May Help Support Healthy Immunity, Cell, Gut, and Eye Function (Antioxidant + Anti-Inflammatory)*
What Are the Benefits of Zinc?
Zinc is a nutrient that people need to stay healthy. Zinc is found in cells throughout the body. It helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. The body also needs zinc to make proteins and DNA, the genetic material in all cells. During pregnancy, infancy, and childhood, the body needs zinc to grow and develop properly. Zinc also helps wounds heal and is important for proper senses of taste and smell.
What Foods Provide Zinc?
Zinc is found in a wide variety of foods. You can get recommended amounts of zinc by eating a variety of foods including the following:
- Oysters (best source of zinc)
- Red meat
- Whole grains
- Dairy products
Am I Getting Enough Zinc?
Vegetarians because they do not eat meat, which is a good source of zinc. Also, the beans and grains they typically eat have compounds that keep zinc from being fully absorbed by the body. For this reason, vegetarians might need to eat as much as 50% more zinc than the recommended amounts.
Alcoholics because alcoholic beverages decrease the amount of zinc that the body absorbs and increase the amount lost in the urine. Also, many alcoholics eat a limited amount and variety of food, so they may not get enough zinc.
What Happens If I Don’t Get Enough Zinc?
Zinc deficiency causes hair loss, diarrhea, eye and skin sores and loss of appetite. Weight loss, problems with wound healing, decreased ability to taste food, and lower alertness levels can also occur.
Many of these symptoms can be signs of problems other than zinc deficiency. If you have these symptoms, your doctor can help determine whether you might have a zinc deficiency.
What are some effects of zinc on health?
Scientists are studying zinc to learn about its effects on the immune system (the body’s defense system against bacteria, viruses, and other foreign invaders). Scientists are also researching possible connections between zinc and the health problems discussed below.
Immune system and wound healing
The body’s immune system needs zinc to do its job. Older people and children in developing countries who have low levels of zinc might have a higher risk of getting pneumonia and other infections. Zinc also helps the skin stay healthy. Some people who have skin ulcers might benefit from zinc dietary supplements, but only if they have low levels of zinc.
The common cold
Some studies suggest that zinc lozenges or syrup (but not zinc dietary supplements in pill form) help speed recovery from the common cold and reduce its symptoms if taken within 24 hours of coming down with a cold. However, more study is needed to determine the best dose and form of zinc, as well as how long it should be taken before zinc can be recommended as a treatment for the common cold.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
AMD is an eye disease that gradually causes vision loss. Research suggests that zinc might help slow AMD progression. In a large study among older people with AMD who were at high risk of developing advanced AMD, those who took a daily dietary supplement with 80 mg zinc, 500 mg vitamin C, 400 IU vitamin E, 15 mg beta-carotene, and 2 mg copper for about 6 years had a lower chance of developing advanced AMD and less vision loss than those who did not take the dietary supplement. In the same study, people at high risk of the disease who took dietary supplements containing only zinc also had a lower risk of getting advanced AMD than those who did not take zinc dietary supplements. People who have or are developing the disease might want to talk with their doctor about taking dietary supplements.