Zinc: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Zinc: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Overview

Despite the fact that not many people pay close attention to this element, zinc is crucial to human health.

It is a fundamental part of protein synthesis and plays an essential role in the regulation of cell production.

Some scientific evidence even showed that zinc is present in about 3,000 proteins in human body.

Besides, over 300 enzymes present in our body need the participation of zinc in order to function well.

Zinc appears in many different parts of our body, but normally, your strongest muscles might contain the highest amount of zinc.

You may also witness the concentration of this element in red and white blood cells as well as other organs, such as the kidneys or liver.

Important as it is, zinc should be absorbed in a moderate amount only.

The recommended amount of zinc supplement is dependent on each individual.

Healthy men should consume 11 gram of zinc per day, while the amount for women is 8 gram (1).

The failure to supply the body with a sufficient amount of zinc might lead to a series of diseases.

You might recognize the shortage of zinc by some common symptoms, such as hair loss or the appearance of white spots on the nails…

The deficiency of zinc is responsible for more than 800,000 childhood deaths annually all around the world.

Nutrition Facts

To help you understand zinc nutrition facts, this article will introduce some of the best zinc sources from the nature.

It is true that there is a vast range of ways you can take it into the body, but one of the healthiest and best methods is to accumulate zinc from natural foods.

Oyster is a typical example which provides approximately 8 milligrams of zinc per one ounce. Thus, two oysters will meet the daily need of an ordinary man.

Other seafoods, such as shrimp or shellfish, are also great recommendations for those who want a natural source of zinc.

Red meat, such as beef, is among the most common sources of zinc for American people.

Besides, a considerable amount of zinc can be found in many types of nuts and seeds as well. You can benefit from quinoa, mushrooms or spinach.

As the importance of zinc to the body is undeniable, it is obvious that health benefits of zinc have been the centre of many studies for ages.

Health Benefits of Zinc

Here are top 10 health benefits of zinc that have been summarized from a number of science-based studies.

1. Boost Immunity

Zinc - Boost Immunity

One of the most popular zinc health benefits is to amplify the strength of your immune system.

It also means that zinc is particularly effective to protect you from common colds and illnesses.

Some studies have found out that zinc is necessary for human body to stimulate the activity of T cells (2).

These cells are claimed to be responsible for controlling your immune responses to foreign objects and fighting against cancerous cells.

The results from other researches concluded that zinc could have powerful effects on preventing the accumulation of mucus and bacteria in the nasal passages. Therefore, you are less likely to experience annoying symptoms of colds.

The Medical Education Center of Chandigarh India carried out an experiment and the result revealed that those supplemented with zinc had a significant reduction in the symptoms of colds (3).

Bottom Line: The addition of zinc is a powerful tool to boost your immunity and then, protect you from colds.

2. Cognitive Function

One of the most important zinc health benefits that you need to remember is its influence over the function of your brain.

There are a number of studies which proved that the lack of zinc supplement can hinder the learning process and memory capacity in both young and old people (4) (5).

A study focused on the use of zinc on schoolchildren and the results showed that zinc could actually enhance schoolchildren’s cognitive abilities and thus, their academic performance witnessed a great change (6).

However, the details on how zinc works are still unidentified and there is still a need for more researches on these health benefits of zinc on the brain function.

Bottom Line: Despite lack of clear explanation, it is widely accepted that zinc has positive effects on the cognitive function. 

3. Prevent Prostate Cancer

The prevention against prostate cancer is also among top health benefits of zinc.

If the intake of zinc is insufficient, the prostate gland might be enlarged, which makes it easier for cancerous cells to develop.

Some studies carried out on both animals and humans supported this advantage of zinc (7), even though scientists still need to do more research to confirm their statements.

Men are suggested to consume 15 mg of zinc on a daily basis so as to prevent the growth of tumor in their prostate.

Bottom Line: Zinc is a promising element to enable men to stay away from prostate cancer.

4. Fertility

Zinc - Infertility

In particular, health benefits of zinc on men are shown not only in preventing cancer, but also in improving their fertility.

There is evidence that a low amount of zinc is associated with low-quality sperm, which is often for men’s infertility (8).

In an experiment, 14 infertile men were demanded to increase their intake of zinc. Surprisingly, 3 of them could make their wife pregnant (9).

Bottom Line: It is logical to place the faith in the effectiveness of zinc to cure infertility, even though we are still in need of further research.

5. Eczema Treatment

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a common skin disorder which mainly results from the lack of zinc intake (10).

Thus, one of the most common health benefits of zinc is to accelerate the treatment for chronic eczema.

Nevertheless, some scientists appear quite doubtful about the real effectiveness of zinc to eradicate atopic eczema (11).

Therefore, it is imperative for more studies to be carried out.

6. Smell and Taste

One of the most common symptoms which indicate the deficiency of zinc is the loss of taste and smell.

Hence, it is logical that to improve the function of your taste and smell is among top health benefits of zinc.

Some trials showed that the increasing absorption of zinc is related to the improvement of taste and smell sense (12).

7. Stimulate Appetite

Other health benefits of zinc on your taste sense can be witnessed in the way it improves your appetite.

Some animal and human studies revealed the positive impacts of zinc on the stimulation of your appetite (13).

8. Bone Health

Zinc - Bone Health

When health benefits of zinc are analyzed, it is hardly possible to forget its effect on our bone health.

Zinc plays an essential role in the stimulation of cell production, which is beneficial for the bone formation (14).

In addition, you will also notice the appearance of zinc in the efforts to prevent osteoporosis (15).

Bottom Line: Zinc is an important part of a diet to fight against bone loss.

9. Fight Against Fatigue

The association between the amount of zinc and chronic fatigue syndrome has been supported by several studies (16).

Therefore, one of the best zinc health benefits that you can make use of is to fight against fatigue.

In other words, it will give your body a healthy boost in the energy level.

In fact, many people experiencing fatigue had better use fish oil – an abundant source of zinc (17) (18).

10. Night Blindness

Last but not least, to deal with night blindness is an important part when it comes to health benefits of zinc.

This is a dangerous problem because of its possible consequences on drivers (19).

The consumption of 150-450 mg of zinc is beneficial for your vision.

Zinc also takes part in the activities of vitamin A in the body to produce some essential enzymes that foster your vision.

Side Effects

Zinc might become hazardous if you excess this element excessively (20).

First, some people might undergo nausea and vomitting after consuming zinc. This can lead to a series of other problems, such as breath shortness or doziness.

Some others are even allergic to this element; as a consequence, the use of zinc may trigger some annoying reactions, such as itchiness or swelling.

Besides, too much zinc will have negative effects on the digestive system. Specificially, you might face diarrhea or abdominal creams.

To avoid these unwanted effects and get the best from health benefits of zinc, you should not take in more than 40 mg of zinc per day.

Disclaim: The effectiveness from using these foods on certain problems and diseases will be depended on the body condition of the applicant.

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