Nutrition for the Brain: Zinc

Zinc in Oysters for Brain Health

Zinc is a trace mineral important to optimizing brain function as outlined in Dr. Robert Melillo’s book “The Disconnected Kids The Nutrition Plan.” This series, “Nutrition for the Brain,” will explore the nutrients that are most important to brain development and childhood health.


Zinc is needed for the development and maintenance of the brain, GI tract, immune system, and adrenal glands. It is associated with building memory and cognitive abilities.


According to DAN (Defeat Autism Now!), zinc is deficient in 90 percent of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A review of environmental factors related to ASD found that a zinc deficiency has multiple adverse effects on the developing brain. In one study, researchers at Duke University Medical Center and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology used a chemical that binds with zinc to eliminate it from the brains of test mice. They found that in absence of the mineral, communication between neurons was significantly diminished. In another study, test animals with zinc deficiency displayed abnormal autism-related behaviors, such as impaired vocalization and hyperactivity.


Zinc and copper are interrelated and when zinc levels go down, copper levels go up. Since copper is a mineral often found in excess in kids with a brain imbalance, do not give your child a zinc containing multivitamin that also contains any copper. Oysters are by far the major source of dietary zinc but not super kid-friendly. Other food sources of zinc include:

  • Almonds
  • Beef
  • Cashews
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Chicken

More information on zinc can be found on page 109 of my book “The Disconnected Kids Nutrition Plan.”


Brain Nutrition Infographic Zinc


Disconnected Kids Nutrition Plan

Dr. Robert Melillo’s Brain Balance program has helped thousands of families across the country, offering a drug-free, scientifically based method for addressing a wide range of conditions, including autism spectrum disorders and ADHD. In this new book, he presents the nutritional side of The Brain Balance Program, featuring guidelines, tips, and kid-friendly recipes based on the latest scientific research on how food affects the brain.

Disclaimer: The information presented on this web site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment of specific medical conditions. Discuss this information with your healthcare provider to determine what is right for you and your family.