Health Benefits of Zinc

Posted by Wen Dan Jiang on

Health Benefits of Zinc

The essential trace element is zinc, as we only require it in a small amount for our health. Zinc is the reason for a lot of health benefits such as it may help reduce age-related diseases, improve heart health, promote skin health, etc.  Your body does not store additional zinc, so it should be taken daily as part of your diet. The typical dietary sources of zinc involve red meat, chicken, seafood, and fish.  Its deficiency may lead to stunted growth, decreased ability to taste the food, and the inability of testes and ovaries to work adequately.

We use this mineral for the treatment and prevention of zinc of several health conditions such as acute diarrhea in kids, improper wound healing, and Wilson's disorder.  Zinc product even comprises of a unique metal known as cadmium. It is due to the fact that zinc and cadmium are chemically similar in nature.  The high dosage of zinc is not suitable for health, and it may cause kidney failure. The concentration of cadmium in zinc supplements can vary.

What Is Zinc?

Zinc is an essential mineral because your body cannot form or store it. That is why; you should obtain a consistent supply via your diet.  We need this essential nutrient for a large number of processes in your body such as;

  • Gene expression
  • Growth and development
  • Enzymatic reactions
  • Immune function
  • Protein formation
  • DNA production
  • Wound healing

Zinc is naturally available in various plant and animal foods. Food sources that don't naturally comprise this nutrient, like snack bars, baking flour, and breakfast cereals, are fortified with zinc.

You may even consume zinc supplements or multi-nutrient supplements that offer zinc mineral. But before going to start taking these supplements, you should consult your doctor. Due to its involvement in immune function, it is added in certain nasal sprays, tablets, and different natural cold treatments.

Role of Zinc in Your Body

Zinc is a useful mineral that your body utilizes in a variety of ways.  It is the most abundant mineral in your body after iron and is available in each cell. This essential mineral is vital for the activity of over 200 enzymes that help in metabolism, nerve function, digestion, and different other functions.

Additionally, it is crucial for the growth or development and function of immune cells. This trace mineral is also fundamental to DNA production, skin health, and protein formation. The growth and development of zinc depend on zinc due to its role in cell growth and division.

This beneficial mineral is also required for your senses of taste and smell. Some of the enzymes critical for appropriate taste and smell are dependent on zinc. The insufficiency of this mineral may decrease your ability to taste or smell.

Types of Zinc in Supplements

There are various forms of zinc found in supplements;

  • Zinc Acetate

It is a form frequently used to reduce the duration of the common cold. Zinc acetate supplements usually in a lozenge. It is also known as zinc salt dihydrate or zinc diacetate. A tablet form of zinc acetate is only available to treat Wilson's disease after prescribed by the doctor.

  • Zinc Sulfate

Zinc sulfate is a water-soluble form. It means your body readily absorbs it. However, it is not an ideal choice for maximizing zinc levels.

  • Zinc Picolinate

It is a type that your body perfectly absorbs. It makes zinc Picolinate an ideal choice for the treatment of zinc deficiencies and especially for pregnant ladies.  It is "chelated," which means it is linked to picolinic amino acids to help this form pass easily into your intestines for better absorption.

  • Zinc Monomethionine

Zinc Monomethionine is attached to the amino acid methionine. This form is commonly present in OTC lozenges to stop common cold and treat zinc deficiency.

The Health Benefits of Zinc

  1. May Help in Wound Healing

Zinc takes part in regulating skin integrity and structure. It is often utilized in skin creams for treating a rash or other skin irritations.

One study shows that zinc may promote leg ulcer healing by increasing re-epithelialization, reducing inflammation, and bacterial development. When you apply zinc on wounds, it improves the deficiency of this mineral and functions as pharmacologically.

A research-based study indicates that using zinc sulfate in people suffering from chronic wounds or ulcers may improve the healing process.

  1. May Decrease the Risk of Age-Related Diseases

Zinc may significantly reduce your risk of age-related diseases, such as pneumonia, infection, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

This beneficial mineral may eliminate oxidative stress and support your immune response by encouraging the activity of T-cells or your killer cells. They aid in protecting your body from disease-causing agents.

Older adults who consume supplements with zinc may feel improved influenza vaccination response, promoted brain performance, and decreased risk of pneumonia.

One research-based study highlighted that 40 mg daily consumption of zinc might minimize infection rates in older people by nearly 65%.

