No one talks much about zinc, but it’s an essential mineral that our bodies need in very small amounts to stay healthy. Zinc is responsible for a number of different functions in the human body and it helps stimulate the activity of 100 different enzymes. Zinc deficiency can lead to impaired growth and development in children, low libido, hair loss, loss of appetite, fatigue, irritability, slow wound healing, and infection.
It’s an essential mineral that our bodies only need in trace amounts to stay healthy. This means that too much can be as harmful as too little.
You may also like: Dietary Supplements: Are they really HELPFUL or HARMFUL?
Zinc occurs naturally in a number of food such as Beef, Spinach, Pork, Chicken, Dark Chocolate, Oatmeal, Milk. It is also available as a dietary supplement.
Zinc is important for a number of body functions, including:
- Boosting Sex Drive
If your libido is flagging, it might be a sign that you are deficient in zinc. Studies have linked zinc deficiency to low testosterone levels and vaginal dryness.
See also: DRUGS AND YOUR SEX LIFE
- Regulating immune functionThe human body needs zinc to activate T lymphocytes (T cells). T cells help the body in controlling and regulating immune responses, attacking infected or cancerous cells. Zinc deficiency can severely impair immune system function.
- FertilitySeveral studies and trials have linked poor zinc status with low sperm quality. For example, one study in the Netherlands found that subjects had a higher sperm count after zinc sulfate and folic acid supplementation.
In another study, researchers concluded that poor zinc intake may be a risk factor for low quality of sperm and male infertility.
- Healing Cuts and WoundsZinc deficiency slows the healing of cuts and infections, so getting enough from the foods we eat or taking a zinc supplement is essential to protect our skin. Researchers say that topical use of zinc appears to be better at treating skin wounds than oral therapy.
- Proper growth
Zinc deficiency was first discovered in adolescent boys suffering from mild anaemia, short stature and delayed sexual maturation. Their diets were high in unrefined cereals and unleavened breads, both high in phytate, which competes with zinc for absorption.
Once zinc deficiencies were corrected, the boys grew as much as 5 inches per year. Infant and children’s foods such as ready to eat cereals are now fortified with zinc.
- Zinc Oxide Is the Safest SunblockZinc oxide is effective as a sunblock because it acts as a reflective shield, creating a physical barrier between the skin and the sun’s damaging UV rays. It also has a healing effect on the skin and is good to fight against acne.
- Treating diarrhoea Zinc tablets appears to halt diarrhoea in its tracks. A 10-day course of zinc tablets is effective at treating diarrhoea and also helps prevent future bouts of the condition.
- Helping treat the common coldZinc (tablets or syrup) is beneficial in reducing the duration and severity of the common cold in healthy people, when taken within 24 hours of onset of symptoms.
- Zinc Fights Off Depression
Low levels of zinc and zinc deficiency are linked to higher levels of depression. Patients receiving a zinc supplement in combination with antidepressant therapy had significantly reduced depressive symptoms compared with those receiving antidepressants alone.