Lack of zinc in your diet and your body has a role in food cravings, fertility, and many other health issues, read more. 

Need to keep your sweet tooth at bay?

Your unsatisfied sweet tooth craving could be due to low levels of this nutrient in your blood and saliva.  Adequate levels of zinc can help improve your taste perception. Then,  you become more sensitive to sweetness, and need less sugar to achieve the same taste.

Health benefits of zinc include:

  • aiding in night vision
  • prostate function
  • wound healing
  • reduction of inflammation
  • enhanced immunity
  • improved skin,
  • toned down body odor
  • fertility
  • proper growth and development,
  • is crucial to the body’s ability to utilize over 100 enzymes that help regulate dozens of bodily processes every day.

How much zinc do you need?

Recommended intake levels are provided by in the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI’s) developed by the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine.  Daily recommendations depend on your age, sex and life stage.

  • Average, daily intake requirements for
    • adults aged 19 years and older is 9mg/day for women
    • 11 mg/day for men.
    • Pregnant woman and children especially need to be aware of sufficient levels.

How best to meet your recommended needs?

You can meet your daily needs with food sources such as seafood, poultry, beef, nuts, seeds, and some fortified cereals.  However, you may need supplements if you are deficient.  A deficiency can negatively affect the immune system and cognitive function, cause diarrhea, hair loss, poor appetite, skin disorders, and changes in taste.

How to do a zinc challenge

Want a simple way to determine if you are deficient?

Take the Challenge!  Designs for Health, a company dedicated to research-backed nutritional products since 1989, created this challenge.  It is an oral, taste test that provides an immediate indicator of low levels.

The taste test uses zinc itself as a gauge of nutrient levels in the body.

The simple test reveals your status in a matter of 30 seconds.

  • To perform the test, simply put two tablespoons of the zinc challenge liquid into a cup.
  • Drink from the cup and hold the solution in your mouth until a taste develops.
  • Results in taste will vary giving valuable information regarding your levels in the body.

What do the results mean?

  • DEFICIENT: If  you do not taste the zinc, you have a deficiency.  Or if after a few seconds the solution becomes “dry”, “mineral”, “furry”, or “sweet”; this is an indicator of severe deficiency.
  • BORDERLINE: If you experience a mildly unpleasant taste; this indicates a slightly low level.
  • ADEQUATE: An immediate, strong, metallic taste indicates adequate levels.

Could an eating disorder cause a deficiency?

Yes, nutrient deficiencies are often found with clients with eating disorders. In the study listed below, over 54% of people struggling with anorexia nervosa were deficient in zinc.

Source: Humphries L, Vivian B, Stuart M, McClain CJ. Zinc Deficiency and Eating Disorders. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 1989; 50(12):456-9.

What is suggested should you have low levels?

Eating a balanced diet that provides adequate zinc and working with your nutritionist to determine appropriate supplementation.  Take a supplement for eight weeks and retest.

How do you get on board with the challenge?

Call 301-474-2499 to speak with your Registered Dietitian or email us at .

testing is available for zinc deficiency

Which foods are high in zinc?


Still not sure how easy it is to take the zinc challenge? Watch two of our dietitians take the challenge in this video.

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