Does Zinc Speed Up Your Metabolism?

By Tracey Allison Planinz

When it comes to weight loss, a faster metabolism will help to lose weight and keep the weight off. So many look for supplements that will help speed up their metabolism, and increase those inches lost. Can zinc speed up your metabolism? The short answer is yes, but it is a bit more complicated that just taking a pill.

Function

Zinc is an essential mineral, meaning that is must be obtained from the diet. It is involved in many functions in the body, including cellular metabolism, production of enzymes, protein synthesis, immune function and wound healing. It is an especially important mineral for pregnant women, children and those with low immune function. It is also the mineral responsible for stimulating the pituitary gland to produce thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). According to clinical nutritionist, Byron Richards, those who are struggling to lose weight due to low thyroid function would benefit from additional zinc.

Sources

The dietary sources of zinc are numerous. The foods have the highest natural levels of zinc are meats, especially shellfish. Oysters rank highest in zinc at more than 76 mg per serving. Beef, pork, chicken, lobster, crab and baked beans are also excellent sources of zinc. Some breakfast cereals are fortified with zinc and other minerals as well. Because the highest levels of zinc are found in meat, vegetarians and vegans should consider taking a daily zinc supplement.

Benefits

Because zinc must be acquired from the diet, supplemental zinc can be beneficial, especially for those who are cutting back on calories to lose weight. Additional zinc in the diet is believed to help control appetite and aid in weight loss. According to one study by the USDA, cited by Progressive Health, low zinc levels may even impair a person's ability to exercise. As exercise is an important part of any weight loss program, supplemental zinc should be included with this regimen.

Time Frame

After beginning to take a zinc supplement, it will take time before metabolism begins to increase. The above-mentioned USDA study of the effects of zinc on exercise, for example, was conducted over a nine-week period. It is also important to eat a balanced diet and get regular exercise to maximize benefits. According to the National Institute of Health, one to two pounds per week is considered safe weight loss. Anything more than that is, most likely, just water weight, and will return in time.

Precautions

Please note, taking zinc can cause nausea and vomiting if taken in large quantities or even on an empty stomach. Also, taking high levels of zinc over an extended period can cause deficiencies of other minerals. According to the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, 50 mg per day is the highest amount of zinc that is considered safe. It is best taken in smaller doses, two to three times per day, with meals.

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