Do you know your zinc levels? If you are wondering how to test for zinc deficiency, then this blog post is for you. There are two ways to test the level of zinc in your body: a self-test and a diagnostic test. Self-testing can be done through a Zinc Tally Test or by using an at-home kit. Diagnostic tests will require professional help and usually include lab work with blood samples. A zinc tally test is a simple at-home test that can be done in between a routine yearly test to make sure you are painting optimum zinc levels throughout the year.
Knowing your Zinc levels is a great step to help achieve better health. Having Zinc deficiency can cause the following issues:
- Impaired immune function
- Lowered antibody production, which may lead to allergies and infections
- Poor wound healing resulting in an increased risk of infection or complications during surgery. (If you are a surgical patient, be sure your surgeon is aware of any low zinc levels)
The symptoms for low zinc include hair loss, poor appetite with weight-loss/constipation, skin issues such as rashes or acne. If the deficiency continues it can cause anemia and reproductive problems including sexual dysfunction in both sexes along with fertility issues. It has even been linked to cognitive impairment like memory loss, attention deficits, and even Alzheimers! Zinc supplementation is helpful if one suspects they might be deficient. Low doses should start at 15 mg daily but higher amounts up to 50-60mg may be indicated.
How to do the Zinc Taste (Tally) Test
Zinc is a cofactor for allowing us to have proper function of taste and smell senses. Because our ability to taste and smell relies on zinc, we can use zinc sulfate to quickly assess our zinc status.
The zinc tally test is a very quick 10-second test that can be done at home or at the doctor’s office.
For better results, do not eat or drink at least one hour before the test.
Liquid zinc is required. Look for a zinc sulfate, and get around 1-2 teaspoons or 10ml of zinc sulfate and place it in your mouth for 10 seconds. After ten seconds is up you can swallow the solution or spit it out. Because zinc is a metal mineral, the theory behind this test is you will taste a metallic taste if you have adequate zinc stores.
How to evaluate the test.
- If no district taste is noted, ie tastes like plain water. This indicates a major zinc deficiency.
- If no immediate test is noticed but within ten seconds of the test, a dry or metallic taste is experienced
- An immediate slight but not necessarily unpleasant taste is noted, which builds up over the ten second period. This indicates a deficiency of minor degree.
- 4. An immediate, strong and unpleasant taste is experienced. The patient generally wants to rinse his mouth out. This indicates that no zinc deficiency exists.
While it is important to note that the gold standard for testing zinc levels is through a blood work analysis of either looking at serum and RBC zinc. The Zinc taste test offers an affordable solution to know if the zinc you are getting from food or supplements is providing your body with the amount it needs.
Zinc sulfate taste acuity reflects dietary zinc intake in males
Zinc Diagnostic Tests….. A guide to zinc deficiency tests.
“These findings suggest that zinc sulfate taste acuity measurement may aid in the assessment of zinc nutriture among males.”