Why should I test my zinc levels?
An adequate zinc supply is good for your health and well-being for many reasons. Zinc is important for muscle development, wound healing, skin, hair and much more. The immune system also needs zinc, which is why the mineral is considered a good defence mechanism against colds.
However, taking high doses of zinc supplements if you suspect a deficiency is usually not a good idea. Too much of the mineral can lead to zinc poisoning and could interfere with the absorption of other nutrients.
It is better to check your levels with a test. A blood test like the cerascreen Mineral Deficiency Test can tell you more about how optimal your zinc reserves are. You can then use the test results to change your diet or optimise your supplement intake.
The test also determines the concentration of the minerals magnesium and selenium in your blood.
Who should take the test?
Checking a possible deficiency is worthwhile for many people, as it is hard to consume enough zinc in our diets.
A zinc deficiency test is particularly useful if you belong to one of the following risk groups:
People who do intensive sports, as they lose a lot of zinc through sweat.
Vegetarians and vegans.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women, as they also have to supply the foetus or the infant with minerals.
People with chronic inflammatory bowel diseases.
How does the test work?
For the Mineral Deficiency Test, take a small blood sample from your fingertip using a lancet. The sample is sent in a tube via a return envelope to a specialist diagnostics laboratory.
The diagnostic laboratory then analyses the concentration of the minerals magnesium, selenium and zinc in your blood.
What does the results report tell me?
The detailed results report reveals the measured values of minerals in your blood retrieved from the laboratory analysis.
You will learn how high the concentration of the mineral zinc is in your blood. The value is measured in millimoles per litre (mmol/l).
You will also find out how much magnesium in milligrams per litre (mg/l) and selenium in micrograms per litre (μg/l) were detected in your blood.
You will receive the reference values – that is, the ranges of values within which your mineral concentrations should ideally be.
The report provides you with valuable information about magnesium, magnesium deficiency and the other minerals. You will learn how to optimise your diet and supplement intake to improve your zinc levels through clear recommendations.
What is zinc?
Zinc is an essential mineral that you need to obtain from your diet. Your body stores around two to three grams of zinc – most of it in your muscles.
We need zinc for numerous important processes in the body, including:
Strengthening of the immune system
Regulation of blood sugar
Growth of skin and hair
What causes a zinc deficiency?
Theoretically, a zinc deficiency can result from malnutrition, but this is rare in central Europe. People who are deficient in zinc often need to increase their zinc intake because their body absorbs too little zinc, they consume a lot of it or they have a special diet.
A zinc deficiency can be caused, among other things, by very intensive sports, as you thereby release more zinc through sweating.
A vegan or vegetarian diet increases the risk of deficiency because we absorb zinc from plant-based foods less efficiently than from animal products.
In addition, people with inflammatory bowel diseases have an increased risk of zinc deficiency. For them, zinc absorption in the intestine may be impaired.
What are the symptoms of a zinc deficiency?
A zinc deficiency may cause the following symptoms:
hair loss and brittle nails
weakened sense of smell
muscle cramps and feeling of weakness
delayed wound healing and skin problems
fatigue, lack of concentration and depressive moods
In addition, a deficiency in zinc can weaken the immune system and make you more susceptible to infections. This means that you tend to suffer more frequently from colds, but also from infectious diseases such as cystitis, gastrointestinal infections and inflammation of the mouth and tongue.
Which foods contain zinc?
Zinc is found in a wide variety of foods – in large quantities, for example, in oysters, cheese (e.g. Emmental), chicken eggs, beef, offal and sunflower seeds, and to a lesser extent in cereals, nuts and legumes.
Your body can absorb zinc from animal products much better than from plant foods.
If you have been diagnosed with a zinc deficiency, you can also take zinc supplements. Good supplements contain zinc compounds that your body can absorb well – for example, zinc histidine.
What happens when your zinc levels are too high?
If you consume too much zinc, it can lead to zinc poisoning. However, this is usually not possible through our normal diets.
There is a risk of poisoning, for example, if you take high-dose dietary supplements even though you already have enough zinc in your body. You should generally only take zinc supplements for a longer period of time if you have determined a deficiency through a test.
Possible consequences of excessive zinc levels are gastrointestinal complaints, hair loss, kidney dysfunction and worsened cholesterol levels. In addition, too much zinc can interfere with the absorption of other minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, copper and iron. If this results in an iron deficiency, this can lead to anaemia, for example.
For whom is the test not suitable?
The Mineral Deficiency Test is not suitable for or is only suitable for certain groups of people:
People with contagious diseases, like hepatitis, are not allowed to take the Mineral Deficiency Test.
breastfeeding women should only carry out the Mineral Deficiency Test under medical supervision. The reference values and recommendations do not apply to them, so they should obtain recommendations on the test result from their doctor.
The Mineral Deficiency Test is not suitable for children under the age of 18.
The test is not intended for diagnosing diseases. For example, if you experience severe depression or acute pain, you should consult a doctor.