Zinc and sulphur
Zinc and sulphur both play a crucial role in the digestive system and immune system. (1) Sulphur is an element necessary for the growth and maintenance of many parts of the body. Notice how your hair and nails grow faster when you have sufficient sulphur.
It is possible to get too little zinc in your diet, it is also possible to get too much. Zinc is one of the elements that is toxic and harmful if taken in excess.
Copper and zinc work together, so it is important to have sufficient copper. However, copper is not normally the element that is in deficiency.
Symptoms of zinc deficiency (1,3)
- White spots on finger nails.
- Skin lesions, slow healing or persistent skin problems like rashes or seborrhoeic dermatitis.
- Slow healing of wounds.
- Hair loss.
- Immune system weak and impaired.
- Deteriorating eyesight, taste, smell or memory. Night blindness.
- Poor digestion of proteins, weak stomach acid.
- Being gaunt and wasted.
- Poor appetite.
- Depression, cognitive decline, abnormal behaviour.
- Low birth weight, poor mental and physical development in children.
- Dysmenorrhea (dysmenorrhoea) - pain during menstruation.
- Long term chronic zinc deficiency causes dwarfism and delayed sexual maturation.
Zinc deficiency - taste test
Most people are low in zinc, or zinc-deficient. The USA RDA for zinc is 8 mg / day for women and 11 mg / day for men, and about one in three Americans get less than this amount. (2) If you are a vegetarian, you are more at risk. If you live in an area with zinc-rich soils, or you are getting plenty of seafood or organic meat, you will probably be getting sufficient zinc. However, most soils today have become zinc and mineral-deficient, especially in West Australia where I live. Zinc sulphate is easily added to agricultural soil and taken up by most crops, which benefit from the zinc. The best way to get zinc is through your food.
You can test if you need zinc with a taste test. For an adult, mix 50 mg of zinc sulphate in half a glass of water. If it tastes sweet, pleasant, or like water, then your body needs it. If it has a strong metallic or unpleasant taste, you don't need it and are not zinc-deficient.
How to take zinc
Buy zinc sulphate as a liquid. It should simply be zinc sulphate, not zinc compounds in other forms. It is acceptable to have a small quantity of magnesium chloride added, and possibly pyridoxine hydrochloride, but preferably nothing else.
Follow the supplier's instructions, or for an adult, mix 50 mg of zinc sulphate in half a glass of water, and take it before going to bed. It will help you sleep well and have lucid, pleasant dreams.
50 mg of zinc sulphate is the equivalent of 11 mg of elemental zinc. Most people get 10-20 mg of elemental zinc per day from their food. If you need to supplement, experience of many users has shown that approximately 10-15 mg of elemental zinc per day is the ideal dose for the average adult. Experiment, varying the dose slightly for a week at a time, to find what suits you for your particular ailment.
Zinc sulphate is stable, it should not have a short use-by date.
My experience is that zinc sulphate in liquid form is much more effective than zinc tablets.
I have found that zinc sulphate is helpful in controlling the symptoms of Gilbert's syndrome.
Excessive zinc supplementation
- Zinc may be toxic in excess of 40 mg elemental zinc per day. (2) One reason is that high levels of zinc induce copper deficiency. Zinc and copper are needed together, but are also antagonists to each other.
- I do not recommend using zinc supplements for long periods. Over a period of months or years, high level supplementation affects your body's ability to effectively absorb and use zinc.
- Zinc is a key nutrient required by fungi, bacteria, protozoa and other micro-organisms. Zinc seems to be the most important of all minerals in promoting fungal growth. (4) You need a healthy level of zinc to support your immune system to protect from pathogens. However, an excessive level of zinc may promote the growth of pathogens in your body, particularly fungi such as candida, athlete's foot, thrush or jock itch.
1. Hambidge M.
Human zinc deficiency.
J Nutr. May 2000; 130(5S Suppl):1344S-9S.
2. Zinc, Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin A, vitamin K, boron, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, vanadium and zinc. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Washington DC, National Academy Press; 2001:442-501.
3. Alissa EM et al. The effects of coadministration of dietary copper and zinc supplements on atherosclerosis, antioxidant enzymes and indices of lipid peroxidation in the cholesterol fed rabbit. Int J Exp Pathol. Oct 2004; 85(5):265-75.
4. Lulloff SJ et al. Fungal susceptability to zinc deprivation. J Lab Clin Med. Oct 2004; 144(4):208-14.