Can you get enough zinc from food?

Most people will get enough zinc if they eat a healthy, balanced diet. However, people who take some medications, the elderly, people with certain bowel conditions, and pregnant and breastfeeding women may need more. Most men need 14 milligrams (mg) of zinc a day, and most women need 8 mg. In addition to being rich sources of calcium, milk and yogurt are delicious and nutritious sources of zinc.

According to the USDA, 1 cup of skim milk or low-fat milk contains 1.1 mg and 1.05 mg, respectively, which provides some of the mineral. Meanwhile, 1 cup of fat-free yogurt or low-fat plain yogurt is an excellent source with 2.38 mg and 2.2 mg, respectively. Zinc is an essential trace element and micronutrient for humans. Essential micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that the body needs in small amounts for optimal health.

Since the body cannot synthesize these micronutrients, a dietary source is necessary. Zinc is present in all organs, tissues, fluids, and secretions in the body, but most zinc (83%) is present in skeletal muscle and bone.4 When zinc intake is insufficient, levels in skeletal muscle, skin, and heart are maintained, while zinc levels in bones, liver, testicles, and plasma decrease. More than 100 specific enzymes require zinc for their catalytic function. 2 The body cannot store excess zinc, so continuous dietary intake is required.

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