Zinc deficiency is almost epidemic. While it is an essential mineral needed nearly in all body tissues, more than 68% of adults receive less than two-thirds of the RDA for zinc. Also, vegetarians can need up to 50% more zinc than non-vegetarians due to phytates found in the fiber of most vegetables and grains. Phytates inhibit the absorption of zinc; drinking tea and coffee, and high intakes of calcium, iron and copper can also limit zinc absorption.
Zinc is involved in over 200 different enzymatic reactions in the body and plays a vital role in DNA synthesis, normal growth and neurological development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence. It is also needed for hormone production, immune function, reproductive system, wound healing, taste, and smell. The highest concentration of zinc is found in muscle (65%), brain, liver, kidney, skin, pancreas, eye retina, and in the male prostate gland and sperm. It is therefore critical to test the level of zinc in the body. Since the ability to taste zinc is directly proportional to the body’s reserve of this nutrient, performing a Zinc Taste Test is an easy, cost-effective way of measuring your total zinc status in less than 1 minute.
Zinc Taste Test Procedure
First, purchase liquid zinc, preferably zinc sulfate (15 mg) from any health food store. Make sure you don’t eat, drink, or smoke for at least a half hour prior to the test. Put 2 teaspoons of the zinc solution in your mouth, swirling it for 30 seconds, then simply swallow it or spit it out. Take note of your reactions to the zinc, expressed either as facial expressions or verbal comments.
In the mouth, there is an enzyme polypeptide called gustin that is responsible for identifying the specific taste of zinc. This will allow you to estimate your zinc levels, by the intensity of the zinc you taste. If the zinc solution is tasteless or tastes like water, that indicates that you are very zinc deficient, and high supplementation of zinc is needed. A mild metallic taste reveals that you are slightly zinc deficient, and a moderate supplementation of zinc is needed. Finally, a strong, bitter or highly metallic taste indicates that your zinc levels are adequate and no extra supplementation is warranted at this time.
In the case of zinc deficiency, eating foods rich in zinc is highly recommended, such as seafood (especially oysters), meat, dairy products, nuts, whole grains and beans. In severe zinc deficiency cases, supplementation is required.