Zinc is an essential mineral that your body needs on a daily basis. Deficiency can lead to numerous negative effects including loss of appetite, hair loss, impaired immunity and more. Luckily, zinc deficiency is not common, but it’s still important to be aware of the benefits it offers for overall health.
What is Zinc?
Zinc is a nutrient which our body cannot store or produce on its own, referred to as an “essential nutrient.” Some of its most essential processes include helping our immune system fight off viruses and bacteria, producing DNA, and building protein. Zinc is also beneficial for wound healing and is necessary for the body to have a proper sense of taste and smell. Other key processes linked to zinc include:
- Enzymatic Reactions
- Proper Growth and Development
- Gene Expression
Benefits of Zinc
- Wound Healing:
Zinc plays a crucial part in synthesizing collagen, boosting our immune function, and aiding inflammatory responses. A person’s skin contains a high concentration of zinc in the body – 5%. Because of this, zinc is necessary for proper wound healing and is commonly used in hospitals as a treatment for skin ulcers, burns, and other injuries.
- Improves Immune System:
Zinc is necessary for cell signaling and immune cell function, helping keep our immune system strong. Certain supplements help reduce oxidative stress and the risk of infections.
- Acne and Skincare:
Zinc plays an essential role in skin care, particularly for those suffering from acne. Acne occurs when the skin’s oil-producing glands are obstructed, leading to inflammation and buildup of bacteria.
Since one of zinc’s benefits is reducing inflammation, it plays a crucial role in doing so when applied topically to acne. People with acne also tend to have lower zinc levels, in which case supplements are also recommended.
Where to Find?
You can find over-the-counter zinc supplements at any pharmacy,
and many of the day-to-day ingredients found in our food contain zinc:
- Meat: Pork, Beef, Lamb, Bison.
- Fish: Salmon, Sole, Flounder, Sardines.
- Poultry: Turkey, Chicken.
- Whole Grains: Brown Rice, Quinoa, Oats.
- Dairy: Milk, Yogurt, Cheese.
- Vegetables: Peas, Asparagus, Mushrooms, Kale.
- Legumes: Beans, Lentils, Chickpeas.
- Nuts, Seeds: Cashews, Hemp Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds.
- Shellfish: Crab, Lobster, Clam, Mussels, Oysters.
Excessive Intake and Toxicity:
Just like with everything else in the world, the excessive intake of something is never good. Though zinc deficiency can cause issues, having too much of it is also a problem. Some common symptoms of zinc toxicity are the following:
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Loss of Appetite
Aside from this, excessive zinc intake might also interfere with the proper absorption of other nutrients such as iron and copper.
Because of the possibility of toxicity, there is a recommended dosage depending on a person’s age. Stay away from high dosage supplements unless specified by a doctor and should only be used when a person finds it challenging to obtain zinc nutrients from food.
- Birth – 6 months: 2 mg.
- Infants 7-12 months: 3 mg.
- 1-3 years: 3 mg.
- 4-8 years: 5 mg.
- 9-13 years: 8 mg.
- Male Teens 14-18 years: 11 mg.
- Female Teens 14-18 years: 9 mg.
- Male Adults: 11mg.
- Female Adults: 8 mg.
- Pregnant Teens: 12 mg.
- Pregnant Adults: 11 mg.
- Breastfeeding Teens: 13 mg.
- Breastfeeding Adults: 12 mg.