Zinc is a micronutrient produced naturally in the body in small quantities in both children and adults. This amount is enough for it to perform its numerous functions in the body.
The absence of Zinc in the right quantity may affect the quality of performance of some systems in the body. Which can, therefore, mean the impairment or malfunction of certain organs or parts of the body.
For instance, Zinc is involved in the proper cellular division of cells in the body. If the division of cells is not carried out properly, it might lead to an imbalance in cellular activities and result in diseases.
So in this post, we’ll be looking at the benefits of Zinc supplements in the body and its function in helping the body grow and develop properly.
Are you are ready! Let’s dive in.
Are You Zinc Deficient?
As an important micronutrient in the body, Zinc Cannot be done away with. According to the National Institute of Health, NIH, in North America (both U.S and Canada) it has been shown that certain classes of individuals might be lacking in an adequate supply of Zinc in their bodies.
This class of people includes; Alcoholics, Vegetarians, Pregnant and lactating mothers, People with sickle cell disease and Infants older than six (6) months.
It will interest you to know that these sets of people are not just found in the U.S and Canada alone, but also in Europe and other parts of the world.
Vegetarians are susceptible to lack of Zinc because of the fact that meat which is a good source of Zinc is not included in their meals.
Another reason that might cause Zinc deficiencies for Vegetarians is the fact that the grains and the beans they eat are usually responsible for the inability of the body to absorb Zinc properly. Hence, this set of people might need up to 50% more of Zinc than the average person.
Alcoholics might also need more Zinc than the daily required for an average adult. This is due in part to alcohol being an inhibitor of Zinc’s absorption by the body.
It is also due in part to alcoholics not eating enough varieties of food that can nourish their bodies with Zinc.
An appreciable quantity of Zinc is also lost through the urine as it is unable to be absorbed by the body for this set of people.
Infants older than six (6) months that are still being breastfed need a daily required amount of Zinc of about 3mg. Since breast milk cannot provide the needed amount of Zinc for these Infants, an alternative source of Zinc will have to be provided. This is to ensure that they (the infants) get the daily required amount needed for their normal growth and development.
Pregnant and lactating mothers might also be deficient in Zinc due to the high fetal requirements. More Zinc through Zinc supplements might be sourced for both her and the growing baby.
Also, during breastfeeding, the Zinc gave to the baby through breast milk certainly depletes the mother of the Zinc reserved in her body. An additional supply of Zinc will, therefore, be needed for the mother.
Sickle cell disease disallows the body from producing normal red blood cells and from circulating oxygen to other parts of the body where it is needed. This causes a deficiency in the production of Zinc in the body of these patients. Additional Zinc is therefore needed for the body to carry out its normal functions.
Other groups of people who may suffer from a deficiency in Zinc include; gastrointestinal surgery patients, Digestive disorder patients, patients with Ulcerative Colitis and patients with Crohn’s disease.
These people have reduced Zinc absorption levels and have increased the loss of Zinc through urine.
Zinc Daily Requirements.
Zinc is an essential nutrient for life. The body needs it on daily basis to carry out its functions and to work properly.
But there is a daily recommended amount needed by the body and this amount is dependent on the age of the individual.
The average requirements as recommended by the Office of Dietary Supplements for different age categories of people are given below;
Birth to 6 months – 2 mg
Infants 7 to 12 months – 3 mg
Children 1 to 3 years – 3 mg.
Children 4 to 8 years – 5 mg
Children 9 to 13 years – 8 mg
Teen boys 14 to 18 years – 11 mg
Teen girls 14 to 18 years – 9 mg
Adults Men – 11 mg
Adults Women – 8 mg
Pregnant Teens – 12 mg
Pregnant Women – 11 mg
Breastfeeding Teens – 13 mg
Breastfeeding Women – 12mg
Benefits Of Zinc Supplements.
As we’ve already discovered, the absence of a deficiency of Zinc in the body might lead to an imbalance in the internal body systems. Supplements are therefore a way to take care of a deficiency in the production of Zinc in the body.
The benefits of taking Zinc supplements are here listed below:
1. Proper Liver Function.
Zinc is essential to the proper functioning of the Liver. The Liver is where all toxins are broken down for the proper ejection from the body. Zinc helps the Liver in the breaking down of these toxins. And without Zinc, some of these toxins might escape the breaking down process, thereby finding their way into the body systems and causing havoc. Zinc is the mineral that makes sure this is not the case.
2. Healing Of Injuries.
Zinc is also a very important micronutrient for the fast healing process of wounds and injuries. Zinc aids the body in producing Insulin. Insulin is an essential component for the regeneration of cells and in the healing of wounds.
