benefit zinc
Zinc is a trace mineral that is healthy to include in your daily diet in small amounts. Benefits of zinc include boosting immunity and improving wound healing.

Zinc is a type of essential micronutrient because it is needed in small amounts for human health. The human body cannot produce or store zinc. Hence, it must be consumed regularly as a dietary component.

Zinc intake is needed in the body for the following:

  • Gene expression
  • Enzymatic reactions
  • Immune function
  • Protein synthesis
  • DNA synthesis
  • Wound healing
  • Growth and development

Including zinc in your diet every day is okay, provided it is within the recommended daily allowance, which is 8 mg for women and 11 mg for adult men. Since zinc is a trace mineral, consumption of an excess amount can cause health problems. The most widely recognized cause for zinc toxicity is taking high amounts of supplemental zinc, which can cause both acute and chronic symptoms.

Signs of zinc toxicity

What are the food sources of zinc?

Numerous animal and plant dietary food sources are naturally rich in zinc, including:

  • Shellfish: Oysters, crab, mussels, lobster, and mollusks
  • Meat: Beef, pork, sheep, and buffalo
  • Poultry: Turkey and chicken
  • Fish: Flounder, sardines, salmon, and sole
  • Vegetables: Chickpeas, lentils, dark beans, kidney beans, and so on
  • Nuts and seeds: Pumpkin seeds, cashews, hemp seeds, and more
  • Dairy items: Milk, yogurt, and cheddar
  • Eggs
  • Whole grains: Oats, quinoa, earthy colored rice, and so on
  • Certain vegetables: Mushrooms, kale, peas, asparagus, and beet greens

Additionally, zinc can be taken in the form of supplements, although opt for absorbable forms such as zinc citrate or zinc gluconate. Avoid zinc oxide, which is poorly absorbed. Zinc lozenges can also be taken to improve immunity during the common cold, making it a popular cold remedy along with vitamin C.

What are the 4 health benefits of zinc?

Four potential health benefits of zinc intake include:

  1. Boosts the immune system
    • Zinc helps keep the immune system strong, which is particularly good for the common cold. Because it is essential for immune cell function and cell signaling, zinc deficiency can prompt a weakened immune reaction.
    • Zinc supplements help stimulate specific immune cells and reduce oxidative stress.
  2. Helps heal wounds
    • Zinc is regularly used in hospitals as a treatment for burns, certain ulcers, and other skin wounds. This mineral plays a critical role in collagen synthesis, immune function, and inflammatory reaction, so it is essential for proper healing.
  3. May reduce the risk of certain age-related diseases
    • Lessen the danger of age-related diseases, such as pneumonia, infection, and age-related macular degeneration.
    • Reduce oxidative pressure and work on immune response by boosting the activity of T cells and natural killer cells, which assist with shielding the body from infection.
  4. May help treat acne
    • Studies recommend that both topical and oral zinc medicines can effectively treat skin break out by reducing inflammation, repressing the growth of bacteria, and reducing oil-gland activity.

What are the signs and symptoms of zinc deficiency?

Zinc deficiency is rare. It can happen in individuals with certain genetic diseases, breastfed newborns whose moms need more zinc, individuals with alcohol addictions, and anybody taking certain immune-suppressing medicines.

Side effects of moderate zinc insufficiency include:

Side effects of severe zinc deficiency include:

  • Impaired growth and development
  • Delayed sexual maturity
  • Skin rashes
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Impaired wound healing
  • Behavioral issues

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Medically Reviewed on 10/4/2021
References
National Institutes of Health. Zinc. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/

Medline Plus. Zinc in Diet. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002416.htm

Maret W, Sandstead HH. Zinc Requirements and the Risks and Benefits of Zinc Supplementation. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2006;20(1):3-18. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0946672X06000411