Zinc isn’t talked about as much as other minerals; however, it is critical in immune system functioning and numerous other areas. While zinc deficiency can lead to a range of health problems, the benefits of zinc are foundational to many bodily processes. It is estimated that zinc helps to stimulate around 100 different types of enzyme activity in the body.
A zinc deficiency is linked with slow wound healing, chronic fatigue, growth impairment, hair loss, acne, osteoporosis, delayed sexual maturation and high cholesterol. One of the main benefits of zinc is its ability to assist the immune system in fighting infections. It is also crucial in synthesizing DNA.
Zinc deficiency in children leads to early death from pneumonia and diarrhea
Zinc is essential to the health and development of children. It’s likely that the recommended daily allowance (RDA) in both children and adults is too low for the amount really required to reap the health benefits of zinc. A Journal of Pediatrics review of previous research about zinc benefits looked at studies where zinc was given at up to 4 times the RDA for children.
Zinc supplementation in children was found to dramatically reduce the risk of developing pneumonia and diarrhea. These results are significant to developing countries where pneumonia and diarrhea are the two leading causes of death, and zinc deficiency is common. An estimated 800,000 children die worldwide each year occur due to zinc deficiency.
Key point: The benefits of zinc include immune system support
Zinc helps to regulate immune functioning by assisting in the activation of T cells. These immune system cells help to attack invader cells and also regulate and support immunity responses.
Zinc lozenges taken for the common cold were found to be 40 percent effective, according to an Open Respiratory Medicine Journal study. Cochrane review concurs, saying that taking zinc in syrup or lozenge form can reduce the severity and duration of a cold in healthy persons if taken within 24 hours of experiencing cold symptoms.
In addition to support for the immune system and defense against pneumonia and diarrhea, zinc also supports memory, learning and cognitive functioning. A study published in the journal Neuron conducted at the University of Toronto found zinc was crucial in regulating how neurons communicate.
Zinc available in food and supplement form
The top food sources of zinc include raw Pacific oysters, lean beef, baked beans, King crab, lobster, pork loin, peas, egg yolks, poultry, fish, lima beans, soybeans, pecans and whole grains. However, it can also be taken in supplement form.
While the RDA for zinc is 11 mg/day for men, 8 mg/day for women and 3 to 5 mg/day for children, a higher daily intake may be required depending upon health status. Lactating and pregnant women likely require at least 11-13 mg/day depending upon their age. However, zinc dosages as high as 40 mg per day for adults have been taken with success.
Naturally, be sure to check with your doctor or naturopath to determine the ideal zinc dosage for you.
H/t reader squodgy.
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