From a scientific standpoint, zinc is a transition metal. It’s grouped in the same class as mercury and cadmium. The zinc atomic number is 30, and it’s in group 12 of the periodic table.
Interestingly enough, zinc also has characteristics similar to magnesium. Aside from the metal’s elemental side, there are also benefits of zinc to health and wellness.
What is Zinc?
Zinc is a mineral used by every cell in the body. It’s found in both plants and animals.
“Zinc is involved in numerous aspects of cellular metabolism. It is required for approximately 100 enzymes’ catalytic activity, and it plays a role in immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis, and cell division. Zinc also supports normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence and is required for a proper sense of taste and smell. A daily intake of zinc is required to maintain a steady state because the body has no specialized zinc storage system.”
Different Varieties of Zinc
Getting your essential nutrients through food is better than getting them through supplements. Food also gives you fiber and energy. So, that’s where the majority of your zinc should be sourced.
Zinc supplements come in zinc acetate, zinc sulfate, zinc glycerate, and other forms. Zinc picolinate may be the best form of zinc for your body to absorb. Zinc supplements also come in combination with other minerals, such as magnesium or calcium.
You can also use zinc lozenges, nasal sprays, and nasal gels for colds. Zinc lozenges are the most popular form.
Zinc Health Benefits
There is a long list of health benefits of zinc. Many health benefits are associated with a zinc deficiency or insufficiency – a situation growing more common with each passing year.
Doctors and health professionals often recommended zinc as an over-the-counter remedy for staving off cold and illness symptoms. If you take zinc, it may lessen your risk of contracting the common cold. If you take it when you are sick, it can reduce your time to recover.
Research indicates that zinc can affect the physical process that results in mucus and bacteria building up within the nasal passages. Because of its electrical charge, ionic zinc may cause an antiviral effect of blocking nasal epithelial cells’ effects.
It is estimated that somewhere near two billion people are currently deficient in zinc. In developed countries, an estimated 30% of the aging population needs more zinc in their diet. “Zinc homeostasis [balance] is known to be important in immunological reactions such as the inflammatory response, and the oxidative stress response…”
Up to 25% of the population of developing countries are currently experiencing zinc deficiency, but developed countries are a concern. “Zinc status is a critical factor that can influence antiviral immunity, particularly as zinc-deficient populations are often most at risk of acquiring viral infections such as HIV or hepatitis C virus.”
Viral infections aren’t the only cause for concern. Low zinc levels can also cause “cell-mediated immune dysfunctions” that affect how the immune system responds to bacterial infection and disease. The mineral levels affect both chronic and metabolic disease processes in cancer, diabetes, and neurodegenerative issues. Infectious diseases like tuberculosis, pneumonia, and malaria are also affected by zinc homeostasis.
Zinc deficiency affects the immune cells’ ability to survive, differentiate, and proliferate. The cells involved include T cells, B cells, and monocytes. While zinc deficiency causes immediate changes to immune function, it’s a chronic deficiency that sparks a pro-inflammatory response that influences “the outcome of a large number of inflammatory diseases.”
Fights Common Cold
The average adult contracts two to three colds a year. The most common symptoms are a runny nose, fatigue, headache, body aches, coughing, and sore throat. There is no cure for the common cold, but zinc has shown remarkable clinical research results in shortening these illnesses’ duration and severity.
Research has found that when zinc is administered, particularly at amounts of 75mg/day or greater, within 24 hours of cold symptoms developing, the duration of the cold is lessened significantly. However, the same research didn’t find a reduction in the severity of cold symptoms.
It is crucial to ensure you’re getting enough zinc. While some research shows up to a 42% decrease in common cold duration, this effect was noted in analysis using between 80mg and 92mg of zinc supplementation daily.
Based on a review of six studies focused on the impact of zinc supplements on cold duration, “duration was estimated to be reduced by 2.25 days when zinc lozenges [were] used to manage cold.” However, what’s most interesting is that the best outcomes were seen in children where “zinc supplementation was shown to prevent up to 53% of common cold episodes.”
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Antioxidant & Anti-inflammatory
Zinc is an important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. It aids in fighting oxidative stress and diminishes the development of some diseases.
In one study, it was reported that almost 65% of people with head and neck cancer were deficient in zinc. While we all know zinc as the immune mineral, it also works as a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. “Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation have been implicated in development of many cancers.” Thus, it is suggested that taking zinc supplements may have a beneficial role in cancer treatment.
