Discover the 10 Shocking health benefits of zinc in the body.
Having a diet rich in minerals is essential to maintaining health. But among so many nutrients, there is one that plays a prominent role: zinc.
This mineral is essential to keep our body working efficiently since it protects against a large number of diseases and helps fight against others that have already settled in our bodies.
The lack of zinc in food is a serious problem, which according to the World Health Organization, is linked to many cases of death since this mineral plays an important role in our immune system.
The problem is more common in less developed countries, but a lack of zinc also affects richer countries.
According to the WHO, the minimum zinc intake is 7 mg per day for women and nine for men, but it can vary with age. For older people, for example, the figure rises to eight for women and 11 for men.
The main function of zinc in the body occurs in the immune system. Zinc is important for the synthesis of immune cells and their protective measures against viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
According to the WHO, people who do not consume sufficient amounts of zinc are more likely to suffer the action of infectious agents, and therefore, patients spend more time with the disease compared to those who have an adequate intake of zinc.
Zinc also protects the body by having an antioxidant action, reducing the number of free radicals in the body.
This type of molecule negatively affects the functions of cells, increasing the chances of developing different types of cancer.
Additionally, approximately 100 different enzymes need zinc to catalyze the chemical reactions that maintain efficient cellular functions. Therefore, zinc plays an important role in our immunization, helping practically the entire body to function better.
Zinc is even more important for children since adequate consumption of this mineral is essential for healthy growth.
According to the WHO, some of the biggest causes of infant mortality are diarrhea (which still causes 18% of child deaths in the world) and pneumonia, two problems that are directly related to a lack of zinc.
“The immune system of children is more fragile than that of adults, so a diet rich in zinc is essential,” says the nutritionist.
To get an idea of the importance of zinc in a child’s diet, one of the actions undertaken by the World Health Organization to reduce cases of infant mortality in poor countries is to include zinc supplements in the diet.
Since this measure was adopted in the late 1980s, deaths from diarrhea in the world of children under the age of five have dropped from 4.5 million to 1.8 million in 2006.
According to a survey conducted by UNICEF in 2009, zinc supplements for pregnant women could prevent many complications during delivery and even help the baby gain weight after birth, reducing the risk of infection. Therefore, it is recommended that 12 mg of zinc be consumed daily during pregnancy.
Among all the vitamins and minerals with micronutrients, it is the one that has the greatest effect on the immune system.
It can reduce the duration and severity of the flu.
The mineral is also involved in the activity of more than 300 enzymes. It is essential for proper cell function and participates in the synthesis and breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids.
The presence of zinc is connected to lower clamping blood vessels. It helps regulate the substances involved in the control of blood pressure.
It is also essential for repairing blood vessel damage caused by the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Therefore, the risk of atherosclerosis decreases.
Zinc integrates an enzyme called superoxide dismutase, which protects us against oxidative stress.
When it is not present, the brain is very vulnerable to the action of free radicals, a factor that increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
This nutrient was found to improve depression, according to research with young women. It facilitates certain synapses (signals exchanged between neurons), and this would help eliminate the symptoms of intense melancholy.
The mineral has a close relationship with the storage and release of insulin.
Zinc deficiency accelerates the process of resistance to this hormone, which leaves us more prone to diabetes.
Furthermore, supplementation with this mineral has been shown to have a positive impact on the control of diabetic retinopathy – in which the carrier of the disease has their vision threatened.
Zinc deficiency affects the repair of cut tissues. This is because zinc is involved in the production of collagenase, the enzyme responsible for the production of collagen – a kind of cement in the skin. It is no wonder that healing ointments are made with this substance.
Zinc is so crucial in the pregnancy stage that the consumption recommendation is raised: 8 to 11 milligrams per day.
The deficiency of this substance can cause intrauterine infection, interrupt fetal development and contribute to the low birth weight of the baby.
Zinc may help “keep” the child in the womb until the 40th week of pregnancy when his little body is ready to face the world.
Taking zinc up to 24 hours after the onset of the first cold symptoms, for 3 days, decreased the duration of symptoms, according to a clinical study.
The dose was 12.5 mg to 15 mg of zinc every 2-3 hours during the cold period. Zinc can be said to cut the duration of cold symptoms in half. This treatment should not exceed 4 days.
