Why is Zinc an Important Mineral – Benefits, Sources and Functions

Zinc is an essential mineral for every cell in the body. It is located in the skin, muscles, bones, liver, kidneys, pancreas, eyes and, in men, the prostate gland. The body cannot create reserves of zinc, and it must be regularly entered through food or supplements.
Foods rich in Zinc

Zinc Functions

Zinc plays an important role in growth and development, the functioning of the immune system, nervous system and reproduction. It is necessary for the activity of about 100 different enzymes and affects the production of various hormones.

Through its role in the proper functioning of the immune system protects us from colds, flu and other infections. Zinc supplementation can help the body in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and chronic fatigue syndrome.

It is used in the treatment of sterility, maintains prostate health, in people with diabetes improves insulin levels, helps with decreased activity of the thyroid gland, accelerates the cure of wounds and skin irritations, therefore is used for the treatment of acne, eczema, psoriasis and burns. In the elderly slows down vision loss caused by the degeneration of the yellow stains.

The recommended daily dose of Zinc

  Age Milligrams per day
Newborns 0-6 months 2
Newborns 7-12 months 3
children 1-3 years 3
children 4-8 years 5
children 9-13 years 8
Adolescents 14-18 years 9
Adults 19 years and older 8
pregnant 19 years and younger 12
pregnant 19 years and older 11
Breastfeeding mothers 19 years and younger 13
Breastfeeding mothers 19 years and older 12

Zinc Deficiency

Lack of zinc in the body can lead to backlog in the development of children, with delayed sexual maturation, diarrhea, decreased appetite, skin rash, slow wound healing, decreased sense of taste and smell (loss of sense of smell may be irreversible and has been noted in people taking zinc intranasally – via spray), increased risk of diabetes, renal osteodystrophy due to a weakened immune system, hair loss, dry and rough skin, appearance of white lesions on the nails and nail breakage, and mental health problems.

People with an increased risk of zinc deficiency:

– Children

– Pregnant and nursing women (especially teenagers)

– Elderly

– Vegans

– People with inadequate nutrition

– People with impaired absorption of nutrients due to problems with the digestive system

– People suffering from prolonged diarrhea

– Alcoholics (especially those with a diseased liver)

– People with sickle cell disease

– Patients on intravenous nutrition.

Zinc Overdose

Taking Zinc more than 100 mg a day, can weak the immune system and reduce the level of HDL (“good” cholesterol), and even higher doses (more than 200 mg a day) can lead to disorders of the nervous system.

Natural sources of Zinc

Natural sources of zinc include red meat (beef, pork, chicken, turkey), liver, seafood (especially oysters), and eggs. Other foods that also contain zinc are nuts, wheat germ, whole grains, legumes, but the zinc from these foods is harder absorbed than zinc from foods of animal origin.

Zinc in combination with other drugs

Taking zinc supplements with certain antibiotics, specifically tetracyclines and quinoline, can slow down absorption and reduce the effectiveness of these antibiotics. Therefore, it is recommend taking zinc supplements for at least two hours after taking antibiotics.


Taking zinc in doses greater than 30 mg per day over a long time can interferes with the absorption of copper and lead to anemia.

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