In young adults and the elderly, zinc supplementation decreases oxidative stress markers and the generation of inflammatory cytokines. Research suggests it can take six to 12 months of supplementation to reach adequate serum zinc levels.
“…a growing body of evidence suggests that zinc deficiency increases the concentrations of inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress, induces apoptosis and causes cell dysfunction. Therefore, the element plays a preventive role against free radical formation and protects biological structures from injury during inflammatory processes.”
What’s interesting about zinc’s antioxidant capabilities is that the mineral can also suppress anti-inflammatory responses if those responses would facilitate oxidative stress. So, it works as an anti-inflammatory when it needs to and a pro-inflammatory when the time arises.
“Zinc also induces the synthesis of metallothioneins, which are proteins effective in reducing hydroxyl radicals and sequestering reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced in stressful situations, such as in type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cancer.”
Zinc aids hormonal health and fertility. It plays a key role in hormone production. This includes an increase in testosterone. Zinc also affects female sex hormones and plays a vital role in the production of eggs. Zinc is necessary for creating estrogen and progesterone. Both of these are essential in reproductive function. Both high and low estrogen levels can result in troubles with menstruation and other health problems in women. But, zinc doesn’t just play a role in fertility hormones; it also affects thyroid function.
Specifically, “Scientific evidence shows that zinc plays a key role in the metabolism of thyroid hormones, specifically by regulating deiodinases enzymes activity, thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) synthesis, as well as by modulating the structures of essential transcription factors involved in the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Serum concentrations of zinc also appear to influence the levels of serum T3, T4, and TSH.”
The relationship between zinc and thyroid hormones is complex. Not only do the hormones require zinc for synthesis, but zinc requires thyroid hormones for absorption. Low levels of thyroid hormone could cause improper absorption and acquired zinc deficiency.
However, it may not be all thyroid hormones at play. Research has shown that when hypothyroid individuals are given zinc supplements, mean serum free T3 hormone increased, as did mean free T3:T4 ratio. In this particular case, no changes to the thyroid-stimulating hormone, total T3, free T4, or total T4 were noted.
Zinc is necessary for balancing most hormones. This includes the hormone insulin. Insulin is required for the control of blood sugar. Zinc benefits proper blood sugar because it connects to insulin. This is important for the storage of insulin in the pancreas. It also allows for the appropriate use of digestive enzymes.
A review of research, including nearly 4000 subjects, found that both fasting glucose and HbA1C were reduced in participants taking zinc supplements. However, serum insulin levels went unchanged. The most significant reduction in glucose was found in participants with obesity or a chronic metabolic disease.
“It is involved in the synthesis, storage, and release of insulin, which suggests the critical role of this microelement in the progression of type-2 diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, and metabolic syndrome.”
It is thought that zinc’s impact on oxidative stress may be behind some of the benefits to people with diabetes. Research shows that zinc may “delay the progression of diabetes and also delay/prevent the numerous micro- and macrovascular complications associated with diabetes.”
The effect of zinc on the diabetes process may only be realized in people who are deficient in the mineral, however. In one research study where participants with type 2 diabetes and normal zinc levels were given 240mg of zinc per day, no changes in oxidative stress markers were noticed.
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Zinc is necessary for the health of cells in the cardiovascular system. It also lowers inflammation and oxidative stress. There is a group of cells that line the blood vessels that need zinc. Zinc is essential for heart health since it supports proper circulation. This is because it acts as a remedy for hypertension and high cholesterol.
Cardiovascular diseases are the “leading cause of death globally, accounting for 31% of human mortality. Many of these diseases are related to the process of atherosclerosis.” That percentage reaches as high as 46% of the population in some studies.
A study published in the Journal of Cardiac Failure found that “decreased serum zinc levels are associated with high mortality, accompanied by impaired exercise capacity.” The strongest effect was found in hospital patients with serum zinc levels below 62ng/dl.
Getting too much zinc can also be detrimental to heart health. In a research review, the authors found a significant increase in risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease in participants with serum zinc levels above 100 ng/dl.
If you have a zinc deficiency, then you may get chronic digestive troubles. Zinc supplementation can help with diarrhea. According to researchers from the Medical College of Georgia, zinc supplements reduce both the severity and duration of persistent diarrhea in children, where much of the research has been completed.
One review of research into the effect of zinc supplementation on diarrhea in children included more than 10,000 individuals. Authors noted that more than 500,000 children die each year from diarrhea. Researchers found that most studies were completed in areas where zinc deficiency is common. In those areas, supplementing with the mineral in children six months and older shortens the duration of symptoms.
