Did You Know How Important Is Zinc For Your Body?

Are you up to speed when it comes to minerals and vitamins from A to Z? If yes, then it shouldn’t come as a surprise that zinc plays a crucial role in our bodies.

An essential trace mineral, zinc is found in abundance in human body. It is involved in the production of about 300 enzymes and is important to perform a number of body functions, ranging from production of DNA to damaged cell repair. That’s not all zinc also helps us to sleep better at night, which again provides a host of other additional benefits.

So How Does Zinc Make Things Happen?

With so many zinc vitamins and zinc supplements at your local health store, you may find yourself wondering about the importance of zinc for the body.

Zinc earns its strips by supporting immune function in order to fight illness, promote healthy cell growth and development and also helps ensuring a proper sense of taste and smell. Other benefits of zinc include:

  • Bone formation: Zinc is used by enzymes for the production of collagen and alkaline phosphate (ALP), both of which are essential for bone formation. It is also used in the production of calcitonin, a hormone used to inhibit breakdown of bone.
  • Thyroid formation: Zinc is used in the production of a hormone (TRH), which signals thyroid to make thyroid hormones. It functions by converting the proteins we eat into amino acids to power the thyroid hormone production.
  • Cell replication: Almost 30% of zinc available in cells is found in the cell nucleus. This means, zinc is involved in DNA formation and also helps in replication of cells and proteins required by the body.

How Important Is Zinc For Immunity?

Zinc is an extremely important mineral in the first line of defense for our bodies. The first line of defense is mainly represented by the physical barriers, including skin and mucous membranes lining the inside of our bodies. Zinc is essentially present in the mucous secretions of the respiratory system and also on the surfaces of throat and lungs.

Zinc has an antimicrobial effect, which helps in killing inhaled viruses and bacteria before they get a chance to attack the immune system. It is also secreted in the saliva along with mucous membranes of the digestive system to destroy the ingested invaders.

The benefits of zinc don’t just end there – zinc is also used to support white blood cell production. It helps activating the B and T cells, which are needed by the immune system to fight off viruses and bacteria.

Antioxidant benefits of Zinc

Zinc helps in protecting the cell membranes against the oxidative damage caused by other metals, such as copper and iron, present inside the body. It also forms an essential part of an important antioxidant in the body, called as superoxide dismutase, which is used by liver in order to bind toxins to be removed from the body.

Are You Aware Of Zinc Deficiency Symptoms?

Deficiency of zinc in your body can be the leading cause for:

  • Stretch marks
  • Poor sense of smell and taste
  • White spots on nails
  • Acne
  • Anorexia
  • Poor growth
  • Hair loss
  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Poor wound healing
  • Poor night vision
  • Dry skin

What Can Lead To Zinc Deficiency?

It should be noted that zinc absorption is significantly impaired by high quantities of iron, calcium and copper. Phytates that is commonly found in corn, wholegrain, legumes and rice is another factor that reduces zinc absorption. High perspiration, oral contraceptives, diabetes, caffeine and stress are other contributing factors that reduce the body’s capacity to absorb zinc.

How to Maintain Proper Zinc Levels?

Animal proteins, such as lamb, eggs, beef and chicken can help you maintain healthy zinc levels inside your body. Nuts, legumes, tofu, green beans, mushrooms and avocado also constitute rich sources of zinc. In case of severe zinc deficiency, you can also add high quality zinc supplements to your diet.

How Does Zinc Help Your Body?

One of the most essential minerals for our bodies, zinc plays a crucial role in performing various cellular functions. It is extremely vital for hair, skin and eye health and also for supporting cognitive functions.

However, the most observable effect of zinc is its impact on your immune system. According to research, zinc has proven benefits to effectively fight off symptoms of cold.

Zinc Benefits for Women

According to research, sufficient intake of zinc may help women ward off symptoms of PMS. Zinc is extremely essential for pregnant women as its deficiency may greatly increase the risk of low birth weight. Also, the lactating women transfer zinc to their babies to help them grow faster.

