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Health Benefits of Zinc

Updated on August 16, 2012
Zinc Ore
Zinc Ore

Zinc is an essential mineral nutrient for the body and is present in virtually every human cell. It’s obtained from a variety of food sources as well as dietary supplements like multi-vitamins. The benefits of zinc are many.

Studies show it’s a catalyst for stimulating biochemical reactions in about 300 enzymes and is necessary for maintaining a healthy immune system. It also aids sense of smell and taste and is indispensable for normal growth and development and protein synthesis.

The health benefits of Zinc also includes improved digestion, diabetes control, stress relief, better energy metabolism and aids in healing of acne and wounds. It also helps regulate white and red blood cell concentrations and helps maintain eye, liver, kidney and pancreatic functions. Zinc can be found mostly in the strong muscles of the body.

Some organs such as salivary, prostrate and pancreas glands secrete zinc. In addition, zinc is involved with synthesizing collagen, important in normalizing the amount of skin oils and maintaining healthy skin. Zinc is also an important factor in dealing with prostate disorders. A zinc deficiency can lead to prostate cancer.

In males, the mineral contributes to sperm production, while in females it plays a role in reproductive phases. It should be noted however, zinc and other nutritional supplements are largely unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Therefore, any medical claims made by manufacturers should be taken with a grain of salt. Some unscrupulous venders have been discovered to have misrepresented dosage and content information on labels.

Speaking of salts, zinc salts, when applied directly, helps fight against pathogens. Taken orally, it helps gastrointestinal problems. Zinc salts are also used as lozenges in fighting bacteria and viruses but it would be advisable to consult a physician before using it in this manner. Studies are still being conducted on zinc’s ability to battle pathogens and its possible tissue damage.

Some good sources of zinc are:

· Oysters

· Sunflower and pumpkin seeds

· Nuts

· Whole grains

· Beans

· Animal proteins

· Fish oil

· Turnips, peas and oats

However, for maximum affect, avoid legumes, cereals and grain breads. These contain Phytates that lowers the absorption rate.

Zinc deficiency can lead to:

· Skin lesions

· Hair loss

· Diarrhea

· Low blood pressure, retarded bone growth,

· Loss of appetite and weight loss

· Depression and fatigue

· Poor taste, smell, and eyesight, or failure of these organs

· Breakdown of body tissues or even death

Congenital abnormalities may also lead to Acrodermatitis enteropathica, a rare inherited form of zinc deficiency, characterized by periorificial (situated about or surrounding an opening) dermatitis, psoriasis, hair loss and diarrhea.

Comments

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    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      A good multivitamin should handle everything that one needs, correct?

    • eHealer profile image

      Deborah 

      6 years ago from Las Vegas

      Lol, Jy, too funny!

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Yeh, everything in the article but the kitchen zinc...sorry. LOL

    • eHealer profile image

      Deborah 

      6 years ago from Las Vegas

      Excellent hub JY, it's really important to mention those symptoms from too much zinc. I had patients with too much absortion of zinc from their denture adhesive. Well done JY! Voted up!

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