Zinc supports your body’s ability to build bone by reducing inflammation.

How does zinc affect your bones?

Your body requires zinc to activate immune cells. A weak immune system results in low grade inflammation throughout the body. Zinc is also needed for the cells to respond to insulin, and absorb sugar from the bloodstream. Excess sugar in the blood causes chronic inflammation. Adequate zinc helps keep inflammation low. This is important because inflammation activates bone destroying cells (osteoclasts) and inhibits the creation of bone building cells (osteoblasts).

My zinc story

In 2016 a local functional medicine doctor ordered lab tests that indicated lead poisoning. Since I had previously done two series of chelation for heavy metal poisoning, I knew chelation wasn’t a permanent solution. It reduced the heavy metals in my body, but they accumulated again. Remembering William J. Walsh’s presentation at a conference in Aspen, Colorado, I decided to try his protocol. He is an expert in nutritional medicine, and the founder of the Walsh Research Institute.

I looked for a doctor trained by Walsh. When I found none in Las Vegas, I visited a functional medicine doctor in another state. After a two-and-one-half hour interview, the doctor ordered several lab tests. Among them were plasma zinc and serum copper. The results, according to the Walsh protocol, indicated a zinc deficiency (less than 90-135 ug/dL) and a copper overload (more than 70-110 ug/dL). The doctor recommended that I take a zinc supplement, specifically zinc picolinate, and reduce my exposure to copper. Over time my zinc levels increased and copper declined, but still not to the level recommended by Walsh.

Now I eat foods rich in zinc and take a zinc picolinate supplement. I avoid potential sources of copper: cookware, pipes, and supplements.

What are good food sources of zinc?

Good food sources of zinc include avocados, cheese (cheddar, mozzarella), chocolate, dates, fish (flounder or sole), fruits (apricots, prunes, raisins), legumes (green peas, kidney, peanuts), liver (veal), shellfish (Oysters, Alaskan king crab), meat (beef, lamb), poultry, mushrooms (button, crimini, portobello), nuts (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts), and seeds (pumpkin, sesame).

Note: Legumes are plants that bear fruit in pods, such as peas.

How much zinc do you need?

According to the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for zinc is 11 milligrams (mg) per day for adult men, 8 mg for adult women. RDA is the amount of a nutrient the FNB estimates is required to meet the nutritional needs of nearly all healthy people.

Your dietary requirements are unique. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice on your particular needs.

Comments on zinc

What foods rich in zinc do you like? Leave your answer in the comment section below.


For more information:

Your Bones: How you can prevent osteoporosis & have strong bones for life
By Lara Pizzorno with Jonathan V. Wright

Vitamin and Mineral Supplement Fact Sheets

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28

Walsh Research Institute

Photo: Mogens Petersen at pixabay