Benefits of Zinc - The Vital Trace Element for Your Health
How does zinc affect our health? What is the recommended dosage per day and what are the main functions and benefits of this trace element in our body?
Zinc is often taken only when the first symptoms of the flu occur, which is also highly recommended. However, it is important to ensure an adequate intake of zinc throughout the year, which can be guaranteed by ensuring a varied diet.
Zinc is an essential trace element in our body that affects the activity of more than 200 enzymes. Adequate and regular intake of zinc promotes, among other things, normal immune system function, wound healing, and the process of cell division. It is also an important trace element for the normal growth and development of children and is said to promote the normal functioning of the senses of taste and smell.
Zinc should be obtained from the diet on a daily basis as it is not stored in our body. It is especially recommended for vegans to look at dietary sources of zinc, as many plants contain phytate, which impairs zinc absorption. Zinc is found naturally in many foods, but it is also added to many food products. Adequate intake of zinc can be ensured by a healthy varied diet or, if necessary, high-quality food supplements.
How do I know if I suffer from a zinc deficiency?
If you are often tired, have difficulty concentrating, get sick easily, or suffer from hair loss, it is possible that you are not getting enough zinc in your diet.
Vegans and vegetarians, as well as pregnant women and the elderly, are more vulnerable to zinc deficiency. The risk group also includes those who suffer from ulcerative colitis or other intestinal diseases.
Zinc deficiency can also occur in regular and heavy drinkers or people on hormone replacement therapy.
Chronic zinc deficiency is rare and is often caused by a genetic disorder. Some of the symptoms of chronic zinc deficiency are manifested as growth and development problems, sexual immaturity, chronic diarrhea, or rash, among others.
The most common symptoms of zinc deficiency are:
- impaired immune system functioning
- persistent infections
- mood swings
- skin problems and hair loss
- weight gain or loss for no particular reason
- nervous system problems
The symptoms are suitable for many diseases, so it is difficult to assess zinc deficiency on the basis of them alone. If you think you are suffering from zinc deficiency, you can try adding zinc-containing foods to your diet or use a high-quality, absorbable zinc-containing dietary supplement to support your diet. However, if symptoms persist, consult a physician.
Zinc deficiency can be studied with blood tests, among other things.
Continued excessive zinc intake or zinc overdose can also be detrimental to health.
Health Benefits of Zinc
Supports the normal functioning of the immune system
Zinc is used to strengthen the immune system. Zinc has also been studied to help treat the symptoms of the flu and shorten its duration.
Zinc as a trace element also reduces cellular oxidation and oxidative stress in the body.
Supports normal skin health
Zinc supports the health of the skin as well as the normal growth of hair and nails. Zinc and collagen are said to work together to promote wound healing. Zinc as a dietary supplement can be helpful for people who suffer from acne or skin problems.
Supports healthy aging
Zinc may reduce the risk of certain diseases such as pneumonia, infections and age-related macular degeneration in older people.
It reduces the oxidative stress that increases as we age, and at the same time it also improves the functioning of the immune system by supporting T cell activity.
Reduces oxidative stress
Oxidative stress occurs constantly in our body. However, excessive oxidation of cells causes silent inflammation and is detrimental to our health. Among other things, smoking and poor lifestyles are said to increase the oxidative stress in our body, as well as aging. Intense training also causes momentary oxidative stress. Anti-inflammatory foods (e.g., vegetables, fruits, and berries), vitamins, antioxidants, and trace elements such as zinc help reduce oxidative stress.
The most common symptom caused by excessive oxidative stress is chronic silent inflammation, which is the underlying factor in many chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and even depression. Excessive oxidative stress can also slow muscle recovery.
Supports normal fertility
For men, zinc deficiency can have a declining effect on testosterone production, which in turn can affect fertility by reducing, for example, sexual desire.
Zinc also affects female fertility and is an important trace element for normal ovum growth.
The body’s metabolism needs enough zinc to function. Zinc is involved in the absorption of carbohydrates and amino acids, among other things.
Adequate zinc intake helps not only digestion but also normal energy metabolism.
Supports memory and brain function
Zinc promotes normal cognitive function. A study by several researchers says that zinc has a crucial effect on neuronal function, which affects memory formation and learning.
- Seafood: oysters, crab, lobster and fish eaten with their bones.
- Animal products: dairy products, beef and pork, reindeer meat and liver.
- Vegetable products: beans, wild rice, green peas, pecans, peanuts, whole grains, green vegetables, spinach, broccoli and cocoa.
Dietary supplements are recommended for people who do not get enough zinc from their diet. The official recommendation for zinc in the Nordic countries is 9 mg for adults.
Zinc is the most effective to be taken 1-2 hours after eating. Zinc can be taken whenever during the day, but it can have slightly cheering effects for some people. Thus we recommend taking a zinc supplement in the morning or during the day.
The recommended upper limit for zinc for adults is 25 milligrams per day. During the flu, you can raise the maximum dosage a bit. Higher doses should be discussed with your healthcare professional.