Zinc supplementation is associated with a “26% reduction in the estimated relative risk of diarrhea lasting beyond three days.” Morbidity also dropped in treated populations. Deficiency remains predominant in low- and middle-income countries, which is why the World Health Organization calls for zinc treatment for diarrhea in these areas.
Just how much zinc is sufficient is still being debated. Studies have shown doses between 5mg and 20mg for 10 to 14 days after the onset of diarrhea are useful, but that higher doses tend to cause vomiting.
It appears, after reviewing years of research, that scientists believe malnourished children in under-served countries are more likely to benefit from zinc supplementation for diarrhea with reductions in the duration of symptoms up to 33 hours.
Wound Healing & Skin Health
“Zinc is an essential ion that is crucial for maintenance of normal physiology, and zinc deficiency has many manifestations ranging from delayed wound healing to immune dysfunction and impairment of multiple sensory systems.”
The mineral has been studied to treat warts, cutaneous leishmaniasis, leprosy, herpes genitalis, dermatophytoses, bromhidrosis, and pityriasis versicolor, acne vulgaris, rosacea, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and more.
Even though we know how essential zinc is to immune function and wound healing, the research results available today tend to fall on both sides of the debate. In most cases, where participants were zinc deficient, wound healing improves with supplementation or topical use.
Recent evidence also suggests that there may be a connection between zinc deficiency and biotin deficiency.
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To avoid certain chemicals found in commercial sunblocks, you can use zinc oxide as an alternative. It acts as a shield, creating a barrier between the skin and UV rays. Not only can zinc, particularly zinc oxide, protect the skin from sun damage, it also protects against oxidative stress in people who spend much of their time outdoors.
However, most research today is into the effects of zinc nanoparticles. There’s some concern that these nanoparticles can cause health conditions based on animal studies. Human studies show these nanoparticles to be safe, even though zinc concentrations in the skin are slightly elevated with regular use.
“… a growing body of evidence suggests that a deficiency, rather than an excess, of zinc leads to an increased risk for the development of neurological disorders. Indeed, zinc deficiency has been shown to affect neurogenesis and increase neuronal apoptosis, which can lead to learning and memory deficits. Altered zinc homeostasis is also suggested as a risk factor for depression, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), aging, and other neurodegenerative disorders.”
There’s also evidence that zinc deficiency contributes to the “pathogenesis of MS [multiple sclerosis].” MS is a disease of the immune system that attacks myelin or the protective covering of nerve fibers. When attacked, communication issues arise between the brain and body.
The balance of zinc in the body, or homeostasis, is critical to neurological health. If there is too little zinc in the body, there’s an increased risk of neurodegeneration. If there’s too much, there’s also an increased risk. It’s only when zinc levels are optimal that brain/body functions are working efficiently.
“It has been found that alterations in brain zinc status have been implicated in a wide range of neurological disorders including impaired brain development and many neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, and mood disorders including depression, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and prion disease.”
Not only does zinc contribute to signaling processes that occur in the brain, but it lends structural integrity to 70% of the proteins and contributes “to the efficient performance of over 2000 transcription factors and over 300 enzymes.”
There’s a connection between zinc deficiency and higher levels of depression. Research has shown, at least in animal models, that in the presence of major depressive disorder (MDD), zinc levels are lower, especially in the circuitry involving the cortex.
The trouble is that even though research shows that zinc supplementation can reduce the symptoms of depression, there’s little information on why it works. But, we do know for sure that “Depression is associated with a lower concentration of zinc in peripheral blood.”
Some research suggests the lower zinc levels affect synaptic transmission and the function of “neural networks that regulate mood and cognition.”
We also found information hypothesizing that some medications prescribed for depression and other psychiatric conditions, or medications commonly prescribed to this patient set, may impact zinc absorption, thus causing zinc insufficiency.
What we know for certain is that “Several reports indicated decreased zinc concentrations and even its deficit in clinical depression, so the measurement of the concentration of this element in the blood of patients was suggested as a useful and specific clinical marker of depression.”
With much focus on zinc and brain function, there must be some connection with aging. It is estimated that nearly 30% of all aging people are currently deficient in zinc. This, partnered with the fact that neurodegenerative diseases are most common in the elderly, suggests a relationship.
Not only are the aging less apt to get a diet rich in zinc, but there are underlying processes that alter zinc homeostasis, thus impacting immune response, protein and enzyme function, and more.
