Zinc and Its Incredible Benefits
Are You Missing Out on the Incredible Benefits?
by Greg Montoya
As you’ve heard, zinc is good for you. Maybe, you’ve even used zinc lozenges when you’ve had a cold (probably because someone told you too). That said, do you actually understand what it does, or how your body benefits from it overall?
What is Zinc?
It’s an essential, naturally occurring mineral that’s evident in a variety of foods. Also, available in supplement form, either by itself or along with other vitamins and minerals. It’s required for healthy and balanced immune system. Also, an efficient synthesizing DNA, healthy childhood growth, and much more. Following are some of the incredible benefits and why it’s so important to get enough of it.
Regulates the Immune System
Zinc’s main purpose is to help keep the body’s antibody responses active and alert. This is when it comes to the immune system. There are a multitude of biological ways it affects immunity. For example, from its ability to support the health of white blood cells, to shielding cells from free radicals. As reported by the European Journal of Immunology, the body also needs zinc to activate T cells (T lymphocytes). T cells benefit the human body by regulating immune responses and attacking cancerous or infected cells.
Shortens the Duration of the Common Cold
Zinc lozenges shorten the duration of the common cold. There’s a study published by the Open Respiratory Medicine Journal. This showed it can shorten the duration of colds by up to 40%. According to a Cochrane review taking zinc syrup or lozenges can help reduce the severity and duration in healthy people. This is when taken within 24 hours of the beginning of symptoms.
Helps Maintain Heart Health by Supporting Blood Vessels
It helps support heart health by maintaining the health of the cells. This relates to the cardiovascular system. Thus, reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Also, it benefits the heart. This promotes healthy circulation. Because, it works as a natural remedy for cholesterol levels and high blood pressure caused by damaged or clogged arteries.
Affects Memory and Learning Abilities
Zinc is required for cognitive functions and the performance of all 5 senses. There’s research from the University of Toronto. Thus, indicates that it plays a crucial role in managing how neurons communicate with each other. This affects how we learn and how memories are formed.
Helps Fight Diabetes
This essential mineral is required to balance insulin. Also, most other hormones. It’s the primary hormone involved with the regulation of blood sugar. Also, a natural treatment for diabetes. Zinc benefits blood sugar levels by binding to insulin. This is so it’s properly stored in the pancreas and then releases when glucose flows into the bloodstream. Also, it enables the proper use of the digestive enzymes. These enzymes are required for insulin to bind to cells. Moreover, glucose is used as fuel instead of being stored as fat.
Helps Heal Wounds
Zinc helps maintain skin structure and integrity. Patients suffering from chronic ulcers or wounds frequently have a deficient zinc metabolism and low serum zinc levels. Using a topical zinc promotes leg ulcer healing by decreasing bacterial growth, inflammation and enhancing re-epithelialization. When applied on wounds, it helps correct a local zinc deficiency and responds pharmacologically. It is a common ingredient in skin creams for treating skin irritations, including diaper rash.
Decreases the Risk of Chronic Age-Related Diseases
A zinc deficiency is associated with increased chronic disease related to inflammation and inducing new inflammatory processes. Research was performed at Oregon State University. It found that having the appropriate level provided by food or supplementation can reduce the probability of inflammatory diseases.
Helps Prevent Macular Degeneration
Zinc helps prevent age related macular degeneration and vision loss by preventing cellular damage in the retina. The elderly have an increased chance of experiencing vision loss. This is because they are at a greater risk of having a zinc deficiency. It also helps retain good eyesight by mobilizing vitamin A from the liver, via a retinol binding protein.
Numerous trials, and studies have associated a poor zinc level with low sperm count and male infertility. For instance, one study from Netherlands discovered that participants had a higher sperm count after taking folic acid. Also, taking zinc sulfate supplements.
Effective in Treating Diarrheal Diseases
Several studies have found that zinc deficiency also relates to chronic digestive problems and diarrheal diseases. Researchers also found that a supplementation can be effective as an acute diarrhea remedy. Moreover, it’s a prophylaxis to take action to prevent disease.
When it comes to the skin, it’s important to have enough zinc. This is because some of it is retained within the skin. Thus, playing a role in the development and differentiation of varying human tissues. It helps fight acne by eliminating acne causing bacteria from the skin and reducing oil production.
Symptoms of a Zinc Deficiency
Common deficiency symptoms include a loss of appetite, and an impaired immune system. In severe cases, deficiency can cause hair loss, skin and eye lesions, diarrhea, delayed sexual maturation, impotence, and hypogonadism. These symptoms can also be indications of other conditions. So, if you’re having these symptoms, consult with a medical professional. They can help determine if it’s a zinc deficiency or another issue and make recommendations for treatment.
Getting Enough Zinc
Because the body doesn’t retain a significant amount of zinc, it’s important to regularly re-up on the mineral. For example, through zinc-rich foods as noted below:
- Grass fed beef
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Pumpkin seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Cocoa powder
If your diet doesn’t provide enough, a supplement can increase intake. This will satisfy the Institute of Medicine’s advised daily allowance of 8 to 11 mg a day for adults.