Women who consume more than 10 mg per day of zinc appear to have fewer PMS symptoms.
However, the study focused on the influence of iron in preventing PMS. The daily dose of zinc (and other minerals for the effective treatment of PMS, such as magnesium, calcium, and iron) can be obtained through the diet or supplements.
Through the action of key enzymes, zinc has anti-inflammatory action against acne. Zinc also decreases the production of sebum, one of the main triggers of acne, by inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, responsible for converting testosterone to dihydrotestosterone.
1 to 3 years 3.0 mg 3.0 mg
4 to 8 years 5.0 mg 5.0 mg
9 to 13 years 8.0 mg 7.0 mg
14-50 years 8.0 mg 7.0 mg
50 years 11.0 mg 8.0 mg
Since zinc participates in various functions of our body, its deficiency has consequences. Due to the weakness in the immune system, wounds that do not heal, there is difficulty in tasting salty foods, skin problems (psoriasis), increased levels of glucose in the blood, dry and yellowish skin, and poor functioning of the liver.
“Among all these problems, the biggest concern is the effect that a lack of zinc has on the immune system. This makes the person much more exposed to all infectious diseases “, explains the nutritionist.
A balanced diet provides the daily amounts of zinc so that our body is protected. The best foods with this nutrient are oysters, but other more common sources can be part of your daily menu.
A diet with oilseeds, such as nuts and dried fruits, all kinds of meats, rice, and whole wheat bread, will make your immune system work better. Pumpkin seeds, oats, beans, and whole milk are also good sources of zinc.
However, in some cases, diet alone cannot make up for the lack of zinc in the body. Food is always the best option, but in some cases, with the advice of a doctor, it is necessary to take supplements to meet the daily intake of this mineral.
In addition, according to the nutritionist, people suffering from acrodermatitis enteropathica (lack of absorption of zinc from the intestine), diabetes, eating disorders, and intestinal and kidney diseases may need zinc supplements. to compensate for the lack of absorption caused by these problems.
Oysters 86 g 38
Walnuts 100g 4.0
Chestnuts 100g 4.0
Cow meat 130g 4.0
Chicken meat 180g 1.5
Integral rice 40g 1.0
Oat bran 94g 2.9
Whole milk 240g 1.0
Bean 50g 1.15
Pumpkin seed 20g 1.3
Wholemeal bread 80g 1.6
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, multiple food servings can be combined to meet the daily mineral quota.
To illustrate this recommendation, it can be said that one serving of beef (4 mg of zinc), two of rice (2 mg), and two of milk (2 mg) per day provide a total of 8 mg of zinc, which is the consumption indicated for adolescents and adults.
Consume a large quantity of bread (1.6 mg), oat bran (2.9 mg), two servings of brown rice (2.0 mg), beans (1.15 mg), or chicken (1.5 mg) is enough for an adult to reach the recommended amount of this mineral.
Although this mineral is essential for your body, its consumption in excess (more than 50 milligrams a day for weeks), can be harmful.
This is because of the mineral’s relationship to copper molecules in the body. “When zinc levels are too high in our bloodstream, the amount of copper decreases, leaving the person disabled from another mineral,” explains the nutritionist.
The main symptoms of excess zinc and lack of copper in the body are diarrhea, drowsiness, lethargy, nausea, and frequent vomiting. “So before taking supplements, what you need to know is if you need them and what is the correct dose,” says the expert.
Your blood zinc level can be measured by a simple blood test. This test can also help in the identification and diagnosis of certain diseases.
The official daily recommendation for zinc is approximately 8 mg. Most of the supplements sold in pharmacies contain doses compatible with this recommendation.
However, some experts believe that these doses are very low, especially for people with greater deficiencies who want to return to adequate levels.
Therefore, there are also doses of 30mg, 50mg, and more, which are generally regarded as safe and are sold normally.
Having said that, it must be remembered that, like other complementary vitamins or minerals, it is important that you do not overuse them.
If you want to take zinc supplements, ideally it is the chelated type. Chelated zinc allows for more efficient absorption by the body.
To buy zinc supplements (with a variety of doses), Amazon is a good option both for quality and for the number of offers they have
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