Zinc Benefits for Men

Zinc is directly related to the natural testosterone production in the body. Testosterone is the hormone that is largely responsible to make up everything in a man, right from facial hair to musculature. It also plays an essential role in preventing the production of estrogen in males.

Why B Complex Vitamins are Good for Pregnant Women

Improve the quality of food instead of eating for two.” This should be the motto for eating food during pregnancy of a woman. Energy demand, i.e. daily calorie requirement in pregnancy (from the fourth month) is only slightly higher than usual; on average, will require only 250-300 kilocalories per day. However, a pregnant woman needs more minerals, trace elements and vitamins. So you should especially take care of your diet during pregnancy, consuming lots of fruit, fresh vegetables and dairy products. Many women are seduced by the old adage of “eating for two”. This form of feeding results in an unhealthy weight gain and, in severe cases, to pregnancy diabetes because it is not the quantity that is important but what matters is the quality.

Vegetable fats are particularly important during pregnancy. To avoid constipation, you should eat plenty of foods rich in fiber such as whole wheat bread, raw vegetables and fresh fruit, which also contain minerals and vitamins that the body needs. It also recommends eating fish three times a week. During pregnancy, the proportion of food should be as follows:

  • Between 15 and 17% protein

  • Between 15 and 17% fat

  • Between 50 and 60% of carbohydrates

    Vitamins are grouped into two categories:

  • Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the fatty tissue of the body. The four fat soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K.

  • There are nine water-soluble vitamins that the body needs to use immediately. Any excess water-soluble vitamins leave the body through urine. B12 is the only water-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the liver for many years.

The B complex vitamins are mainly present in whole meal bread, cereals, legumes, fish, potatoes and milk. Lack of vitamin B1 may lead to heart failure, of both the mother and the fetus. Normally, in developed countries the lack of vitamin B is very rare, so that an additional intake of it may not be necessary. Lack of vitamin B6 may be related to the onset of morning sickness.

Food Sources

Vitamin B12 is found naturally in a wide variety of foods of animal origin. Plant foods do not contain vitamin B12 unless they are fortified.

You can get the recommended amounts of vitamin B12 by eating a variety of foods, including:

  • Organ meats (beef liver)

  • Shellfish (clams)

  • Beef, poultry, eggs, milk and other dairy products

  • Some nutritional yeast and cereal breakfast

To find out if vitamin B12 has been added to a food product, check the nutrition information panel on food labels.

The body absorbs animal sources of vitamin B12 much better than plant sources. Sources of vitamin B12 that do not come from animals vary in amount and are thought to be unreliable sources of this vitamin.

Side Effects

A lack of vitamin B12 (B12 deficiency) occurs when the body does not get or is unable to absorb the vitamin you need.

  • Many people over age 50 lose the ability to absorb vitamin B12 from food.

  • People who follow a vegetarian diet should try to eat foods fortified with vitamin B12 or talk to your doctor about taking supplements of this vitamin.

  • Those who have had gastrointestinal surgery, such as surgery to lose weight, lose the ability to absorb vitamin B12.

  • It is possible that people with digestive disorders such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease, cannot absorb enough vitamin B12.

Low levels of vitamin B12 can cause:

  • Anemia

  • Loss of balance

  • Numbness or tingling in arms and legs

  • Weakness


The best way to meet the needs of vitamin B12 in your body is to eat a wide variety of animal products.

Supplemental vitamin B12 can be found in the following:

  • Almost in all multivitamins. The body best absorbs vitamin B12 when taken together with other B vitamins, including niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and magnesium.

  • A prescription form of vitamin B12 can be administered by injection or nasal gel.

  • Vitamin B12 is also available in a form which is dissolved under the tongue (sublingual).

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamins daily ration reflects how much of each vitamin must obtain the majority of people every day. The RDA for vitamins may be used as goals for each person. The amount of each vitamin you need depends on your age and sex. Other factors, such as pregnancy and disease, are equally important. Pregnant or lactating women need higher amounts. Ask your doctor what amount is best for you.

Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin B12:

Babies (adequate intake):

  • 0-6 months: 0.4 micrograms per day (mcg / day)

  • 7-12 months: 0.5 mcg / day


  • 1-3 years 0.9 mcg / day

  • 4-8 years 1.2 mcg / day

  • 9-13 years 1.8 mcg / day

Adolescents and Adults

  • Men and women 14 years and older: 2.4 mcg / day

  • Pregnant women and adolescents: 2.6 mcg / day

  • Women and lactating adolescents: 2.8 mcg / day

Meet the Vital Need of Vitamin B12: A Bit Trickier Concept

For all we know, the micro-organisms, mainly bacteria, are the only organisms capable of producing B12 vitamin. It is estimated that in our digestive canal contains between 400 and 500 different types of bacteria, capable of producing vitamin B 12. It is known that gut bacteria can produce varying amounts of (useful) biologically active version of vitamin B12. However, bacteria producing B 12 are located in the final section of the intestine, preventing the body to absorb an adequate amount of vitamins.

Animals that are recommended to provide us with vitamin B12 produce vitamin B12 in their digestive systems with the help of bacteria, and in case of plants that have not been sterilized the bacteria that produce vitamin B12 get washed away. The animals crammed in meat factories (cows, calves, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, goats, sheep, fish farms, etc.) daily undergo through a holocaust (abuse, stress, toxic diet, lack of physical activity, lack fresh air and sunlight) that makes them sick mainly by the weakening of their immune system.

To solve this, instead of correcting the cause (the Holocaust), animals are routinely treated with drugs to kill microorganisms that can cause disease. Thus, these animals have a “healthy” bacterial population to produce their B12 vitamin. Its population was virtually wiped out, and when it has not been, causes genetic mutations creating new pathogenic bacterial species, which not only affect the animals but humans who consume them. In short, these animals have low levels of vitamin B12 because the bacterial population has been depleted by medications.

Non-vegetarianism is not an option for vitamin B12 deficiency

Let’s take a general case where the end user consumes meat to fulfill his/her need of vitamin B12. The animal he/she consumed was not properly fed and given medications as well. The point here is about getting natural vitamin B12 and I’m sure he/she is not getting it. The worst part is yet to come when the victim has to take synthetic vitamin B12 supplements to carry out the nutritional need. You might be thinking that how is it the worst part when the person is anyway getting the nutrients? The meat he/she had have the same drugs with which it was treated and those drugs are usually stored in the fatty tissues of the animal (animal factory are more tender because there have developed musculature, and therefore have a higher percentage of fat), and that can cause some serious damage to the body.

Our daily requirement for vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms. A person with a normal level of vitamin B12 (above 150 pg / ml measured in blood may have a store of vitamin B12 in the liver of 2 to 5 milligrams. Assuming that the person ceases to attain new vitamin B12 (from diet, environment or bacteria), very improbable, the body still has the reserves for about three years, and if his/her diet is rich in B12 vitamin then the body can maintain the equilibrium for more than 20 years without any shortcomings.

Vitamin B12 Supplements

Vegetarians, especially vegans who cannot avail vitamin B12 from animal source are advised to consume foods fortified with vitamin B 12 or regularly take supplements of B 12 to maintain adequate levels. Cyanocobalamin is just the way it appears in vitamin-tablets, while hydroxocobalamin is used in injections of B12. The tablets and capsules are available in pharmacies and health food stores. Often these pills contain animal products, such as gelatin, but if it’s a product free of animal products that are displayed on the packaging.

These are the daily amounts of vitamin B12 recommended for vegans:

  • 1.5 to 2.5 mg twice a day, food enriched with B12

  • 10-100 mg once a day as a supplement

Higher doses of 1,000 mg are not significant, since the body does not absorb. All you can do is to divide the 1.000 mg pill into 4 parts to efficiently maintain the nutritional level of your body. Always use supplements that solely contain B12 as they are the most effective. Additionally, you can consume enriched in vitamin B12 products, such as some soy foods and breakfast cereals (check package before use).

