Zinc is a vital mineral that plays a major role in the body’s enzyme systems and is necessary for growth, healing, and optimal immunity. We are all aware of the importance of vitamins and minerals to our health but many don’t know about zinc deficiency.1
Low levels of zinc can lead to a number of different health issues, including anemia, fatigue, irritability, depression, joint pain, unexplained itching, numbness, rusting of the joints, and even vision problems. There are some things that you can do to prevent a zinc deficiency from developing, such as eating zinc-rich foods such as oysters, red meat, poultry, mushrooms, and nuts. It is also important to avoid consuming a lot of sugar as well, as this will only make the problem of zinc deficiency worse.2
Some of the common signs of zinc deficiency include experiencing a dry, hacking cough, experiencing a metallic taste in the mouth, a headache that is very frequent and bad, and a feeling of having an extremely bad stomach odor. If you have any of these or a few of them, you should definitely seek medical attention and make sure that you are getting enough zinc lozenges on a daily basis. Zinc supplements are easily available at any vitamin store, and they can keep you healthy and properly hydrated, so you should definitely consider adding some to your diet!
What is Zinc?
What is zinc? Zinc belongs to a group of minerals called amino acids. We get zinc from certain plants, seafood, meats, and some vegetables, and we get manganese, selenium, and calcium from dairy products like cheese and milk. The best sources of zinc usually come from plant foods like corn, beans, wheat, and nuts, and also seafood like shrimp, cod, mussels, and oysters. Most zinc comes from red meat, so vegetarians may want to choose low-meat diets to achieve adequate amounts of zinc.
For vegetarians, the recommended amounts of zinc in the diet are easy to meet. Usually, vegetarians get enough zinc from green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale; enough from yellow and orange fruits; and enough from beans and grains like corn and wheat. As with everyone else, there is always a chance that you’ll miss out on eating a certain nutrient or vitamin or drinking a certain beverage. That’s why it is helpful to have a supplement that contains all the essential vitamins and nutrients your body needs.
Doctors may recommend zinc lozenges to patients who have chronic conditions like heart disease, high cholesterol, or hypertension. However, these supplements may reduce the effects of these chronic conditions if taken in conjunction with other weight loss or exercise habits. Zinc may reduce the risk of cancer, but taking it in isolation without a balanced diet can reduce the benefits of any other weight loss or exercise plan. Because zinc is found in many common food products, including some cereals and processed meats, vegetarians should consider carefully how much of these foods they can afford to eat.
Benefits of Zinc in the Body
Zinc is a necessary mineral in one’s body. It is an essential mineral that enhances the immune system, maintains homeostasis, controls blood pressure, and relieves constipation. One of the best zinc benefits for the body is its anti-aging properties. Zinc plays a vital role in keeping the body’s cells well-organized. Proper management can help prevent the development of any age-related disorder or disease.3
This elemental element is found in almost all living tissues. It is one of the important elements that aid in the maintenance of the cell walls. Moreover, zinc is essential in producing H2O2 which is one of the most important hormones for regulating the metabolism and thus helps the human body in absorbing the other vitamins and minerals.4
In addition to these benefits, zinc also helps in the removal of toxins from the body. It prevents the occurrence of muscle cramps and spasms. Moreover, the consumption of zinc-rich foods is beneficial in the prevention of arthritis, hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes. It also helps reduce fatigue and stress.
Aside from all the zinc benefits, it also helps to increase one’s energy levels. It also increases the metabolic rate, which is good for weight loss.5 A zinc deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism, poor kidney function, rickets, brittle bones, hypertension, poor memory, poor digestion, poor cardiovascular health, etc. Thus, zinc can also play a vital role in maintaining a healthy heart, brain, kidney, liver, and other vital systems in the body. Therefore, zinc can also be used as one of the effective remedies in providing relief from various disorders.6
Although there are many benefits of zinc in the body, you should not exceed the recommended dosage of 20 mg/day for women and men who are over the age of eighteen. However, it is always better to consult with your doctor when it comes to increasing your zinc intake. Generally, the best time to start consuming zinc supplements is one day before eating a meal. You can also take zinc supplements by eating two or three meals a day. Generally, zinc should be consumed in combination with essential fatty acids.
It is important that you choose the best brand of zinc supplements that would meet your needs and diet. Most of these brands contain zinc compounds that are absorbed fast in the system, which means it takes lesser time for the effects to take place. Furthermore, it is also advisable to choose products that are made from natural ingredients such as plant and herbal extracts. These products are more effective in providing the needed zinc intake without any side effects. These are just some of the benefits of zinc in the body; there are also other benefits that you can enjoy when you take them regularly.
What is a Zinc Deficiency?
