Zinc is a nutrient that plays a vital role in your body. Our bodies don’t actually produce zinc naturally, so you must get your daily dosage through food or vitamins.
What is zinc?
Zinc is considered an essential nutrient, which means your body can’t produce it naturally. Because of this, you must get a daily dose of zinc through your daily diet.
Next to iron, zinc is the most common mineral in the body and is found in every cell. It has been used since ancient times to help heal wounds and plays an important role in the body.
Health benefits of zinc
Research into zinc has shown it has an abundance of health benefits from contributing to the normal function of the immune system to the maintenance of healthy bones.
Zinc’s uses also contriute too:
- Decreased inflammation
- Normal carbohydrate metabolism, normal macronutrient metabolism and normal metabolism of fatty acids.
- Normal cognitive function.
- Maintenance of normal hair, skin and nails.
- Normal protein synthesis
- Normal fertility and reproduction.
What role does zinc play in the body
Zinc plays an important role in the body as it assists with the creation of DNA, growth of cells, building proteins, healing damaged tissue, and supporting a healthy immune system.
Because Zinc helps cells to grow and multiply, an adequate amount of zinc is especially important during times of growth. Childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy are all times when zinc is important to assist during rapid growth.
How do I get zinc?
Zinc is typically found shellfish such as oysters, crab or lobster, beef, poultry, and pork. It can be found in fortified breakfast cereals too, however for those following a vegan or vegetarian diet, zinc intake can be limited due to bioavailability reasons.
When following a vegan or vegetarian, or even a diet low on animal foods, zinc supplements are an easy way to ensure you get your daily dose of zinc.
When taking zinc, choose forms such as zinc citrate and or zinc gluconate. The other option, zinc oxide, is poorly absorbed by the body.
What happens if I don’t get enough zinc?
Over a long period of time, zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss, impotence, diarrhoea, delayed wound healing, abnormal taste, and mental fatigue.
Vegans and vegetarians do need to be aware of zinc, as zinc is more common in animal foods versus plant foods. The amount of zinc found in vegetables and other plant-based foods can vary greatly depending on the zinc content of the soil where they were grown.
What amount should I consume each day?
Unless prescribed or recommended by a doctor, it is recommended to avoid high-dosage zinc supplements.
The recommended daily intake (RDI) is 11 mg for adult men and 8 mg for adult women.
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