Zinc is an essential mineral for people, animals and plants and it should be consumed as part of one’s diet. Zinc is necessary for various biological functions, and is a part of more than300 enzyme structures found in the human body. In an adult’s body the reis between 2-3 grams of total zinc. Zinc is found throughout our body.It is in organs, tissues, bones, body liquids, and cells. A large part of the zinc in the body, approximately 90%, is in the muscles and bones. It is thought that prostate gland also uses zinc.
Zinc is essential for cell division and growth
Zinc is especially important in pregnancy due to the unborn off spring growing so fast. Zinc helps prevent congenital anomalies and pre-term,early, births. Babies, children and adolescents should all consume sufficient amount of zinc.
Zinc is essential for reproduction
Zinc plays an important role in reproduction, it protects the prostate gland from microbes in males as well as preventing prostate-gland enlargement males age. It helps maintain the numbers and movement of male’s sperms, and helps maintain testosterone around the normal levels. Likewise, zinc decreases menstruation problems in females.
Zinc is essential for immune system
Among all the vitamins and minerals zinc is the single most effective factor affecting our immune system. Zinc plays a unique role in the function ofT cells, an important part of the immune system. T cells get weaker when there is a zinc deficiency; they then can’t recognize some infections and so can’t fight against them. Studies show that zinc supplements are effective against diarrhea, pneumonia, and against other infections. Zinc also decreases the duration of colds, and alleviates colds’ symptoms.
Zinc is essential for taste, smell and appetite
Zinc stimulates the areas of the brain where information coming from the taste buds and from the smell receptors of the brain is received and processed. The zinc levels in the blood also affect a person’s appetite and taste preferences. Zinc is used in anorexia (decreased appetite)treatment.
Zinc is essential for skin, hair and nails
Zinc accelerates the process of skin cell regeneration. Creams containing zinc are used for healing rashes, cuts and wounds. Zinc is also utilized in acne, psoriasis and eczema treatments. In rashes caused by stinging nettles or by sunburn, zinc helps the skin to relax and recover.
Zinc is also important for the health of the hair. Hair loss problem appear when there is a zinc deficiency; the hair becomes thin and dull,and hair may become grey while the person is still young. Manyanti-dandruff shampoos include zinc.
Zinc is essential for seeing
There is are latively high concentration of zinc in the retina of the eye. Zinc levels decrease as people get older, and it is thought that it is this reduction that lead to age-related macular degeneration. Age related macular degeneration results in gradual loss of vision. Zinc is protective against night blindness, and it prevents the development of cataracts.
Who needs zinc?
Everyone needs zinc. Children need zinc for growth and adults need zinc to remain healthy. Babies,children, adolescents, breast feeding mothers, athletes, vegetarians and elders need more zinc .
Where we can find zinc?
Primarily, we obtain our zinc from our food. Main sources of zinc are red and white meats, fish and seafood, whole wheat products, and dairy products. Meat is the souce that includes the most zinc. It is difficult for zinc from vegetable sources to be absorbed by the body, since fibers and phytic acids foundin plants prevent zinc from being absorbed by the intestines.
The best way to take zinc is via balanced nutrition. If you can’t obtain sufficient amounts of zinc from your diet, you can then take zinc supplements after consulting your doctor.
How many milligrams of zinc are included in 100 grams?
- Oyster 25
- Meat (especially red meat) 5.2
- Nuts 3
- Poultry 1.5
- Egg 1.3
- Dairy Products 1.2
- Cereals 1
- Bread 1
- Fish 0.8
- Canned Vegetables 0.4
- Green Vegetables 0.4
- Potatoes 0.3
- Fresh Fruits 0.09
How much zinc do we need?
We should take zinc regularly in order to protect our health. Our zinc requirements vary depending on our nutritional habits (how much meat and how much cereal and vegetables we consume), however the average amounts of zinc that we should consume daily listed here:
- Babies 5 mg
- Childhood 10 mg
- Adolescents 15 mg
- Women 12 mg
- Pregnant women 20 mg
- Breastfeeding mothers 20 mg
- Men 10 mg
- 65 and older 15 mg
Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers need more zinc so the fetus or the baby can grow and develop in the best possible way.
If we can’t take sufficient amount of zinc…
Zinc deficiency is a serious problem seen in most developing countries.Zinc deficiency is the fifth most common cause of childhood diseases, particully causing diarrhea and pneumonia. These diseases are among the leading causes of death amongst children in developing countries.
Another symptom of zinc deficiency often seen in babies, children andin adolescents is growth retardation. Zinc deficiency in young children causes cognitive function disorders such as problems in understanding,recognizing, thinking, remembering, as well as behavioral problems,memory weakness, and problems in 3-dimensional thinking. With public health programs that include zinc supplements and the addition of zinc to food, these problems can be solved.
There can be slight zinc deficiencies in industrialized countries.Here zinc deficiency symptoms are a dryness of the skin and nails, a dullness of the hair, thin and fragile nails, white spots on nails,problems in tasting and smelling, loss of appetite, mood disorders,having difficulty seeing in dark, frequently problems with infections,slow healing wounds, dermatitis and acne.