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If you still are concerned about a possible zinc deficiency, this could be your ticket to both a culinary delight and supplementing your zinc intake

Zinced Chocolate


By —— Bio and Archives--December 7, 2018

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Zinc, Chocolate
That’s not a typo; I do mean “zinced,” not “zinked.” And, right up front, for chocolate aficionados, “zinced chocolate” may be quite tasty, but not necessarily something you really need, despite some purveyor’s claims of potentially prolonging life, slowing-down the aging process, preventing “oxidative stress,” and other benefits.

The word “zinc” is simply the English spelling of “Zink” that is derived from the old German term “Zinke” that refers to the metal’s jagged crystals. More information on the etymology can be found at Wiktionary. Just to explain the difference between zinced and zinked then, let me briefly refer to the latter.

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Zinked

Perhaps you are familiar with the German term “gezinkte Karten” meaning a “marked deck” of playing cards in of which some or all cards have small markings on the back side to provide information on other players’ hands, hidden from other players, to gain an unfair advantage.

One can even find youtube videos on how to create such “zinked” card decks and, low and behold, there are even advertisements for such decks that also come with special contact lenses that are supposed to make the bearer more easily see those secret markings. Please rest assured though, I have no experience whatsoever with either of such frauds.

Zinced

“Zinced” refers to the element zinc, with the chemical notation “Zn”.  Yes the element zinc, in the form of zinc compounds (containing the Zn++ ion) is a vital micro-nutrient that is a required part of a variety of enzymes for many organisms, including us humans. Luckily, zinc containing minerals are widely found in nature and as a consequence of weathering of rocks, most people get sufficient amounts of zinc ions in their dietary intake of food and water.

However, too much of anything good, or even necessary, can be (and often is) detrimental to health. The question then becomes:

Could you be suffering from a zinc deficiency or zinc poisoning?

There is an excellent overview of the effects of excess and deficient zinc intake on the body available. See, for example, the article by LM Plum et al. with the title “The Essential Toxin: Impact of Zinc on Human Health”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also has advice for you; see (Wikipedia ). As with most things in nature, there is a balance between required and excessive intakes of anything. For most people though, zinc intake is quite sufficient to satisfy the body’s needs. There are two major reasons for that, namely its abundance in nature and its common presence in numerous manufactured goods. Let’s look at them briefly.

Zinc in Nature

The most abundant form of zinc in nature is as zinc sulfide, a mineral with the name sphalerite. This mineral rarely occurs in large deposits by itself but is quite common in conjunction with other metal sulfides, like lead sulfide in the mineral galena and many others. As the element zinc is easily oxidized, it does not occur in elemental form in nature. In contrast, sphalerite can be found at many locations in form of small brownish crystals that have (a mineralogical term) an “adamantine [diamond-like] lustre.” The nearby picture shows a small cluster of such crystals from a limestone quarry in this area.

Sphalerite crystals from Ontario, specimen size approx. 1” (2.5 cm); collected and photo by author.

When very pure, such sphalerite crystals can even be translucent with a reddish hue when seen against a light.

According to Wikipedia, about 346 million tonnes of zinc have been extracted throughout history to 2002, and scholars have estimated that about 109-305 million tonnes of zinc are in use (Wikipedia ).

 

Zinc in Manufactured Goods

The use of zinc in manufactured materials is quite common. In fact, one can hardly go about life without touching one thing or another that does not contain it in some form. For example, common brass is an alloy of zinc with copper.  More (visually) apparent may be the actual zinc metal coatings of many steel implements that are “galvanized.” Their silvery appearance is a coating of pure zinc that prevents or slows the development of rust. So, whenever you touch a typical chain-link fence, you’ll likely get traces of zinc ions on your skin that could add to your body’s needs.

Other uses of zinc are less apparent but no less common. The American Galvanizers Association provides a long list of zinc uses on their website. For example, they claim that “each [car] tire contains about 1/2 pound of zinc, needed to cure rubber.” As far as I know, not many (zinc-deficient) folks chew on car tires to supplement their zinc intake. Actually, now, they have a more pleasant choice of getting that, it’s something like zinc-infused chocolate.

Zinced Chocolate to the Fore!

If you still are concerned about a possible zinc deficiency, this could be your ticket to both a culinary delight and supplementing your zinc intake.

Personally though, I prefer eating zinc without chocolate—CORRECTION—chocolate without zinc.


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Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser is author of CONVENIENT MYTHS, the green revolution – perceptions, politics, and facts Convenient Myths


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