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  • No Zinc, No Think | with Michele Grosvenor

    September 11, 2023 2 min read

    Zinc is an incredibly important mineral used for over 200 functions in the body.

    It is involved in growth and development, gut and skin health, supporting your nervous system and the stress response, regulating your mood and keeping you from catching everything that is going around. Most of the zinc in our bodies is stored in the muscles and bones.

    You might not make the connection between brain health and zinc but in the brain, the hippocampus has a high concentration of zinc which is one of the key areas responsible for learning and memory. A zinc deficiency is one of the key things I look for in patients with neurological conditions because without zinc your brain can literally not think!

    Another reason for this is that zinc is involved in the production and function of dopamine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters send signals from the brain to other cells of the body to help regulate your mood and emotions, how your body moves and even how good your sleep is. When dopamine levels are too low it can affect your focus and promote hyperactive behaviour, especially in children, which can often be linked back to a zinc deficiency.

    Zinc is also involved in converting Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids in our foods into forms the brain can absorb. This is important because the brain consists of more than 50% fat cells and fatty acids help maintain the brain's structural integrity which when compromised can leave you forgetting things and having brain fog.

    Zinc protects the brain from heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, mercury and aluminium. When these take the place of zinc on cell receptors in the brain it can lead to deficits in learning and focus, and is not uncommonly seen in conditions like ADHD, dyslexia and autism.

    Zinc Deficiency Signs

    • White spots on your fingernails
    • Learning and memory issues
    • Poor sleep
    • Slow growth and/or development in children
    • Skin rashes, acne, dermatitis, and eczema
    • Poor immunity
    • Slow wound healing
    • Low of appetite, taste & smell
    • Allergies
    • Leaky gut

    Zinc levels can be measured through blood tests but one of the main ways I test for zinc deficiency is by using hair mineral analysis. It is less invasive and much more accurate than blood testing as it provides information on the tissue levels of zinc and other important minerals and how they may be interacting with each other. It also measures heavy metal toxicity so gives great insight into other factors that may be contributing symptoms.

    If you are looking for some one-on-one support for you or your child, book a consult with Michele here.
    Michele is a naturopathic clinician and certified GAPS practitioner with a special interest in digestive and children's health. 

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