Why is zinc important for your body?
Zinc is one of the most essential minerals required by our body. Following are some of the vital functions regulated by zinc in human body:
- Zinc strengthens immune system to fight against bacteria and viruses
- Zinc also assists the body to make proteins and genetic materials or DNA
- Zinc is essential for absorption of vitamins and minerals
- Zinc speeds up body's wound heeling capacity
- Zinc is responsible at maintaining healthy senses of taste in body
- Zinc is essential for maintaining healthy testosterone level in men. Lack of zinc may bring patients at high risk of prostate cancer.
- Zinc is equally vital for women fertility. It regulates oocyte (egg) growth process and thus, lack of zinc may cause infertility issues for women
- Zinc is excellent at preventing Cancer. Researchers say that if people remain cautious about their zinc levels and take step to maintain healthy zinc levels, they can protect themselves from developing any form of cancer.
- Zinc also contributes in maintaining required energy levels in body
- Zinc can also contribute largely at having a healthy cardiovascular system within the body
- Zinc is also essential for maintaining good hormone levels in body
- Zinc is essential for carbohydrate break down
What are the additional benefits of zinc?
- Zinc is very useful in treating diarrhea and slow growth in children
- Zinc is also needed to reduce free radical damage; such as aging in body
- Zinc is vital for healthy skin and helps to reduce problems such as acne
- Zinc proves to be highly effective at preventing neurodegenerative diseases; such as Alzheimer
- Zinc is a super cure and preventive measure against depression
- Zinc also controls sleep disorders and is regarded as an excellent sleep promoter
- Zinc also contributes in fighting cold, flu and rash
- Zinc helps to fight bad breadth
What is the healthy amount of zinc intake?
Following are the dietary recommendations of zinc intake:
- Pregnant women: 11 mg per day
- Breastfeeding women: 12 mg per day
- Infants below 6 months: 2 mg per day
- Infants between 7 months to 3 years : 3 mg per day
- Children between 4 to 8 years: 5 mg per day
- Children between 9 to 13 years: 8 mg per day
- Adolescents between 14 to 18 years (boys): 11mg per day
- Adolescents between 14 to 18 years (girls): 9 mg per day
- Adults (Men): 11 mg per day
- Adults (Women): 8 mg per day
What are the food sources of Zinc?
- Pumpkin and pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Soy beans
- Peas and green beans
- Kidney Beans
- Watermelon seeds
- Fortified Cereals
- Brown rice
- Fruits such as Pomegranates and Avocados
- Blackberries and Raspberries also serve as an excellent source of zinc
- Egg yolk
What are the symptoms of Zinc deficiency?
Following are the early signs of zinc deficiency:
- Acne, skin rashes and related issues
- Thinning hair, medically termed as Alopecia
- Repeated diarrhea
- Lack of appetite
- Dryness of skin
- Vision problems
- Very susceptible to infections
- Slow growth in children
- Loss of weight
- A delayed wound healing
- Not being able to smell or taste accurately
- Retarded sexual development; especially in men
Who remains at highest risk of zinc deficiency?
- Nutritional deficiency is a rare reason; however, it is considered as one of the important reasons behind zinc deficiency leading to multiple health disorders in developing countries
- Extreme alcoholism accelerates zinc excretion from the body and thus the body is left with low zinc content
- Gastrointestinal issues related to improper absorption of zinc by the body
- Severe and prolonged liver disorders
- People who stick to vegetarian diet; however, don't meet zinc requirements
- Pregnant women remain at high risk of zinc disorders
- Kidney diseases
- Crohn's disease and Sickle Cell disease lead to sudden drop of Zinc in body
Can you ever have excess Zinc in body?
If your body has more than 225 mg of zinc, then you are said to suffer from Zinc toxicity. Zinc overdose through diet is a rare condition. However, taking prolonged supplements can lead to excess zinc or what is known as zinc toxicity in body. Living in industrial areas producing excess zinc is also a primary causative reason behind abundant zinc in body.
How will you know if you have excess Zinc in body?
Following are few of the symptoms that show zinc overdose:
- Severe and uncontrolled vomiting
- Stomach pain and diarrhea
- Zinc chills are associated with exposure to industrial zinc
- Excess Zinc also disturbs iron balance leading to anemia
- Zinc overdose leads to lowering of good HDL in body
- Zinc in abundance reduces white blood cells in body
- If you are taking any antibiotics, your body stops responding to the medication if your are suffering from zinc overdose
Zinc contributes at preventing Diabetes. Is it really true?
Yes. Healthy levels of zinc can help you to prevent Diabetes to a great extent. Following are the three vital roles played by zinc with respect to insulin:
- Zinc is abundantly present in the pancreas where insulin is produced. Here, it enhances cell development and overall health of cell
- Zinc binds itself to insulin receptors and thus ensures insulin storage and secretion when glucose enters the blood
- Zinc is important for good insulin sensitivity
What do you mean by insulin sensitivity?
Insulin is produced by pancreas when there is excess sugar in blood. Following which, the cells absorb glucose content and thus, the blood is left with normal sugar levels. And the person does not suffer from diabetes.
Insulin sensitivity may be termed as a relation between amount of insulin required to help cells absorb required levels of glucose. A good insulin sensitivity suggests that a small amount of insulin is required by the body. On the other hand, when the body requires large insulin for small glucose content, the body is said to be insulin resistant.
Why does lack of zinc lead to hair loss?
As already mentioned in Q.1, Zinc is vital for protein synthesis, vitamin and mineral absorption. When the body lacks zinc, above functions cannot take place efficiently and thus lead to thinning hair as one of the many disorders.
Not only lack of zinc, but an excess of zinc can lead to the similar problem too. Zinc overdose may have hormonal imbalance including high testosterone level. This condition again promotes loss of hair.
What are the diagnostic tests available for Zinc disorders determination?
Following are some of the laboratory tests helpful for Zinc deficiency determination:
- Serum tests for Zinc deficiency
- Urine test also helps in determining Zinc content in body
- Plasma Zinc test
- A simple taste test is also conducted
- Hair test as Zinc deposits in hair strands. Studying zinc content in hair gives an overall idea of zinc in body.
How is Zinc related to thyroid disorders?
Thyroid gland functions are regulated by TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) produced by pituitary gland. Healthy TSH levels guarantee adequate T3 and T4 levels in body. Production of this TSH depends upon proteins, Vitamin B-12, Magnesium and the very important Zinc. Therefore, any form of zinc disorders result in impaired thyroid functions.
Zinc regulates your heart beat. How?
Calcium balance in heart cells is important to regulate healthy heart beat patterns. A heart, deficient in calcium, leads to fatal arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat pattern); making patients susceptible to heart failures. Calcium movement in heart cells is regulated by zinc. Therefore, if your are deficient in zinc, your body develops calcium imbalance leading to related heart disorders.
Further, zinc deficiency may also lead to lack of cardio-protective substance and triggers inflammatory conditions; thus risking cardiovascular threats.