In addition, a recent study in over 4,100 individuals shows that consuming regular antioxidant supplements containing vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and 70 mg of zinc may decrease vision loss and remarkably reduce the risk of advanced AMD.

May Improve Acute Diarrhea

This condition is linked to high mortality rates among kids in developing countries. Zinc insufficiency may lead to changes in the immune response that indirectly associate to booted vulnerability to diseases like those that lead to diarrhea, particularly in children.

Research highlights that malnourished children in Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia see shorter acute diarrhea courses after consuming zinc supplements. The kids in this study received 10–30 mg of zinc per day in the form of zinc gluconate and zinc acetate.

Additionally, results from controlled trials of supplementation of this traced mineral in developing countries recommend that zinc aids in decreasing the duration and severity of this condition in zinc-deficient and weak or malnourished children.

Similar studies explained in an analysis published in a 2007 review of zinc supplementation for the prevention and treatment of diarrhea. The impact of zinc supplementation on children suffering from acute diarrhea is remarkable.

The WHO and UNICEF suggest short-term zinc supplementation ( nearly 20-25 mg of zinc daily, or 10 mg for babies under 5 months, for 10–13 days) treat acute diarrhea on them.

  1. May Helpful in Common Cold

Experts have confirmed that zinc mineral can decrease the severity and duration of cold symptoms by potentially preventing rhinovirus binding or replication in the nasal mucosa. It also suppresses inflammation. Different studies have explained that zinc-containing syrup can temporarily "sticks" in the mouth and throat. It permits this mineral to make contact with the rhinovirus in those places.

As compared to placebo, the zinc can amazingly reduce the duration of cold symptoms.

In one clinical trial, including 274 participants with experimentally induced colds, zinc gluconate lozenges decreased the duration of infection compared to placebo but did not influence the severity of the infection. However, the cure using zinc acetate lozenges (offering 6 or 11 mg zinc) had no impact on cold severity. Both zinc gluconate and zinc acetate lozenges had not influenced the duration or severity of cold symptoms in 280 subjects with natural colds in a different trial.

In 70 people with natural colds, a mixture of zinc gluconate and zinc orotate lozenges (36 mg zinc every 1–2 hours) was also found a reasonable effect of this combination on the cold.

  1. May Improve Skin Health (Acne, Warts, Skin Damage)

This essential mineral, both oral and topical, may be beneficial for various skin problems (e.g., acne, warts, psoriasis, melasma, and dandruff). In individuals suffering from acne vulgaris, taking zinc supplements can show a critical improvement in signs compared to placebo groups.

The scientific trials in people suffering from viral warts resulted in a complete clearance of warts for plenty of zinc-treated people.

This mineral shows similar efficiency in treating Herpes genitalis (genital warts due to Herpes simplex virus.

Research related to people suffering from rosacea (a chronic inflammatory condition described by flushing, abnormal blood vessels, and rashes on your face) revealed that oral zinc supplementation is able to decrease these condition symptoms. So, if you want to improve skin health, you should take zinc supplements. But before consuming it, it is highly recommended to consult health care providers.

  1. May Promote Heart Health

Heart disorder is a severe issue, accounting for nearly 35% of deaths across the world.

Particular research highlights that consuming zinc supplements may reduce the risk of numerous risk factors for a heart disorder and may even reduce the triglyceride and cholesterol levels.

A review of several research-based studies discovered that zinc supplements aided in reduce levels of total or "bad" LDL cholesterol and blood triglycerides. It may remarkably help in stopping heart problems.

Besides, one research, including 30 young females, indicated that higher consumption of zinc is associated with lower levels of systolic blood pressure. However, a study explaining the influence of dietary supplements on blood pressure is remarkable. Another study indicates that low serum zinc levels may be linked to a higher risk of coronary heart infection, but we require more scientific shreds of evidence.

  1. Depression

In an analysis of 16 trials and 2300 participants, low levels of zinc were linked to depressive symptoms. Dietary consumption of this mineral was inversely associated with depression symptoms in another analysis of eight studies.

Zinc supplementation can significantly promote the efficacy of standard treatment with antidepressants in four trials of 119 patients.

When zinc doses are provided to 20 young females with lousy mood, zinc can significantly decrease anger and the signs of depression.

One study described that this traced mineral was able to regulate overall mood in 40 overweight subjects.

  1. Perfect for Immunity & Infections

Zinc mineral is beneficial for the healthy development and activity of numerous immune cells. Due to the crucial role in the immune system, even a slight deficiency can severely impact the immune function and maximize bacterial and parasitic disease risk.

