Zinc is an important nutrient for women’s health and is effective treatment for acne, PCOS, period pain, and many other periods problems.
Zinc for period problems
- Reduces inflammation and improves period pain. Zinc reduces inflammation and prostaglandins, which is how it relieves period pain. It’s also an important part of the immune-modulating protocol for endometriosis.
- Regulates the menstrual cycle. Zinc promotes ovulation by nourishing healthy ovarian follicles or eggs.
- Blocks excess androgens (testosterone). Zinc is one of several natural androgen blockers that can improve androgen symptoms such as acne and hirsutism (facial hair).
- Clears acne. Zinc works for skin by blocking androgens, killing bacteria, and reducing keratin production.
- Maintains collagen. Zinc maintains the integrity of collagen in connective tissue and hair, and it’s particularly good for preventing the vaginal dryness and atrophy of menopause and the hair loss of thyroid disease.
- Supports thyroid. Together with iodine and selenium, zinc is essential for the synthesis and activation of thyroid hormone. Zinc promotes thyroid hormone, which, in turn, promotes the better absorption of zinc.
- Dials down cortisol and the stress response. Zinc supports the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that dials down the stress response.
Causes of zinc deficiency
Zinc deficiency affects one in three women. You’re more likely to be deficient if:
- you’re vegetarian or vegan (because the best food sources of zinc are oysters and red meat)
- you drink alcohol, take stomach medication, or hormonal birth control (because they impair zinc absorption)
- have an underactive thyroid (because thyroid hormone is required for zinc absorption).
Testing for zinc deficiency
The test for zinc deficiency is plasma zinc with a normal reference range of 11-23 umol/L or 70-150 ug/dL).
The other way to pick up zinc deficiency is to look for zinc deficiency symptoms such as:
- hair loss
- impaired immune function
- white spots on the fingernails.
If you suffer one or more of those symptoms, you may want to try zinc and see how you feel. Especially if you are at risk of deficiency due to being vegetarian or taking hormonal birth control.
Dose and safety
Zinc is safe at a dose of 30 mg per day. The best form is zinc citrate or picolinate taken directly after food. Zinc can cause nausea if taken on an empty stomach.
Because too much zinc can deplete copper, don’t take more than 80 mg per day without speaking to a clinician.