a pandemic. So let’s briefly touch on: (a) why we need zinc, (b) nutrients and drugs that interact with zinc, and (c) risk factors for zinc deficiency.

  1. Why – Lowered zinc translates to lowered Vitamin A. Not only does this  decrease immunity, but it has downstream effects on vitamin D.
  2. Interactions – Zinc competes with iron. Our foods have been fortified with iron since WWII, which not only lowers zinc, but results in mineral imbalances. Where there is too much iron there is not enough zinc. ACE inhibitors, Proton pump inhibitors & many other drugs create zinc deficiencies (and others, of course). On top of that, older adults and vegans often have lowered zinc intake.

  3. Risk Factors – Risk factors for zinc deficiency mirror the diseases and issues of the majority of those suffering with diabetes, kidney, liver, and GI diseases, inadequate diet, and alcohol dependency.

So what do we do to increase zinc?

Food ALWAYS first. 

  • Make sure you are getting in your trace minerals. There are deliciously easy ways to get in the RDA for zinc! Oysters, nuts, beans, chocolate, meat and lentils to name a few.


  • When supplementing with zinc you should also be consuming copper. (~15:1 zinc : copper)
  • Since zinc and iron compete, it’s a good idea to assess your total iron intake to optimize intake of both these critical minerals.
  • Taking zinc lozenges may help at the start (within the first 24 hours), while ongoing use may be ineffective. If your lozenge and diet doesn’t include sufficient copper, taking the lozenge can actually increase your health risks!

Just a little bit of these nutrients make a big difference when it comes to your  health!

If you would like to know if you are getting in enough zinc, connect with me and about the zinc assessment. Email me at to learn more!

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Heal Well Nutrition

Chris Latham, MS, CNS, CKNS



918 Chapala St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Certified Nutrition Specialist | Certified Ketogenic Nutrition Specialist