Zinc – that nutrient I always hear that’s said to be found in fortified milk, chocolates and cereals on TV commercials and labels, as well as on supplements all around health shops. Question is, what does it really do?
For us to stay healthy, our body needs a daily dose of the right vitamins and assured minerals. One of those crucial minerals is zinc.
This thing they call Zinc is responsible for a number of different functions in our body and it helps stimulate the activity of 100 different enzymes, which I have previously explained in my previous article. Zinc, being an “essential trace element“, has substantial biological importance for all humans, plants and animals.
The most immediately observable effect is the impact on our immune system. Research has shown that zinc has a proven ability to fight colds and possibly shave days off the flu and other illnesses. Needless to say, this effect is good news all around, providing benefits and promoting good health across the board.
Several studies indicate that dietary zinc may reduce acne. This may be because it interacts with vitamin A as a component of retinol-binding protein, which is necessary for transporting vitamin A in the blood. This is probably why I also see zinc in the ingredients of some cosmetic products I use. Zinc supplementation has been shown to significantly increase the level of vitamin A in the blood, indicating an interaction between the two nutrients that may explain its positive effect on acne. So, it mean when I get zinc supplements it also helps enhance my levels of Vitamin A.
Getting a daily dose of zinc may help prevent osteoporosis in women, especially those who have gone through menopause, giving them stronger bones and improved bone density.
Deficiency in zinc causes delayed healing of wounds. Human body has several zinc dependent enzymes, which promote the synthesis of collagen that thereby aids in wound healing.
For the men out there, Zinc is very important in dealing with prostate disorders. Zinc deficiency causes enlargement of the prostate gland and makes it vulnerable to cancer.
For women who want to conceive or are already pregnant, it is essential for the repair and functioning of DNA. It is hence, necessary for quick growth of cells and building of major constituents of the cell during the course of pregnancy.
Consuming Zinc in about 150-450 mg will improve the vision.
So, yes. We get it that zinc is important for our body. Now, what happens when we don’t get enough it?
Zinc deficiency is not uncommon worldwide. Moderate zinc deficiency is associated with disorders of the intestine which interfere with food absorption, alcoholism, chronic kidney failure, and chronic debilitating diseases. Some signs of zinc deficiency include:
- loss of appetite
- slow wound healing
- abnormal taste
- depressed growth
- altered cognition
- hair loss
Zinc isn’t really that hard to consume. It is present in a wide range of everyday food. Food sources with the highest reported Zinc content are:
- Toasted Wheat Germ
- Veal Liver
- Roast Beef
- Pork loin
- Baked beans
- Beef patty
- Dark chocolate
Zinc supplements are available in the form of capsules and tablets – and I find that very convenient, straight from a pill! However, the tolerable upper limit for zinc is 40mg for males and females over 18 years. A good advice is to take zinc only in smaller doses – studies are inconclusive, but it seems that the body is simply better prepared to handle small, bite-size chunks then the full daily dose in one sitting.
You also have to remember: do not take zinc on an empty stomach! It could make you throw up.
It takes a lot of minerals and vitamins to stay healthy, but reality is, all we have to do is look and research, because most of what we need is just around us.
I aim to inform all my readers and be of big help in awareness.