Most people don’t associate zinc deficiency with something as serious as anemia, but it does exist and some of the more obvious signs that your body is lacking zinc are hair loss, skin lesions, and lowered immunity. If your body is lacking both magnesium and histamine, the result of that deficiency will be anemia, and if your blood cells are being infected with pathogens then an infection can spread very quickly to other parts of your body. There are several signs that you can look for to determine whether or not you are deficient in either mineral. If you start to lose hair, it could mean that either your zinc or magnesium deficiency is causing the problem.7
If your blood test results come back showing a deficiency in either mineral, you may need to get additional zinc supplements or talk to your doctor about possibly taking a course of antibiotics. There are several things that can cause anemia, some of which are also related to antibiotic use.8 Diarrhea, skin rashes, and constipation are all symptoms of zinc deficiency. If you start to experience any of these symptoms, you should get tested to ensure that it is not a sign of some other more serious health problem.
The Relationship Between Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency and Nutritional Needs
Signs of zinc deficiency are very easy to identify. If you are like many people around the world, then you probably have heard of and experienced these symptoms at some point in your life. If you don’t, it’s probably because they aren’t so common. If you do experience any of these symptoms of zinc deficiency, then they must be corrected as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you could develop very serious problems, not only health-wise but also financially.
Zinc deficiency can be either acute or chronic. Acute refers to when the deficiency only lasts a short time, such as when symptoms begin to develop after a meal. On the other hand, chronic means that zinc deficiency continues long enough to cause severe health problems over time. Either way, it is imperative that you take steps to correct your dietary intake of this essential mineral because even the slightest drop in its levels can have drastic consequences.
The most obvious symptoms of zinc deficiency are loss of appetite and weight. Because zinc is an essential nutrient, your body needs it to survive and perform properly. When you are deficient, your body stores less zinc in your muscles, liver, and bones. You may begin to lose weight because of decreased energy, unable to sustain physical activities and lethargy. Some patients with zinc deficiencies also experience depression and anxiety.
Another sign of zinc deficiency is an inability to absorb nutrients. Zinc plays an important role in the absorption of fat, carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins. A zinc deficiency in these areas can lead to severe nutrition deficiencies, including osteoporosis, kidney stones, heart disease, high blood pressure, and nerve disorders. Zinc plays a vital role in the formation of red blood cells, and many of the hormones that regulate the development and function of those cells are produced in the kidneys, liver, intestines, pancreas, and other organs. Many zinc compounds are involved in neurotransmission, the process by which information is transmitted from one nerve cell to another.9 Zinc also helps with the manufacture of hemoglobin, the component that carries oxygen to all of the cells of the body.
There are several things that can increase zinc absorption in the body. One of those is eating foods rich in zinc and taking zinc supplements. Certain foods naturally contain large amounts of zinc, such as oysters, nuts, seeds, grains, vegetables, and legumes. Many other foods have moderate to low zinc absorption rates. This includes dairy products, eggs, poultry, fish, and sugar. As you can see, there are foods that you can eat to increase your zinc intake without increasing your food consumption of other nutrients that may be important for proper nutrient absorption.
Zinc supplementation is not mandatory. However, doctors recommend that people with zinc deficiency increase their daily intake to at least five to six grams per day, with a range of two to four grams. Foods containing zinc include poultry, red meat, poultry products, dried beans, peas, nuts, seeds, spinach, seafood, fruits, and vegetables. You should talk to your doctor to determine if you need a supplement or if your current diet is sufficient. People with a history of adverse health effects from zinc should consult their doctor before increasing their zinc intake or modifying their diet.
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1 “Zinc: Benefits, Deficiency, Food Sources and Side Effects – Healthline.” 14 Nov. 2018, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/zinc Accessed 20 Aug. 2021.
2 “recommended daily amount of zinc – Mayo Clinic.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-zinc/art-20366112 Accessed 20 Aug. 2021.
3 “Zinc: Benefits, Deficiency, Food Sources and Side Effects – Healthline.” 14 Nov. 2018, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/zinc Accessed 20 Aug. 2021.
4 “ZINC: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions – WebMD.” https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-982/zinc Accessed 20 Aug. 2021.
5 “Zinc: Benefits, intake, sources, deficiency, and side effects.” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263176 Accessed 20 Aug. 2021.
6 “What Are the Potential Benefits of Zinc Supplements? – Everyday ….” 9 Mar. 2021, https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/potential-benefits-of-zinc-supplements/ Accessed 20 Aug. 2021.
7 “Zinc Deficiency: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment.” https://www.verywellhealth.com/zinc-deficiency-201070 Accessed 20 Aug. 2021.
8 “Zinc Deficiency: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and More – Healthline.” https://www.healthline.com/health/zinc-deficiency Accessed 20 Aug. 2021.
9 “Impacts of Drugs on Neurotransmission | NIDA Archives.” 9 Mar. 2017, https://archives.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2017/03/impacts-drugs-neurotransmission Accessed 20 Aug. 2021.