“Considering the multiple cellular events regulated by zinc, a dyshomeostasis of this metal during aging can have important deleterious effects on this population.”
Some research suggests that it’s not just zinc alone that should be measured in the aging community. It appears that the copper to zinc ratio is off-balanced in the aging population. When this ratio is out of balance, it can signal inflammation associated with various chronic conditions.
Covid-19 causes an imbalance in the immune system response. Zinc is a major player in immune function. With a growing number of people living with zinc deficiency or insufficiency, it’s safe to say that the mineral’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects could play a contributing role in the Covid-19 response.
Essentially, “Zn has been proven to improve innate and adaptive immunity in the course of any infection, be it by pathogenic virus or bacteria.”
The elderly population is of particular concern, in terms of Covid-19, as mortality rates are higher in the aging sector. Plus, with nearly 30% of older adults in developed nations having lower than adequate zinc levels, supplementation could help optimize immune reaction and even reduce infection risk.
In addition to zinc, researchers have shown that supplementing with selenium and vitamin D may also play a significant role in fighting Covid-19 via nutritional interventions.
“It has been suggested that low serum zinc levels may be associated with suboptimal outcomes of pregnancy such as prolonged labour, atonic postpartum haemorrhage, pregnancy‐induced hypertension, preterm labour, and post‐term pregnancies.”
There is a possible connection between low birth weight and zinc status, but the research is up in the air. Many studies have shown a relationship, some reporting a threefold increase in the risk of delivering a low birth weight baby in women with lower zinc serum levels. However, about the same number of studies show little to no correlation, according to Nutrients 2016.
In a separate study of more than 3000 pregnant women, those with low serum zinc levels were more likely to give birth to a small for gestational age infant than women who were zinc sufficient. It’s important to note that of the women recruited, fewer than 250 measured low zinc levels.
Getting enough of the mineral may be of particular concern to women following restrictive diets like vegetarian or vegan varieties. Research has shown that vegetarian pregnant women do not get enough dietary zinc to meet the recommended dietary intake for pregnancy.
Zinc, Obesity & Weight Loss
There is a relationship between zinc and weight loss. Although unplanned weight loss can be a potential side effect of getting too little zinc, the body needs zinc every day to function correctly.
If you are overweight, then boosting your dietary intake may improve your chances of losing weight. Some research points to users seeing a reduction in body mass index and weight loss after using zinc.
“Recent evidence suggests that deficiencies of some micronutrients are related to obesity and fat deposition. Obese individuals have lower blood concentrations of some vitamins and minerals compared to non-obese individuals. Micronutrient deficiencies may increase the risk of fat deposition and, thus, of obesity and related diseases. The relationship between micronutrients and obesity might be affected by leptin, an adipokine associated with satiety… It has been observed that zinc concentration is directly associated with serum leptin concentration, and supplementing with zinc decreases leptin in obese individuals.”
The problem, however, may be more rooted in children than in adults. In one literature review, the authors found no difference in serum zinc levels between overweight and control adult participants. But, when it came to children, there was a significant difference. Lower zinc levels were found in obese children.
Science being as fluid as it is, we also found research claiming a significant connection between zinc status and obesity. Zinc “supplementation with a restricted-calorie diet has favorable effects in reducing anthropometric measurements, inflammatory markers, insulin resistance and appetite in individuals with obesity, and may play an effective role in the treatment of obesity.”
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Zinc deficiency is a common condition globally. This includes the United States. This deficiency happens either because a person doesn’t get enough zinc in their diet or has nutrient absorption problems because of digestive disorders, poor gut health, or dietary choices. Specifically, men and women who eat high cereal and low animal diets tend to be more prone to zinc deficiency. This is because the phytic acid found in grains inhibits zinc bioavailability.
Who is most at risk for a deficiency? People who follow a plant-based diet that does exclude meat or dairy products are at risk. They are missing out on the highest sources of zinc.
Common signs and symptoms of a deficiency include:
- Hair loss
- Low immunity
- Weight gain or loss
- Problems with taste or smell
- Hormonal problems
- Poor concentration and memory
- Digestive problems
- Changes in appetite
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
Severe zinc deficiency is associated with acrodermatitis enteropathica. “Acrodermatitis enteropathica [AE] is a rare genetic autosomal recessive disorder, characterized by periorificial dermatitis, alopecia, and diarrhea. It is caused by mutations in the gene that encodes a membrane protein that binds zinc.”
