The zincrequirement of your body depends on numerous factors. How much of the trace element you need is therefore quite individual and is not so easy to say. So let’s take a look at how you can find the right zinc dosage for you and what all this brings to your body.
So that you do not lose track of all the recommendations, we have put together three steps for you:
1. Pay attention to whether you take enough zinc
The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends a daily zinc dosage of about 14 mg for men and about 8 mg for women foradults between 25 and 51 years. Although this sounds like a relatively small amount, a zinc deficiency is not automatically excluded.
In principle, we are relatively well supplied with the mineral here in Central Europe, as the soils in this country contain a comparable amount of zinc. Nevertheless, the National Consumption Study II (2008) came to the conclusion that a whopping 32 percent of men and 21 percent of women do not reach the daily requirement of zinc. This can sometimes cause problems.
Most often, an undersupply of zinc is noticeable on your skin and hair. For example, people with zinc deficiency often suffer from brittle hair and nails or dry, scaly skin. Likewise, it can also lead to hair loss or inflamed skin eczemas. In addition, the immune system also suffers, which makes you more susceptible to infections.
If these problems occur again and again, this could be due to your daily ingested zinc dosage. In case of doubt, it is therefore a question of going to the doctor and clarifying the problems. But do not worry, as a rule, a lack of zinc can be well compensated by the diet or dietary supplement.
How are the recommendations for zinc dosage calculated?
In addition to the DGE, there are a number of other organizations that make suggestions for optimal zinc dosage. These include, for example, the European Food Safety Authority and the WHO.
But how do the experts of these groups actually arrive at their values for the right zinc dosage?
In all these cases, the reference values come from scientific studies on nutrient uptake. These are usually analyzed and the recommended values are calculated from them.
Although all these institutes obtain their reference values from scientifically tested studies, there are always deviations as far as the optimal zinc dosage is concerned. But why?
The answer is, as so often, in the diet. This has an influence on how much zinc you have to absorb to cover your personal needs.
2. The zinc dosage should be adapted to the diet
How well your body can absorb zinc is closely linked to your absorption of phytate. The salt of phytic acid has the property of binding certain minerals, such as zinc. In part, this then leads to the fact that the substance can no longer be absorbed by the body.
If your diet is rich in phytate, this can reduce the absorption of zinc by more than 40%, according to the DGE.
Although this does not increase your daily requirement, you then have to absorb more zinc from the diet to make sure that your body absorbs enough of it.
For this reason, the recommendation for zinc dosage of the DGE depends on the individual intake of phytate:
- Adults at low phytate intake: ~11 mg men / ~7 mg women
- medium Phytate intake: ~14 mg men / ~8 mg women
- high Phytate intake: ~16 mg men / ~10 mg women
What is the focus of the intake of phytate?
You have a low intake of phytate, for example, if only a few whole grains or legumes end up on your plate. In addition, you should get your proteins mainly from animal sources to keep the phytate in your diet low.
Of course, this is not possible for all people. If you live vegan or vegetarian, your diet most likely also contains a lot of phytate. In addition to whole grains, the substance is also present in soy products and most nuts. The fact that you hardly absorb animal protein in a meatless lifestyle increases the phytate intake on top of that.
Depending on the diet, you should definitely adjust your zinc dosage to the phytate content in the diet.
3. Sports and pregnancy can also increase your zinc requirement
But not only the diet determines how much zinc you need. Certain other circumstances can increase your need as well.
For example, the recommendation for zinc dosage in pregnancy at the end of the first trimester goes up: ~9 mg at low phytate intake and ~13 mg at high phytate intake.
By the way, after childbirth, even during breastfeeding, it is recommended to take more zinc.
As far as sports are concerned, a US study on male subjects shows that zinc can support muscle training. The participants had low zinc levels in their blood at the time of the study. By taking ~ 20mg of zinc per day, the blood circulation of the muscles could be noticeably improved.
In another study from the USA, women were given high doses of zinc (more than 100 mg per day) for two weeks. After that, an improvement in muscle strength could be observed.
How could these effects be related to zinc?
How to keep the right zinc dosage fit
Especially for athletes, a strong immune system is important. To ensure this, your body also needs zinc. Especially top athletes and people who are regularly exposed to strong physical stress have an increased need for essential nutrients.
Since our body also needs zinc for wound healing, the substance can also support strength training. Thus, the trace element helps to repair cracks in the muscles. By the way, after strength training, such cracks are quite normal. After all, it is their repair that leads to muscle growth in the first place.
If there is a lack of zinc, this repair can happen more slowly and the regeneration time after training becomes longer.
In order to stay fit, it is therefore important that the zinc requirement of your body is also covered.
The ideal zinc dosage does not exist
Although taking high doses of zinc under certain conditions can also have positive effects, you should definitely stick to the general recommendations for dosage. If you instruct too much zinc over a longer period of time, it harms your body more than it benefits.
So the key word is: Balance.
Finding this balance is often not so easy, because as we have seen, the need for zinc is not the same for everyone. An ideal zinc dosage, which applies to all people and living conditions, therefore, unfortunately does not exist.
This makes it all the more important to have a balanced diet to give your body everything it needs. If you get too little zinc, dietary supplements can help you.
In case of doubt, your family doctor will also assist you with words and deeds.