In the product package the percentage of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) provides a dose or indicated portion of vitamins and minerals used. It is within the safe limits if the daily dose of extra vitamins and mineral supplements or fortified foods contains at most the following amounts:

  • Not more than twice the RDA of vitamin A and vitamin B3;

  • No more than 3 times the RDA vitamin of B11 (folic acid);

  • Not more than 5 times the RDA of other vitamins (including vitamin B13);

It is not recommended to take more vitamins than those indicated in RDA, especially if you have ever had cancer. If you are using tablets with higher dose, you should consult your physician first.

Have You Been Experiencing Lack Of Energy And Vitality Lately? You Could Be Vitamin B12 Deficient

If you’ve tried every possible thing to boost your energy, but still feel drained, you may wish to start looking for answers somewhere else. Dropping levels of Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is one of the main overlooked reasons. Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin that lies at the core of our body’s ability to make DNA for forming new cells, transform the food that we eat into energy, required to power our metabolism and also to form healthy red blood cells. According to the recent studies about 15-40% people on an average suffer from Vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency – Should You Be Concerned?

Now, you must be wondering why you should be concerned with Vitamin B12 deficiency. You would be surprised to know, but insufficient levels of this vitamin can be one main reason for mood changes, deep fatigue supported by symptoms of dementia, which may prevent you from performing to the best of your abilities and the best of your energy. If left unchecked or ignored, Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to permanent nerve damage. This is why it is important for you to be concerned with its falling levels.

Prominent symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Unusual mood swings

  • Lack of vitality and energy

  • Difficulty in concentrating

  • Feeling of numbness in feet and hands

  • Inflamed and cracked tongue

Who’s At The Risk Of Developing Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

The trending changes in lifestyles, medications and diets have been affecting our Vitamin B12 levels drastically. And while you should be taking to your health care provider regarding your personal history, mentioned below are certain groups which stand a close change of developing this deficiency:

  1. If You Are On Certain Medication

The absorption of Vitamin B12 largely occurs in the stomach. Here, the acid inside the stomach works to unlock B12 from the food that you eat and makes it available to other parts of your body. In case you are on medication which supress the production of gastric acid, you may become vulnerable to develop Vitamin B12 deficiency.

  1. If You’ve Had Gastrointestinal Surgery Or Are Suffering From Gastrointestinal Disorders

Any kind of stomach surgery, such as gastric bypass, can affect your body’s ability to absorb Vitamin B12 normally. Also, if you’re suffering from IBS, celiac disease or Crohn’s disease then again, your chances of developing Vitamin B12 deficiency are extremely high. This is because you may be unable to absorb sufficient quantities of this vitamin from your food.

  1. If You Are 50 Years Or Above

Our body tends to undergo various changes as we age and changes in the stomach lining are one of them. These changes can reduce the production of stomach acid by up to 30% and as a result, your body loses its capacity to unlock sufficient quantities of Vitamin B12 from food sources. This is why, it is largely recommended that aging adults should consume high quality Vitamin B12 supplements, such as iOTH’s Tough and Ton. What’s the difference? These dietary supplements contain Vitamin B12 in its free form and as such these do not depend on the unlocking mechanism of gastric acid in the stomach.

Top Ways to Boost Your Vitamin B12 Levels

Besides taking quality supplements, what could be the other possible ways to boost Vitamin B12 levels in your body?

Certain foods are naturally rich in Vitamin B12 content. For instance, animal foods like poultry, pork, seafood and dairy products are some of the most reliable sources. While fortified foods, especially the breakfast cereals are enough to make up required amounts of this vitamin for your body. Here are some of the easiest ways you can boost Vitamin B12 levels in your body:

  1. Begin Your Day With Fortified Foods

Make healthy eating and fulsome breakfast a part of your daily habit. Try munching on fortified foods, especially at your breakfast table. These foods are not only affordable but are also one of the easiest ways to get you the required amount of B12.

  1. Unlock The Health Benefits Of Clam

Sea food is by far one of the best sources to gain sufficient quantities of Vitamin B12. It is quite interesting to know that mere 3 ounces of canned clams would be sufficient to supply 100% Vitamin B12 to your body and is also an excellent source of protein, zinc, iron and selenium. Trout, salmon and sardines are also known to deliver similar health benefits.

