Tuesday, December 28, 2010



It is a mineral that is vital to many biological functions. It is an essential mineral that is a component of more than 300 enzymes needed to carry out proper body function. Zinc is key for healthy skin, connective tissue, vision and reproduction. Zinc has also been recognized in research to help promote a healthy and normal immune system.

Biological functions and health benefits of zinc

Zinc has a range of functions.. For many years, zinc has been used as an astringent, an antiseptic and a skin protectant. Zinc is an important mineral which is essential for protein synthesis and which helps to regulate the production of cells in the body's immune system. By boosting the immune system, zinc may also protect against fungal infections and various infectious disorders, such as conjunctivitis and pneumonia. Zinc also has some antioxidant properties, which means that it helps protect cells in the body from the potential damage caused by free radicals. Zinc is especially important in the prostate and may protect it from early damage that could lead to cancer. As a component of many enzymes, zinc is involved in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and energy. Zinc is important in the metabolism of vitamin A and collagen, cellular immunity, maintenance of taste acuity, and the development of reproductive organs. Zinc assists in maintaining the proper concentration of vitamin E in the blood. Zinc also plays a role in the regulation of appetite, stress level, taste, and smell. It is essential for normal growth and development, and for most aspects of reproduction in both males and females. Zinc also supports normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence.

Zinc deficiency

Zinc deficiency most often occurs when zinc intake is inadequate or poorly absorbed, when there are increased losses of zinc from the body, or when the body's requirement for zinc increases.

Signs of zinc deficiency include

· hair loss,

· skin lesions,

· diarrhea,

· wasting of body tissues

Eyesight, taste, smell and memory are also connected with zinc and a deficiency in zinc can cause malfunctions of these organs and functions. Lack of zinc may lead to poor night vision and wound-healing, a decrease in sense of taste and smell, a reduced ability to fight infections, and poor development of reproductive organs. Zinc deficiency can lead to immune dysfunction and impairments in growth, cognitive function, and hormonal function. People who are zinc deficient tend to be more susceptible to a variety of infections.

Children with ADHD tend to have lower blood zinc levels than children without ADHD.

Dietary sources of zinc

Good sources for vegetarians include dairy products, beans and lentils, yeast, nuts, seeds and wholegrain cereals. Pumpkin seeds provide one of the most concentrated vegetarian food sources of zinc.

Side effects, precautions,

Even though zinc is almost an essential requirement for a healthy body, too much zinc can be harmful to the human body. Excessive absorption of zinc into the human body can lead to reduced iron function, and impair the immune system. The major consequence of long-term consumption of excessive zinc is copper deficiency. Zinc lozenges may lead to stomach ache, nausea, mouth irritation, and a bad taste.

. Do not take zinc supplements and copper, iron, or phosphorus supplements at the same time. It is best to space doses of these products 2 hours apart, to get the full benefit from each dietary supplement.

Adult and teenage males: 9 to 12 mg
Adult and teenage females: 9 mg
Pregnant females: 15 mg
Breast-feeding females: 15 mg
Children 7 to 10 years of age: 7 to 9 mg
Children 4 to 6 years of age: 5 mg
Children birth to 3 years of ag: 2 to 4 mg
Children 1 to 3 years: 3 mg
Infants 7 to 12 months: 3 mg
Infants birth to 6 months: 2 mg

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