The first indication that zinc supplementation could work as a viable treatment for the condition came in the 1970s when a 2-year old diagnosed with AE was treated with zinc sulfate after serum zinc levels tested low. After the start of supplementation, symptoms of AE like skin lesions and gastrointestinal issues resolved.
Measuring zinc levels has been a subject of debate for decades because the mineral is circulated and turned over so fast that levels vary by day. Recent studies have suggested a multi-pronged approach to uncover a more realistic picture of current zinc status. “The BOND (Biomarkers of Nutrition for Development) Zinc Expert Panel recommends 3 measurements for estimating zinc status: dietary zinc intake, plasma zinc concentration (PZC), and height-for-age of growing infants and children.”
Zinc Side Effects
With all the fantastic benefits of zinc, you’d think getting too much would be near impossible, but that’s not the case. The space between too little and too much zinc is smaller than you’d imagine. While upwards of 30% of the world is zinc deficient, most of this population live in low- to moderate-income communities. Affluent communities tend to have fewer instances of zinc deficiency, but they’re more apt to hover closer to zinc toxicity. “A major challenge that has not been resolved for maximum health benefit is the proximity of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) and the reference dose (RfD) for safe intake of zinc.”
Though studies on zinc toxicity typically involve plants and animals, in one case study, where women consumed 2000mg of zinc daily for 12 months and subsequently developed anemia and nephrosis, when zinc supplementation was removed, both conditions cleared up.
Zinc supplement side effects include:
- Upset stomach
Based on research, the recommended zinc dosage is:
- Birth to 6 months 2 mg
- Infants 7-12 months 3 mg
- Children 1-3 years 3 mg
- Children 4-8 years 5 mg
- Children 9-13 years 8 mg
- Teens 14-18 years (boys) 11 mg
- Teens 14-18 years (girls) 9 mg
- Adults (men) 11 mg
- Adults (women) 8 mg
- Pregnant teens 12 mg
- Pregnant women 11 mg
- Breastfeeding teens 13 mg
- Breastfeeding women 12 mg
Checklist of High-Zinc Foods
- Canned oysters: 2249% of daily value (DV) per 12 ounces
- Cooked oysters (wild or farmed): 350% to 450% of DV per 3 ounces
- Alaskan king crab: 93% of DV per leg
- Blue crab: 41% of DV per cup
- Lobster: 31% of DV per 3 ounces
- Canned sardines: 18% of DV per cup
- Cooked shrimp: 13% of DV per 3 ounces
- Wild Atlantic salmon: 13% of DV per 6 ounces
- Beef steak (chuck, ribeye, skirt): 110% to 140% of DV per 6 ounces
- Lamb shoulder: 113% of DV per 6 ounces
- Ground beef (97% lean): 100% of DV per 6 ounces
- Pork chops: 58% of DV per chop
- Kielbasa: 52% of DV per link
- Chicken leg (roasted with skin): 49% of DV per leg
- Pork tenderloin: 45% of DV per 6 ounces
- Ground bison: 41% of DV per 3 ounces
- Lean ham (roasted): 40% of DV per cup
Nuts & Seeds
- Squash and pumpkin seeds (roasted or dried): 20% to 27% of DV per ounce
- Hemp seeds: 26% of DV per ounce
- Sesame seeds (toasted): 18% of DV per ounce
- Pine nuts: 17% of DV per ounce
- Coconut (shredded): 15% of DV per cup
- Cashews: 14% of DV per ounce
- Sunflower seeds: 14% of DV per ounce
- Cashew butter: 13% of DV per ounce
- Pecans: 13% of DV per ounce
- Chia seeds: 12% of DV per ounce
- Baked beans (canned): 53% of DV per cup
- Chili with beans (canned): 47% of DV per cup
- Firm tofu: 36% of DV per cup
- Large white beans: 22% of DV per cup
- Lentils: 23% of DV per cup
- Chickpeas: 23% of DV per cup
- Lupin beans: 21% of DV per cup
- Cranberry beans: 20% of DV per cup
- Black-eyed peas: 20% of DV per cup
- Edamame: 19% of DV per cup
- Navy beans: 18% of DV per cup
- Small white beans: 18% of DV per cup
- Red kidney beans: 17% of DV per cup
- Refried beans: 16% of DV per cup
- Parmesan cheese (grated): 29% of DV per cup
- Yogurt (non-fat and low-fat): 20% to 22% of DV per cup
- Low-fat milk: 21% of DV per 16 ounces
- Skim milk: 19% of DV per 16 ounces
- Whole milk: 16% of DV per 16 ounces
- Ricotta (low-fat): 15% of DV per ½ cup
- Hot cocoa: 14% of DV per cup
- Swiss cheese: 11% of DV per ounce
