The total content of zinc in an adult body is about 2 g.. Zinc is mainly intracellular element. Adequate Zinc is necessary for optimal physical performance, energy levels and body composition. Zinc affects protein synthesis and is required for proper function of red and white blood cells. It is highly concentrated in our bones, the pancreas, kidneys, liver and retina. Improve all aspects of your health and wellbeing by making sure you get enough zinc in your diet. Many people know about zinc for its immune boosting properties, but this mineral is actually a wonder of health benefits. Zinc is such a critical element in human health that even a small deficiency is a disaster.
What are the functions of Zinc in the body?
- It is needed for the body’s defensive (immune) system to properly work. It plays a role in cell division, cell growth, wound healing, and the breakdown of carbohydrates.
- Zinc is also needed for the senses of smell and taste. During pregnancy, infancy, and childhood the body needs zinc to grow and develop properly.
- Zinc is an essential component of several enzymes such as carbonic anhydrase, alcohol dehydrogenase, alkaline phosphatase
- The storage and secretion of insulin from the beta cells of pancreas requires zinc
- Zinc is necessary to maintain the normal levels of vitamin A in serum
What are the food sources of zinc?
Zinc requirement for an adult is 10-15 mg/day. It is increased by about 50% in pregnancy and lactation.
High-protein foods contain high amounts of zinc. Beef, pork, and lamb contain more zinc than fish. The dark meat of a chicken has more zinc than the light meat.
Other good sources of zinc are nuts, whole grains, beans, eggs, milk and yeast
Fruits and vegetables are not good sources, because the zinc in plant proteins is not as available for use by the body as the zinc from animal proteins. Therefore, low-protein diets and vegetarian diets tend to be low in zinc.
What are the symptoms of Zinc deficiency?
Symptoms of zinc deficiency include:
- Frequent infections
- Reduction or absence of testosterone hormone in males
- Loss of hair
- Bad memory
- Nerve dysfunction
- Problems with the sense of smell
- Poor appetite
- Ringing in the ears
- problems with the sense of taste
- Skin sores
- Slow growth
- Trouble seeing in the dark
- Wounds that take a long time to heal
What are the symptoms of large amounts of zinc supplements?
Zinc supplements in large amounts may cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and vomiting, usually within 3 – 10 hours of swallowing the supplements. The symptoms go away within a short period of time after the stopping the supplements.
People who use nasal sprays and gels that contain zinc may have side effects such as losing their sense of smell.