Zinc, a nutrient found throughout your body, helps your immune system and metabolism function. Zinc is also important to wound healing and your sense of taste and smell. With a varied diet, your body usually gets enough zinc. Food sources of zinc include chicken, red meat and fortified breakfast cereals. `Zinc is a nutrient that plays many vital roles in your body.
Because your body doesn’t naturally produce zinc, you must obtain it through food or supplements.
Zinc is considered an essential nutrient, meaning that your body can’t produce or store it. In addition to its role in keeping the body’s immune system strong and preventing infection, this trace mineral is important for a multitude of functions, including energy production, alertness, mood and healthy brain function. It also plays a central role in hormone production, digestion, neuroprotection, and healing processes in the brain and body.
For this reason, you must get a constant supply through your diet.
Zinc is required for numerous processes in your body, including
• Gene expression
• Enzymatic reactions
• Immune function
• Protein synthesis
• DNA synthesis
• Wound healing
• Growth and development.
Good dietary sources of zinc include
• Red meat
• Dairy products
• Whole grains
However, zinc is more easily absorbed from meat and animal proteins. Vegetables are not ideal sources because they contain phytate, a compound in plants that prevents zinc from being absorb.
Zinc is naturally found in a wide variety of both plant and animal foods.
Foods that don’t naturally contain this mineral, such as breakfast cereals, snack bars and baking flour, are often fortified with synthetic forms of zinc.
You can also take zinc supplements or multi-nutrient supplements that provide zinc. Because of its role in immune function, zinc is likewise added to some nasal sprays, lozenges and other natural cold treatments.
Benefits of Zinc
1. Builds Immunity:
Zinc plays a key role in your body’s immunity to bacteria, viruses, and fungi. In studies conducted on both young adults and the elderly, zinc supplementation was found to decrease oxidative stress and halt the generation of inflammatory cytokines. Because it is necessary for immune cell function and cell signaling, a deficiency can lead to a weakened immune response. Zinc supplements stimulate particular immune cells and reduce oxidative stress.For example, a review of seven studies demonstrated that 80–92 mg per day of zinc may reduce the length of the common cold by up to 33%.
2. Helps Combat Cancer:
An American study speaks of how zinc can aid cancer treatment. The mineral reduces the development of inflammatory blood vessels and induces cancer cell death. Other studies have suggested that zinc can halt the proliferation of esophageal cancer cells. Zinc and other nutrient deficiencies (e.g., magnesium, selenium, vitamin D) are common in cancer patients, suggesting a link between these nutrients and the possible prevention of various forms of cancer.
3. Accelerates Wound Healing:
Zinc is commonly used in hospitals as a treatment for burns, certain ulcers and other skin injuries. Because this mineral plays critical roles in collagen synthesis, immune function and inflammatory response, it is necessary for proper healing. In fact, your skin holds a relatively high amount about 5% of your body’s zinc content. While a zinc deficiency can slow wound healing, supplementing with zinc can speed recovery in people with wounds. Zinc plays a role in maintaining skin integrity and structure. Patients experiencing chronic wounds or ulcers often have deficient zinc metabolism and lower serum zinc levels. Zinc is often used in skin creams for treating diaper rash or other skin irritations.
4. Aids Diabetes Treatment:
Zinc supplementation can also have a beneficial effect on glycemic control. As per other reports, women with prediabetes were found to be deficient in zinc and other elements (e.g. vitamin D). Zinc has also been found to prevent amylin (a protein) from forming clumps in the body, which can contribute to diabetes and other chronic ailments. The mineral is also needed to produce insulin, which plays a central role in diabetes. Zinc is also required for the production of pancreatic enzymes, which are digestive enzymes essential for the proper breakdown and utilization of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in the foods we eat.
5. Treating diarrhea:
According to the World Health Organization, diarrhea kills an astonishing 1.6 million children under 5 every year. Zinc pills may help reduce diarrhea. Which “followed a nationwide public health campaign to increase zinc use for childhood diarrhea in Bangladesh,” confirmed that a 10-day course of zinc tablets is effective at treating diarrhea and also helps prevent future bouts of the condition.
6. May Help Treat Acne:
Acne is a common skin disease that is estimated to affect up to 9.4% of the global population. Acne is driven by obstruction of oil-producing glands, bacteria and inflammation. Studies suggest that both topical and oral zinc treatments can effectively treat acne by reducing inflammation, inhibiting the growth of P. acnes bacteria and suppressing oily gland activity.
7. Protects The Heart:
As an antioxidant mineral, studies have shown that zinc can protect the heart muscles against oxidative stress that might otherwise harm the heart in the long run. It strengthens the heart – along with three other important antioxidant minerals, magnesium, copper, and selenium – and helps the heart deal with oxidative stress and other related issues. Studies have shown that zinc levels are often low in people with atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), heart disease, chest pain and heart failure
8. Preventing age-related macular degeneration (AMD):
Zinc prevents cellular damage in the retina, which helps in delaying the progression of AMD and vision loss, according to a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology.
9. Zinc effects on learning and memory:
Research conducted at the University of Toronto and published in the journal Neuronsuggested that zinc has a crucial role in regulating how neurons communicate with one another, affecting how memories are formed and how we learn.
In a meta-analysis of 17 trials and 2400 participants, low blood levels of zinc were associated with more severe depressive symptoms. Dietary intake of zinc was inversely associated with depression rates in another meta-analysis of nine studies. Zinc supplementation significantly improved the efficacy of standard treatment with antidepressants in three trials of 118 patients.
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