What Is Zinc?
Zinc is mostly known for its immunity-boosting ability and keeping common cold at a distance. However, this mineral is not only important for maintaining overall health but also for the optimal functioning of the body. It facilitates digestion, helps in hormone production, growth and repair of cells.
What does Zinc Do For Your Body?
Zinc is present in cells all through your body. Besides strengthening your immune system, zinc also contributes to the production of DNA and proteins and aids in healing wounds.
Let’s look into some benefits of Zinc!
#1 Immunity Booster
When you’re snuggled in your bed, wiping your nose every second, all you can think of is something that can help you quickly get rid of cold. Zinc is known to reduce oxidative stress and bring to halt the generation of inflammatory cytokines. The deficiency of zinc was also found to alter immunity in animals and a similar effect was observed for humans.
Zinc works wonder to treat the common cold and promote quick wound healing. Intake of zinc supplements also helps in boosting the respiratory health of children.
#2 Helps Fight Cancer
As revealed by an American study, zinc can help in the treatment of cancer. Zinc induces the death of cancerous cells and aids in the reduction of inflammatory blood vessels. Zinc can also inhibit the proliferation of esophageal cancer cells. There is a definite link between cancer remission and zinc as cancer patients are often deficient in this mineral.
#3 Aids In Treating Diabetes
Zinc can have benefitting effects on glycemic control. As suggested by research, women who were deficient in zinc were also found to have pre-diabetic symptoms.
Zinc has been known to prevent the formation of clumps of a protein called amylin which results in diabetes and other chronic diseases. Zinc also balances insulin which can help in dealing with diabetes. It allows for optimal utilization of digestive enzymes which aid insulin bind to cells while ensuring that glucose is not stored as fat but is used as fuel.
#4 Protects The Heart
Zinc can also shield the heart muscles by preventing oxidative stress which might be toxic to the heart in the long run. This mineral is also found to regulate heartbeat. The research suggested that zinc deficiency often led to congestive heart failure in many people. Zinc also keeps in check the way calcium travels through the heart. Another study conducted in America suggested how zinc can help in the prevention of severe chest pain, called angina pectoris.
#5 Aids In Losing Weight
Various studies showed that zinc-deficient bodies were often more prone to obesity. This showed an obvious link between the mineral and body weight. Obese people who took zinc supplements had improved BMI/ body mass index and also showed a visible drop in weight. Zinc even showed improved triglyceride levels, this can be due to the reason that zinc deficiency can lead the body to store excess fat.
#6 Can Boost Brain Health
The benefits of zinc on the brain have been discussed in detail by numerous studies. Zinc has been successfully used in treating certain types of schizophrenia. It also plays a role in modulating the body’s response to stress. Fact check: Brains are believed to have the highest amount of zinc in our whole body.
Intake of zinc supplements was also known to boost the learning process and memory.
#7 Strengthening Of Bones
Zinc is known to have a restorative effect on the loss of bones. Zinc is used in many forms to treat and prevent osteoporosis. It has been found that people deficient in zinc were known to have deteriorated bone metabolism. It can also stimulate the two significant aspects of bone health: mineralization and bone formation. Zinc greatly aids in cellular protein synthesis.
It has also been noted that zinc is a precious mineral in maintaining oral health. It prevents dental caries, periodontitis, and gingivitis.
#8 Improves Vision
Zinc is present in the macula (a part of the retina) in high content. This also aids Vitamin A in creating a pigment called melanin which protects the eye. There has been supporting evidence about zinc supplements having prevented macular degeneration which is usually a result of aging.
Zinc deficiency has also resulted in cloudy cataracts and poor night vision.
#9 Promotes Digestion
Digestive disturbances have often been linked to a deficiency of zinc. The most common issue people experience is difficulty in digesting protein. Zinc plays a significant role in producing essential stomach acids.
Zinc can also help in preventing many gastrointestinal issues. This can be attributed to the reason that zinc can enhance gastrointestinal epithelial barrier function which can prevent ailments like diarrhea and other related digestive issues.