  1. Given Up On Red Meat? Try Nutritional Yeast

All those who have given up on red meat or follow a vegan diet, can fulfil their Vitamin B12 requirements by taking B12 enriched nutritional yeast. All you need to do is just sprinkle some amounts of nutritional yeast on your daily meals or smoothies or even on your desserts to meet your daily Vitamin B12 requirements.

Elixir of life: Vitamins & Minerals – Part II: Vitamins

The first part of this three part blog was an overview of vitamins and minerals. This part we take a closer look at the types of vitamins and their role.Vitamins are classified broadly into two categories water-soluble and fat-soluble. You need to know this for example if you’re supplementing your vitamin requirement via supplements as fat soluble vitamins are better absorbed if taken with food. Let’s have a closer look at the two types.

Water-soluble vitamins

  • B vitamins

  • Biotin (vitamin B7)

  • Folic acid (folate, vitamin B9)

  • Niacin (vitamin B3)

  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5

  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)

  • Thiamine (vitamin B1)

  • Vitamin B6

  • Vitamin B12

  • Vitamin C

Why are they important

Water-soluble vitamins play a host of different tasks in the body. One of the most important being the release of energy from the food you consume Still others help in maintaining tissue health. Here are some examples of how different vitamins help you maintain good health:

  • Release energy: Several B vitamins form the bases of certain co-enzymes. These co-enzymes aid in the metabolism of fat and carbohydrate in turn liberating energy.

  • Proteins synthesis and new cell generation. Vitamins B6, B12 along with folic acid help in metabolising amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and help in cells division and multiplication.

  • Building collagen. Vitamin C plays an important role in build collagen. Collagen plays a vital role in healing wounds, supporting walls of blood vessels, and forms the base for bones and teeth.

Words to the wise

It is generally believed that, our body does not store water-soluble vitamins. However, it might be true in the case of some of the water soluble vitamins but not all. Some of them can stay in the body for extended periods of time. For instance, Vitamin B12 is stored in the liver and you might have several years’ worth of this vitamin in your body at any given stage. Vitamin B12 is not the only one, folic acid and vitamin C reserves could last for a couple of days as well.

Generally, though, the stock of these vitamins would require replenishment every few days.

A word of caution:

Though the risks associated with excessive intake are low in water soluble vitamins, there is however a small risk associated with excessive intake of some of these vital micro-nutrients. Through the chances of this happing through food alone are virtually zero, the risk is quit real when it comes to supplements. For instance, a B6 dose that’s well over RDA can cause damage to the nerves, in turn causing numbness and even weaken the muscle.

Fat-soluble vitamins

As the name suggests Fatty foods and oils are reservoirs for fat-soluble vitamins. Within the body, these vitamins are stored primarily in the fat tissues. The liver is organ that holds these vitamins.You can think of these vitamins as being time-released. Unlike most water soluble vitamins these can be stored in the body and you may replenish your reserves weeks and even months apart and still get your fill. Your body accumulators the excess and doles it out when needed.

The four fat-soluble vitamins

  • Vitamin A

  • Vitamin D

  • Vitamin E

  • Vitamin K

Why are they important

Collectively these quartets of vitamins promote eyes, skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and nervous system health. In additions to these fat-soluble vitamins play a pivotal role in:

  • Building strong bones: together vitamins A, D, and K play a pivotal role in the process of bone formation.

  • Shield the vision: Vitamin A is probably the most important nutrient for the eyes. It aids in keeping the cells healthy and provides protection for the vision.

  • Guard the body: Vitamin E also acts as powerful antioxidant. It helps mop up free radicals which can damage healthy cells and provides for complete well-being.

A word of caution

As the body store excessive fat-soluble vitamins over long periods of times, the risk of toxicity are very real with these vitamins. As is the case with water-soluble vitamins there is very little chance to reach these via diet alone. But if you’re taking supplements you need to be very careful.