In clinical studies linked to immunodeficiency (for example, sickle cell condition, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection), zinc supplementation may regulate the natural killer cell activity, lymphocyte formation, and resistance to diseases.

One study in HIV patients with reduced blood zinc levels discovers that its supplementation is associated with reduced infections and a decreased risk of immunological failure.

But you should use these supplements with caution as excessive zinc may worsen the infection symptoms. In malnourished babies and kids in developing countries, zinc can reduce the duration and severity of diarrhea, respiratory disorders, and other bacterial infections.

Similar potential effects of zinc were revealed for other infectious disorders in humans involving leprosy, tuberculosis, hepatitis C, and the typical cold.

  1. Women's Health

Zinc insufficiency is linked to hormonal imbalances that can cause ovarian function issues, menstruation problems, and infertility. A plethora of studies have expressed that oral zinc supplementation (combined with mefenamic acid) was able to decrease the severity or duration of menstrual pain in females.

One research has found that the adequate amount of zinc in females suffering from PCOS can decrease insulin levels and correct the infection symptoms like body hair development and balding.

Females who have endometriosis (an issue where the tissue inside the uterus develops outside of the uterus) show reduced blood zinc levels.

One research revealed that antioxidants' consumption, for example, vitamins C or E, zinc, and selenium, was inversely linked with endometriosis progression in females.  It indicates that this mineral may reduce the development of this problem.

  1. May Improve Oral Health

The deficiency of this mineral may cause excessive plaque production and worsen the inflammatory process in gum disorder. Zinc containing mouthwashes are proved to be very efficient in plaque development.

One study found that daily consumption of 10 mg of zinc for eight weeks was linked to decreased plaque production on the teeth.

The toothpaste with this mineral, zinc-based mouthwash or gums may also aid in gingivitis (gum swelling) and bad breath.

  1. Blood Clotting

One research indicates that this essential mineral is also involved in maintaining pro-thrombotic (clot production) and anti-thrombotic (clot prevention) factors associated with platelets or the blood vessel lumen.

Hyperzincemia (an excessive amount of zinc mineral in your blood) may lead to blood clotting. In contrast, hypozincemia (low amount of zinc mineral in your blood) may cause prolonged blood clotting duration. Both conditions may lead to disturbance in platelet aggregation and inadequate bleeding.

Several studies explained that restoring zinc levels in zinc-deficient person caused the healthy platelet aggregation and blood clotting duration.

  1. Digestive Disorders

Zinc deficiency can damage the gut lining in various gastrointestinal diseases (e.g., inflammatory bowel infection, diarrhea, alcohol toxicity, and colitis). In many cases, zinc supplementation may improve these conditions.

Experts explain the zinc ability to stabilize the gut mucosa and minimize injuries by increasing gut repair processes in your body.

Zinc may even protect the intestinal mucosa from an alcohol-induced disturbance in your body. It can stop gut leakiness that can decrease the risk of occurring inflammatory bowel infection.

One research in people suffering from dyspepsia (indigestion) highlighted that swelling in H.pylori-induced stomach cancer was directly associated with zinc concentration.

  1. Zinc Deficiency

Its deficiency is described by stunted growth, appetite issue, and improper immune function. In severe cases, zinc deficiency leads to acute diarrhea, improper sexual maturation, hypogonadism in men, and skin lesions.

Loss of average weight, imperfect healing of wounds, taste issues, and mental lethargy may also happen. Plenty of other symptoms are also known and linked to other health problems. Therefore, medical observation is needed to ensure whether a zinc deficiency is present or not.

The nutritional status of this traced mineral is difficult to measure appropriately utilizing laboratory tests because of its distribution throughout your body. Zinc is distributed as a component of specific proteins and nucleic acids.

Plasma or serum zinc levels are frequently utilized highlights for explaining zinc deficiency, but these levels do not describe cellular zinc status because of tight homeostatic control mechanisms. Clinical impacts of its deficiency can be found in the absence of abnormal laboratory trials.

Experts think about risk factors like inappropriate caloric consumption, or digestive problems and symptoms of zinc deficiency like stunted growth in babies and children when determining the requirement for zinc supplementation  about 12-13 mg per day, depending on age.

Food Sources of Zinc

  1. Legumes

Legumes such as chickpeas, kidney peas, and beans comprise of adequate amounts of zinc. The 90 g of lentils have approximately 13% of the DV.  They also include phytates. These anti-nutrients prevent the absorption of zinc or other essential minerals.

