Zinc: Health Benefits, Uses, Interactions and More
Zinc Benefits: The intake of zinc is too often inadequate; hence, the need to take supplements to prevent deficiencies that can affect your health. The amounts of zinc in the body are equivalent to approximately 2g in total, including 65% concentrated in muscles and 20% in the bones. It is present in all cells, including the adrenal gland, skin, parts of the brain, the pancreas, the membranes of the eye, prostate, and semen. It intervenes in the process of blood coagulation, in the function of the thyroid hormone, and the metabolism of insulin.
The body needs very little zinc, but this contribution is essential. In our modern societies, the slight deficiency is common, while in women, teens, children, and the elderly, the intake is often below the minimum daily bar due to the deficient diet. In pregnant women, particularly a cold, flu or other infection may reduce the zinc content in the body, which is dangerous for the fetus. Other factors are also involved in reducing the zinc content of foods, including modern agricultural techniques, which have the effect of depleting the soil zinc and refining grains.
Although the best sources of zinc are animal products, vegetarians should also ensure an adequate intake of this element by consuming adequate amounts of whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Alcoholics and diabetics with kidney problems or disorders of the digestive absorption, Crohn’s disease, for example, are more likely to suffer from zinc deficiency. People with HIV are often deficient in zinc. Zinc deficiency, common in developing countries, can lead to decreased immune function (frequent infections and wounds that heal poorly), delayed growth, smell disorders, and taste, down male fertility, dermatitis, diarrhea, depression, weight loss, irritability, apathy.
Zinc plays an essential role in hundreds of body mechanisms. It activates the enzymes responsible for the formation of genetic material (DNA and RNA) and is intimately involved in cell growth. It also helps the body defend against damage due to excess free radicals. It allows the proper functioning of the immune system by ensuring the optimum activity of T cells. Zinc is also involved in sexual maturation, reproduction and fertility, good skin and hair, and even taste and smell.
The main beneficial effects of zinc
Zinc can help the body to protect against colds, flu, conjunctivitis, and other infections. In a US study conducted on 100 people at the initial stage of a cold, those suck zinc lozenges every two h recovered about three days earlier than subjects treated with placebo pellets. Zinc lozenges also promote healing of mouth ulcers and sore throat. As a supplement, zinc can strengthen the natural defenses of the body, primarily when a deficit exists. That’s tried in the treatment of more severe diseases: rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, and even multiple sclerosis and AIDS; without that, we have so far achieved significant positive results.
Zinc to fight against infections
Zinc is bound to proteins and concentrated in muscles (60%), bone (30%), liver (5%), and, in men, in the prostate. Its elimination is mainly by the intestinal tract, but also through sweat and flaking of the skin as the body does not store zinc, taken with food, especially foods high in protein such as meat and fish. Constituting a very large number of enzymes, zinc plays a crucial role in cell synthesis and immune processes. Although all cells in the body may need zinc intake, this mineral is often insufficient. Hence, the importance of taking zinc supplements to prevent deficiencies that can affect your health.
Zinc promotes fertility
Zinc has a positive effect on the production of various hormones. It could increase male and female fertility and plays a vital role in the proper functioning of the prostate. It might also be effective in hypothyroidism and, insofar as it raises insulin levels, help people with diabetes. Stimulating the healing of wounds and lesions of the skin, it used – orally or applied topically as a cream – in the treatment of acne, burns, eczema, and psoriasis.
It also improves the health of hair and scalp. In addition, it’s shown that it was slowing the loss of sight in case of macular degeneration, a common cause of blindness after the age of 50. Finally, zinc is a useful supplement for people suffering from chronic diarrhea and malnutrition. In nutritional supplements, zinc lozenges should always contain copper; Zinc tablets often contain vitamin C, used to prevent colds and flu. Beware, if you are taking medication, consult your doctor before taking supplements.
- Helps reduce the symptoms of colds, flu, and other infections.
- Reduces skin problems and certain digestive disorders.
- Stimulate fertility.
- May protect against prostate cancer.
Available sources based on zinc
Tablets, cream, ointment, capsules, lozenges
Your daily needs of zinc
The recommended daily allowance is 10 mg for women and 12 mg for men. It should be lowered by 20 to 30% when the diet is rich in meat products (including zinc is similar) and high (15 mg) in a case of a mainly vegetarian diet. The contribution is not exceeded set at 15 mg for supplements, higher doses (up to 20 mg per day) reserved for frail elderly, and the specific case.
- The deficit contribution
The real deficiencies are rare, but a deficiency sufficient to cause poor wound healing, increased number of colds and flu, decreased taste and smell, and skin problems. It can also lead to impaired blood glucose (with higher diabetes risk) and a decrease in sperm count.
- The excess intake
The prolonged intake of more than 30 to 50 mg per day clearly weakens immunity and lowers levels of good cholesterol (HDL). Beyond 30 mg daily, it may, in the long run, disrupt the absorption of copper and be a source of anemia. Very excessive doses – over 200 mg per day – can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Supplements, the recommended dose
The dose provided by the supplements varies between 10 and 15 mg per day. Taking zinc for more than one month may disrupt the assimilation of copper: in this case, select supplements containing 1 mg to 15 mg of copper to zinc. Against colds and flu, suck one lozenge of zinc every 2 to 4 hours for one week, without exceeding 30 mg per day.
- Usage tips
Take zinc 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals. If prescribed iron supplements for a specific medical reason, do not absorb the same time as zinc. If you are taking antibiotics, wait at least 2 hours before ingesting your supplements.
Meat, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, and seafood, especially oysters, contain zinc in high amounts. Cheese, dried beans, nuts, and wheat germ are also good sources, but their zinc is less easily absorbed than meat.
The supplements come in many forms and are often associated with vitamin C, the chemical form in which it is proposed little influence. It’s bioavailability.
Other interesting information
According to various surveys, zinc consumption is usually between 8 and 12 mg daily. However, 5-8% of adults have lower blood levels than the threshold limit of deficiency. In developing countries, add some zinc to food sufficient to reduce cases of diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria. Stimulating the immune system, it prevents up to 38% of episodes of diarrhea, reduces acute respiratory infections by 45%, and malaria cases by 35% or more. A recent study of nearly 1,300 men shows that zinc taken at 15 mg daily in combination with vitamin E (400 mg) appears to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.