Zinc is one of the basic trace elements for all living beings, and it should be supplied to the organism daily.

It plays a vital role in the immune system and energy production. It is also involved in the production of thyroid and sex hormones, promotes muscle growth, the healing of wounds, and prevents hair loss.

Zinc is, after iron, the most abundant trace element in the body. It is very important to have enough of this trace element. Sportspeople and athletes, as well as women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, need an additional and higher amount of zinc than average.

In this post we will give you detailed information about zinc.

Table of contents

What is Zinc?

  • Zinc is a mineral that can not be synthesized by the body and which has to be supplied daily through food or supplements.
  • It is necessary for the functioning of many enzymes in the human body.
  • It is primarily found in the muscles and skin, as well as in the eyes, liver, and bones.
  • It is present in many natural elements, such as rocks or water.

Properties of Zinc

It participates in several chemical processes in the human body. It plays an essential role in the digestion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

It is also involved in the production of energy and in the formation of the tissues and muscle.

Zinc encourages a quick healing of wounds and it has anti-inflammatory effects. Another property of this mineral is that it strengthens the immune system.

It is also essential for the formation of the white cells, and it is involved in the formation of the thyroid hormone, testosterone and insulin.

Zinc beautifies the skin and strengthens the bones, hair, and nails.

Zinc is found in many foods that we consume daily, but it is also advisable to enrich the diet with a supplement.

Zinc supplements are particularly advised:

  • For people who have an additional need for zinc, such as athletes and sportspeople who do intensive training
  • During pregnancy and lactation
  • For those following a diet low in zinc, as it is the case with vegetarians and vegans
  • For those who have a weakened immune system or who suffer from chronic and acute infections
  • For those who have skin problems, such as allergies, acne, or eczema
  • For situations in which the body has lower zinc levels, as in the case of severe diarrhea
  • For vegetarians and vegans
  • For people suffering from a zinc deficiency
  • People who have greater need for zinc due to the use of drugs

What are the sources of zinc?

Zinc is found in many foods, particularly in those of animal origin such as red meats, poultry, and offal. Fish, shellfish, and oysters are especially rich in zinc.

Some cheeses are excellent sources of zinc. Other foods that contain significant amounts of zinc are whole grains, oats, beans, lentils, and most nuts.

What are the symptoms of a zinc deficiency?

There is no other nutrient that can replace zinc in the human body. A deficiency will occur when there is not a proper supply of zinc.

These are the symptoms of a zinc deficiency:

  • Tiredness, lack of energy
  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • Problems to heal wounds
  • Lack of concentration and learning problems
  • Inflammatory lesions
  • Decreased libido
  • Hair loss
  • White spots on fingernails and brittle nails
  • Growth problems
  • Perception disorders

Dose and amount of Zinc

Occasionally, the requirements of zinc are not fully met, even if we follow a varied diet. Men usually need between 9-10 mg of zinc daily, and women around 7 mg of zinc per day.

Dietary zinc supplements are a great help for people who have a deficiency of this mineral in their body. Always look for a quality zinc dietary supplement that also provide other minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, and copper.

The opinion of nutritionists, dietitians, and experts on zinc:

1. Zinc prevents colds

Several clinical studies have shown that increasing the dose of zinc in the diet helps to heal infections and it can also be used with preventive measures. Clinical studies have shown that children who take zinc have fewer colds when compared to those who doesn't.

2. Zinc promotes a healthy prostate

Clinical studies in this area have shown that a proper amount of zinc in the diet, combined with selenium, significantly reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer. Zinc must always be taken with caution, even if it helps to treat prostrate diseases.

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