#10 Can Be Helpful During The Pregnancy Period
The research suggested that mothers who were on zinc supplements during pregnancy and had low birth weight infants were at a lower risk of dysentery and diarrhea.
According to the World Health Organization, an intra-urine deficiency might result during pregnancy if there is zinc deficiency in the body. If there is zinc deficiency in the mother, the infant’s health can be at risk too. Studies have shown that over eighty percent of the world’s pregnant women are deficient in zinc. Zinc also has positive outcomes during lactation as well as pregnancy period.
Zinc also happens to be the most essential mineral for fertility. Low levels of zinc have been associated with the dark coloration of skin that happens during pregnancy, a condition called melasma.
#11 Might Relieve Pre-Menstrual Syndrome(PMS)
Zinc was found to render relief in pain related to PMS and cramps. The reason for this can be zinc’s ability to improve the flow of blood to the uterus and also reduce inflammation.
#12 Boosts Men’s Sexual Health
Zinc has been known to enable the male body to produce testosterone, which also explains why zinc-deficiency can result in erectile dysfunction. Studies have revealed that intake of zinc supplements increased testosterone levels thereby remedying male sexual problems, erectile dysfunction being the most prominent. Consumption of thirty milligrams of zinc daily was found to boost testosterone levels in men.
Zinc deficiency can result in a lost sense of smell and sense of smell could be vital for libido. This directs to the fact that decreased libido is a result of low levels of zinc. An optimum level of zinc was also found to enhance prostate health.
#13 Can Combat Chronic Fatigue
Zinc supplements can also aid in the treatment of CFS or chronic fatigue syndrome. CFS is linked with increased oxidative stress. As mentioned previously, zinc fights oxidative stress and can also aid in fighting this condition. Zinc can also boost energy levels.
#14 Beneficial For Bodybuilding
Though there is relatively less information available about this, however, some reliable sources suggest that zinc has the ability to help with muscle repair and muscle growth. It can also help in protein synthesis which is essential in bodybuilding.
#15 Detoxifies The Body
By enhancing the functioning of the kidney and liver, zinc can help in detoxification. Liver cirrhosis is often caused due to deficiency of zinc whereas the optimum level of zinc can prevent oxidative liver damage. Zinc also keeps the organs function perfectly while preventing kidney disease.
#16 Treats Tinnitus
Research has shown that patients having tinnitus have a deficiency of zinc in their bodies. Though there is a need for more research in this area, this mineral can be a potential remedy for tinnitus.
#17 Treats Acne
People who have acne are usually deficient in zinc. Zinc is known to kill the bacterias that cause acne. It also aids in fighting inflammation which is caused due to bacterias invading a blocked pore. Zinc can also lessen the activity of keratinocytes, cells producing keratin which is a protein binding the cells together. Blocked pores and acne are a result of excess keratin.
Zinc can also be of great help with treating herpes and scars and make your skin look more clear. Zinc is usually a primary constituent in creams and ointments used for treating them. Given its anti-aging benefits, zinc can also help in reducing age spots and wrinkles. Consult your doctor before you use them.
#18 Boosts Hair Growth
Zinc can help you maintain volumized and healthy hair. Zinc deficiency leads to a deteriorated protein structure which is responsible for hair follicles. Therefore zinc can help in boosting hair growth.
How to Identify Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency?
The most common symptoms of zinc deficiency are low immunity, digestive problems, infertility, chronic fatigue syndrome, worsened PMS symptoms, hair loss, change in appetite, weight gain or loss, low immunity, poor concentration and memory, and slow wound healing.
Side Effects of Zinc:
1. Low Blood Sugar
Given its properties, zinc can lower blood sugar levels. People on medication must avoid intake of zinc as their blood sugar level might drop.
2. Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Excess of zinc can lead to complications during breastfeeding and pregnancy.
3. Other Side Effects
Excess intake of zinc can also result in stomach pain, loss of appetite, headaches, diarrhea, and nausea.
Note that these side effects are caused due to excessive intake of zinc and not when it is consumed in adequate quantities.