Why is zinc so important for your digestion?
If you don't make enough stomach acid, you don't absorb zinc, and if you don't absorb zinc you don't make enough stomach acid.
Zinc is needed along with vitamin B1 and B6 to make hydrochloric acid in your stomach. This is the acid that sterilises our food to prevent harmful bacteria from entering the gastrointestinal tract, as well as triggering release of enzymes needed to breakdown our food into nutrients which are then absorbed and used by our body. One of these enzymes is called picolinic acid and its role is to bind to zinc, therefore it is essential to absorb zinc. So, if you don't have zinc, you don't make stomach acid. And if you don't make stomach acid, you don't release picolinic acid, which means you don't absorb zinc...which is needed to make stomach acid. See the loop?? Low hydrochloric acid also leads to poor absorption of magnesium, calcium, iron and B vitamins and is often the culprit when you're eating a healthy diet with lots of vegetables but still feeling fatigued and have digestive issues like bloating and reflux.
How do you get out of this nutrient deficiency loop? Eating zinc rich foods or taking a zinc supplement is unlikely to be helpful in a case of low stomach acid because it won't be absorbed properly. So what's the solution? Increase zinc in conjunction with taking digestive enzymes or apple cider vinegar before meals to stimulate HCl production.
Foods high in zinc include oysters, beef, brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, hazel nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, olives and liver. .
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