Zinc is a mineral that is found in every body tissue within the human body. Large deposits of zinc are located in bones, pancreas, liver, kidneys and even the eye’s retina. That being said you would think we have sufficient amounts within the body, but we don’t. With the poor foods being advertised as nutrient dense like breakfast morning cereals, parents and children are being robbed of nutrients. Low zinc levels can have detrimental effects on the body. Zinc itself is a power antioxidant that protects the body system from free radicals that cause cancer. Zinc also plays a powerful role in cell division and maintenance of the endocrine system which is responsible for hormone production. It is needed for peak human performance, blood cell regulation and more.
As an athlete in life, we should be aware of when our zinc levels get low. It would be great if we could get our blood tested weekly but that’s not realistic. So, get an initial test and then supplement with a zinc product, then retest yourself about two months later. You may think this is a tedious thing to do, but your health depends on it. If you zinc levels drop and stay low over a period of time then you will find that energy levels decrease, focusing on simple tasks will become difficult, sickness will become a regularity along with poor memory and chronic fatigue. Now how can an athlete demand himself to make size and strength gains during this zinc depressive state? The answer is, they CAN’T!!!
Zinc has a direct relationship with hormone production. We know that increased hormones equals muscle gain, strength gains and success at sport (as long as you know your left from your right foot). Hormones responsible for strength gains are:
- Growth Hormone
- Insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1)
If you do not have these working efficiently… you will not achieve gains. If you look at athletes like Olympic Bronze Medalist in the shot put Reese Hoffa (Athens, Georgia) or MMA fighter Mike Medrano (New Jersey), you can see that they are taking in all their vitamins and minerals. If zinc levels were low within these two athletes, then Reese would not have a chance at an Olympic medal and Medrano would never be able to keep up with his demanding workouts by Martin Rooney.
Most experts recommend 15 to 30 mg for maintenance, 20 to 30 mg during intense training phases, and 30 to 60 mg to correct a deficiency. If you take 150mg or more daily for extend amounts of time it can become toxic.
It’s one thing to be tired, weak and in a slump due to zinc deficiencies but it’s another to have Alzhiemers. Yup, zinc can deter Alzheimers. After reading so many studies, zinc has been found to detoxify brain tissue of heavy metals. Heavy metals are more prominent today than ever. It’s in the ground, it’s in our drinks and fish, it’s everywhere! Alzhiermers is a degenerative process that occurs in the brain cells. Zinc has been found combat this degeneration and keep homeostasis (a happy friendly environment) within the nerve cell. A healthy cell can boost brain function by
- Increasing Dopamine Output (positive mood)
- Metabolizing Melatonin (good nights sleep)
These are the main points I wanted to touch upon, of course there are more side effects of low zinc levels like reproductive health and fertility but that would go off in a direction that takes away from my point. Zinc is needed for optimal sports performance!