Important Minerals – Iron and Zinc

Zinc is one fat-soluble mineral that can cause harm if an overdose is taken. Zinc can rob the body of copper, mentioned above as a key nutrient in hair growth and health, not to mention in other functions of the body. Zinc supplements should be taken in low doses, such as 5mg at a time. These can commonly be found in the form of zinc lozenges designed for sore throats. There is a “trick” to tell if you are taking too much zinc. When the zinc levels in the body have surpassed the level that they can be used, a metallic taste begins to form. If you pay attention to the metallic taste, you will know when enough zinc has been consumed, and you can then stop consuming zinc immediately.

Zinc is an essential mineral that is found in almost every cell. It stimulates the activity of approximately 100 enzymes, which are substances that promote biochemical reactions in your body. Zinc supports a healthy immune system is needed for wound healing helps maintain your sense of taste and smell and is needed for DNA synthesis. Zinc also supports normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence. Zinc deficiency most often occurs when zinc intake is inadequate or poorly absorbed, when there are increased losses of zinc from the body, or when the body’s requirement for zinc increases. Zinc is also less well absorbed from plant-based diets, especially those based on whole grains and dried beans. Because of this, zinc requirements may be as much as 50 percent higher for some vegetarians, according to the Institute of Medicine.

Iron supplements are not recommended unless a doctor has diagnosed you with a severe iron deficiency. If you do take an iron supplement, avoid ferrous sulfate, which you will find as the most common over-the-counter iron supplement in drug stores. Ferrous sulfate is hard for the body to assimilate, and because iron is not water-soluble it will sit in the body and can cause severe liver problems over time.

Further, ferrous sulfate causes constipation, which can trigger a great deal more problems besides being extremely unpleasant. One iron supplement that does not contain ferrous sulfate is called Floradix and is available in both liquid and pill form.

Zinc and iron deficiencies are common among young women who seldom consume red meat. It seemed likely that iron stores (measured by serum ferritin concentration) were related to zinc nutriture (measured by metabolically active zinc pools), and that food frequency would reflect these relationships. Zinc and iron are essential for brain function.

It therefore, seemed likely that the low zinc and iron nutriture would adversely affect neuropsychological performance. Zinc and iron repletion were both efficacious for aspects of neuropsychological function. Zinc was especially efficacious for eyehand coordination, reasoning and short-term visual memory. The neuropsychological findings were consistent with observations in other populations.