An impairment that causes the inability of the body to produce Insulin for example in patients suffering from diabetes will result in slow healing of injured body parts. Zinc, therefore, helps in the production of Insulin in the body for quick recovery and regeneration of the cells affected by the injury. This is the reason Zinc supplements are an important part of medications given to diabetic patients and patients who have challenges with producing Insulin in their bodies.
3. Immune System.
Zinc supplement is a requisite in boosting the immune system.
The immune system of the body is the way the body responds and fights back against infections and diseases. A break down in the immune system, therefore, will see illnesses and infections getting free passes into the body system thereby bringing down the person.
Zinc supplements in combination with other minerals and vitamins, therefore, increases the ability of the immune system to fight against these illnesses and infections.
4. For Common Cold.
During periods when common cold is most prevalent and the numbers of cold-related medical conditions are at the peak, giving zinc supplements to patients have been shown to greatly increase the speed of recovery in patients and to seriously reduce its symptoms.
5. Increase Brains Function.
Zinc supplements can help increase the proper functioning of the Brain.
The Brain – that funny looking wrinkled spongy organ – is the communication center of the whole body.
Virtually all the nerve endings in the body are connected one way or the other to the brain. This makes the brain essentially the powerhouse of the whole body systems.
The Brain regulates and processes every sensory information from the environment and sends the appropriate response to the body part directly involved.
The Brain also serves as the hormone release organ for the normal activities to take place within the body system.
Zinc is, therefore, a vital component in the normal functioning of the body as it aids the Brain in performing its duties.
Zinc also keeps the brain healthy as it attacks diseases that affect the brain functions example might be Alzheimer’s disease.
6. Sexual Health.
The benefits of Zinc supplements can also be found in its use to correct sexual ailments such Impotence or Erectile Dysfunction.
When a male loses the ability to have an erection, or cannot sustain an erection for normal intercourse, it is termed as Erectile Dysfunction.
This can either be caused by stress both mentally and physically in which case it’s temporary. Or it can be as a result of the inability of blood to flow to the sexual organ.
Taking Zinc supplements in addition to relaxing to ease stress, can serve as a better alternative to prescription drugs like Viagra without their side effects or the risk of surgery. Zinc helps the body in producing high levels of testosterone, the male hormone needed for sexual health.
Fertility issue can occur if a man is unable to produce quality sperm cells needed to fertilize the eggs released by the woman.
This might be due to low sperm count in the manor slow-moving sperm cells that die before getting to fertilize any egg.
Zinc is so important in the production of both the quality and the number of sperm cells in the reproductive system of a man.
Certainly, taking Zinc supplements can avail the man the quality sperm cells needed to fertilize the eggs released by the woman.
Studies have also shown that by using Zinc supplement it can help a woman make use of estrogen and progesterone more effectively. This, in turn, helps in getting pregnant without hassles.
8. Fetal Growth And Development.
During pregnancy, a woman will usually need more zinc to take care of her own needs and the need of the fetus. The spinal cord of the fetus is usually formed within the first eight (8) weeks, usually before the expectant mother even knows she is pregnant. Zinc is highly needed for the normal growth and development of the spinal cord and fetus during the entire pregnancy period. Taking Zinc supplements at this time will prove to be highly beneficial.
9. Treating Diarrhea.
It has been shown that taking Zinc supplements will effectively reduce the symptoms of Diarrhea and hasten the recovery of patients suffering from diarrhea.
This is especially true if these patients are already deficient in Zinc. For example in third world countries where children are malnourished and therefore, do not have the required amount of nutrients like Zinc in their bodies.
What Is The Side Effects Of Too Much zinc?
It is an agreed phenomenon that too much of everything might actually be a bad thing. This also applies to the intake of Zinc in quantities above the recommended upper limits.
The overdose use of Zinc over long periods have been shown to inhibit the absorption of other minerals like Copper and Iron, a lack of which can be associated with Anemia.
High levels of Zinc in the body can also lead to Zinc toxicity.
Symptoms that may occur as a result of excessive intake of Zinc over long periods include;
Loss of appetite
A loss of sense of taste and smell of some type of smells can also occur either temporarily or permanently.
The upper limits of Zinc intake are hereby listed below. However, this will not apply to patients under the special care of a doctor’s prescription of Zinc.
Birth to 6 months – 4 mg
Infants 7 to 12 months – 5 mg
Children 1 to 3 years – 7 mg
Children 4 to 8 years – 12 mg
Children 9 to 13 years – 23 mg
Teens 14 to 18 years – 34 mg
Adults – 40 mg
Never Be Zinc Deficient Again.
As already seen, Zinc is very important for both normal body function and proper growth and development.
However, the benefits of Zinc can be adequately and fully harnessed if combined with healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle which includes regular exercise.
This will certainly and without a doubt give you the full benefits of Zinc supplements.
A life that’s healthy is a life that’s wealthy. If that is what you want, then go now and make it happen.