The health benefits of Zinc include proper functioning of the immune and digestive systems, control of diabetes, reduction of stress levels, energy metabolism, and an increased rate of healing for acne and wounds. Also, it is helpful in terms of pregnancy, hair care, eczema, weight loss, night blindness, colds, eye care, appetite loss and many other minor conditions.
Zinc, being an important mineral, plays a vital role in protein synthesis and helps regulate the cell production in the immune system of the human body. It is mostly found in the strongest muscles of the body and is found in especially high concentrations in the white and red blood cells, eye retina, skin, liver, kidneys, bones and pancreas. The semen and prostate gland in men also contain significant amounts of zinc.
In the human body, there are more than 300 different enzymes that require zinc to function normally. Researchers believe that 3,000 proteins out of the approximately 100,000 in the body consist predominantly of zinc.
A normal person contains two to three grams of Zinc at any given time. There are organs of the human body which secrete Zinc, such as the salivary gland, the prostate gland and the pancreas. Even cells involved in the activity of the immune system secrete zinc. As such, it is used up in various metabolic processes and eliminated through normal excretory and urinary channels, so it needs to be replenished often. If it isn’t you will begin to suffer from deficiency symptoms, a list of which can be found below.
Zinc Deficiency Symptoms
Low blood pressure
Retarded bone growth
Loss of appetite
Loss of smell and taste senses
Rough skin/Pale Skin
White spots under finger nails.
Important Sources of Zinc
The most important food source for zinc is meat, and other products like oysters, turnips, peas, oats, peanuts, almonds, whole wheat grain, pumpkin seeds, ginger root and pecan nuts have smaller, but still worthwhile amounts of this beneficial vitamin.
Health Benefits of Zinc
The most important health benefits of zinc are listed below.
Skin Care: Studies have shown zinc to be an effective home remedy for curing pimples and acne. The consumption of antibiotic medication is still considered to be more effective, but the side effects and potential hormonal imbalance that those medicines can cause also must be considered. Also, since one of zinc’s most vital functions is to stimulate white blood cell function. White blood cells are integral in the healing process and can defend the body against a number of infections, including those that commonly attack canker sores, ulcers, burns, surgical incisions, and other various wounds. It is also required for the production of collagen, a connective tissue that is required for skin repair and regrowth.
Eczema: Also called “atopic dermatitis”, eczema is an inflammatory and chronic disorder of the skin, and it is mainly caused by deficiency of zinc in the body. Zinc plays an important role in healing chronic infections and assists the body in restoring its ability to heal properly and completely. This irritation can be cleared up by re-balancing the zinc content in your blood.
Acne: This mineral is important for eliminating acne from the skin. It regulates and controls the amount of testosterone in the body, which plays a dominant role in causing acne. In addition to that, zinc is also involved in collagen synthesis. This further aids in normalizing the amount of skin oils and improves the maintenance of healthy skin. The open sores that come with acne are practically magnets for bacterial and viral infections, and zinc can stimulate the white blood cell count and reduce the chances of any type of infection. Finally, acne can leave permanent scars on people who suffer from the condition, and zinc can help to reduce the evidence of those scars.
Prostate disorder: Zinc is very important in dealing with prostate disorders. Its deficiency causes enlargement of the prostate gland and makes it vulnerable to cancer. It is advisable to take 15mg of zinc everyday, under close medical observation, when suffering from prostate disorder. Studies have shown a reduction in tumor growth in the prostate when normal levels of zinc are present in the system.
Cognitive Function: Recent research has shown zinc to have a strong impact on mental function, because it can pair up with vitamin B6 to ensure the proper function of neurotransmitters that communicate with the body. It is also found in high concentrations in the hippocampus, which controls thought and memory. For those who have suffered from an injury, extra zinc will keep brain function strong, because the body naturally diverts zinc to the other parts of the body for healing purposes.
Sense of Smell and Taste: Zinc is one of the most important elements for a healthy life, but it has some very unique benefits as well, including the improvement of the senses of taste and smell. Taste buds and olfactory cells are zinc-reliant, and it is necessary for the proper development and growth of those specific cells. Studies have shown that raising zinc levels can heighten these two senses, because they are finally functioning at optimal levels.
