Zinc is a trace element that is useful for a strong immune system. A deficiency of zinc can make someone more susceptible to disease, infections and illness.
The element is naturally found in many different foods, but it is also available as supplements.
Zinc is an important aspect of nutrition. You can be deficient of Zinc if there is not a high enough consumption from your food or supplement.
Deficiency in children can lead to growth impediments and increased risk of infection. During pregnancy and lactation, women may need more zinc.
Zinc helps create new DNA, promotes healthy growth during childhood, and help the body heal from wounds.
Below are some of the health benefits of zinc:
1) Zinc helps regulate immune function
Zinc shortage can brutally weaken the body’s immune system function.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says, “zinc-deficient persons experience increased susceptibility to a variety of pathogens.”
2) Zinc helps in wound healing
Zinc helps in maintaining skin integrity and structure. Patients experiencing chronic wounds often have deficient zinc metabolism and lower blood zinc levels. Zinc is often used in creams for treating diaper rash or other skin irritations in children.
A Swedish study concluded that, “topical zinc may stimulate leg ulcer healing by enhancing re-epithelialization, decreasing swelling or tenderness and stop bacterial growth.
3) Zinc and fertility
Several Studies have linked low zinc blood level with low sperm quality and male infertility. For example, it was found that patients had a higher sperm count after zinc sulfate and folic acid supplementation.
4) Zinc for treating diarrhea in children
The World Health Organization, says diarrhea kills about 1.6 million children under 5 every year. A 10-day course of zinc tablets is effective at treating diarrhea and also helps prevent future occurrences of the condition.
5) Zinc helps in learning and memory
Research has shown that zinc has a crucial role in regulating how neurons interconnect with one another, affecting how memories are formed and how we learn.
6) Zinc helps treat the common cold
Zinc (lozenges or syrup) is useful in reducing the extent and severity of the common cold or flu in healthy people, when taken within 24 hours of onset of symptoms.
(7) Other possible benefits of zinc
Zinc may also be effective for the treatment of:
- preventing and treating pneumonia
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Foods Containing Zinc
The best sources of zinc are animal meats, nuts, fish, beans, raw oysters, beef, crab, lobster, pork, rice, peas, yogurt, peanuts, whole grain cereals and dairy products.
Zinc is also added to some breakfast cereals and other fortified foods.
Zinc supplements are also available in the form of capsules and tablets which are available for purchase in many pharmacy stores.
However, It is better to obtain your daily zinc requirements from foods, and then use supplements as a backup if necessary.
Signs of zinc deficiency
Anyone deficient in Zinc may present with the following signs:
- -loss of appetite
- -slow wound healing
- -skin conditions such as acne or eczema
- -abnormal taste and smell
- -depressed growth
- -hair loss
Zinc deficiency during pregnancy may increase the chances of a difficult or prolonged birth.