So, they are an incredibly significant source of zinc for individuals following vegan or vegetarian diets. They are also a source of dietary fiber and plant-protein. They can be readily added to soups and salads.

  1. Meat

It is also a good source of zinc; especially red meat is the best among them. However, a specific amount can be present in various types of meat involving beef, lamb, and pork.

The 90 gram (3 ounces) serving of raw beef comprises 4.5 mg of zinc, 40 % of the Daily Value (DV). This amount of meat also offers 170 calories, 15 g of animal protein, and 9 g of fat.

Additionally, it is also a valuable source of many essential nutrients like iron, vitamin B, and creatine.

  1. Nuts

Consuming nuts like peanuts, cashews, and almonds may maximize your consumption of zinc. Nuts also have other essential nutrients, like healthy fats, dietary fiber, and a large no of vitamins or minerals. If you are searching for a special nut containing an abundant amount of zinc, you should choose cashews. They are an excellent source of zinc.

  1. Whole or Unprocessed Grains

Unprocessed grains such as wheat, rice, and oats include a specific amount of zinc.  Similar to legumes, they also have phytates that attach to zinc and minimize its absorption.  They contain comparatively more phytates than processed versions. They will offer an adequate amount of zinc.

Whole grains are perfect for your health and an ideal source of several essential nutrients like dietary fiber, vitamin B, magnesium, manganese, and selenium.

  1. Shellfish

Shellfish contain an abundant amount of zinc mineral. Certain kinds of shellfish have less zinc mineral than oysters (an ideal source of zinc); they are still suitable for your daily requirement. For example, Alaskan crab comprises 7 mg of zinc that is 68% of the DV. Smaller shellfish like mussels are also suitable for you as a source of zinc.

  1. Eggs

A whole egg contains a considerable amount of zinc mineral that may facilitate you to meet your zinc requirement. Three eggs comprise nearly 1.4 mg of zinc or 12-14% of the DV. They are also an ideal way to have choline, a nutrient, incredibly crucial for your overall health.

Recommended Intake of Zinc Supplements

Appropriate zinc consumption is particularly significant for kids as light zinc insufficiency can lead to stunted growth, maximized risk of diseases, acute diarrhea, and respiratory tract infections.

The suggested intake for children 2-7 years old ranges from 2-4 mg, enhancing as the kid gets older. Males 8-13 years old need 7 mg of zinc on a daily basis. After the age of 13, this needs a boost to the 12 mg per day needed for all adult men.

For women over the age of 7, the need remains stable at 7 mg per day, except for ages 13-18, where this requirement maximizes to 10 mg per day. Pregnant and lactating females have an enhanced requirement for zinc mineral.

Interactions with Medications

This mineral supplement has the potential to interact with different kinds of medications. People consuming these medications daily must speak to their healthcare experts about their daily consumption of this mineral. Some of the examples are explained below;

  • Antibiotics

The quinolone and tetracycline antibiotics interact with this traced mineral in your gastrointestinal tract. It prevents the absorption of not only zinc but also antibiotics.  Consuming this antibiotic at least three hours before or 3 to 5 hours after consuming a zinc supplement can reduce this interaction.

  • Penicillamine

Zinc mineral may minimize the absorption and action of penicillamine. It is a drug utilized for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. You can decrease this interaction by taking zinc supplements at least three hours before or after consuming penicillamine.

  • Diuretics

Thiazide diuretics like chlorthalidone and hydrochlorothiazide maximize urinary zinc excretion by as 50 %. Long time usage of thiazide diuretics may deplete zinc levels so that doctors should observe zinc status in people consuming these medications.

Conclusion

Zinc is a crucial traced mineral, and your body is unable to make it. Obtaining an adequate amount of this essential mineral is highly essential for maintaining good health, facilitating a healthy immune system, and a sense of taste and smell. There are plenty of other health benefits associated with the zinc, and that is improving skin health, reducing the risk of age-related diseases, depression, and many more.

The ideal technique to make sure you obtain an appropriate amount of this mineral is to eat a diet with excellent sources of zinc like red meat, liver, poultry, seafood, seeds, dark chocolates, and dairy products.

 If you are worried about not receiving the appropriate amount of zinc mineral in your diet and are at risk of zinc deficiency, you should consult a professional health practitioner and doctor about the possibility of consuming zinc supplements.

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