Zinc is an important mineral playing a vital role for protein synthesis and helping to regulate cell production in the immune system. Zinc is mostly found in the strong muscles of the body and especially in high concentrations in the white and red blood cells, eye retina, skin, liver, kidneys, bones and pancreas. Other body parts secrete zinc such as the salivary glands, the prostate, and the pancreas. Even the immune cells secrete zinc. In the human body, 300 enzymes or more require zinc for normal function. Researchers believe that 3000 proteins out of the 100 thousand involved in human body processes contain zinc. A body normally contains two to three grams of Zinc.
Who May Need Extra Zinc?
Medical doctors who suspect a zinc deficiency will consider risk factors such as inadequate food choices and caloric intake, alcoholism, digestive diseases, and symptoms such as impaired growth in infants and children when determining a need for zinc supplementation. In order to avoid bone loss during the aging process, zinc is recommended. Vegetarians may need as much as 50% more zinc than non-vegetarians because of the lower concentration of zinc from plant foods.
Maternal zinc deficiency can slow fetal growth. Zinc supplementation has improved growth rate in some children who demonstrate mild to moderate growth failure and who also have a zinc deficiency. Breast feeding also may deplete zinc stores because of increased need for zinc during lactation.
Zinc deficiency has been observed in 30% to 50% of alcoholics. Alcohol decreases the absorption of zinc and increases loss of zinc in the urine. In addition, many alcoholics do not eat an acceptable variety or amounts of food, so their dietary intake of zinc may be inadequate.
Diarrhea results in a loss of zinc. Individuals who have had gastrointestinal surgery or who have digestive disorders that result in malabsorption, including sprue, Crohn’s disease and short bowel syndrome, are at greater risk of a zinc deficiency. Individuals who experience chronic diarrhea should make sure they include sources of zinc in their daily diet and may benefit from zinc supplementation.
Zinc is necessary for the activity of enzymes required for the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and alcohol. Without the proper levels of zinc, the body’s ability to grow new tissue and connective tissue is inhibited, which also limits wound healing. Zinc is also a mineral required for the immune system, thyroid function, proper blood clotting, and cognitive functions.
The deficiency symptoms of zinc include:
• Growth retardation
• Low blood pressure
• Retarded bones
• Loss of appetite
• Loss of sense of smell and taste
• Depression, rough skin
• Weight loss
• Pale skin
• Hair loss
• White spots under finger nails
The Most Important Benefits of Zinc Are For:
• Skin Care: Studies have shown zinc to be an effective home remedy for curing pimples or acne. It assists in regulating the amount of testosterone in the body, which plays a dominant role in causing acne. In addition zinc is involved with collagen synthesis. This further aids in normalizing skin oils and maintenance of healthy skin.
• Eczema: Also called atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory and chronic disorder of the skin. It is mainly caused by deficiency of zinc in the body. Zinc plays an important role in healing chronic infection and assisting the body in restoring its ability to heal properly.
• Wound healing: Deficiency in zinc retards wound healing.
• Prostate disorder: Zinc is very important in avoiding or correcting prostate disorders.
• Cold: Zinc supplements help in decreasing the severity and duration of colds. It reduces the amount of proinflammatory cytokinesis, which is aggravated during a cold infection.
• Weight loss: Zinc plays a leading role in weight loss and in controlling appetite.
• Pregnancy: Zinc is essential for the repair and functioning of DNA. Hence, it is necessary for quick growth of cells and building major constituents of cells during the course of pregnancy.
• Reproduction: In males, zinc assists in spermatogenesis and development of the sex organs. While in females, it aids in all the reproductive phases.
• Biological Functions: Zinc plays a vital role in many biological functions such as reproduction, diabetes control, stress level, immune resistance, smell and taste, physical growth, appetite and digestion.
• Enzymes regulation: Zinc is a component of a number of enzymes, which help in regulation of cell growth, protein synthesis, hormonal level, DNA, regulating the gene transcription, energy metabolism and other related health benefits.
• Alopecia: Alopecia causes hair loss in both children and adults often due to zinc deficiency.
• Bone loss: A disease when the bones become weak and fragile. Zinc is a component of hydroxyapatite, a salt contributing to a hard and strong bone matrix.
• Night blindness: Consuming Zinc can help to improve vision.
Additionally, taste and smell are closely related. The cells responsible for both are zinc-reliant, as are the proteins that the body uses to grow those cells. Both taste buds and olfactory cells are specialized cells that are dependent on zinc for their growth and maintenance. Studies have shown that raising a person’s zinc intake can heighten their senses of taste and smell.
Zinc is key to high cognitive function in more than one way. Studies have shown that consuming zinc increases cognition and memory. First, the mineral teams with vitamin B6 to ensure that neurotransmitters in the brain properly function. Also, high concentrations of zinc are found in the mossy fiber system of the hippocampus, which is the brain’s center of thought and memory. Supplemental zinc can be especially useful to improve the cognition of people recovering from injury, as the body diverts zinc from the brain to help heal bodily trauma.
Always check with a health care provider if a condition exists which may indicate a caution advisory.
Be sure to try NSP’s Zinc or Zinc Cold & Flu Fastmelt Lozenge.