Benefits of Zinc

There are many supplements in the modern world of health and fitness.  While some have less effect than eating the tub they come in, others I would consider almost vital.  Zinc is one of the latter.  Many people know about zinc for its immune boosting properties, but this mineral is actually has a plethora of health benefits.   So this month, I will explain why researchers write “zinc is such a critical element in human health that even a small deficiency is a disaster.”

Important Antioxidant
This mineral is so important because it is found in every tissue in the body and low zinc exacerbates the effects of stress on the body and accelerates aging. . Not only is it a powerful antioxidant, it is also directly involved in the maintenance of ideal hormone levels.

The antioxidant effects of zinc allow it to efficiently remove toxins from the body and keep them from building up in tissue and causing damage. The progression of neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s disease is accelerated by heavy metal buildup in the brain. Zinc can help get rid of those toxins, and it also helps maintain cellular homeostasis of brain cells.

At Risk
Zinc deficiency occurs from not eating enough zinc-rich foods. Zinc is found in large concentrations in meat, some seafood and dairy. Whole grains and legumes contain zinc, but it is bound to phytates in these plant-based foods, making the zinc inaccessible by the body.  So vegans and vegetarians are a group at greatest risk of zinc deficiency, but alcoholics and people with digestive issues and poor stomach acidity are also highly susceptible.

Taking pharmaceutical medications may produce zinc deficiency and low levels of almost all essential nutrients. Women on the birth control pill or on hormone replacement therapy are also at great risk of deficiency.

Boost Immune Function
Ananda Prasad, a leading researcher in the field of zinc and health, notes that simply ensuring our zinc levels are adequate can help cure a number of the most severe health problems, especially cancer and poor immune function. Along with prostate cancer, low zinc plays a role in the development of most cancers since it is instrumental in healthy cell proliferation. Recent evidence links zinc deficiency to cancers of the breast, colon, ovaries, lungs, skin, and leukemia.

Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency
Low zinc will produce an altered sense of taste leading to cravings of saltier, sweeter food. Deficiency can also be indicated by diarrhea, low energy, chronic fatigue, infertility, poor immunity, bad memory,  inability to focus, ADD symptoms, slow wound healing, nerve dysfunction, and ringing in the ears. 

Supplement Beware
There are many different strains of this wonder element so look closely at your supplement before purchasing.  Many shop bought multivitamins will contain zinc oxide or zinc sulfate which cannot be absorbed into the body, therefore making this form of zinc useless.

Zinc orotate is a chelated form of zinc that is more readily absorbed by the body than any other zinc supplement available.  Zinc orotate passes through the membranes of cells easily, and it pulls the highest amounts of accompanying minerals into the cells.

Nuts, eggs, meat and fish are readily available sources of zinc so make sure these are frequent in your diet.  Your mind, body and soul will thank you for increasing your daily zinc levels!