Food

Zinc: Pet Food Ingredients A to Z

We have reached the end of the alphabet in our “ingredients A to Z” series.  Today’s letter is Z and our ingredient is Zinc.

What is Zinc?

Zinc L

Zinc is an essential trace mineral that is required in a pet’s diet to maintain good health.  It is concentrated in certain parts of the brain, pancreas, and adrenal glands, as well as being present in the nucleus of all cells.

Natural sources of Zinc include red meats, seafood (especially oysters), spinach, pumpkin, chicken, pork and mushrooms.

Common names for Zinc

The most commonly used names in dog food include Zinc Chelate, Zinc Methionine, Zinc Oxide, and Zinc Proteinate   Note that Zinc Oxide is a poorly absorbed version of Zinc and is indicative of a lower quality food.

Why is Zinc included in pet food?

Zinc is an essential mineral and is involved in more metabolic reactions (cellular level reactions required to sustain the body function) than any other trace mineral.

Common benefits of Zinc

There are many benefits of Zinc.  Zinc is critical in the structure and function of cell membranes and supports a healthy immune response to disease.  It helps with protein and carbohydrate metabolism and can support a healthy liver. Zinc also helps the skin function and wound healing.  Proper Zinc levels are required for normal reproductive function.

Miscellaneous facts about Zinc

  • Corn, wheat, rice, and soy can all interfere with the body’s ability to properly absorb Zinc.

  • Zinc deficiency affects about two billion people in the developing world and is associated with many diseases. In children it can cause growth retardation, delayed sexual maturation, infection susceptibility, and diarrhea, contributing to the death of about 800,000 children worldwide per year.

Sources and further reading

http://www.vetsallnatural.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=67&Itemid=83

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/137/4/1101.long

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1125304/

Steve Pelletier
Steve Pelletier VP, Food

Steve is an advocate for healthy pet food offerings.