- Mozzarella cheese: 10% of DV per ounce
- Gouda cheese: 10% of DV per ounce
- Cheddar cheese: 9% of DV per ounce
- Buttermilk (low-fat): 9% of DV per cup
- Provolone cheese: 8% of DV per ounce
- Feta cheese: 7% of DV per ounce
- Oats (uncooked): 56% of DV per cup
- Buckwheat (uncooked): 37% of DV per cup
- Kamut (cooked): 29% of DV per cup
- Oat bran: 27% of DV per cup
- Oats (cooked): 21% of DV per cup
- Cornmeal (uncooked): 20% of DV per cup
- Wild rice (cooked): 20% of DV per cup
- Quinoa (cooked): 18% of DV per cup
- Hominy (canned): 16% of DV per cup
- Pasta (whole-wheat): 14% of DV per cup
- Brown rice: 13% of DV per cup
- Egg noodles: 9% of DV per cup
- Green peas: 17% of DV per cup
- Shiitake mushrooms (cooked): 18% of DV per cup
- Palm hearts (canned): 15% of DV per cup
- Bamboo shoots: 15% of DV per cup
- Lima beans: 14% of DV per cup
- Spinach (cooked): 12% of DV per cup
- White button mushrooms (cooked): 12% of DV per cup
- Morel mushrooms: 12% of DV per cup
- Asparagus (cooked): 10% of DV per cup
- Parsnips: 7% of DV per cup
- Yellow, sweet corn: 6% of DV per cup
- Sweet potatoes (boiled): 6% of DV per cup
- Okra (cooked): 6% of DV per cup
- Red potatoes (baked): 6% of DV per medium potato
- Avocado (California): 14% of DV per cup
- Blueberries (wild, frozen): 9% of DV per cup
- Avocado (Florida): 8% of DV per cup
- Blackberries: 7% of DV per cup
- Pomegranates: 6% of DV per cup
- Raspberries: 5% of DV per cup
- Plantains (yellow, fried): 4% of DV per cup
- Guavas: 3% of DV per cup
- Cantaloupe: 3% of DV per cup
- Apricots: 3% of DV per cup
- Boysenberries: 3% of DV per cup
- Yellow peaches: 2% of DV per cup
- Strawberries (frozen): 3% of DV per cup
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Conclusion on Zinc
Zinc is a mineral found in cells throughout the body. It’s one of the most potent elements in terms of our health and wellness.
Zinc plays a role in:
- Supporting the immune system
- Cell division
- Wound healing
- Breakdown of carbohydrates
You’ll find sources of zinc in some meats as well as plants. While most developed and Western countries consume too much zinc, the prevalence of zinc insufficiency and deficiency is growing. It’s something vital to men and women who are overweight or obese.
Questions & Answers on Zinc
How does zinc help your body?
The body uses zinc for growth and development from pregnancy throughout childhood. It works with the immune system and as a structural component for proteins.
Is 50mg of zinc too much?
It is suggested to take no more than 40mg of zinc daily.
When should I take zinc?
You should take zinc one hour before meals or two hours after meals for best results.
Which foods contain zinc?
Most zinc in western diets comes from beef and poultry, though oysters have the highest concentration of any food mineral.
What vegetables contain zinc?
Some of the vegetables that contain zinc include spinach, kale, garlic, broccoli, and mushrooms.
Should you take zinc daily?
In western and developed countries, daily zinc supplementation is suggested on an as-needed basis. In underdeveloped countries, where zinc deficiency is more common, daily supplementation is recommended, especially in children.
What should you not take with zinc?
Some of the prescription medications that could interact with zinc include amiloride, some blood pressure medications, some antibiotics, cisplatin, deferoxamine, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, and thiazide water pills, among others. Check with your prescribing provider for possible interactions with your current or recently prescribed medications.
What is the best form of zinc to take?
The most affordable form of zinc is zinc gluconate. The best-absorbed variety is zinc picolinate.
Why does zinc hurt my stomach?
There’s some indication that low levels of stomach acid can increase the likelihood of zinc causing nausea, stomach upset, or vomiting. However, there’s no definitive answer as to why this occurs.
How can I get zinc naturally?
You can get all the zinc you need naturally via diet. For vegetarians or vegans, it can be a little harder because meats tend to have the highest zinc levels, but there are plenty of zinc-rich vegetables to choose from.