Do you get dry skin when you put on muscle mass? It could be a zinc deficiency. Here’s how to take care of it.
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Do you get dry skin when you put on muscle mass?
If so this video is for you.
Hi. I’m Dr. Chris Masterjohn of chrismasterjohnphd.com. And this is Chris Masterjohn Lite, where the name of the game is “Details? Shmeetails. Just tell me what works!”
If you’re a bodybuilder or you’re any other type of athlete where you’re intentionally putting on muscle mass and you develop dry skin, the most likely explanation for that is that you’re giving yourself a moderate deficiency of zinc.
Your body considers it so important to maintain normal zinc concentrations in your tissues that if you were deficient because of a poor diet in zinc, your body would shrink.
It would shrink on purpose because lowering your lean body mass decreases the lean mass so that the zinc concentrations remain constant. It’s basically a way to accommodate a shrinking zinc pool.
If you’re putting on muscle mass you could have the opposite problem.
You went into this with normal zinc, but then you worked really hard in the gym to provide an anabolic stimulus, you work really hard in the kitchen to provide calories and protein, your muscle tissue expands, your body is being told that expanding that muscle tissue is your number one priority.
That means that putting extra zinc into that muscle tissue takes priority over the other uses of zinc.
We know from experiments of human zinc deficiency that the earliest thing to happen in a marginal deficiency of zinc is patches of dry skin.
Another thing that can happen is you get sick more often, the most common symptom of which is getting a sore throat.
If those things are happening to you and zinc deficiency may be the cause the simplest way to test that is to take some zinc and see if it works.
When you supplement with zinc I recommend not taking zinc oxide or zinc picolinate. Rather take zinc acetate or zinc gluconate, zinc citrate or zinc sulfate, or zinc amino-acid chelate such as zinc methionine.
If you take zinc acetate or gluconate don’t suck on lozenges, those are designed to put the zinc into your nose and throat. Take a tablet or a capsule.
To maximize the absorption take it on an empty stomach, at least three hours after your last meal, at least one, about one hour before your next meal. Zinc on an empty stomach can cause nausea, but if it’s only 10 or suffer nausea. In fact you don’t need any more than 10 to 15 milligrams for this test. Most zinc supplements, the lowest dose you’d get anyway is 15 milligrams.
So take 15 milligrams per day on an empty stomach of any of the forms of zinc that I mentioned and see if it improves your symptoms. I would give it as long as those symptoms have been developing.
If they’ve been going on for a long time and it’s getting bad you can increase the dose of the zinc to two or three times a day for a couple of weeks, but not for any longer than that.
Is zinc the only thing that could go wrong? No in fact in the next episode I’m going to talk about two dietary pitfalls that people often make when they’re optimizing their diet for their body composition. But that’s less about gaining the muscle and more about what you’re doing with your diet so we’ll talk about those in the next episode.