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Zinc Facts

What is Zinc?

Zinc is a mineral that is needed for growth, especially during pregnancy and childhood, and for tissue building and repair. It is involved in wound healing, maintaining a healthy immune system, and cell reproduction. Zinc is a component of over 100 enzymes in the body.

Zinc requirements

The RDA for Zinc for healthy adults is:
· 11 mg/day for healthy males
· 8 mg/day for healthy females

Tolerable Upper Limit Levels for Zinc for healthy adults* is:
· 40 mg/day

*Does not include amount of zinc that may be ordered for medical treatment.

What happens when Zinc intake is too high?

Over time, intakes of zinc greater than the RDA can lead to reduced immune function and the decreased absorption of some other minerals. Large amounts of zinc can also cause nausea and GI upset.

What happens when Zinc intake is too low?

A low intake of zinc can lead to poor growth in children, delayed sexual maturation, delayed wound healing and tissue repair, impaired immune response, impaired senses of smell and taste, hair loss and loss of appetite.

Which foods are high in Zinc?

Oysters are very high in zinc; other food sources high in zinc are red meats, some seafood, liver, poultry and fortified cereals. Animal sources of zinc are better absorbed because of lack of substances that are found in plants, called phytates, that can decrease zinc absorption.
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