A zinc challenge test (or zinc tally test) is a simple way to check for zinc deficiency, which is incredibly common.
I had pretty significant zinc deficiency, which I found using a combination of indirect tests and we see it an awful lot in our clients.
One of these tests was a simple and inexpensive home test called the zinc challenge test, which is also known as the zinc tally test.
Before I explain how to do it, here’s a brief explanation of why I recommend you get your zinc levels tested.
Zinc deficiency symptoms
Zinc is a critically important nutrient, of course, but it’s just one of 300 nutrient compounds needed by the body.
About 50% of the people I test are deficient in zinc, and this is very worrying when you consider that zinc has more than 200 known roles in the body!
According to the Mayo Clinic, zinc deficiency symptoms include:
Other symptoms may include weight loss, delayed wound healing, taste changes, and mental slowness.
Dr. William Walsh is an internationally recognized expert in the field of nutritional medicine, having amassed 30,000 client cases and more than one million lab tests in his distinguished career.
He states that zinc deficiency is the most common nutritional imbalance seen in people with mental and psychological conditions.
These include everyday symptoms such as anxiety, depression and ADHD to more serious and complex diseases like schizophrenia.
Zinc is required for stomach acid production, so low zinc levels will reduce stomach acid levels and open you up to H. pylori, SIBO, Candida and other nutritional deficiencies such as B12 and iron.
The knock on effect of this is the possibility of developing pretty much any symptom or condition, ranging from fatigue to fibromyalgia, or anaemia to anorexia.
It’s clear we should be paying a lot of attention to testing zinc levels, then optimising them.
There are several ways to assess zinc levels and I’ll be explaining them in a separate post.
For now, let’s look at the zinc challenge test, which as I’ve said above is also called zinc tally test.
This test, like all home tests, is not 100% accurate, but I do find it correlates very well with lab findings in most clients.
First, you need to order some zinc tally challenge test liquid.
Once you’ve received it, you put 2 tsp (about 10 ml) in your mouth.
Note the taste of the liquid once it’s in your mouth.
No or weak taste indicates a zinc deficiency.
A strong, metallic taste suggests your zinc levels are ok.
As above, you can’t rely on the zinc tally/challenge test alone.
Lab tests that help you confirm a zinc deficiency are plasma zinc, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), and zinc levels.
Replenishing zinc is not that difficult. Adults can take 20-75 mg zinc per day.
Zinc picolinate capsules works well, although I prefer sublingual zinc lozenges (that’s how I restored my zinc level).
As with all nutrient deficiencies, you’re not suffering from a zinc supplement deficiency if you have low zinc.
The following factors can all cause zinc deficiency:
Realistically, in addition to supplementing with zinc, you really need to address the reasons why the deficiency occurred in the first place.
If you don’t do this, it’s reasonable to assume that you’ll need to take supplements for the rest of your life!
Furthermore, it’s really important to consider your copper levels alongside zinc. Taking too much zinc can lower copper levels and cause problems.
Copper itself can cause huge problems when it’s too high, and this is a topic for another time.
Nutritional balancing isn’t always as simple as it seems and often requires a multi-pronged approach.
If you’d like some assistance, we’d love to help you.
The best starting point to unravel any confusion you may have is to have us run a case review and initial consultation for you.
We’ll look at your symptoms, health and family history, food diary and any other helpful info you provide.
We’ll pull it all together and consult with you to lay out a road map to help you move forward.
For now, grab some zinc challenge liquid and get an initial idea of what’s going on.