Hate Meat? It Might Be Zinc Deficiency!
If you've ever experienced bloating after eating meat, you're not alone. The discomfort can be frustrating, but understanding what's causing it can help us make better choices. You might have thought “Hey, maybe I just can’t do meat, it’s too hard on my stomach” or “Maybe I just need to go vegan” thinking that’ll fix the issue. Problem is, is that you never actually got to the root cause of the problem on as to why you are having trouble digesting such saturated sources of protein. Many people struggle with this same issue thinking it’s the food in itself, but we’re here to explain to you one common cause of poor protein digestion which many people struggle with. A common cause? Zinc deficiency.
Let us explain.
Struggling with protein digestion is a common problem that many people face on a daily basis. If you're finding it difficult to break down protein, it's worth exploring your zinc intake. Lack of zinc in the body can be a common cause of poor protein digestion and absorption. Some overlook this issue by assuming their food is the cause. However, it's important to remember how crucial zinc is for a healthy digestive system. Especially if you have uncontrolled diabetes or heart disease, it's crucial to make sure that you're getting enough zinc.
The process of protein digestion
So how do we digest protein, specifically meat sources?
Most of protein digestion occurs in the stomach where hydrochloric acid (HCL), also known as the stomach acidity in our stomachs, is meant to break down the meat and extract the proteins to a more digestible form, including carbohydrates and the physical breakdown of particles. HCL is also recognized for its importance in protecting the body from pathogens. The acidity is so high that it can burn off any harmful pathogens in anything you eat or drink.
After our stomach acid mixes with food (now chyme), it passes the pyloric valve and enters the duodenum (small intestine).However, if our chyme isn’t acidic enough because we lack the production of HCL, the valve won’t open. Hence, the food gets stuck and struggles to continue transit. This is what causes the bloating and overly full sensation. The pancreas works hand in hand with the stomach, releasing bicarbonate and digestive enzymes for digestion. This is to make the pH of that chyme a 3.0.
The consequences of inadequate stomach acidity
If that chyme of food is not acidic enough, it remains undigested and ferments with bacteria, which can result in several issues, such as:
- Protein not being digested properly
- Not enough secretion of an enzyme called pepsin that further breaks down protein
- Food fermentation in the stomach which can lead to bacterial overgrowths such as SIBO
- Malabsorption of a series of minerals, particularly B12.
Link between zinc and protein digestion
It's natural to feel overwhelmed when it comes to the intricacies of digestion and the role of minerals like zinc in the process. However, understanding the importance of zinc in the synthesis of hydrochloric acid is crucial for optimal digestion. It's especially important to consider for those who choose to eliminate animal products from their diet, as these foods are typically an abundant source of zinc.
Zinc is an integral mineral that is required in the recipe of creating HCL. It reacts if hydrochloric acid to form zinc chloride and hydrogen gas in the stomach. Without zinc, one cannot properly synthesize this. Cutting animal products also eliminates the high concentrations of zinc, a necessary mineral that could help you tackle the issue.
It is concerning to know that zinc deficiency is on the rise, affecting individuals of all ages due to various factors. For some, the problem starts at birth, with deficient levels of this vital mineral. Children and babies are especially vulnerable to its effects, which can manifest in infections, pain, and poor brain development. It's alarming that poor farming practices, lack of soil rotation, and mass production of food all contribute to the lack of zinc in our diets, making it challenging to obtain through food alone. Additionally, the recent trend of adopting vegan diets and high levels of stress only compound the issue, making it even more challenging to get enough zinc.
Recognizing symptoms of zinc deficiency
Untreated zinc deficiency can lead to serious health issues so understanding the importance of getting enough zinc is key. Symptoms of a zinc deficiency include the following:
- Gas and bloating
- Low immune system
- Skin manifestations like eczema/psoriasis/vitiligo
- White spots on nails
- Poor skin elasticity resulting into cellulite/stretch marks
- Inability to maintain muscle mass
- Poor cognitive function
Understanding the role of zinc in protein digestion and overall gut health is essential for maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle. If you've been struggling with digesting meat and other protein sources, it's worth considering whether a zinc deficiency could be the underlying cause. By identifying the issue and addressing it appropriately, you can work towards improving your digestion and overall well-being.
To confirm a zinc deficiency, we recommend conducting a hair tissue mineral analysis. This test can be easily done through us by clicking here. Alternatively, if you are certain that you are already deficient in zinc, take a look at our Upgraded Zinc product here.