Cold: Zinc supplements help in decreasing the severity and duration of colds and other mild illnesses. It reduces the amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which aggravate the body during colds or other infections. Also, it’s ability to stimulate white blood cell activity makes it ideal for reducing colds and infections.
Weight loss: Zinc plays a leading role in weight loss for obese individuals. A number of studies have connected zinc with a decrease in appetite, which prevents overeating. This is related to zinc’s manipulation of the ghrelin hormone, which tells the body when it wants to eat.
Pregnancy: Zinc is essential for the repair and functioning of DNA. It is essential for rapid growth of cells and for the building of major constituents of the cell over the course of a pregnancy. So much development and enzymatic activity takes place during pregnancy that it is one of the most important nutrients for infants and mothers.
Reproduction: In males, zinc assists in spermatogenesis and the development of the sex organs, while in females, zinc aids in all the reproductive phases, including the parturition and lactation stages. When it comes to sperm, zinc acts in a number of ways. First of all, it acts as a sort of sedative for the sperm so they don’t expend unnecessary energy. It also protects the reproductive DNA inside the sperm from breaking down, so a correct transference of information is guaranteed. Once the sperm enters the female reproductive tract, it quickly dissipates and the sperm have a sudden burst of energy, which propels them up the tube. Finally, it is an essential part of the enzymes that allow sperm to penetrate the egg.
Biological Functions: Zinc plays a key role in many biological functions such as reproduction, diabetes control, stress level modulation, immune resistance, smell and taste, physical growth, appetite and digestion.
Infection: Zinc helps a person to sense tastes and smells, improves the rate of wound healing, boosts immunity and helps in promoting the fetus growth. It helps in protecting against infectious disorders and fungal infections, which include pneumonia and conjunctivitis.
Antioxidant: Zinc acts as an antioxidant and is involved in some of the biochemically decisive reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, enzymatic function and carbohydrate metabolism. Since zinc is involved in so many integral systems and functions of the body, it cannot be stressed enough – You must have zinc in your diet!
Enzyme regulation: Zinc is an essential component in a number of enzymes that help in regulating cell growth, protein synthesis, hormonal level, DNA, regulating gene transcription, energy metabolism and other related functions.
Cancer: In males, zinc plays a vital role in the prostate gland and prevents premature damage or strain, which can lead to problems like cancer. The natural antioxidant properties of zinc means that it actively seeks out free radicals, the hazardous byproducts of cell metabolism that can cause a number of diseases. Free radicals can morph normal cells into cancerous cells by breaking down the DNA integrity so the elimination of free radicals by antioxidants is one of the most vital lines of defense against many kinds of cancer.
Chronic Fatigue: People suffering from chronic fatigue are usually told to consume fish oil, as it is rich in zinc. Many doctors suggest no other medications for curing chronic fatigue except to start consuming fish oil. Zinc must be doing something right! Zinc is integral for normal muscle function, and many researchers believe that muscle fatigue is one of the major causes of chronic fatigue. Therefore, zinc is the ideal supplement to boost your energy levels.
Alopecia: Alopecia causes loss of hair in both children and adults. Doctors often tell people suffering from this condition to seriously boost their intake of zinc in their diet. Since zinc is so beneficial for hair strength and integrity, the symptoms of alopecia can sometimes be diminished. You can access zinc supplements and capsules in almost all health food stores and groceries. studies have shown that zinc is somewhat more effective on treating childhood alopecia that the conditions of adults.
Bone loss: This is a condition when the bones become weak and fragile. Zinc is a component of hydroxyapatite, which is a salt and makes the bone matrix strong and hard. For this reason, zinc should be added in your dietary plan to avoid bone loss, particularly as you get older, or if you show any signs of premature aging or osteoporosis.
Night blindness: Consuming Zinc in quantities of about 150-450 mg will help to improve your vision. Therefore, it is always recommended to consume food like beef, lamb, oysters, buckwheat and crabs as they are rich in zinc content and will improve the ability to see, and is particularly helpful for those suffering from night blindness. Vitamin-A, which is an essential part of improving night vision, stimulates certain enzymes that couldn’t function without zinc, therefore making it a necessary element in reducing night blindness.