Zinc Anxiety: What You Need to Know

Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a key role in many bodily processes, including immune system function, wound healing, and hormone regulation. Unfortunately, many people don’t get enough zinc in their diet, which can lead to a number of health problems. One of the lesser-known effects of low zinc levels is anxiety. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at zinc anxiety and what you can do to prevent it.

What is Zinc Anxiety?

Anxiety is a common mental health condition that affects millions of people around the world. It can cause feelings of fear, worry, and nervousness, as well as physical symptoms like sweating, shaking, and rapid heartbeat. While there are many factors that can contribute to anxiety, including genetics and environmental stressors, research suggests that low levels of zinc may also play a role.

Studies have shown that people with anxiety tend to have lower levels of zinc in their blood than those without the condition. Some researchers believe that this is because zinc plays a critical role in regulating the stress response in the body. When we’re under stress, our bodies release cortisol, a hormone that can cause inflammation and damage to our cells if left unchecked. Zinc helps to regulate cortisol levels and prevent this damage from occurring.

Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency

Zinc deficiency is common in people who don’t eat a lot of meat, seafood, or other foods that are high in zinc. Vegetarians and vegans are especially at risk, as plant-based sources of zinc (like legumes and whole grains) are not as easily absorbed by the body as animal-based sources. Symptoms of zinc deficiency may include:

  • Easy bruising
  • Frequent infections
  • Poor wound healing
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Taste and smell abnormalities
  • Depression

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about getting your zinc levels tested. They may recommend a zinc supplement or suggest that you increase your intake of foods that are high in zinc.

Zinc-Rich Foods

If you’re looking to boost your zinc levels through diet, there are a number of foods that are high in this important mineral. Some of the best sources of zinc include:

  • Oysters
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Crab
  • Lobster
  • Beans
  • Nuts (especially cashews and almonds)
  • Whole grains
  • Dairy products (like cheese and yogurt)

Keep in mind that some foods (like beans and whole grains) contain phytates, compounds that can bind to zinc and make it more difficult for the body to absorb. So, while these foods are still good sources of zinc, you may need to eat more of them to get the same amount of zinc as you would from animal-based sources.

Zinc Supplements

If you’re struggling to get enough zinc through your diet, you may want to consider taking a zinc supplement. Zinc supplements are available in many forms, including capsules, tablets, and liquid drops. The amount of zinc you need will depend on your age, sex, and overall health, so it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplements. In general, though, most people need between 8 and 12 mg of zinc per day.

It’s also important to note that taking too much zinc can be harmful. High doses of zinc can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, as well as interfere with the absorption of other important minerals, like copper and iron. So, if you’re taking a zinc supplement, be sure to follow the instructions carefully and don’t take more than the recommended dose.

Zinc Anxiety: The Bottom Line

Zinc is an important mineral that plays a critical role in many bodily processes, including immune system function, wound healing, and hormone regulation. Low levels of zinc have been linked to anxiety, as zinc helps regulate the stress response in the body. If you’re worried that you’re not getting enough zinc, talk to your doctor about getting your zinc levels tested and consider increasing your intake of zinc-rich foods or taking a zinc supplement. With the right care, you can maintain optimal levels of zinc and protect your health and well-being.

FAQs

FAQs about “Zinc Anxiety”

What is Zinc Anxiety?

Zinc Anxiety is a term used to describe feelings of worry or unease that arise from a perceived deficiency in zinc levels. While anxiety is a common symptom of many conditions and illnesses, some people may experience anxiety due to low zinc levels.

What are the symptoms of Zinc Anxiety?

Symptoms of Zinc Anxiety may include feelings of unease, nervousness, and restlessness. Other common symptoms can include difficulty concentrating or focusing, trouble sleeping, and feelings of tiredness or fatigue.

How can I treat Zinc Anxiety?

If you suspect that zinc deficiency may be contributing to your anxiety, speak with your doctor or a qualified nutritionist or naturopath. They can help you determine whether your zinc levels are sufficiently low to cause symptoms and advise you on appropriate treatment options such as dietary changes or supplements. Additionally, incorporating stress-reducing activities such as mindfulness, exercise, and therapy may also help alleviate Zinc Anxiety symptoms.


References

1. Stein, J. & Lauderback, C. (2015). The role of zinc in oxidative stress. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2015, 1-10. doi: 10.1155/2015/295606
2. Maylor, J. L., Smith, E. B., & Hamlin, A. S. (2020). The effects of zinc deficiency on anxiety-like behaviors in mice: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 115, 285-294. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.05.024
3. Hashimoto, M., Hossain, S., Shimada, T., Sugioka, K. & Yagi, K. (2010). Docosahexaenoic acid provides protection from impairment of learning ability in Alzheimer’s disease model rats. Journal of Neuroscience Research, 88(3), 596-602. doi: 10.1002/jnr.22228